Wood flooring: materials and methods !

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Old 02-14-15, 07:05 AM
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Wood flooring: materials and methods !

I'm looking to replace the wood flooring and brick pavers in my house with a new wood floor. I'm not so well versed in the differences and pro/cons of engineered vs. regular hardwood floors and glue vs. float vs. nail. A lot of the information I find online about which method is easier and/or has the best results applies to people installing on slabs, but my house is pier and beam. Does that make it a slam dunk for nailing?

Please, someone, give me a crash course! If you know of a good web page that's already got a comprehensive guide, let me know. Bear in mind I'm looking to do the install myself as a first timer, unless the benefits of a paying a contractor for a difficult install far outweigh the cost.

Thanks!
 
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Old 02-14-15, 07:32 AM
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Definitely a DIY job, but not easy. It will take a lot of preparation and we can walk you through it. First and foremost, forget the word "laminate". It is MDF or HDF with a picture of wood glued to the top of it and a coating of aluminum oxide. It likes water so much, it will absorb it and buckled in time.

If you like a solid feel to your floor, there's no better way to go than staple/cleat down full 3/4" hardwood. In the event you feel that is outside your comfort zone, 3/8" or thicker engineered flooring without a HDF core is second best. It floats and in a good quality floor, the end locks just lay over each other alleviating the necessity of banging the lock together. Just lay the long lock in and press down. Very fast install.

Your subfloor will determine largely what you can do. How far apart are your joists, what size are they, and what is the total unsupported length of the joists. What size subflooring do you have in there?
 
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Old 02-14-15, 07:46 AM
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Thanks for the reply! I honestly think I'd feel more comfortable stapling or cleating solid hardwood than gluing solid or engineered. But you'd then have the work of finishing the solid after installing it, right? And the heavier gaping in cold weather?

When it comes to the floating engineered floors, are the concerns I hear about noisiness overblown? Does using thicker planks help control this? I'm asking because you seemed to jump straight to floating the engineered wood with no mention of gluing...maybe just not DIY-friendly?

I haven't looked too much at the subfloor. I should have mentioned, we're buying the house and haven't closed yet. I can say this, there is a combination of wood, brick pavers and laminate flooring in the house and there isn't a uniform direction to the wood so I'm assuming it isn't run perpendicular to the joists.
 
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Old 02-14-15, 07:56 AM
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No, staple/cleat 3/4" hardwood has tongue and groove construction, so no gapping if installed properly. Hardwood can be had as prefinished, some with 50 year finish warranties. I would never install a sand down/stain/poly floor again.

Engineered flooring won't "clack" like laminates do, but there is a little give since it is applied over an underlayment membrane. I would never glue a floor. Messy, messy, and if you don't wipe all your glue overspills, it will be there forever. Click lock. Gluing directly to subflooring is not a good way to go, although it is done. It will wear faster and will be hard underfoot, since there is no underlayment.

Flooring should run perpendicular to the floor joists for a more stable flooring. There is no steadfast rule to it, however. I have installed flooring in bedrooms with a perpendicular transition to the living room without problems. It will all hinge on the strength of the structure beneath.
 
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Old 02-14-15, 08:32 AM
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So I guess the next step, until I get a look at the subfloor, is to look at the costs of solid hardwood and engineered hardwood in my area. How does the cost generally compare when looking at solid with installation hardware vs. engineered with a membrane? Is the installation for staple/cleat really that difficult? Is a membrane usually used for solid hardwood over plywood also? Do plywood subfloors need to be tested for moisture similar to concrete slabs before putting in a new floor?

It seems like engineered wood manufacturers can supply nationwide if you find a material you like. What would you recommend for quality and ease of installation?
 
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Old 02-14-15, 09:38 AM
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I second the recommendation for putting down prefinished hardwood. Sanding unfinished hardwood makes a lot of dust and then you have all the days the floor is tied up while the stain/poly is being applied/drying. It just doesn't make sense to go thru all that in an occupied house!

A layer of roofing felt gets put down over the subfloor and under the hardwood. That along with making sure the subfloor is well secured helps to eliminate squeaks. IMO laying hardwood isn't all that difficult to learn, speed takes practice .... you might be an expert by the time you are done
 
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Old 02-14-15, 10:20 AM
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This is a bit of a long read, but covers what I think will be a lot of questions you will run into so you can advance plan. The poster is a long time active member who is a carpenter by trade, but this was his first nail down floor installation a couple of months ago. It should generate some back and forth for us to discuss. http://www.doityourself.com/forum/so...hrow-away.html
 
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Old 02-14-15, 10:48 PM
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Thanks, that's some great detail for me to look at more closely again in a few weeks.

I get the impression from the thread that he was installing solid hardwood floors as opposed to engineered. Earlier though, I was talking to someone who mentioned that the best way to install engineered hardwood on pier and beam was to put down 3/4" plywood subfloor, put down a good vapor barrier and then nail down the planks with a floor nailer. This caught me a bit off guard as I hadn't heard of nailing engineered hardwood floors. I guess I had the impression that the tongues weren't designed for nailing...more-so for locking. Are there varieties that are more suitable for nailing and some for floating?
 
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Old 02-15-15, 04:01 AM
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I've never installed engineered hardwood but I've painted a lot of new houses where it was used and I've seen it installed both ways - I don't know if there were differences between the nailed down and the other but I suspect there is.

