Flooring Installation

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Topic by DrRum posted 07-09-2010 04:36 PM 3772 views 1 time favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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8 posts in 4804 days

07-09-2010 04:36 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question living room floors finishing flooring

Hello all,

I posted this on Limbuerjocks, but thought you all would have some good insight into the installation aspect.

I am gearing up to install some oak flooring (red and white mix) in my living room and was wondering what the concensus is on an underlayment? I have heard of using construction felt to cushion and act as a vapor barrier, but I’m not 100% sure it’s needed.

I have a flooring mill close by and they let you pick through thier cut offs, which is what I will be using. Boards range from 9-1/2 inches wide to 4-1/2 inches. Lots of knots in the boards and I plan on filling them with epoxy and then just using the floor poly from the Depot over top.

Anyone have any experience with wide oak and the need for underlayment??



View BillyJ's profile


253 posts in 5041 days

07-11-2010 11:01 PM

Ivan – Not that I’ve laid oak flooring that wide, but I have installed oak flooring before. Are you on a concrete slab or in an area where moisture is prevalent? As you noted, the vapor barrier is needed then. You’ll be nailing them to the flooring, so movement will be minimal. The only other place you would use felt or underlayment would be in a laminate or floating floor.

Hope this helps.

-- No matter how many times I measure, I always forget the dimensions before I cut.

View DrRum's profile


8 posts in 4804 days

07-12-2010 03:15 PM

This will be going over a plywood subfloor that I will be nailing to. I am concern that the boards will cup/twist from uneven moisture exposure with the tops being finished and the underside left bare wood. Especially with boards this wide.

Any thoughts on the epoxy to poly adhesion??


View UnionLabel's profile


70 posts in 4901 days

07-15-2010 01:57 PM

I have installed a lot of wood flooring, the construction felt is used to eliminate the possibilities of squeaks developing when the oak rubs against the wood sub floor. You will get a certain amount of movement out of the boards during the course of a year which is natural.
After you purchase the flooring, get it home and up in your house. Not out in the garage. The lumber needs to acclimate for a few days. Open the boxes up and let the wood breath. Make sure you mix up the planks from all the boxes, this ensures a good color mix and your floor will look much better for it. Remove real big knots if you can. These pose problems down the road, even with epoxy.
DO NOT GLUE YOUR FLOOR TO THE SUBFLOOR. You need a wood floor to move. Gluing the floor can cause extreme splitting, especially of the wider boards. Use a good pneumatic floor nailer and nail your boards, then screw or face nail the wider boards.

Here is a wide plank nailing schedule,
Special Face-Nailing Recommendations with Wide Plank Flooring:

In order to minimize movement and stabilize planks wider than 5 inches, it is recommended that planks first be blind nailed, as instructed above. Then each plank end be either screwed and filled with a wooden plug or face nailed with a plain or decorative cut nail, as follows:

Flooring or Cut Nail

7d (2¼”) or 8d (8½”)

Flat , Phillips Head or Drywall Screws & Wood Plugs

#7×2¼” or #9×2½”

Drive a nail or screw between 1”and 3” of each plank end at the approximate rate of 3 nails per square foot or per the following schedule:

1-nail per 6” plank · 2- nails per 7” or 8” plank

-- Methods are many,Principles are few.Methods change often,Principles never do.

View DrRum's profile


8 posts in 4804 days

07-15-2010 03:32 PM


Thank you for the info. I am currently cutting up my floor boards in the basement shop. I got cut offs from an area mill that range from 1ft to almost 4 ft long, mostly on the 18-24 inch length.

I had heard from a retailer when we were thinking about buying the flooring that it should be glued, but I figured that would only cause problems down the road from seasonal movement. Thanks for the confirmation.

I was thinking how I could fasten the wider boards and avoid any serious warping, finishing the back seemed like a possible solution, but a vapor barrier like construction felt was also something that I thought would help.

Do you feel that I should make the holes for the screws slightly larger than the shank of the screw to allow the board to move?

I will admit there are some large knots, I was thinking about cutting them out and doing some inlay, depending on the board and if I feel it’s worth saving. A 10” long board most likely isn’t worth the hassle and the inlaid piece might adversly effect the boards’ stability.

I’ll post pictures of the shop now filled to the bursting point with floor boards. I’m almost done trimming the sides and edges (the mill doesn’t seem to cut all the 6” wide boards exactly the same width, so a 16th difference would make setting a straight run without gaps difficult, plus many edges were damaged from being tossed around in te dumpster). The I get to cut the tongue and groove and then decide how I want to face fasten the wider boards. I’m thinking contrasting plugs over screws.

Thanks for the help,

View UnionLabel's profile


70 posts in 4901 days

07-16-2010 01:26 PM

Ivan, I would not make the holes larger, but I would make small slots so the boards can move length wise, just like you would for a table top. Knots bigger than 3” can pose a problem. Epoxy is good for the smaller knots, but when you get larger ones, the epoxy can interfere with wood movement and cause a split.
Inlay is nice and interesting, but try and put it into the board be fore you lay the plank. No sense in doing all that work on your knees. I like the idea of contrasting plugs. Nice attention getter.
Last but not least, I definitely would joint the edges and the mill in my tongue and grooves. a 1/16th of an inch is a lot over the width of the floor. That much in 8 boards would yield a 1/2” gap. Yipes.

-- Methods are many,Principles are few.Methods change often,Principles never do.

View DrRum's profile


8 posts in 4804 days

07-16-2010 03:48 PM

Yeah, I had hoped (foolishly) that I could just take the pieces from the mill and cut a tongue and groove in the ends and install. Well, the mill doesn’t always have exactly the same setup, so the boards vary in width, which woul dbe a nightmare in installation, never mind trying to keep the flooring runs straight. I cut off both sides and trimmed the ends square, removing heavy snipe and knots where possible. This way all my boards are the same width.

Any inlay will be done prior to install, I agree, all that work afterwards would not be fun, my back hurts just thinking about it.

I’m torn on the plugs, since the pieces are not very long I’m afraid that allot of plugs will make the floor look polka-dotted. I’m chewing this over. Might just face nail and fill the holes after poly with wax sticks.

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