Wood flooring installation questions

Reply

  #1  
Old 05-03-16, 07:58 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: United States
Posts: 69
Wood flooring installation questions

Hi,

Firstly apologies for the long post.

I'm about to embark on a wood floor installation for my entire upstairs, which has a plywood sub-floor in a home built in 2009 (using whatever codes relevant to SW Florida at the time). Most likely this will be an engineered hardwood, as i'm told this is better for SW Florida. My install will include the staircase. My plan is to remove all the baseboards, and leave a 3/8" gap for expansion, then re-install the baseboards so that they sit on top of the floor, so that i do not have to use any 1/4" round molding, which i'm not a huge fan of.

My only experience in wood flooring installation was being a helping hand doing 4 rooms at my buddy's home, using click-in boards, using a moisture shielded underlayment, over concrete.

Truth be told i was very impressed with the work we completed. We trimmed all the woodwork that wasn't removed using an oscillating tool, and everything just went to plan ! I went to compare what i would think would be pro installs in some model homes that are up for sale in the area, all of which had wood flooring, and the work was equally as good, if not better since they used 1/4" round moldings everywhere ??. Perhaps i'm a little picky now The same buddy is going to help me at my home.

However my install is different beast in that my sub-floor is not concrete, but plywood cos its on the 2nd floor. So i'm not 100% entirely sure if i should be going with floating, glue or naildown, given the humidity is always high in SW Florida.. There's no concrete, so moisture shouldn't rise, and i do always have my AC on. But will a floating floor be acceptable over a ply-board sub-floor ?

I have no run that is longer than 29ft and want to avoid any transition pieces into the bedrooms wherever possible...

My biggest question is how to deal with the top of the stairs? The stairs will all have to be glued and brad nailed, with no underlayment. So coming off the stairs, i cannot have an expansion gap... Plus if i start using an underlayment there, there will be a slight height difference.

Does every part need to have the expansion gap on a floating install ? Or can i get away with the start not having any? The only reason i'm saying to myself to go with floating, is cos i've done it before, its quick, and if you make a mistake on layout, you can easily pull a few planks out and change the pattern. I'm familiar with making no H's and leaving 6inches per joint plank.

Really my main question is can i do floating on plyboard, considering I'll be starting from the staircase, that'll be glued. Also i have a couple of transitions that i'm not sure on what to use. See the pics below.. where the carpet joins the tiled bathrooms, and where the AC cupboard is and where the walk in closets have a rail for the door to open and close on. What transition would you use for that? given there's already a tile / ceramic transition piece in there. Does it need to come out? How would i be able to cut perfectly for those and is it acceptable to not have an expansion gap for those small areas

Any advice or tips are welcome !!!











 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 05-03-16, 09:32 AM
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 17,629
First you need to decide what flooring you are going to use as each has different installation requirements. If given a choice I will always nail down install solid wood flooring and not engineered or click together. I find it provides much more professional results for the long term and allows for the floor to be sanded and refinished several times during the life of the home. I also prefer nail down flooring at the top of a stairway or balcony as the flooring is rigidly attached and people can step on the exposed edge without the floor moving.
 
  #3  
Old 05-03-16, 11:51 AM
czizzi's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 7,124
Can't float on staircase treads. You will need to get stair nosing that is secured down. I also think that nail down would be a better fit and keep in mind that all those door thresholds are going to be a bear for a click lock system. Do some homework, as there are some floors that can be both floated and/or nailed down. These types of engineered floors are glued together instead of clicked together. This allows you to slide one piece into another with a bead of glue in the groove. Click lock needs to angle into the next piece which creates issues at thresholds and doorways.

Keep in mind that for nail down, the plywood needs to be a minimum 5/8" thick and and underlayment approved OSB needs to be 3/4" thick. Pull back a floor register and see what you have.

Here is more than you ever want to know about wood flooring - http://tinytimbers.com/pdf/nwfa-install-guidelines.pdf
 
  #4  
Old 05-03-16, 11:52 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: United States
Posts: 69
Yes, i know the allure of solid is better than engineered, however it is my understanding that for SW Florida, its better to have the engineered as the humidity can cause the solid to expand more so than the engineered. At least that's what a guy in the store told me... Same reason they say to avoid bamboo. it takes longer to acclimate and more prone to expansion after its all been laid.

