Solid hardwood - keeping boards aligned during installation?


Old 08-26-19, 11:39 AM
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Solid hardwood - keeping boards aligned during installation?

Google doesn't seem to know anything about this. Or, I'm just not thinking of the right search terms. I'm trying to figure out how I would adjust the spacing by tiny amounts if the rows of flooring start going out of parallel as we install more and more rows. Kind of like roofing with shingles. Mark a starting line, and parallel reference lines every few feet up the roof. Then can measure to the reference lines to see if the rows are deviating.

I can't find any info on how you would re-adjust if rows of wood flooring start to deviate from parallel. Shingles are easy. But wood flooring? The only thing I can think of is to use something like business cards as shims, shimming gaps between boards a bit at a time.

What do pro installers do? What have you done? Or I the only one to ever need to do this? I've got about 36" width installed so far, 11 rows, and measuring to my reference line, I find one end to be 1/8" closer to the line. Which isn't terrible, but I've got 14 feet to go; I don't want 1/8" to turn into 2 inches.

Basic info:
Installing 3/4" solid tongue and groove hickory flooring, 3" wide, in our remodel.
Subfloor is 1x6 boards diagonal to the joists.
Supplemented solid subfloor with 1/2" plywood stapled.
15# felt underlayment under floor boards.
Floor boards installed perpendicular to joists.
Flooring nailed with 2" cleats with a typical pneumatic flooring nailer.
Flooring has been in the house for several months.
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Old 08-26-19, 11:48 AM
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So generally speaking the flooring itself is usually pretty good (there is always some exception I realize) and typ you will find that the dimensions grow by 1/32 per board which is due to the boards swell/shrink and how the installation goes.

Hammering into place is never perfect, one side a bit tighter than other, all considered normal.

I have never made mid room changes, just take it to the end and if your shoe/qtr round does not cover then you have to adjust the width of the final boards!

One trick I do now, rack up a bunch of boards tight, at least 10 and measure the width, use that dim to figure to calculate the width of first and last, it will be a lot closer than just using the general board width!
Old 08-26-19, 12:02 PM
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Personally, I start out in the middle of a large room with a plank that is centered between the 2 walls, (try to do the math so the pieces next to the wall are as large as possible) then glue a spline in that piece and work in both directions. This helps with expansion and contraction and generally you won't run off enough for it to matter since you've split the room in half.

If you get off its usually because your first row moved a little as you nailed subsequent rows down. That first row has to be straight as an arrow.

Then you have to watch for those one off pieces that are 1/16" narrower than the others.
Old 08-26-19, 07:19 PM
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Thanks for the replies. Looks like it's going well. Had that 1/8 inch difference when I measured about 31" away from the next reference line, but by the time we got to the line, it was lined up really well!
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