Author Topic: Wood flooring install questions - advice appreciated!  (Read 6995 times)

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Offline copcarcollector

  • Posts: 1452
Wood flooring install questions - advice appreciated!
« on: April 16, 2014, 04:57 PM »
I am an OK DIY-er, and have a ton of tools  [laughing] But, I have never done anything this large on my own.

I want to install wood flooring in my house. Currently I have carpet over plywood subfloor over a crawl space. Once I remove the carpet, I had planned to add extra screws to the plywood into the joists to eliminate squeaks, then roll out the underlayment and then install the wood floors on top. I do not have any materials yet, just in the beginning planning phase right now.

So I have several questions:

1) Can I add any heating below a wood floor in my situation? It would have to be electric mats, I do not have radiators so no hot water type system. I am concerned about cold floors in the winter. It does get to and below freezing here for short periods of time.

2) Baseboards - major sticking point in my mind right now. I have a lot of existing baseboards, and would prefer to not remove them. Is it possible to leave them in place and install a wood floor underneath the existing baseboards? I do not like the look of 1/4 round added where the base meets the floor. I am just trying to eliminate a lot of work, is it better to just take them out and put them back once the new floor is in?

3) Where to stop! I have two large rooms, and a hallway planned - is it preferred to stop and leave bedrooms carpeted, or just continue the wood flooring everywhere? Same question for the kitchen, currently a vinyl floor, should the wood continue into the kitchen as well? I think it would look all cohesive for everything to be done in wood, just costly!

4) Is it OK to have the wood meet at right angles? Do I need to leave any space for expansion/contraction at a 90 degree angle? See pictures - the red lines represent the proposed layout, having the wood run the long way from front to back of the house, then long down the hallway instead of a bunch of short pieces. Hope I explained this OK.

5) Anything else I should consider before I tear out the carpet and start? Any materials to use or not to use, tricks, tips etc... Anyone want to come and install it for me for free---?! :o

I appreciate any help. If you need clarification on anything let me know!

Jeff
Carson City, NV

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Offline DougG

  • Posts: 27
Re: Wood flooring install questions - advice appreciated!
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2014, 05:32 PM »
DIY-er here.  I'm assuming you're thinking about solid 3/4" hardwood flooring that needs nailing, as that's where my experience comes from.

2) Baseboards - major sticking point in my mind right now. I have a lot of existing baseboards, and would prefer to not remove them. Is it possible to leave them in place and install a wood floor underneath the existing baseboards? I do not like the look of 1/4 round added where the base meets the floor. I am just trying to eliminate a lot of work, is it better to just take them out and put them back once the new floor is in?

Probably best to remove them.  It will be easier for you to place the wood flooring close to the wall that way.  You need an expansion gap.  You might be able to rip the bottom of the baseboards with an oscillating multitool and slide the wood flooring under the gap you create, but that will probably be hard to do.  Just take a scrap piece of flooring, and flush cut the base board.


3) Where to stop! I have two large rooms, and a hallway planned - is it preferred to stop and leave bedrooms carpeted, or just continue the wood flooring everywhere? Same question for the kitchen, currently a vinyl floor, should the wood continue into the kitchen as well? I think it would look all cohesive for everything to be done in wood, just costly!

That's up to you, on where you want the wood.  It will probably look best if two adjacent sections/rooms have continuous flooring between them.  Otherwise, you'll need something like a T molding to go between rooms or areas.  You might be able to hide it, if you have a door on top of that T molding, but it will probably be best to have everything flow in from one area to the next.


4) Is it OK to have the wood meet at right angles? Do I need to leave any space for expansion/contraction at a 90 degree angle? See pictures - the red lines represent the proposed layout, having the wood run the long way from front to back of the house, then long down the hallway instead of a bunch of short pieces. Hope I explained this OK.

Some people change directions to go around a hearth or fireplace or something like that.  Or putting a border around a room.  Typically, you just keep the flooring perpendicular to the floor joists below.