Problem is i have no experience of what works better than not and i'm having to rely on what people are telling me..
 
  #5  
Old 05-03-16, 11:56 AM
czizzi's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 7,124
We posted at the same time, did not want you to miss the link in my previous post.
 
  #6  
Old 05-03-16, 11:57 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: United States
Posts: 69
Great thanks for this pdf... Just back from a store that sells lots of hardwood.. The salesman TBH who didn't seem to inspire a whole lot of confidence in his knowledge told me to avoid glue as it makes a huge mess.

Is that true or was he talking out of his proverbial rear end!
 
  #7  
Old 05-03-16, 12:16 PM
czizzi's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 7,124
It is messy only if you are a total clutz. There is technique and patience that is needed, but once you get into a roll, things move along. A wet rag is all you need, it is like working with elmers glue except it is formulated for flooring. Remember, this is glue to each other not glue to the subfloor.
 
  #8  
Old 05-03-16, 12:35 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: United States
Posts: 69
Thanks czizzi... Why would a pro installer prefer to use glue over a dedicated air flooring nailer / stapler ?

I see Harbor Freight sells them for a little over $100 if i bag one this weekend with my 25% mothers day coupon.

Also what would be a better option for noise suppression? nail and an eco-ultra premium underlayment (that's ok to use with nailing)

or glue and no underlayment...

Just want to understand the pro's and cons of both applications. During installation and long term.

Underlayment seems very expensive for what it is... but then again so does the glue...
 
  #9  
Old 05-03-16, 02:28 PM
czizzi's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 7,124
Here is the glue you want - http://www.amazon.com/QEP-1406-P-Ton.../dp/B0026SPDC4

You apply it to the bottom side of the groove so that when pushed together, you don't get any ooze to worry about on the top side. The nozzle if shaped so you can angle the glue in the correct direction. It really is not that complicated. You do 3 rows and then blue tape them so they don't move. Let it sit overnight and remove the tape.

For floating glue together, use the same 3 in 1 underlayment you would for a click lock. For nail down, you use 15# roofers felt paper over your subfloor and nail directly over that. Nail down does not need noise suppression as you are mechanically fastening it to another floor so it becomes one with the floor and is solid in structure. When you float, the floor will sound hollow without some sort of underlayment to cushion it. It will sound "clacky" if you drop something on it, but will be fine with normal usage.
 
  #10  
Old 05-03-16, 05:03 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: United States
Posts: 69
Thanks again for the reply.

I still don't quite understand which one is the preferred installation method for a plywood sub-floor ? Glue or nail. Need to figure out which one to go with.

Is there any long term advantages to either?
 
  #11  
Old 05-04-16, 02:49 AM
czizzi's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 7,124
Your choice should be Float or Nail, either one is acceptable long term over ANY subfloor. However, given your circumstance with a stair landing involved and desire to do stair treads, nail would be the obvious choice.

What thickness engineered were you considering? Thicker the better for nail down. In researching engineered, stay away from the varieties that have you nail through the groove instead of the tongue. Those are usually HDF filled centers and are of lesser quality (more like glorified laminate), look for ones with a full cross section that looks like plywood. Also, cross check the nail gun you are considering, the HF one has two base plate thicknesses to do 1/2" and 3/4". It should do you well for your project. As long as you are buying tools, a 15ga. angle nailer will assist for those areas where you can not swing a hammer do to the wall being an obstruction. For more detailed reading on tips, have a read of this thread that I had a nice back and forth with XSleeper on his flooring project. http://www.doityourself.com/forum/so...hrow-away.html
 
  #12  
Old 05-04-16, 03:48 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: United States
Posts: 69
Again excellent info. I'm settling for nail thanks to all the excellent advice you've given.

I'm really happy to see the felt can be had for $6 per roll that'll cover 432sq ft


That means i can get my entire underlayment for $15 !!!! allowing the way to pay for some extra tools for the job.

I'm also going to get a table saw for all the ripping, and i really don't see any other way i'd be able to get around the stair cuts, or closet cuts for the rails without one. Again HF has one for $139 with a 25% coupon, even if i end up selling it for $50 after the job, it will be probably the most valuable tool for the job.

