Scraps... use or throw away?

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Old 11-09-14, 10:40 AM
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Scraps... use or throw away?

Ok, so maybe this has been asked before, but I'm curious- when you are laying a hardwood floor and you cut off a board to length at one wall, do you always take that cut off scrap and use it to start the next row? Or is there some rule of thumb for how long a piece should be to begin a new row?

In other words, how short of a piece do you use... and how short are they to throw away?
 
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Old 11-09-14, 11:06 AM
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I'm cheap so I like to use the cut off pieces when/where I can although I couldn't imagine using a stick less than 6" long .... but it's not like I lay a lot of hardwood. I'll save the scraps/culls for my shop stove
 
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Old 11-09-14, 01:43 PM
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It really depends on the type of flooring. Much flooring today is all the same length pieces so the pattern you begin with to stagger the floor results in a perfect lay as a start to the next row. If, however, you are using flooring that is random lengths in a box. Then you are more subjective as to how you lay out the floor so each row is a judgement call and you just get in the groove of using the known cut pieces as needed to start the next row. However, racking out several rows ahead of time will save some time if laying alone. If you have a helper, it is their job to watch the scrap and use it as efficiently as possible. Basically though, you want to have at least room to shoot 2 cleats or staples into each piece - 6" is a good ballpark. But if happily captured by the previous and next row, you could get away with shorter.

The real rule of thumb is to stagger the field joints by at least 6" to the adjacent on either side. Those against the wall get less action than those in the field.
 
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Old 11-09-14, 03:23 PM
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It is random length. I'll keep a close eye on the scrap as I lay out the rows ahead. (Working alone)
 
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Old 11-09-14, 04:03 PM
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You will find that random length means more like 6 or 7 different lengths, so you eventually will see a pattern and can plan. One thing to watch for is the odd plank with an off width measurement. Some will be off a 16th (narrower) such that when you install the next row, you can not close the gap. Then you are matching short left planks with short right planks to hide the variances. Last floor I did, the off planks were limited to the two smallest lengths so I just pre-measured all those and had piles set aside to accommodate.

On the racking, you can loose lay actual lengths (as the planks do not click lock) and stage your layout. Then push them away a tad to make room for the nailer. Again, you will feel awkward the first few rows, but will settle in fairly quickly.

The starter rows, I usually face nail so that the nail heads are hidden under the base/shoe area and then start angle nailing the tongue with my 15 ga angle nailer (nails have bigger heads than trim nails) similar to where your cleats will go, but shoot a few extra in say every 4" to 6". Then start regular cleat nails when the floor nailer unit will fit. On the end wall, I cleat nail until I am too close to the wall then get out the 15 ga. angle nailer again and start shooting through the tongue until I am at the last row. When I can no longer shoot at the correct angle, I shoot at an angle through the tongue that is parallel to the direction of the tongue and carve out the bottom groove on the female end of the wood to clear the angled nail. I finish with a face nail under the base/shoe. My installs then have zero visible nails that need putty. Only visible nails are at doors and transitions where hiding under molding is not feasible.

If you have a row that starts under the kick plate of a cabinet, I remove the felt paper from that piece, add liquid nails and glue the board to the subfloor. Then I angle through the tongue with the 15 ga angle nailer and continue the balance of the floor.
 
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Old 11-09-14, 05:27 PM
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Thanks for the tips, Z...

Here is a link to the layout of the room I'll be working on. It's really my first big floor and it's at my mom and dad's house (no pressure)... if I do a crummy job I'll just have to hear about it the rest of my life... LOL

http://i231.photobucket.com/albums/e...psb12f4795.jpg

I guess I am debating whether or not to bread board the perimeter of the room with a plank as trim. The floor joists run left to right in the picture link above, so I was planning on laying the planks parallel. Is there anything wrong with the cut end of the flooring butting up to the carpet edge? (Its prefinished solid wood, and the carpet is rolled back and will need to be hemmed and tacked over the top of a tack strip.)

