Author Topic: Porch Floor  (Read 35070 times)

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Offline tvgordon

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  • Springfield, Ohio
Porch Floor
« on: March 13, 2011, 08:21 PM »
What's some of the better material choices for a porch floor?

Last year I replaced the back porch with painted tongue and groove fir and find it to be too slippery in rain and snow. I didn't use the sand additive, but haven't found it to be very effective in the past. So what are some other choices for flooring when I rebuild the front porch?  I don't have a high end house, so I don't want to spend too much on it.

Thanks for your help,
Tom

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Offline Brice Burrell

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Re: Porch Floor
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2011, 09:52 PM »
Tom, fir or SYP is pretty much the only choice if your on a tight budget.  I can't get good vertical grain fir flooring anymore where I'm at so I've gone to Azek flooring.  Forget the composites because you won't believe the prices. [scared]  You can get mahogany for the same price or less.

If I were in your shoes I'd look for vertical grain fir.  I wouldn't want to install regular fir or SYP.  Personally, I'm done with wood porch floors, they really don't hold well with today's plantation grown lumber.  The last porch repair I did I replaced flooring that was only three years old.  The previous installers even back primed the flooring and it still didn't last. 

I'd recommend you let the flooring acclimate and be sure to check it's moisture content.  Remember it don't need to be as dry as lumber you'd use to built furniture but it can't be too wet or dry when it's installed.  Be sure to back prime (prime all surfaces)  before installing and get a good coat of paint on right away after installed.  Stay on top of keeping up on the painting. 

Check out This Is Carpentry's article on "Understanding Moisture Content and Wood Movement."
Link.     
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Offline Holzhacker

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Re: Porch Floor
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2011, 10:57 PM »
Have to agree with Brice on the crappy T&G wood flooring. I won't even do that job for someone anymore. I don't want the call backs or bad rep. I would do it for myself if I had to but would try to figure an alternative to T&G. The new lumber T&G just twists too much and doesn't seem to last. Haven't used the composite T&G, price is a bit rough.
I also haven't had good luck with the sand additive. Grit strips have worked out better. When they end up worn, replace.

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Offline Ken Nagrod

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Re: Porch Floor
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2011, 11:05 PM »
Tom, I don't know if you'd consider this, but a long term solution and cheap fix would be to go to an auto parts store and pick up the urethane bedliner kit that consists of the liquid product and hardener that you mix together and roll on the surface.  It has a slight rubbery non-slip feel and prevents most damage from impact, sharp items and definitely liquids.  You have a choice of colors as well.

Offline awdriven

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Re: Porch Floor
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2011, 11:25 AM »
Ken, that stuff may work - but it's pretty expensive! I treated my wheelbarrow this fall with 'herculiner', and I think that quart of material cost about $30?

Offline tvgordon

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Re: Porch Floor
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2011, 08:30 PM »
Brice, when I replaced the back porch I primed the whole board then used porch paint on the top after it was installed.  I don't know that I've seen Azek (although I have heard of it), about how much does the flooring cost?  I'd have a hard time finding vertical grain fir, I had to go out of town just to find some tongue and groove fir.

Ken, that probably wouldn't be a bad idea.  Wonder how it would hold up to a snow shovel or time.

Thanks,
Tom

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: Porch Floor
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2011, 08:47 PM »
I am not trying to step on Brice's toes, but Azek deck materials - porch floor or other - is not cheap.  I looked at my material costs for the tongue and groove that I have in the database on my iPad and the number is $41.30 for a 3 1/8 x 12' board.  I admit that I have never used that product and my notes do not include if that price is what I pay for it or charge for it - including tax and markup.  BUt let's assume that is my selling price and my cost would be 20% less.  Go from there.  Call your local lumber yards for your local pricing.

Peter

Offline Brice Burrell

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Re: Porch Floor
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2011, 09:58 PM »
I think you can expect a higher price than what Peter paid.  Azek flooring is a petroleum product (about 40% in PVC) and you know what that means with the price of oil now....  
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Offline Ken Nagrod

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Re: Porch Floor
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2011, 10:24 PM »
Ken, that probably wouldn't be a bad idea.  Wonder how it would hold up to a snow shovel or time.

Thanks,
Tom


Tom, I think it will hold up to a snow shovel and time or anything else the best short of putting down aluminum diamond plate.  I will admit that I'm not up on the current pricing of the material.  I'm just familiar with the general stuff from having my truck bed Rhino Lined by an authorized shop 5 years ago.  It's held up extremely well considering what I've put it through and if you need to, you can always re-coat on top of the old as long as it's free of dirt and debris.

Offline WarnerConstCo.

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Re: Porch Floor
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2011, 11:01 PM »
No one said anything about the most important aspect of T&G porch flooring.

Adequate ventilation under the porch.

YOu need to control the moisture from both above and below.