5) Anything else I should consider before I tear out the carpet and start? Any materials to use or not to use, tricks, tips etc... Anyone want to come and install it for me for free---?! :o

Make sure it's really plywood underneath if you're nailing in your wood floor (the bottom layer of your subfloor might be plywood, but with a layer of particle board over that).  If it's particle board, the nails won't stick to it well.  Particle board is a royal pain to remove for a DIY-er, especially if it's glued down.

Offline copcarcollector

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Re: Wood flooring install questions - advice appreciated!
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2014, 05:41 PM »
THANKS!

I'm assuming you're thinking about solid 3/4" hardwood flooring that needs nailing, as that's where my experience comes from.

Hmmm,, unsure what the new flooring will be. Engineered or Bamboo, not laminate - Home Depot or Lumber Liquidators purchased stuff. I am figuring it will be nailed down or floating, guess I have to figure that out too! And thanks for the tip to make sure the plywood underneath is actually plywood!

Offline tjbnwi

  • Posts: 6132
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Re: Wood flooring install questions - advice appreciated!
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2014, 05:54 PM »
I am an OK DIY-er, and have a ton of tools  [laughing] But, I have never done anything this large on my own.

I want to install wood flooring in my house. Currently I have carpet over plywood subfloor over a crawl space. Once I remove the carpet, I had planned to add extra screws to the plywood into the joists to eliminate squeaks, then roll out the underlayment and then install the wood floors on top. I do not have any materials yet, just in the beginning planning phase right now.

So I have several questions:

1) Can I add any heating below a wood floor in my situation? It would have to be electric mats, I do not have radiators so no hot water type system. I am concerned about cold floors in the winter. It does get to and below freezing here for short periods of time.

2) Baseboards - major sticking point in my mind right now. I have a lot of existing baseboards, and would prefer to not remove them. Is it possible to leave them in place and install a wood floor underneath the existing baseboards? I do not like the look of 1/4 round added where the base meets the floor. I am just trying to eliminate a lot of work, is it better to just take them out and put them back once the new floor is in?

3) Where to stop! I have two large rooms, and a hallway planned - is it preferred to stop and leave bedrooms carpeted, or just continue the wood flooring everywhere? Same question for the kitchen, currently a vinyl floor, should the wood continue into the kitchen as well? I think it would look all cohesive for everything to be done in wood, just costly!

4) Is it OK to have the wood meet at right angles? Do I need to leave any space for expansion/contraction at a 90 degree angle? See pictures - the red lines represent the proposed layout, having the wood run the long way from front to back of the house, then long down the hallway instead of a bunch of short pieces. Hope I explained this OK.

5) Anything else I should consider before I tear out the carpet and start? Any materials to use or not to use, tricks, tips etc... Anyone want to come and install it for me for free---?! :o

I appreciate any help. If you need clarification on anything let me know!

Jeff
Carson City, NV


Village idiot here........

If you want to warm the floor you have to use a thin film system.

www.carbonicheat.com

Remove the baseboards, they look to short/like junk if you place the floor against them. Add shoe, not quarter round. Tall side of the shoe is the vertical edge.

Where to stop is up to you. Area rugs area always an option.

Yes the wood can meet at right angles. Butt or weave, depends on where it is located. Try to make all your runs 90ยบ to the floor joists.

Fasten through the tongue. Spline so you can reverse a run. You'll need to rent or purchase a pneumatic flooring gun. You need finish nailers also.

Pre-finished or finish in place.........

Not me.

Tom

Offline wow

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Re: Wood flooring install questions - advice appreciated!
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2014, 06:05 PM »
Wirsbo/Uponor now has a product that only requires 1/2" to install, and can go right on top of your subfloor. Here's a link:

http://www.uponorpro.com/~/media/Extranet/Files/manuals/QuikTrak_InsG_9-00.aspx?sc_lang=en

Trying to be one of the most helpful members on the FOG.