The floor is solid 2x10's that span 12ft, and diagonal 1x8 subfloor, which I set all the old nails on, then screwed. I had to shim a couple areas 1/16" - 1/8" to compensate for a couple dips in the subfloor... then overlayed it with 3/8" plywood screwed 6" on center with deck screws.

So while I would kind of like to lay the floor parallel to the joists since that's the long dimension of the room, I'm not sure I should. Everything says to go perpendicular. Agreed?

I planned to start the layout in the center of the room (blue line) and do the dining room first, which is where the floor will join up with carpet. Once the wood floor is laid, it will be 3/8" higher than the existing wood floor that's currently covered by carpet. I thought this 3/8" difference would make a nice smooth transition to the carpeting.

Just not sure if I should bread board the floor or not. I've got the router bits needed to make any T&G cuts I need in order to fit the flooring between the bread board trim.

I'm also planning on measuring the layout to ensure I don't end up with any unsightly tapers or narrow rips. In one spot there is a doorway where I will need to work backward to a stair nose tread, which is another area I won't want a narrow plank.

I plan on laying 3/4" plywood under the cabinets so as not to waste flooring... with the exception of where the oven, fridge and dishwasher will need to go, of course. Its all been inside the house acclimating for over a month.

Is it true that you want to open several boxes and mix the lots randomly as you go?
 
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Old 11-09-14, 06:35 PM
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The benefit of perpendicular to the floor joists is to eliminate a lot of the potential dips and waves from the uneven floor system. Overlayment of 3/8" ply really does not provide that much structural corrective strength vs if you had overlayed with 3/4" Advantech which would span some of the minor gaps and dips to even things out. Also, do some quick math to make sure you have good holding strength of the cleat going through the hardwood, into the 3/8" ply and then into the plank. 3/4" ply is recommended as a minimum to properly hold the cleats. If the diagonal planks are T&G you may be fine. If it is loose lay with gaps, you will have minimal hold where the cleat goes through the ply and lands in a gap. Prepare your curse words for every time your cleat hits one of the screws you placed to secure the floor and blows out the board from the top. It happens...

By Bread Board, are you saying picture frame the floor layout? or something else? Either way, I'm sure it will lend itself to a quality end product worthy of praise and high fives (for the rest of your life! LOL).

Take a look at the choices on transition strips, there may be a reducer that is T&G that you can modify to smooth the area that meets the carpet. They have carpet reducers as well as reducers to say tile or laminate. Each reducer finishes to a different height so you can accommodate different floorings. One of them may work for your situation. A hard 3/8" lip may pose a trip hazard against the soft carpet. You can also add a metal finish to the carpet that could bring it up to the same level. But protecting the wood edge from dings would also be a benefit of a transitional piece.

Mixing boxes is really dependent on what finish and species of wood you have. A natural finish on red oak will vary very little from box to box. However, the African Walnut I installed a last year needed a mix of 3 boxes minimum to maintain random patterns without streaks of lighter boards against the darker main color of the lot. Your racking of the boards on the floor prior to install will give you the chance to eyeball color and watch for irregular patterns.

Starting in the middle and working both direction will cut down on the expansion and contraction across the widths as the boards will fight the cleats in opposite directions.

Layout is key, as you have noted. I sometimes dry lay the flooring width to width in a single stack and then stretch my tape across the whole mess. I then take a sheet of lined paper and write down the measurements to each board from the starting position to create a story board (per se) of measurements. I reference these measurements from various starting points to ensure that I don't have a dreaded sliver cut at some transition. I also reference my story board throughout to gauge progress.

If you start in the middle, Laser line your start point and nail/screw off 2x4's along the laser line so that you have a solid surface to begin your starter row. This way you can hit the starter row good and hard with the mallet and drive a solid cleat home to begin with. After completing one side, you can add your cleat (I glue mine) and proceed in the opposite direction.
 