I'll also get the HF floor nailer. Another $100 after coupon. A brad nailer. And maybe a pancake compressor. Ironically, i just sold a small compressor, as i now have a 30gal for my garage. But its a beast and getting it upstairs, it may just be easier instead of rolling it thru the house, get a pancake and sell it afterwards. My buddy has a chop saw, he purchased for his flooring project, so covered there. I also have an oscillating tool and jigsaw, for any other cuts. I think i've got all my bases covered, and ready to pull the trigger !

I'll go down to lumber liqudators today and see what i can get that'll work better for nail application. Before i was looking more for locking. So this changes my options on what wood i can select now. Hopefully they have a good sale on !!!!

Promise to keep this post updated with before and after pics.
 
  #13  
Old 05-04-16, 04:20 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 43,569
How far is the compressor from the work needing done? You might just buy extra air hose. I have a 60 gallon compressor in my shop and an old 11 gal compressor. When my oldest son bought his place I loaned him my small compressor but IMO it's no big deal to string out 150'-200' of air hose to reach wherever in the house.
 
  #14  
Old 05-04-16, 05:08 PM
czizzi's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 7,124
Brad nailer will not do much in way of flooring, you need at least the 15ga. for holding power of those edge pieces. Refer to the previous thread on scraps for the tricks on hiding nail holes. Also, do enough shopping at differing outlets to see a great variety of flooring choices. Limiting yourself just to LL'ors may limit the options available to you. See if there are other low cost leaders in your area to widen your choice selection.
 
  #15  
Old 05-04-16, 06:37 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: United States
Posts: 69
I think I've settled on the floor to get. It'll be a 6" plank Hevea specie. From Lumbar Liquidators. I'm still looking at other stores, but so far, this one has been our most preferred, its solid wood, and its on sale at the moment. So there's a good chance it'll be the one we go for, unless i find something else within the next couple of days searching. Solid wood for around $3.80 per sq ft seems like a good deal to me tho !

It calls for 3/8 thick solid wood to use an 18 gauge floor nailer 18 gauge cleats 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 according to the pdf, so whats the general consensus on that ? Go with what they say? or go with a 15gauge instead ?

We as a family are pretty careful and respectful of our property. As in keep the house clean. Kids take their shoes off at the door.. But we do have a small dog. (mutt, and god knows what she is, part Dachshund, part Terrier, 20lb-25lb. Never having a solid wood floor before, how easy is it for a dog to scratch it up? She does have her nails trimmed, but she's a dog, and likes to run around when she gets excited.. Is a janka rating of 1092 and 15% softer than Red Oak going to be ok for a pet owner? or should i really go with a higher janka rating given we have a dog ? I'll be honest, my botanical knowledge is little to none ! So i've never even heard of the specie Hevea let alone had experience with it. It sure looks nice ! Other styles that have caught our eye is some solid bamboo, but i've heard Bamboo expands and contracts more so that normal wood, and much harder to nail in, given its rock hard !

Here are the rest of the specs of the wood i'm very interested in

Brand: Casa de Colour by Builder's Pride
FLOORING SKU: 10037837
SAMPLE SKU: 10037839
Limited Warranty: 30 years
Trade Name: Hevea
Marketing Name: Hevea
Janka Rating: 1092
AC Rating: N/A
Grade: Natural
Color Shade: Dark
Width: 6"
Thickness: 3/4"
Construction: Solid
Installation Type: Glue, Nail
Sq. Ft. Per Box: 27.12
Hardness Rating: 15% softer than Red Oak
Waste: 5%
Weight per box/unit: 79.73

Always open to opinions and what people in the know think !
 
  #16  
Old 05-09-16, 03:41 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: United States
Posts: 69
I actually switched to something different at the time of order. Guess i got nervous on how soft the Hevea was. Plus the quality of wood just didn't seem as good. Whereas the Bellawood seemed to be of a 'much' higher quality and finish, even on the underside and the tongue and groove.. Of course it cost more, but at the end of the day, it'll add value to the home, when we eventually come to sell it.

Here are the specs.

Brand: BELLAWOOD Hues
FLOORING SKU: 10033799
Limited Warranty: 100 years
Trade Name: N/A
Botanical Name: Acer Saccharum
Marketing Name: Maple
Janka Rating: 1450
AC Rating: N/A
Grade: Rustic
Color Shade: Dark
Width: 5"
Thickness: 3/4"
Construction: Solid
Installation Type: Glue, Nail
Sq. Ft. Per Box: 21.75
Hardness Rating: 12% harder than Red Oak
Waste: 5%
Weight per box/unit: 61.09
 
  #17  
Old 05-09-16, 05:08 AM
czizzi's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 7,124
You will need a floor cleat nailer for the majority of the floor. The 15ga. is only for the starter rows and finishing rows where you can not get the nailer to fit as it is too close to the walls. Go with the largest cleat you can get for the 3/4" solid flooring.