Offline Ken Nagrod

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Re: Porch Floor
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2011, 11:07 PM »
No one said anything about the most important aspect of T&G porch flooring.

Adequate ventilation under the porch.

YOu need to control the moisture from both above and below.

Darcy, good point.  I agree.
Another simple Festool solution:  LR32 kit, guide rail and router.  Instant circulation and good lookin' too.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2011, 06:23 AM by Ken Nagrod »

Offline Mopowers

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Re: Porch Floor
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2011, 07:39 AM »
 I use a lot of White Cedar for decking on porches and decks. Generally for a 16" span i will use a 2x6 non T&G. White Cedar will have very little movement and will last as long as any other wood product you would use even if left untreated. In your case i would leave it rough sawn to be slip resistant (planed would be fine too) and i bevel all the edges with a block plane prior to laying the boards. It looks better than you would think. I am not sure painting it would be a good idea but a color stain would work very well. If left untreated it will turn dark gray. I pay around $1.25 per board foot rough but it is very plentiful in my area (Vermont) and i can get it from my choice of mills.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2011, 07:43 AM by DgPowers »

Offline tvgordon

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Re: Porch Floor
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2011, 08:32 PM »
Thanks for all the help!

Axek will probably be too expensive. A local lumber yard does sell it, so I will check the price when I get closer to replacing the porch.

The porch should have good ventilation, it is surrounded with lattice panels.

I'll have to look into white cedar, I do like the look of and working with wood.

I could make the porch like my grandparents - plywood covered with outdoor carpet!

Tom

Offline Toolfest

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Re: Porch Floor
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2011, 03:54 PM »
Tongue and groove flooring is not ideal for high humidity areas. Here is a good explanation of why from the FAQ of Parquet By Dian. The link has diagrams showing the movement of T&G flooring.

Here is a very good article by Charles Peterson about flooring installation where he talks about moisture content of the flooring, sub-floor, etc.
Charles Peterson flooring installation


"9) Q: We have had water damage and our tongue and grooved floor had to be replaced. Why did it occur, and will PBD's construction perform better?

A: When water comes into a tongue and grooved floor, wood is expanding left and right, and wants to expand up. The problem is that tongue and grooved flooring doesn't allow for upward movement. Forces created by water expansion are huge and the tongue and groove floor has to move up, permanently destroying its connection to the subfloor. Once water damage occurs in a tongue and grooved floor the damage spreads from one piece of wood to the other causing a domino effect. The floor has to be entirely replaced."

Parquet By Dian FAQ
 

Offline Brice Burrell

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Re: Porch Floor
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2011, 06:54 PM »
Toolfest, wrong context.  The your info is for interior floors, Tom is redoing his (exterior) porch floor.  There's no subfloor to trap moisture for a porch floor.  Yes, water is enemy for porch floors but there is no way to avoid it.   
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Offline Toolfest

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Re: Porch Floor
« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2011, 01:40 AM »
Brice, my info applies to any tongue and groove, solid wood flooring that is subject to high humidity and an outdoor porch floor in Ohio certainly qualifies.   

Buckling of T&G flooring does not only occur when there is a subfloor to trap moisture. High humidity in the ambient air will enter pores of the wood causing the wood cells to swell and expand resulting in buckling.  The hygroscopic property of wood means it's cells will take in moisture in any environment, whether indoor or outdoor, with subfloor or without, as long as there is a difference in humidity between the wood and ambient space. The amount of dimensional change in the wood will depend on the amount of moisture entering it. Acclimating the floor to current temperature and humidity will not help the floor if the humidity increases significantly at a later time. 

The largest dimensional change happens tangential to the growth rings so quartersawn flooring which is cut radially will cause significantly less lateral dimensional change. It is also important to leave enough room around the perimeter where the flooring meets the structure to allow for expansion. 

This picture showing T&G beadboard on a ceiling from the link you provided illustrates the problem perfectly.
35211-0

Offline jonny round boy

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Re: Porch Floor
« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2011, 06:04 AM »
That link from Toolfest implies that T&G flooring will buckle, but parquet florring won't. That's just not true. I've seen water-damaged parquet floors, and they buckle too...
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Offline Brice Burrell

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Re: Porch Floor
« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2011, 09:47 AM »
Brice, my info applies to any tongue and groove, solid wood flooring that is subject to high humidity and an outdoor porch floor in Ohio certainly qualifies.........   



I understand how it all works.  But there is no way to prevent humidity, moisture and water from coming in contact with an exterior porch floor so all that info is sorta moot or maybe out of context would be a better way to say it.  I'm not trying to be a jerk, my point is not to over complicate this for the OP.   
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Offline Toolfest

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Re: Porch Floor
« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2011, 12:04 PM »
Brice, I think the context is appropriate and intended to point out that a tongue and groove floor might not be the best application in that circumstance. It was intended to show how tongue and groove flooring behaves dimensionally in a high humidity environment and with that in mind, what steps one might take to mitigate the potential for problems such as leaving ample space around the perimeter for expansion and not installing the floor too tightly together. Another option is to use wood flooring that is not tongue and groove.