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Old 11-09-14, 06:58 PM
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Overlayment of 3/8" ply really does not provide that much structural corrective strength
Right. But the wood floor I removed was nailed to just the 1x8 diagonal subfloor. And it had a few squeeks in the areas that I shimmed 1/8". The 3/8" was mainly to just give a flat surface (as underlayment would) since the 1x8 is not t&g there were small variations from one board to the next. I've checked my shim job with my 78" level and you can hardly slip a business card under it anywhere... so I'm fairly confident it's flat.

Prepare your curse words for every time your cleat hits one of the screws
That's a great point. I should chalk all my joists so that I can be sure to miss them.

By Bread Board, are you saying picture frame the floor layout? or something else? Either way, I'm sure it will lend itself to a quality end product worthy of praise and high fives (for the rest of your life! LOL).
Yes, a picture frame layout. And yeah, I've got a reputation to live up to here. LOL

Mixing boxes is really dependent on what finish and species of wood
It's a honey oak finish on red oak. I wouldn't say it's light colored... but I'll probably open a few and look for any variation. Hopefully it will be pretty consistent.

I reference these measurements from various starting points to ensure that I don't have a dreaded sliver cut
Yeah, I definitely want to do the same thing to avoid skinny rips and/or tapers! I'll have to check the boards for one off widths like you mentioned earlier- I wouldn't have even considered they might be different.

screw off 2x4's along the laser line so that you have a solid surface
yeah, I thought I'd do the same thing, to ensure it doesn't budge when it's nailed.

But let me ask, why do you glue your cleat instead of maybe gluing the spline in to the back side of the floor you've finished... then place the floor the opposite direction and nail it? Do you just use a PL (removing felt paper) under the divider cleat?
 
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Old 11-10-14, 05:53 AM
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My goof, I glue the SPLINE not the cleat - sorry was up past my bedtime.

so I'm fairly confident it's flat.
Time will tell on the 3/8". It is the amount of bite that the cleat has in the wood not necessarily how flat the floor is. 3/4" is recommended so that blow out on the underside doesn't cause a lack of grip which would lead to a squeak down the road. Fortunately, you used ply and not OSB which would tend to blow out a lot easier. Then if you calculate how far the cleat will pierce the 1x8, you may only have a 1/4" bite which for a fastener is not really sufficient.

Have a multi/oscillating tool with a good metal blade or two handy. Should you come upon a miss match width, you don't discover until you try to add the next board. So the short width board is already nailed in place. Rather than prying up and risk potential damage to the adjacent tongue, use your multi tool to cut the cleat out from under the bad board.
 
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Old 11-10-14, 06:33 AM
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That makes sense, thanks. Got the Fein and the blades just in case.
 
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Old 11-10-14, 01:52 PM
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Here is a depth chart to help you choose the correct size cleat for your flooring. Couldn't get the image to upload or reduce without blurring. So Photo bucket it is -

Hmm. I linked to a picture and instead of the link, the actual picture shows up....Good thing I'm not a computer guy, wouldn't be very successful.
 
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Old 11-10-14, 08:36 PM
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Ha ha, me either!

Well it's 3/4 flooring going into 1 1/8" of subfloor and I have 2" nails... so I should be good, right? Didn't get to work on it at all today, got called to omaha to put in windows. Maybe tomorrow.
 
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Old 11-11-14, 06:37 PM
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Wanted to give an update... after day one (actually a half-day), so far so good. Mom vetoed the breadboard idea. (she thinks this is costing too much already!) So I'm just laying it normally. I'm surprised by the amount of short random length pieces in the boxes. An awful lot of 12-20" pieces. I'm opening 2 boxes at a time, to get a better idea of the variety of lengths I have to work with. Colors vary some (light to dark) but nothing unexpected. I am a bit surprised by the junky pieces they include... some wormy, some dark wild grain... then the filler they tried to use doesn't even remotely come close to matching the stain color! So I already have a small pile of rejects.

My tongue and groove router bits came today... they seem to match the flooring exactly. (with nail slot).

Only had one blow up so far... I think I must have not had the nail gun seated against the tongue or maybe I moved it, or maybe it hit a screw. Looks pretty good so far, though. No face nails yet! Thanks for all the help.
 