Offline tjbnwi

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Re: Wood flooring install questions - advice appreciated!
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2014, 06:36 PM »
Wirsbo/Uponor now has a product that only requires 1/2" to install, and can go right on top of your subfloor. Here's a link:

http://www.uponorpro.com/~/media/Extranet/Files/manuals/QuikTrak_InsG_9-00.aspx?sc_lang=en



That has been out for about 15 years. You need a heat source, such as a water heater or heat exchanger connected to your water heater. A circulator to move the water.

The other option, if you have access to below is aluminum heat plates that screw to the sub-floor and hold the tubing. Still need a heat source and circulator.

copcarcollector, if your home is on a slab, don't bother adding floor heat. You'll lose more to the slab than you will gain in the floor.

Tom
« Last Edit: April 16, 2014, 08:44 PM by tjbnwi »

Offline CarolinaNomad

  • Posts: 306
Re: Wood flooring install questions - advice appreciated!
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2014, 06:36 PM »
First, the flooring must run perpendicular to the floor joists.

Check the gap under the baseboards and the subfloor in a couple of places.  If you use 3/4" flooring, I doubt the flooring will go under the existing baseboards and doors due to the minimum gap needed to install carpet.  Secondly, it might be more of a hassle than removing the baseboards completely.  Just score the top and corners of the baseboards and pry the material off.  Number the baseboards and wall for location.  If you take good care of removing the baseboards, you can reuse them and it's not hard to install.  You will need knee pads for the flooring so you can use them to install the baseboards.

Also, since 3/4" is higher than carpet and the vinyl flooring, you will need to place a nosing (a transition piece of wood between the two materials).  Transitioning from hardwood to vinyl flooring, the nosing would sit high enough that someone will stump their toes.  I recommend placing hardwood floor in the kitchen due to the high traffic area.  Be sure to remove the glue under the vinyl floor before placing hardwood.  Carpet in bedrooms is ok.  Nosing will be placed at under door.

Electric flooring heating is best used under tile flooring.  Also, hardwood flooring must acclimate to the change in heat.  At the beginning of the winter season, you turn on the electric flooring heating and slowly turn up the heat to allow for the hardwood floor to acclimate and keep it on for the remainder of the season.  This takes about a month.  Also, hardwood flooring will provide insulation from the electric floor heating.  Therefore, you will have to run it higher than say tile flooring to get the same result.  I wouldn't bother spending the money on electric floor heating.  It would be expensive.  I suggest putting insulation under the subfloor between the joists (ie spray foam insulation or batt).

It is ok to have the wood at right angles.  You don't need expansion joints.

Jeff

Jeff
resides in NAINA

Offline kmdwoodwork

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Re: Wood flooring install questions - advice appreciated!
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2014, 07:00 PM »
A job that i am doing the cabinets for is having electric heat under hardwood and the contractor had to cover the heating mat with leveler and turn the heat on for a month to fully cure the leveler for the flooring manufacturers warranty. It is also being glued down and nailed between the wires in the grid.

I would think twice about the heat unless you are prepared for the wait and the added work and stress.

I am not a flooring guy so that i the only advice i feel comfortable giving and good luck with what ever you chose.

Offline Billedis

  • Posts: 619
Re: Wood flooring install questions - advice appreciated!
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2014, 08:52 AM »
I am an OK DIY-er, and have a ton of tools  Laughing But, I have never done anything this large on my own.

I want to install wood flooring in my house. Currently I have carpet over plywood subfloor over a crawl space. Once I remove the carpet, I had planned to add extra screws to the plywood into the joists to eliminate squeaks, then roll out the underlayment and then install the wood floors on top. I do not have any materials yet, just in the beginning planning phase right now.

So I have several questions:

1) Can I add any heating below a wood floor in my situation? It would have to be electric mats, I do not have radiators so no hot water type system. I am concerned about cold floors in the winter. It does get to and below freezing here for short periods of time.

Yes, but a little more difficult to do, as you cannot nail through the mats.