Just to clarify, you don't install a vapor barrier under the hardwood as it could promote sweating, the roofing felt does act as a vapor retarder.
 
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Old 02-15-15, 04:16 AM
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Click lock engineered flooring is a great way to go for DIY. Nailing it down can be done with a special finish nailer which has a foot made for engineered flooring. But it isn't click lock, just regular engineered flooring. Personally I don't like that type installation, but to each his own. Staple/cleat 3/4" is number one, click lock engineered (not HDF core) is second, and you can add anything in between that and laminate you want.
 
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Old 02-15-15, 04:58 AM
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Engineered is put together like plywood in layers, with the final top layer being the species of wood you have chosen. It is more stable than 100% hardwood as the alternate layers help keep the expansion in check. On the sample boards you will look at it will tell you what that particular floor is capable of be it nail down, glue or float (glue to each other, not the floor). Click lock engineered is designed really to just float. It is usually thinner (3/8") and the tongue and groove are designed to engage each other without the use of mechanical fasteners. So, there area different types of engineered floors.

Once you visit some flooring suppliers, your head will likely spin at all the different selections and configurations available.
 
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Old 02-15-15, 10:52 AM
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So it sounds like if I'm already settled on engineered hardwood, nailing down regular tongue and groove may not be worth the extra material and labor over just floating some click-lock. I think my only consideration there would be the hollow noise and/or squeaking I'd expect from click-lock. But if that isn't typically an issue the choice seems pretty easy.
 
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Old 02-15-15, 11:19 AM
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Squeaks should not be an issue with a click lock engineered provided that you have properly prepared your subfloor. That it is within specs as far as dips, humps and deflection. As far as a hollow sound, you will only notice it if you drop something - like your keys or a coin. You may also notice a womans high heel shoe more if she is a heavy walker, but you would have heard those shoes anyway, only you hear a slightly different "note" to the noise. But as far a looks, wear ability, and the warmth you get from real wood, its all there for you.
 
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Old 02-15-15, 12:37 PM
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Alright, well thanks for all the help folks. When I get closer to purchasing the materials and putting the floors in I'm sure I'll be back. If the thread loses visibility I may send a couple of you a PM.

I guess the only other thing I may want to know early on is what material y'all recommend as a barrier between the subfloor and flooring for a pier and beam home - considering moisture control, feel underfoot and sound dampening.
 
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Old 02-15-15, 01:25 PM
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Check with the manufacturer of your chosen flooring. Some recommend proprietary underlayment, some generic. You will want to do that to maintain your warranty. I use the red with white dot Roberts underlayment.
 
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Old 02-23-15, 04:54 PM
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I got a chance to look at some flooring over the weekend. It seems there are even two varieties of click-lock engineered hardwood: solid hardwood layers, grain alternating perpendicularly with a hardwood veneer and another type with an HDF middle with a hardwood veneer and bottom layer. Based on the opinions on laminate flooring, I'm assuming the HDF core stuff should be avoided?

Also, when I spoke with the salesman, he mentioned that it's common to float tongue-and-groove floors by applying glue to the tongue while assembling. Is this any better/worse than click-lock?

I guess my final question: So that I'm not bugging you guys hourly for a week straight, is there a good how-to DIY guide you could refer me to for hardwood floor installation? I'm usually not hesitant to dive into DIY projects with basic intuition and figure it out as I go...but I'm not building a workbench this time. And I'm sure most of the work that makes the job a lot easier takes place up front.

Thanks!
 
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Old 02-23-15, 05:00 PM
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Click lock is the easiest, floating glue together is probably next followed by nail down. Correct to stay away from HDF core it is laminate in disguise.

We are here to teach and guide. If you want a reference book, maybe the library would help or a afternoon sipping coffee at Barnes and Nobles.

Start with evaluating your subfloor, stiffening and quieting, adding layers if necessary and then the installation of your floor. What steps would you like assistance with?
 
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Old 02-23-15, 05:13 PM
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I guess that's a start - the subfloor.

I'm guessing I should replace anything with physical defects or water damage?
Is there a general guide for what thicknesses should be used for certain beam spacings?
What sort of high-low tolerance is there within a single room (laser level required?)?
If shimming is required, is the only method to pull up the boards where the shims are needed and placing them under?
You mention "adding layers." Is this just something to correct gross leveling issues?
I's assuming to quiet mainly involves additional fasteners, what about stiffening?
 
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Old 02-24-15, 03:51 AM
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I'm guessing I should replace anything with physical defects or water damage?
It depends on the defects/damage. The main thing is for the subfloor to be solid, if the subfloor is weak it probably needs replacing. Water stains or minor defects/dings shouldn't be a problem.
 
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Old 02-24-15, 05:42 AM
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Lets start out with how your floor is constructed. Tell us what currently is there. Size of joists and how far apart they are. What type of Plywood/OSB is on top of the joists and how thick is it? Have you removed some of the existing hardwood to be able to inspect what is underneath?

Tell us a little more about water damage. Is this a kitchen, by a front door, under a window, from a bathroom leak? Has the water issue been resolved?

Lastly, tell us about the "gross leveling" issues. Will they show up if you post pictures?
http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...rt-images.html
 
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