Did you ever respond on what your subfloor consisted of? Does the wood floor come with appropriate stair nosing pre-finished to match your field planks?
 
  #18  
Old 05-09-16, 07:14 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: United States
Posts: 69
Yes, i have an air brad /cleat nailer for the starter rows but its only 18ga. I also have purchased this as a flooring / cleat nailer for the rest of the floor.

And this as my table saw.

All from Harbor Freight as you can tell if you clicked the link. So as long as it lasts for this and possibly one extra install at my mom's condo, then it'll be money well spent.

Ive also got the oscillating tool for the wood trim, a jigsaw with coping & wood blades, mitre saw, and will also get some construction glue and some of that pva glue you recommended earlier in this thread.

For the stair nosing and t-molding, i'm just getting unfinished maple 3/4" and will be finishing it myself.. Gluing and stapling into the staircase. My sub-floor is plywood, what thickness? i do not know, as its all under carpet. But I guess i could ask the builder, as they're still active where i live in sister communities. I'm guessing its 3/4" but I am pulling that completely out of my rear end ! lol, all i know is it does a good job with sound, not getting from upstairs to downstairs, unless the kids are jumping off the beds. It's whatever they all use down here in SW Florida for new construction. The 1st floor is all concrete slab, and the 2nd floor, which i'm working with, is plywood.
 
  #19  
Old 05-09-16, 09:47 AM
czizzi's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 7,124
Pull the carpet back in one corner. Drill a hole in the subfloor. Stick a nail into the hole head first and pull it back up such that the head catches on the underside of the subfloor. Pinch the nail at the top side floor height and pull the nail out. Measure how much of the nail was buried in the hole. We want you to do things correctly, so no guessing or pulling numbers out your rear end. Preparation is key in most home improvement projects. Your carpeting is providing the sound deadening, it will transfer more sounds once the cushioning of the carpet and pad are gone.

Don't skimp on your blade for the table saw or miter saw, you want a good quality sharp blade for accurate cutting of thick hardwood stock. If it is dull, the wood will begin to smoke as you try to cut it.
 
  #20  
Old 05-10-16, 03:28 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: United States
Posts: 69
Great tips czizzi on the subfloor height. Blades are new, so i should be ok... The mitre saw has seen an install of four rooms and some baseboard cutting, but nothing major. It wasn't cutting thru bamboo or anything, just thin slices of engineered wood flooring.
 
  #21  
Old 05-15-16, 04:25 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: United States
Posts: 69
Hi,

I've drilled a hole in the plywood subfloor and its 3/4" thick, and the maple solid hardwood is also 3/4" thick.

I'm going to use Fortifiber HWD-15 Hardwood Floor Underlayment as my underlayment.

My Harbor Freight 2-in-1 Flooring Air Nailer / Stapler, works with L-Cleat nails from 1-1/2" long to 2" long and floor staples from 1" to 2"

What do you recommend i use ?


Also For the first couple of rows, where there will not be enough room for the Flooring nailer / stapler, i picked up the Harbor Freight 2-in1 Nailer / Stapler.

That takes 18 gauge brad nails 5/8" to 2" and 18 gauge narrow crown staples from 5/8" to 1-1/2" Again what nails or staples do you recommend i use for those first couple of rows? Should i brad nail on the surface and use putty? or is nailing / stapling on the tongue and groove sufficient?

Finally, for my staircase. My plan was to use construction glue and some nails for the brad nailer. I guess for the stair noses, i have no choice but to nail directly into the surface and use a bit of putty.

My flooring has already arrived, and is currently sitting in my home acclimating itself.. Put it all in there late yesterday afternoon. My plan is to start the job of laying the actual wood Saturday morning. Prepping the room can start earlier.
 