2) Baseboards - major sticking point in my mind right now. I have a lot of existing baseboards, and would prefer to not remove them. Is it possible to leave them in place and install a wood floor underneath the existing baseboards? I do not like the look of 1/4 round added where the base meets the floor. I am just trying to eliminate a lot of work, is it better to just take them out and put them back once the new floor is in?

I suggest removing to avoid quarter round or shoe molding.  Just looks cleaner.  If your floors are uneven, then go with shoe as it will follow the floor, or you can scribe the base molding so it fits flat.  When you pull the nails out of the molding should you remove, pull through to eliminate damaging the finished side of the molding.

3) Where to stop! I have two large rooms, and a hallway planned - is it preferred to stop and leave bedrooms carpeted, or just continue the wood flooring everywhere? Same question for the kitchen, currently a vinyl floor, should the wood continue into the kitchen as well? I think it would look all cohesive for everything to be done in wood, just costly!

Stopping is a choice.  You should cut the jambs to allow the flooring to go underneath them rather than trying to trim around them.  I would go with the kitchen in wood.  Here is where you would want to use the shoe molding beneath the toe kicks of the cabinets for the finished look.  Either that, or remove the toe kick and re-cut.

4) Is it OK to have the wood meet at right angles? Do I need to leave any space for expansion/contraction at a 90 degree angle? See pictures - the red lines represent the proposed layout, having the wood run the long way from front to back of the house, then long down the hallway instead of a bunch of short pieces. Hope I explained this OK.

OK to meet at right angles without an expansion gap.  I suggest railroading down the hall unless it is perfectly square with the other rooms.  If you keep it in the same direction of the room, you will never see if it is out of square.  All the short pieces take care of a lot of waste!

5) Anything else I should consider before I tear out the carpet and start? Any materials to use or not to use, tricks, tips etc... Anyone want to come and install it for me for free---?! Shocked

I suggest a pneumatic assisted bang nailer.  Just make sure the boot is fit for the thicknesses of the floor or you will damage a lot of the tongues.  Probably the best underlayment on the market is one made of recycled tires.  Floor and Decor sells it as Eco Ultra Quiet.  It has an Insulation Impact Class of 73 and a Sound Transmission class of 73 also.  I think LL has one like that as well.  Usually goes for around $60/100 sq. ft roll.  F&D has it in 450 sq. ft rolls.  I think there only NV store is in Las Vegas.  Good flooring at excellent prices.  They always beat LL here in FL.

Offline tjbnwi

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Re: Wood flooring install questions - advice appreciated!
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2014, 09:00 AM »
There are heat mats that can be nailed/stapled through.

Tom

Offline JimH2

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Re: Wood flooring install questions - advice appreciated!
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2014, 10:12 AM »
I vote for 3/4" finished in place floors. Don't believe the hype on the engineered floors, they are not even close to same quality and the only reason they sell is because anyone can install them. The finish in place floors will last several lifetimes over and can be sanded and refinished if necessary.

As for the sound deadening material for engineered flooring....It helps, but it is hype. All engineered floors have a click-clack to them when you walk across them and there is no way to avoid it.

I am not in wood flooring business, but have had homes with both and there is no comparison between the two. I realize that there are different grades of "engineered" flooring, but they all are a compromise. I do think there is an engineered flooring that is nail down and if so it is going to be better than any of the various floating varieties.

As for advice on color, consider finding the wood with the color you want and going with just a clear, versus staining the wood to a color you like.

Offline tjbnwi

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Re: Wood flooring install questions - advice appreciated!
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2014, 10:22 AM »
I believe you are confusing engineered flooring with laminate flooring. Engineered flooring is a wood floor built up in staves with the wear surface being the wood of choice. In some environments it is the only wood floor that will work.

Tom

Offline h.gil

  • Posts: 111
Re: Wood flooring install questions - advice appreciated!
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2014, 11:03 AM »
If you were my customer this is what I would recommend:


-Nu-Heat Cable system over a radiant barrier.
-Covered in plain thinset mortar, as Self Levelling Compounds are expensive; also depends on how well you can float the thinset to a smooth level surface.
-Engineered flooring laid using troweled adhesive.

