Author Topic: Laying Solid Hardwood Flooring  (Read 6962 times)

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Offline phmade

  • Posts: 162
Laying Solid Hardwood Flooring
« on: June 18, 2012, 09:42 PM »
I'm about to begin remodeling an old farmhouse for my wife and I (and new son) to live in.  It was built in the late 1800's so it's had many additions and renovations.  One of the major improvements I'll be making is replacing all of the old carpet, sheet vinyl, and tile with new solid hardwood floors throughout.  I laid solid hardwood in my current 3rd floor apartment without any issues.  But- this new house has a basement which is pretty damp; I am concerned that the humidity will cause major issues with solid hardwood.  I would use engineered floor but I have replaced a few of those due to moisture problems too.  I would prefer to have the solid hardwood simply because I love the way it feels and it feels right in an old farm house.  Does anyone have any special advice?  I just planned on leveling all of the subfloors and then putting down builder's felt before I nailed the new hardwood.  Also, I would leave an adequate expansion gap around the perimeter.  Any advice would be appreciated.  Thanks in advance.

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Offline Johncarlo

  • Posts: 55
Re: Laying Solid Hardwood Flooring
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2012, 09:58 PM »
Instead of felt paper you may want to use a house wrap like tyvak. I use it a lot in basements with all the moisture. That should solve your problem, but if you are still worried go with a bamboo floor.

Offline epicxt

  • Posts: 424
Re: Re: Laying Solid Hardwood Flooring
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2012, 11:16 PM »
Also, make sure your crawl space is adequately vented as well. This can help with the underlying moisture problems if it didn't have enough airflow before.
I'm in a similar position: building a house for my parents in an area with a relatively high water table.

Edit: Doh! Didn't catch the first time that you have a basement, not a crawl space!
n = number of Festools I've got.  (n + 1) = Festools I want

Offline Brice Burrell

  • Posts: 7355
  • Remodeling Contractor
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Re: Laying Solid Hardwood Flooring
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2012, 08:00 AM »
Is your concern about putting the flooring in the basement itself or are you talking about the first floor?
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Online Dan Rush

  • Posts: 570
  • Trim carpenter
Re: Re: Laying Solid Hardwood Flooring
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2012, 09:17 AM »
Check into a floor adhesive like Roberts R1530.  It's a floor adhesive and vapor barrier.  The flooring installers on the jobs I'm on all use the glue along with traditional nailing methods. 

I have a damp crawl, and on their advise, I installed walnut using the adhesive and nails about 3 years ago.  No problems to date.

Dan

Offline phmade

  • Posts: 162
Re: Laying Solid Hardwood Flooring
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2012, 09:56 AM »
I am laying it on the first floor - not in the basement. 

If I use a vapor barrier like Tyvek, will it still be effective (enough) after I nail through it? 
I'll check out that floor adhesive too.

Thanks.

Offline Brice Burrell

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Re: Laying Solid Hardwood Flooring
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2012, 12:14 PM »
I am laying it on the first floor - not in the basement. 

If I use a vapor barrier like Tyvek, will it still be effective (enough) after I nail through it? 
I'll check out that floor adhesive too.

Thanks.

Unless by damp you mean standing water, I wouldn't worry too much installing on the first floor.  Forget the Tyvek, throw your roofing felt down if you want.
Check out my new blog, The Green and Dark Blue Blog.

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: Laying Solid Hardwood Flooring
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2012, 05:07 PM »
By the way, Tyvek is not a vapor barrier.   It is a breathing moisture barrier.  Agree with Brice - roofing felt.

Peter

Offline phmade

  • Posts: 162
Re: Laying Solid Hardwood Flooring
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2012, 05:59 PM »
Unless by damp you mean standing water, I wouldn't worry too much installing on the first floor.  Forget the Tyvek, throw your roofing felt down if you want.

There has been standing water in the past after a really hard rain but we're actually digging a few trench drains this week to prevent this.  Even with the new drainage, I think it will still be damp.  I also purchased an industrial dehumidifier to help during the wet months...

Offline tjbnwi

  • Posts: 5733
  • Cedar Tucky Indiana
Re: Laying Solid Hardwood Flooring
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2012, 06:35 PM »
USE #30 asphalt impregnated paper, lapped 1", (It has not been felt or 30 pounds per square for a very, very long time).