  #22  
Old 05-15-16, 07:02 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 486
2" cleats. 15 ga finish for face nailing. Face nail first row with finish nails and then add finish nails through the tongue of this row. Nail through tongues of next row(s) with finish until you have enough space to use the flooring nailer. Use construction adhesive and 15 ga finish nails on the stair treads....you could also use trim head screws on the treads. I assume that the stair subtreads (under the carpet) are also 3/4" ply. Make/buy a stair tread jig to ensure the treads fit without gaps. Cutting the treads on a table saw may be a little tricky due to their length and a cross cut sled would be helpful. A sliding compound miter saw would be a better/easier option....but maybe not an option if you are trying to control costs.....hopefully your friend's miter saw is a slider.
Good luck....take you time, especially on the stair treads. What about the stair risers? Keep the building code in mind when you do the stairs.
 
  #23  
Old 05-15-16, 09:26 AM
czizzi's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 7,124
I also use a 15 ga. nailer for the start and end courses. I face nail the first row underneath where the base molding will go, and then pretend to nail through the tongue as if I was using the floor nailer. I just set more nails than needed. Then pick up with your floor nailer. Then when you get to the opposite wall, I use the 15ga. nailer through the tongue at an angle until the last piece then fac nail under the trim. I undercut the bottom of the groove to clear any nails I shot through the tongue in the final rows so there is not any visible nails to deal with.

For the stair nose, I pull plugs, counter sink screws and finish off that way. I use liquid nails FOR SUBFLOOR under the tread wood along with shooting nails through the tongue. Don't use any glue that is not rated for flooring applications. It will fail over time.
 
  #24  
Old 05-15-16, 10:19 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: United States
Posts: 69
Thanks I don't have a 15ga nailer to use for the start and end courses, only an 18ga nailer for those... Can i get away with an 18ga or do i really need to go buy a 15ga.

My proper floor nailer, for the rest of the floor does take 15 1/2 ga. so that's what i'll use, but for those first couple of rows, can i get away with an 18ga ?

Also what length nails for the face nailing? my 3/4" subfloor & 3/4" solid hardwood plank equals 1.5inches, so surely i wouldn't want to go longer than that, to not risk piercing anything that's beneath the subfloor (wiring, piping etc)

But for the pretend nailing on the groove, being that it'll be at an angle, I'll use a 2" brad nail, providing 18ga is ok. I'll call the bellawood and lumber liquidators on Monday and ask their support just to be sure.
 
  #25  
Old 05-15-16, 11:28 AM
czizzi's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 7,124
There is a cleat profile chart in this thread. I think if you look at it this way, you can see how angle nailing can add strength to your floor. http://www.doityourself.com/forum/so...over-slab.html 18ga. nails may of may not suffice as a straight nail. I only use that for trim which doesn't need tremendous strength. Flooring applications are another animal, I bought the 15 ga. nailer just for wood flooring. 34 Angle Finish Air Nailer
 
  #26  
Old 05-15-16, 12:23 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 486
If you don't want to buy a 15 ga finish nailer then you can do hand nailing instead of the 18 ga brads. If you hand nail then predrill the holes.
 
  #27  
Old 05-15-16, 02:27 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: United States
Posts: 69
No you guys have convinced me to get a 15ga finish nailer. With a Harbor Freight coupon its not too expensive.

So the 34 Angle Finish Air Nailer is a better option than the straight? Never owning one, or using one, i have to ask this question.

I can keep my 18ga for putting the baseboards back on.
 
  #28  
Old 05-15-16, 03:47 PM
czizzi's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 7,124
The angle air nailer has a slightly bigger head on it for holding power. For what it is worth I use my other nailers as such - 16 ga. nailer for all trim - doors, base, fascia etc. 18 ga. for smaller trim such as shoe molding and glass beads. 15 ga. is strictly for flooring and I own the HF gun I linked to. 18 ga. is definitely too small for flooring. Wait for a sale and go to HF and get their gun, well worth the investment.
 
  #29  
Old 05-15-16, 06:29 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 486
18 ga is a bit light for baseboard installation. You can use the 15 ga for the baseboard as well as the floor.
 
  #30  
Old 05-16-16, 03:18 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 43,569
So the 34 Angle Finish Air Nailer is a better option than the straight?
The 15 gauge nailer [angled] is usually angled and will get into corners better than the 16 gauge [straight] either one will do the job. FWIW, I installed the oak flooring in my small office [6x9] with a 16 gauge nailer. While I did some face nailing most of it was toe nailed along with a hammer and block of wood to draw it tight. That was over a dozen yrs ago and the floor still looks great.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
'