As tjbnwi mentioned, there are situations where engineered is the only choice of flooring, as over a concrete slab where it can be laid over padding and gluing the tongue and grooves to form a monolithic sheet of flooring. In this situation I would recommend using a trowel adhesive as it will hold the flooring tight against the heated slab. Keep in mind, all of these components are engineered to work together.

Additionally, you could lay the Nu-Heat cable and pour the thinset, then cover the area with RamBoard paper to allow it to cure and breath while still maintaining use of the space.   

Offline amt

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Re: Wood flooring install questions - advice appreciated!
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2014, 02:59 PM »
http://www.hardwoodflooringtalk.com/forum/what-hardwood-best-for-f2.html

FWIW, there are engineered unfinished flooring available, if you want the benefits of an engineered floor but still want a site finished floor.

A high quality engineered floor, installed properly, should be just as good as a solid floor.  You can get wear levels that are quite thick, equalling what you can find in solid (the top third until you hit the tongue). 

I installed a solid floor in my house which has a slab foundation.  While I like a floor a lot, I had to first install plywood underlayment, which was a lot of work and involved raising the bottom of all of the doors in the house.  If I could do it over again, I would have purchased a high quality unfinished engineered floor and glued it down.  The product would likely be a lot more expensive, but a lot less labor.

Offline LostInTheWood

  • Posts: 131
Re: Wood flooring install questions - advice appreciated!
« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2014, 11:51 PM »
Everyone is mentioning all good things here, but (maybe I didn't see it) I don't think anyone addressed moisture issues that may be associated with your crawl space.   If you have a lot of moisture underneath your house, then you need to be very meticulous and informed about your installation of underlayment.  Same goes for the actual flooring you choose.   Personally I like felt paper when I do installs, but it's no true moisture barrier and your mention of a crawl space would be a red flag for me if I were the one installing.   You may be able to integrate something along with your heating elements if you go the thinset route. Have a look at some products from the tile industry such as Schluter or Wedi.  They have moisture barriers and heating already figured out.   Of course the expectation here is that you are installing real wood or some semi/non man made product.   Engineered and laminated (floating or not) would be a little more stable, but you should still read the installation requirements.  Someone had mentioned insulating from below. I highly recommend this if you intend to get the best out of whatever heating system you choose.  Finally, for the crawl space itself you can line it with plastic sheeting sealed to the foundation walls (dirt floor)  or if ratslab (concrete floor) paint it with some sort of sealer minimize vapor transmission.  Again I don't know your situation, but it's something worth investigating.

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: Wood flooring install questions - advice appreciated!
« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2014, 03:14 AM »
To follow up on the moisture post, whatever you decide to install, let it acclimate to the conditions in your home for at least as long as the manufacturer suggests or even better - longer.

Peter

Offline cgraham

  • Posts: 58
Re: Wood flooring install questions - advice appreciated!
« Reply #16 on: April 19, 2014, 07:55 AM »
I have electric mat heating in my mud room and when I turn it on (November-March) my electric bill skyrockets. And it is only set at 55-60degrees. If you are really concerned about heat loss thru the floor then think about making your crawl space into conditioned space. Every new house we build has a conditioned crawlspace and homeowners love it. Not cheap to install but long term savings are worth it.

