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-   -   New hardwood floor install...questions. (https://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=123945)

Steve in Denver 10-18-2017 10:59 PM

New hardwood floor install...questions.
I am having new hardwood floors installed in my house. I considered doing it myself, but I'm not sure I would get a good result with applying the finish...and that's assuming I'd do a good job sanding...and installing.

It's a very straightforward floor...2-1/4" (or something like that) red oak.

Questions are:

1. How much time is needed to acclimate the wood before installing. I've read and heard many different things, ranging from "it's a waste of time" to "10 days at a minimum" I have also read that you need to acclimate one additional week after installation before filling/finishing. Three local installers have told me 3 days minimum, maybe as much as 7. One suggested that it wasn't really necessary but he does it because that's what the manufacturer recommends.

2. What type of finish? Advice on this is all over the map. Cost of the finish is not much of a concern - the overall job has a high price tag, so an extra $500 wouldn't be an issue. I'm looking for a durable finish that looks good. The house isn't occupied, so if a stinky oil based finish is better, I can wait for it to cure and stop smelling bad...but I'm not in any way opposed to the water borne finishes either. Specific brand and product recommendations welcomed...If I had to pick something myself I'd probably go with Bona traffic HD.

3. One installer said they could install the wood in either direction (parallel or perpendicular to the joists), another installer said he would only install perpendicular (unless I signed a waiver). Subfloor is 17.5mm OSB in serviceable condition, but definitely not new. Joists are I-joist 16" on center. In one area (top of stairs) parallel to the joists would be the "natural" way to do it. Is there a rule on this? I might be able to install a second layer of 1/2" ply, but that might be problematic. I might be able to remove the existing subfloor and install something new (and slightly thicker) if that would make things better...not sure if it would be worth all the hassle, though.

wwhitney 10-19-2017 03:19 PM

Since no one else has responded yet, here is my take:

1) "As long as it takes." Best option would be to use a moisture meter and compare the moisture content of the new wood flooring and the moisture content of the existing subfloor. When they are very close (maybe within 1% ?), you are good to go. Without doing any measurements, I'd allow at least a week. If you are using an engineered flooring material, rather than a solid-sawn material, then check the manufacturer's recommendations.

2) If aesthetically you want the amber tones of an oil based finish, you could use one. Otherwise, I like the catalyzed (two part) water based polyurethanes, such as the Bona Traffic HD you mentioned.

3) My understanding is that over plywood/OSB you can install wood flooring in either direction, independent of the direction of the joists.

Cheers, Wayne

Gozo 10-19-2017 07:12 PM

We recently had this done at our home. I wasn't going to do the work myself as renting the sanding equipment and just one person working, was more than I wanted to get involved with. Red oak has a nice look on its own and we didn't apply any stain, just a sealer and the finish.
2 - used Poloplaz Primero. Never heard of it before. Have been very pleased with the look and especially the durability. The stuff is hard to scuff and cleans up spills without leaving a lingering discoloration until the moisture evaporates (unlike the previous finish, which was some kind of gloppy marine sealant the previous owners put down).

Steve in Denver 10-19-2017 11:12 PM

Thanks for the input, guys.

One more question for anyone who is listening..

I have ripped out the carpet in preparation for the new flooring, and there are a number of squeaky spots...The flooring was installed with nails, and as far as I can tell they were a bit stingy with the number of nails used (hard to tell in some places because of the drywall mud and paint overspray)...

In any case, I'd like to take the time now to de-squeak the floor. My plan is 1-3/4" screws, at least in the squeaky areas...I have considered just re-fastening the whole floor to prevent future squeaks from cropping up. I have read 6" spacing at supported panel edges, and 12" spacing in the field. Is that a good plan? Is it worth doing, or should I just focus on the squeaky areas?



Gozo 10-20-2017 06:43 AM

I take it to mean that the hardwood is NOT in yet. If so, then by all means hit the whole floor. Any looseness will if not now, later wind up squeaking. Had an area that I had to patch where a wall was removed. Did double up on tightening up the subfloor before the hardwood. You can tell by the feel walking over that section that it's more solid there. The squeaky areas with the hard wood, we didn't pull up, but used a double pitch threaded screw with snap off head made for this to tighten it up. Worked pretty well, but had to use filler to hide the holes from the screws.

Kman 10-20-2017 08:21 AM

You'll want the flooring to be within 2% of the subfloor. Keep the HVAC running so the humidity is at a constant level. Some wood takes a little longer to acclimate, you just have to wait.

As Jeff mentioned, the Poloplaz is a good one. I've used it a few times in the past with good results.

If you want to go parallel to the joists, add another layer of plywood.

Get a good number of screws in that floor while you have the chance. Replace any questionable parts. You won't get the chance to do it again.

Steve in Denver 10-31-2017 10:03 PM

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I appreciate the input, guys.