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Old 11-11-14, 07:39 PM
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LOL...Surprise, surprise, surprise...on the number of crappy small pieces you get in a box. Forces you to get creative doesn't it. You will learn to cherish the one 36" piece you occasionally run into. Watch your calculations as I don't know how much waste is worked into the install. If you keep rejecting all the off pieces, you will run short and end up having to cram all the sh&tty pieces at the end of the run just to finish the job. Look more toward where are the area rugs or couch going to be placed so you can bury the less than optimal pieces. Or better yet, save them for the hall closet where they will only see winter boots and umbrellas for most of the year.
 
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Old 11-11-14, 08:21 PM
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Yeah, I thought the same thing. Some are going next to the walls where furniture will cover and there IS a small pantry for some of the more ugly pieces, if need be. I think we will have plenty, especially if I put plywood under most of the cabinets instead of oak.
 
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Old 02-27-15, 07:54 PM
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Here is an update on how it turned out... Sorry about all the rugs on the floor, mom is kind of a freak about scratching the floor!

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Old 02-27-15, 08:02 PM
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Nice job. The floor looks great. Kitchen is looking good. Very functional and cozy.
 
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Old 02-27-15, 08:02 PM
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Nice! Not that I'm surprised it would be
 
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Old 02-27-15, 08:07 PM
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Thanks guys! I should have uploaded the one with the undercabinet LED's on...

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You can't see it, but building the cubby hole for the fridge so that it would be flush took a lot of work!
 
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Old 02-27-15, 08:14 PM
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Those LED's make the kitchen pop !
 
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Old 02-27-15, 08:21 PM
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building the cubby hole for the fridge so that it would be flush took a lot of work
Isn't that always the way - what took the most out of you is the part everyone else barely notices!
 
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Old 02-27-15, 08:36 PM
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Wow, that looks freaking great! Could be in a magazine. Of course they would put all SS appliances in.
 
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Old 02-27-15, 08:49 PM
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That's real nice Sleeper. I know what you mean about the fridge, it's not counter depth and you made it look so. I like the pantry cabinet also. I've never seen one quite like it, with the drawers at the bottom.
 
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Old 02-28-15, 12:12 AM
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Real nice, Know about the flush look when I built ours Put 2 pull out pantry's. That cabinet is it just a shallow death and vent tube behind? I like that idea.
 
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Old 02-28-15, 03:29 AM
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Thanks X, what a pleasure to see the end product. But, no pressure right, it was only your parents house. Turned out exactly as I would have expected - Perfect! And, you've got a great birthday gift idea for your Mom...matching carpets. LOL
 
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Old 02-28-15, 05:05 AM
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Great job, Brant. The rugs??? It ain't your floor, so leave it alone I think it all turned out just super!
 
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Old 02-28-15, 11:40 AM
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Thanks guys! There were a few firsts for me on this job.

First time building a fridge in. (I'll know to estimate more time/labor if I ever do that again!)
First time laying a wood floor. (was a piece of cake, now that I know it isn't difficult, I will definitely do more!)
First time plumbing a loop vent. (the old galvanized vent pipe ran up the inside corner of the framing, and these walls are only about 2 1/2" thick, so I didn't want to run it through the studs under the window. Plus it was kinda fun to try. LOL)
First time using plugmould. (dad was the electrician)
First time using LED undercabinet strip lighting.

The rugs do drive me crazy, so getting her matching rugs is a great idea. She put a big round area rug in the dining room (left of the kitchen) which is where the other half of the wood floor is, and it looks good... round dining room table and pendant lighting. But those mismatched rugs have got to go! LOL
 
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Old 09-18-15, 05:58 AM
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Awesome read!

I am starting to plan my own first hard wood floor install, and this had a lot of helpful tips.

I especially like this one: "Prepare your curse words for every time your cleat hits one of the screws you placed to secure the floor and blows out the board from the top"

I had a good chuckle at "prepare your curse words" haha!
 
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