Offline Deadskins

  • Posts: 102
Re: Wood flooring install questions - advice appreciated!
« Reply #17 on: April 19, 2014, 08:31 AM »
If this is the first time this floor has been uncovered in a while, I would first remove all the carpet and check the subfloor.  There may be rotted areas or places that are not flat.  Best to fix this first.  Once you have the subfloors flat and secure (no squeaks), bring in your flooring and let it simmer for a week.
If your floors are not flat, you may need to get into the wonderful world of "sistering joists".  Or, for minor areas, you can use roofing tar paper to level small areas.  If they are not level, 4" in 6' in my case, you need to remove subflooring and level the joists via sistering.
Ranny

Offline LostInTheWood

  • Posts: 131
Re: Wood flooring install questions - advice appreciated!
« Reply #18 on: April 20, 2014, 09:51 PM »
Oh yeah one more thing sort of related to acclimation aspect.   Have not done this personally, but it's supposed to be a rule.....don't use wide boards if you are doing a heated floor.    The reason is that in winter when the air is dry the wood naturally shrinks (we all know this), but with a heated floor the wood shrinks even more.  This reveals the gaps between the boards.  The wider the board the more the shrinkage the wider the gap.   Again, I've never done a warm floor so I can't recommend what width stock.  From reading above it doesn't seem you're decided on a floor material either, so do your research before you spend the money and do the install.

Offline copcarcollector

  • Posts: 1452
Re: Wood flooring install questions - advice appreciated!
« Reply #19 on: April 20, 2014, 10:27 PM »
Thanks for the input so far. I am just in the planning phase right now, and am gathering as much info as possible. I appreciate the help, and any future comments still welcome!

Offline jmbfestool

  • Posts: 6628
Re: Wood flooring install questions - advice appreciated!
« Reply #20 on: April 21, 2014, 09:30 AM »
I vote for 3/4" finished in place floors. Don't believe the hype on the engineered floors, they are not even close to same quality and the only reason they sell is because anyone can install them. The finish in place floors will last several lifetimes over and can be sanded and refinished if necessary.

As for the sound deadening material for engineered flooring....It helps, but it is hype. All engineered floors have a click-clack to them when you walk across them and there is no way to avoid it.

I am not in wood flooring business, but have had homes with both and there is no comparison between the two. I realize that there are different grades of "engineered" flooring, but they all are a compromise. I do think there is an engineered flooring that is nail down and if so it is going to be better than any of the various floating varieties.

As for advice on color, consider finding the wood with the color you want and going with just a clear, versus staining the wood to a color you like.

You can get clip fit engineered wooden flooring and you can get your regular tongue and groove engineered flooring.

To me sounds like you are confusing laminate with engineered?

I fit flooring and I wouldn't touch solid wood flooring anymore.  Engineered flooring all the way.   Far far superior than solid.    Only if the client really wants solid and after I have spoken to the client about the down sides to solid then I might fit solid.



 
« Last Edit: April 21, 2014, 09:32 AM by jmbfestool »
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Offline jmbfestool

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Re: Wood flooring install questions - advice appreciated!
« Reply #21 on: April 21, 2014, 09:57 AM »
I wouldn't use electric heating for under your floor.

I would insulate between your joist instead

I would stop at the bedrooms leave them carpet

I would do your kitchen (I don't like vinyl)

Depending on the condition of your subfloor.  If its perfect solid clean etc

I would use 18mm engineered flooring tongue and groove and glue the floor down.
This gives you a solid floor feeling and guaranteed no squeaking noises. Each board is independent from each other so very minimal movement especially with engineered Flooring.  

Using a clip system or glueing the boards together which creates a large floating slap is like having one really really really wide board and when it shrinks or expands the hole lot moves.
This can especially cause problems if you decided to buy a big heavy unit and stick it on one side of the room which can trap the floor. I personally would avoid a floating floor in larger rooms or multiple rooms which join together.


If your subfloor is not brilliant and requires slight patching I would fix (screw and wood glue) some plywood (12mm+) over the lot to create a nice new surface and then use engineered flooring and glue down the floor.   Maybe use 14mm engineered flooring to try and regain a little from adding the plywood.


If your subfloor is terrible I would take it all up and re-ply it all.


I would remove all your skirting but you can leave your architrave on  and using a tool like a Fein multimaster cut the door casing and architrave so you can slide your boards under.




    

« Last Edit: April 21, 2014, 09:59 AM by jmbfestool »
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