Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Installing Unfinished Hardwood Flooring Part 3

Here are a few pro tips for actually installing the flooring.

Pulling the boards into place is not easy--so often we drive a chisel into the subfloor and use it to ratchet the boards tight for nailing. It always works better with 2 workmen.

Thresholds and in particular nosed thresholds at the top of stairs should look like the existing stair treads. You can rip a piece, glue, nail and screw to emulate the same look in most cases. Hide your screws where you can.

Casings and jamb extensions will often need trimming so that the flooring slips under and doesn't leave an unsightly gap. We use a flush cut backsaw (a saw that cuts on the pull stroke--Japanese steel preferred), and rest it on a piece of the actual flooring for a guide.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Installing Unfinished Hardwood Flooring Part 2

Putting down Hardwod

Here we are nailing wide plank beech flooring with an old fashioned T-Nailer. You need strong arms to use this unit all day. This is a pneumatic stapler. You still trigger using the mallet, however it does some of the work for you and shoots a staple with excellent holding power. These two are working in holds the board tight with a chisel (an old one), and the other fastens using the pneumatic nailer.
This floor is being put down over a good solid softwood floor... this makes an excellent base. Every board is glued down to prevent squeeks. IN the old days they would use a layer of building paper to prevent squeeks.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Installing Unfinished Hardwood Part 1

When you decide to install hardwood flooring the first consideration is whether the floor supporting it is strong enough. If there is movement when you walk on it you may want to add another layer of plywood (and glue the layers together), for strength.

In this case the floor joists were undersized, however there was a full width 1 1/2" cedar floor in place already. Considering that this 1" beech (very hard), flooring would be glued to the floor beneath, it should be more than strong enough as long as we ran the flooring perpendicular.
We always start with a clean chalk line and in this case we would be fitting a threshold to the entrance door later, so we trimmed off the lower part of the groove to make it easier to fit later. The first couple of rows get surface nailed typically... set the nails well below the surface though, and make sure the first board remains aligned to the chalk line.
Planning for full boards along obstructions is something that youwill find only experienced carpenters like Nick Vanegmond doing. (in photo above).

You will always start with the straightest boards, and alternate the width. This floor has 3", 5" and 7" boards. For the boards to remain tight you have to use the smaller boards to split the inconsistancies. End cuts all have to be trimmed off about 5-7" for stright from the mill products like these.

Every board is glued to prevent squeeks and for added strength and durability.

A cut off plank is used to bump the flooring into place. Trim off the tongue of the block leaving the groove face... this way you don't cause splinters that will obstruct the flooring from laying flat.