Regarding the info in the link. Parquet flooring can be tongue and groove or straight edge. They are not saying that their parquet flooring will not be affected by water damage. What they are saying is that compared to tongue and groove flooring, whether parquet tongue and groove or tongue and groove strip flooring, water damage will not cause a domino affect with their product because it is not interlocked like tongue and groove flooring is. In the following quote they state their product can be affected by water damage but it will be contained to the area of water infiltration... "ln the worst case scenario, a small portion of parquet will be damaged and easily can be replaced, while the rest of the floor will remain in perfect  condition"..."the tongue and grooved joint is the biggest problem when water expansion occurs. The floor will be lifted in the area where attachment is the weakest without showing where the water is coming from."


Offline Brice Burrell

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Re: Porch Floor
« Reply #19 on: March 20, 2011, 12:42 PM »
There's a few problems with not using tongue and groove flooring.  One is convention.  Every house has it and if yours doesn't it could look out of place.  Leaving gaps for expansion is nice in theory.  In practice it's problematic.  For one thing clients expect a floor with no gaps for looks and so debris won't collect in the space.  I'm beating a dead horse here so I'll say this.  I don't know what the answer is, for me it's composites tongue and groove flooring at this point.  My days installing wood outside are largely behind me.  However, with the outrageous costs of composites I'm keeping my eyes open for other solutions.
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Offline festooltim

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Re: Porch Floor
« Reply #20 on: March 20, 2011, 01:13 PM »
We used t&g 1x3 Ipe on a screened porch about 4 years ago and it still looks the same.  Its not cheap but it made a very good looking floor.  I believe they sealed it with a clear sealer.
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Offline Brice Burrell

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Re: Porch Floor
« Reply #21 on: March 20, 2011, 01:28 PM »
We used t&g 1x3 Ipe on a screened porch about 4 years ago and it still looks the same.  Its not cheap but it made a very good looking floor.  I believe they sealed it with a clear sealer.

Yes, I really like the look of Ipe with a sealer to keep it looking like that.  Problem is it won't it won't look right on the OP's front porch.  I have no idea if Ipe paints up well??
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Offline Toolfest

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Re: Porch Floor
« Reply #22 on: March 20, 2011, 01:38 PM »
The take away message is to not follow conventional practices that have a high probability of failure and to look for better and longer lasting solutions

Offline Ken Nagrod

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Re: Porch Floor
« Reply #23 on: March 20, 2011, 02:27 PM »
Wait, Brice.  The pony's not dead, yet.  Let me beat it some more.

How 'bout just backing a cement truck up to the porch, filling up the hole under it and adhere some pavers or honed granite or something to it?  You could even bury this thread in the pour!

 [dead horse]  Now I'm not seeing any movement.  [unsure] [tongue]

Offline tvgordon

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Re: Porch Floor
« Reply #24 on: March 21, 2011, 08:24 PM »
Since everyone is bringing up different points to consider - is tongue and groove still the best way to go or would it be better built like a deck?  By that I mean a gap between the boards.

The back porch I used tongue and groove is holding up well plus that's how the porches were originally built (about 90 years ago).

Thanks, Tom

Offline Brice Burrell

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Re: Porch Floor
« Reply #25 on: March 21, 2011, 09:17 PM »
Since everyone is bringing up different points to consider - is tongue and groove still the best way to go or would it be better built like a deck?  By that I mean a gap between the boards.

The back porch I used tongue and groove is holding up well plus that's how the porches were originally built (about 90 years ago).

Thanks, Tom



I'm not getting involved on this one........ [blink] [tongue]
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Offline tvgordon

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Re: Porch Floor
« Reply #26 on: March 22, 2011, 08:45 PM »
Come on Brice - put in your 2 cents worth!

Tom

Offline WarnerConstCo.

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Re: Porch Floor
« Reply #27 on: March 23, 2011, 10:55 PM »
I hate it when people replace front porches with things that look like decks.

I did one gaped composite porch but, I kept the original porch posts, made 3 shorter replica's and used a composite railing.

Still looks like an old front porch.

I like a front porch to look like a front porch.

Offline tvgordon

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Re: Porch Floor
« Reply #28 on: March 24, 2011, 05:00 PM »
I'm with you, I would like to keep the same look. But I have noticed some of the houses near mine replacing their porches more like a deck - with gaps and not painted.

Tom

Offline Wonderwino

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Re: Porch Floor
« Reply #29 on: April 15, 2011, 02:42 PM »
I ran into a wood called "Cumaru" or "Brazilian Teak" that sounds interesting.  It comes either solid or pre-grooved for clips from $1.59 to $2.89, depending on width and configuration.  Does anybody have any long-term experience with this, as far as durability is concerned?

Thanks!

Alex
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