Your'e application is the reason for the barrier. Prior to the use of sheeting we use today. Sleepers (planks) were installed 45ยบ to the joists. This allowed for a great deal of humidity from the old dirt floor cellars to migrate into the finished floor. The felt was installed to slow the moisture (yes, back then it was felt, that is why it could be folded around a corner and not tear) into the floor. An additional benefit was the reduction of squeaks.

Do not use Tyvek or any other house wrap. Worse than those are rosin paper or builders paper. 

Tom

 

Offline Eco-Options

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Re: Laying Solid Hardwood Flooring
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2012, 06:39 PM »
Www.ecooptionshardwood.com

Offline jacko9

  • Posts: 2373
Re: Laying Solid Hardwood Flooring
« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2012, 07:31 PM »
I used 30# building felt with a butt joint since this stuff is so thick.

Offline jtparrothead

  • Posts: 47
Re: Laying Solid Hardwood Flooring
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2012, 07:01 PM »
I would definitely use 30# felt, remember more overlap is better than less overlap, not only that, it's very important to bring all boxes of flooring into the house and let them acclimate (sp?) for at least 72 hours or so, this includes cutting all the boxes open if they are wrapped in plastic. Alot of flooring installers ignore this step and reap disastrous results.

Offline jacko9

  • Posts: 2373
Re: Laying Solid Hardwood Flooring
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2012, 08:45 PM »
I would definitely use 30# felt, remember more overlap is better than less overlap, not only that, it's very important to bring all boxes of flooring into the house and let them acclimate (sp?) for at least 72 hours or so, this includes cutting all the boxes open if they are wrapped in plastic. Alot of flooring installers ignore this step and reap disastrous results.

I'm a little confused as to why you would overlap the 30# building felt since this material was almost 1/8" thick and would leave a step in the underlayment?

I did a 7/8" thick T&G oak floor over the building felt with 3/4 ply nailed to 2 x 4 sleepers on one foot centers with rigid foam insulation between the sleepers.  The sleepers were shot down into the concrete with 4" hardened nails after the concrete cured for a year.  The rough cut oak was stacked in the room with spacers between the boards before I milled the flooring for the year.  At $1.65 Bd Ft for the straight grained oak, it was worth the trouble and today almost 30 years later still not a squeak in the large family room floor.

Jack

Offline Dese

  • Posts: 1
Re: Laying Solid Hardwood Flooring
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2012, 09:47 PM »
I've been doing a lot of research ...... A lot of research on this topic, and my best advice is to go lurk "contractor talk" flooring forums. Don't post questions as they have rules against DIY's posting on their forums.

However this forum is super active and posted by flooring professionals. I've read a lot about "aquabar b" as a underlayment to help regulate humidity swings.

Honestly spend a bunch of you free time browsing topics about buckling floors and you'll see that the conditions that this happens in very closely matchs what you are about to undertake.  Not to say that you shouldn't do it. I would just do your research from professionals.

Tip: beg borrow or steal a moisture meter, it could save you ripping up a newly buckled floor


Ha. First post. I need to get more active on at least 1 of the hundred forums I lurk.
Jay.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2012, 09:53 PM by Dese »

Offline jtparrothead

  • Posts: 47
Re: Laying Solid Hardwood Flooring
« Reply #15 on: June 21, 2012, 10:11 PM »
I would definitely use 30# felt, remember more overlap is better than less overlap, not only that, it's very important to bring all boxes of flooring into the house and let them acclimate (sp?) for at least 72 hours or so, this includes cutting all the boxes open if they are wrapped in plastic. Alot of flooring installers ignore this step and reap disastrous results.

I'm a little confused as to why you would overlap the 30# building felt since this material was almost 1/8" thick and would leave a step in the underlayment?

I did a 7/8" thick T&G oak floor over the building felt with 3/4 ply nailed to 2 x 4 sleepers on one foot centers with rigid foam insulation between the sleepers.  The sleepers were shot down into the concrete with 4" hardened nails after the concrete cured for a year.  The rough cut oak was stacked in the room with spacers between the boards before I milled the flooring for the year.  At $1.65 Bd Ft for the straight grained oak, it was worth the trouble and today almost 30 years later still not a squeak in the large family room floor.

