Underlay, nails or staples?


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Old 10-03-07, 12:28 PM
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Question Underlay, nails or staples?

I have an old farm house. I just finished getting the floor (3/4" plywood) shimmed.
I'm ready to put down the underlay. I'm using 1/4" plywood because of a height issue with the toilet. (To make the floor level I had to come up and additional 1/4"). My question is, can I use 1/4" narrow crown staples to hold down the underlay? Or, do I use ringed underlay nails?
If I can use my pneumatic stapler, do I use 1/2" long or 1" long? If you can't guess I'm trying to get out of all ot that hammering. I have carple tunnel in that wrist and hammering nails every 4 to 6 inchs apart is a lot of hammering.
 
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Old 10-03-07, 09:32 PM
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I use a seven sixteenths crown staple. I've found the narrow crowns tend to blow right through 1/4 inch material, especially 1/4 inch plywood. It has lots of voids in it, you have no way of knowing where they are, and the narrow crowns will go right through them. I use inch and a half long shanks. What flooring are you putting down? I ask because 1/4 inch plywood may not be acceptable for your flooring.
 
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Old 10-04-07, 06:11 AM
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Hi Smokey

I'm putting down sheet vinal, nothing expensive, just something to get the floor covered until we can afford better. It's in the bathroom. I was going to use 1/4" hardboard but the guy at the store told me I shouldn't use that, to go with the plywood. He said that some underlay will sag and take the shape of the subfloor. If that wasn't perfectly flat then all the leveling on the underlay wouldn't do a bit of good. This house was built late 1800, nothing is flat, and nothing is remotely square either. Whoever did the plumbing must have been drunk. Not one drain stands straight out of the floor, they all lean cockeyed, the same with the supply pipes. I had to reset the toilet flange because it was tipped at an angle.

I don't have a 7/16" gun, but I suppose I could rent one???
I use the 1/4" in my woodshop, that's the only reason I have one. Just thought it would make the job a little easier on the hand. I did try to choose sheets of ply that didn't have void, patches, but no void in what I got down. I only have to put down 2 sheets. Bathroom is 7 x 9. I ran the subfloor in the opposite direction so seams woun't be in the same place on undelay.

While I'm at it, there seems to be some controversey over what to do with the seams. I may be doing this floor over, but it won't be for for 5 or 6 years What kind of filler is appropriate? Some said leave gaps for the floor to move, just make sure the edges were sanded really smooth. HELP!!!!!!!
 
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Old 10-04-07, 07:46 PM
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Actually, you could eliminate the majority of your concerns by using one of the no glue, fiberglass back vinyls on the market now. The reason you need an underlayment and it has to be just so is because, with full spread glued sheet vinyl, any little imperfection in the sub floor will show through the vinyl. As the glue dries, it shrinks and draws the vinyl down into any little imperfection. I've seen lots of wood grain patterns in vinyl floors that were not supposed to look like that because the vinyl was glued to plywood and the grain showed through the vinyl. An approved for vinyl underlayment won't do that. But, with the no glue floors, there is no glue to cause problems so all you really need is a reasonably flat floor. The vinyl is laid in, squared up, trimmed to fit with an eighth inch gap around the edges, and that's it. The plywood would work fine, or, if the existing floor is in reasonable shape, it would do. In the future, when you're ready to do something else, tear out is just a matter of rolling it up and hauling it out. I've also installed felt back vinyl as a loose lay and it works fine. This method is not usually recommended, but it works and would address some of your issues. Also, if you think you might do tile in the future and the existing floor will support it, you could put down 1/4 inch concrete board in preparation for tile, lay a sheet of no glue vinyl over it until you're ready for the tile, and the backer board would already be in place when you decide to do the tile. This would eliminate having the extra layer of wood to deal with when the time comes. Just a few things to think about.
 
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Old 10-05-07, 12:46 PM
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I don't think I bought fiberglass backed or felt back. I think it's just plain ole linoleum that you glue down. It was a remnant. I bought it right. For $25.00 I can put down (what I hope will look like) a new floor.
Question. Since this is a really small area (7x9) could I just tack the edges (or glue) down and use baseboard to cover the staples? Do I need to do a full spead glue job? I guess I shouldn't have used plywood from the sounds of things. I did buy the sanded one side stuff, but you know lumber these days. Their idea of sanded and actually sanded are 2 different things. I used wood filler to cover the staple heades and and spots that were rough, then I sanded the floor with 150 sandpaper. I don't want to put this thing down until I feel confident about what I'm doing.
(This whole house has been a lot of work, I'm going to learn a lot in the process.)
 
