Best time to install hardwood floor — Topic

Best time to install hardwood floor - Topic

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posted 01 November 2005 09:34 AM

Just in case you still want wood flooring even after reading Garett’s comments, I might suggest you utilize a quarter sawn product. Vertical grained wood makes a much more stable floor (which you are going to need in your situation). You might also look for a strip product (i.e. less than 3″ in width) rather than a plank type of product. The wider the plank the more stress and therefore movement you can expect during shifts (Summer to Winter) in relative humidity. Possibly choose a patterned flooring product (in addition to utilizing a quarter sawn cut (e.g. a parquet pattern) or choose a layout design in the wood floor that has pieces running in opposing or semi-opposing directons (e.g. herringbone). Choose a plywood product (i.e. an engineered product) one that consists of plies with wood grain run diagonally throughout it’s entire composition.

In situations like yours, I have found it helpful to pre-seal the flooring prior to installation utilizing a penetrating oil (I like using a good «green» product (good and green for the environment AND the user) like linseed oil & white spirits. Entire wood flooring pieces or strips can be painted or dipped then set aside on saw horses to dry over newspapers over night in the garage. Keep a bucket of the sealer handy for dipping the ends or painting rips during installation. BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL OF RAGS UTILIZED WITH THIS SEALER. THESE CAN CATCH FIRE SPONTANEOUSLY (BURNING YOUR ENTIRE HOUSE DOWN) IF NOT TAKEN CARE OF PROPERLY! DISPOSE OF SUCH ITEMS IN A FIREPLACE OR SUBMERGE IN WATER SO NO OXYGEN CAN GET TO THEM.

This pre-sealing of the flooring prior to installation does not stop wood movement. What is does is moderate the highs and lows (the extremes) of moisture migration into and out of the wood flooring. This (in my experience) significantly mitigates the troublesome movement in the real life adventures of wood flooring in unheated structures.

I’m not saying things like this can always make for a happily ever after installation — still, I’ve found that given some control over the heating, ventilation and cooling; allowed some control over the design of the installation and finishing procedures and materials; and allowed some freedowm with the selection of wood flooring types, styles, cuts, and sizes — good things can and usually do happen.

I’ve even successfully designed and installed (better yet proven over the long term in real life experience) plank wood flooring, over radiant in-floor heating, below grade next to a swimming pool. For many many years now I’ve been designing and installing wood, with metal and stone in some pretty challenging places (including those with skylights, in-floor radiant heat and occasional exposure to the open atmosphere.

A long time ago (before moving into wood flooring) my true love was building furniture. A part of my educational background and some my early experience was in wooden boat building. Years of wooden staircase design and building went for not when everything shifted to laminated structures (and away from my steam bending expertise). Still, wood flooring had more suprises in store for me than I was at first ready to accept. I thought I had wood joinery, stresses and structres down. Boy, was I in for a shock! The first 10 years I spent re-learning what I though I already knew. Then began the self re-education process. The last 20 years have found me struggling to keep up with the new resin discoveries and their implications in my field.

I for one say «go for it Joe». Wood floorings’ been going down in unheated structures (and worse than that dramatically heat/humidity changing structures) for thousands of years.

Then again, maybe that’s why I refer to myself as the «Swiss Rogue».

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