Jack
Hey Jack,

The reason you would overlap the felt is to prevent moisture seepage through the seam, If you just butt the two up you especially in the OP's situation you could have sweating problems.  The reason you probably haven't had any problem with sweating is you installed over a concrete floor that probably had some form of moisture barrier underneath it.  To combat the problem you suggest with the difference in height caused by the felt, you lay the felt perpendicular to the length of the floor.

Offline jacko9

  • Posts: 2373
Re: Laying Solid Hardwood Flooring
« Reply #16 on: June 21, 2012, 10:51 PM »
I would definitely use 30# felt, remember more overlap is better than less overlap, not only that, it's very important to bring all boxes of flooring into the house and let them acclimate (sp?) for at least 72 hours or so, this includes cutting all the boxes open if they are wrapped in plastic. Alot of flooring installers ignore this step and reap disastrous results.

I'm a little confused as to why you would overlap the 30# building felt since this material was almost 1/8" thick and would leave a step in the underlayment?

I did a 7/8" thick T&G oak floor over the building felt with 3/4 ply nailed to 2 x 4 sleepers on one foot centers with rigid foam insulation between the sleepers.  The sleepers were shot down into the concrete with 4" hardened nails after the concrete cured for a year.  The rough cut oak was stacked in the room with spacers between the boards before I milled the flooring for the year.  At $1.65 Bd Ft for the straight grained oak, it was worth the trouble and today almost 30 years later still not a squeak in the large family room floor.

Jack
Hey Jack,

The reason you would overlap the felt is to prevent moisture seepage through the seam, If you just butt the two up you especially in the OP's situation you could have sweating problems.  The reason you probably haven't had any problem with sweating is you installed over a concrete floor that probably had some form of moisture barrier underneath it.  To combat the problem you suggest with the difference in height caused by the felt, you lay the felt perpendicular to the length of the floor.

OK jt, I actually had a moisture barrier under the concrete and on the concrete before installing the floor.  I still have a mental problem with the 1/8" step even if it's perpendicular to the length but, this might be a non-problem that I have no experience with so, I'll trust your judgement.

Jack

Offline jtparrothead

  • Posts: 47
Re: Laying Solid Hardwood Flooring
« Reply #17 on: June 21, 2012, 11:38 PM »
I would definitely use 30# felt, remember more overlap is better than less overlap, not only that, it's very important to bring all boxes of flooring into the house and let them acclimate (sp?) for at least 72 hours or so, this includes cutting all the boxes open if they are wrapped in plastic. Alot of flooring installers ignore this step and reap disastrous results.

I'm a little confused as to why you would overlap the 30# building felt since this material was almost 1/8" thick and would leave a step in the underlayment?

I did a 7/8" thick T&G oak floor over the building felt with 3/4 ply nailed to 2 x 4 sleepers on one foot centers with rigid foam insulation between the sleepers.  The sleepers were shot down into the concrete with 4" hardened nails after the concrete cured for a year.  The rough cut oak was stacked in the room with spacers between the boards before I milled the flooring for the year.  At $1.65 Bd Ft for the straight grained oak, it was worth the trouble and today almost 30 years later still not a squeak in the large family room floor.

Jack
Hey Jack,

The reason you would overlap the felt is to prevent moisture seepage through the seam, If you just butt the two up you especially in the OP's situation you could have sweating problems.  The reason you probably haven't had any problem with sweating is you installed over a concrete floor that probably had some form of moisture barrier underneath it.  To combat the problem you suggest with the difference in height caused by the felt, you lay the felt perpendicular to the length of the floor.

OK jt, I actually had a moisture barrier under the concrete and on the concrete before installing the floor.  I still have a mental problem with the 1/8" step even if it's perpendicular to the length but, this might be a non-problem that I have no experience with so, I'll trust your judgement.

Jack
to be honest with you jack, it's more experience than judgement, I have about 10 years experience installing flooring. I understand in theory it seems like you would have alot of cupped areas in the floor because you're spanning a 3 foot area that deviates 1/32 to 1/8 but if nailed properly and then sanded and finished you get a smooth beautiful floor.