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Old 10-06-07, 08:54 AM
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The odds that you bought linoleum are pretty slim. The stuff is still available, but it's pricey, it is not commonly available as remnants, and you won't find remnants that inexpensive. It's probably felt back sheet vinyl, which is the most common out there. Felt back has a gray backing that feels like some sort of heavy paper. If you want to install it as a loose lay, don't glue anything. If you glue part of it, any fullness in the material will be trapped and have no where to go. As the material relaxes, bubbles will develop. With no glue, as it relaxes, the fullness works its way to the outer edges until the material meets something and then a bubble will develop at that point. That is the purpose of the eighth inch all the way around, As the material relaxes and "grows" a bit, it has somewhere to go. The same applies to staples. As the material relaxes, the staples keep it from being able to "spread" and bubbles will develop where the staples are. If you want to loose lay it, loose lay it. If you want to full spread glue it, glue the whole thing. But, unless the material is designed to be partially glued, don't mix the two methods, the outcome will be less than satisfactory. The advantage to loose laying it is, the underlayment material is not an issue. Are you confident you can get the flooring laid in square and trimmed out or do you want pointers?
 
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Old 10-07-07, 06:50 AM
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Boy, any pointer you could give m would be most welcome.
If I understand you correctly I should allow an 1/8" perimeter around everything, is that correct? What about pipes? I built a mission style vanity cabinet and the pipes will be somewhat visable. I say somewhat because you won't see them unless you get on your hands and knees and look.

To loose lay it, I just cut and lay it down? What about baseboard? Should I raise that a hair to allow for the relaxing of the flooring? Is there any way to measure the height to ensure the same space underneath? I'm designing my own molding, not buying it premade.

I like the idea of not having to spread the adhesive, that part was a major intimidation Too thick and you get lumps. too thin and it raises up.

You say square, ain't nothing in this house that is square. The wife obviously thinks I'm really talented and picks out this flooring that has a square and diamond in the center. Get that down off square and it'll hit you in the face everytime you walk in the room, unless I've had a few too many beers and then my main focus will be the toilet The room looks like a rectangle that somebody kicked to the right, meaning instead of square 90 corners, they are more like 95 on the two ends and the other two ends are 85. I have one sheet of plywood I will be using in my shop (for God only knows what) because I cut every thing at 90 degrees. Actually the walls around the tub are squared because I had to build a back wall of the tub out to square for the tub and surround.
So yeah HELP!!!!!!!!!
 
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Old 10-07-07, 07:47 PM
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Wow, sounds like a challenge indeed. Not to worry, it's doable. In an instance like this one, getting it actually square is not an option, so you need to create the illusion that it is when you look in the room. Where is the entry door in relation to the tub? If, when you enter the room, the tub is directly in front of you, I would suggest squaring off the tub so everything looks square when you walk in. Is there one wall with nothing on it? Most of them have the vanity and toilet along one wall and the other wall is free from door to tub. If so, squaring off the tub might make the lines running along the wall too obvious if they're out of square. One of the tricks I use a lot in situations like this is to get the "grout joint" part of the pattern as far from the wall and the tub as possible. If the lines in the pattern are close to the wall, the amount of out of square the room is will be very evident. But, if the lines are a good distance from the wall, the out of square condition is harder for the eye to pick up. As you walk in the room, you want the pattern to visually run directly from the door to the back of the room. To accomplish this, position the material so it appears straight and the lines are as far from the wall as possible. Also, if you can accomplish all this and make the lines in the pattern fall in the same place on both sides of the doorway, this will add to the illusion of a square room. None of this will be perfect, but the casual observer won't notice the room is out of square. The side of the room with all the "stuff" will tend to negate the out of square look because there are so many lines to follow that it gets a bit lost in all that. The most critical areas to be concerned with are the long, unbroken wall, the tub, and the door threshold. Satisfy those three visually, and the rest will just have to be whatever they are. I'm making the assumption here that you got material that is larger than the room you're doing and you have room to accommodate this. If not, you may be stuck with whatever you have. With regard to the base board, it must be removed, the vinyl installed, and the base then re-installed. I would do as you've suggested and let it ride just above the vinyl. The material will be able to move if the base just brushes it, but not if it's forced down onto it. You'll also need to remove the toilet during installation. As for the pipes, there are two piece, hinged trim pieces available to trim them out and hide the cuts around the pipes.
 
 

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