I have a bit of an issue that cropped up as I was inspecting and re-fastening the floors.

The joists change directions in one part of the house. (The reason, as far as I can deduce, is because there is a cantilevered section at one end, so the joists needed to change orientation to make that work)

In the picture you can see where the joists change direction (the right side is the "odd" section) the left side of the image matches the rest of the house).

SO...that presents a problem for running the boards perpendicular to the joists.

But to make things worse, the OSB doesn't change direction to match the joist direction...so, adding insult to injury, the strength axis is in the wrong direction over the already problematic area.

What to do?
1. Cut out the OSB in question, and install it with the strength axis in the correct direction.
2. install additional joists between the existing joists to reduce between-joist deflection (I would end up with 8" on center 12" I joists with a ~6 foot span...)
3. Both 1 and 2
4. something else?

I'm leaning towards option 1...if I go that route, is there any concern about cutting out the existing subfloor that is adjacent to walls (exterior and interior bearing walls). Basically what I'm asking is whether or not the subfloor is structurally important to the ability of the wall to carry a load to the foundation, or not. Or, can I just cut out the wood and install new without worrying about the adjacent walls...

Replacing the subflooring seems pretty straightforward by itself, but I want to make sure I understand any possible structural implications...


wwhitney 11-01-2017 10:38 AM

How big an area has the joists turned? And the turned joists, how long are they, and how long is the cantilever? I'm a little surprised the supporting beam is only a double member, is its span less than the common joists to the left of it?

One option would be to install blocking between the turned joists, say every 2'. That way the OSB and the hardwood flooring would both have the correct orientation relative to the blocking. Since you have I joists, I'm not sure if blocking would first require padding out the web, which would be alot of additional work.

Cheers, Wayne

Kman 11-01-2017 11:00 AM

I also considered blocking to be the easiest route, until I saw you had I-joists. With that in mind, I'd probably add additional joists in between to make them all 8" on center. I definitely would not remove the plywood if it could be helped.

Steve in Denver 11-01-2017 11:35 AM

Thanks for the input.

The turned I-joists span about 6 feet from the double member to the foundation wall, then cantilever 2 feet maximum. The cantilevered section is just a 1 story "bump out" (so the cantilever is not supporting any major loads from above).

The doubled member is the same length as the I-joists as far as I remember. The span is appx. 13 feet.

As far as avoiding removing the existing plywood: Is this because it's a pain in the ass / expense, or is there a concern about disrupting the current structure?

As far as installing blocking between the joists: Does "padding out the web" mean installing OSB / plywood along the length of it to give a place to support the blocking, or something else?

At this point I'd be willing to install blocking, I'd be willing to add joists, and I'd be willing to tear out and replace that section of subfloor...I just want it to be right, so a day or two of work and $500 of material isn't going to get in the way...but if replacing the subfloor could lead to other problems, I sure do want to avoid that. :)

Thanks again for the help. Always appreciated.

Steve in Denver 11-01-2017 12:05 PM

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I should add about the double member:

I don't know what it is, but it appeared to be some sort of engineered piece (not site built). Each piece was appx 1.5" wide and full depth (11.75" I believe). It looked sort of like 1.5" thick piece of plywood (many layers sandwiched) but I didn't get a good look.

This product (Boise Cascade Versa Lam) looks similar.

House was built 2000/2001.

wwhitney 11-01-2017 12:33 PM

Hi Steve,

Regarding the double member, my initial concerns are abated. Briefly, the common joists have a tributary width of 16" (assuming 16" o.c.). With a six foot span to the foundation wall, the double member has a tributary width of 44" (half of 6' plus half of 16"). So it is carrying 2.75 times the load of a common joist.

As such, my initial impression was that it should be triple a common joist. But since it is composed of engineered full dimension members, each member definitely has a higher capacity that the common joists. Plus the common joists may not be loaded to full capacity. Therefore, it seems likely that the double member has adequate capacity.

Cheers, Wayne

Steve in Denver 11-01-2017 12:41 PM

Thanks for the clarification, Wayne. I'm not sure I fully follow what you are saying, but I feel better. :)

wwhitney 11-01-2017 12:49 PM

Regarding adding blocking, having I joists rather than solid sawn joists makes it more complicated, but I'm not convinced that necessarily makes it harder than interleaving new joists. Seems like you have about 10 joist bays, and if you add 2 blocks per joist bay to get 24" o.c. support, we are talking about 20 blocks or so.

The gold standard for doing blocking would be to determine the joist manufacturer and contact them to get a detail to use. Explain that the goal is to accommodate the misoriented subfloor and that you don't have any walls underneath or above. I could imagine they would tell you to do something like one of these for each block:

1) Just use a single flat 2x4 against the underside of the subfloor, 2 toe nails through the 2x4 edges into the I joist top flange at each end of the 2x4.

2) Use a full dimension block (I joist piece or kiln dried solid sawn lumber), 2 toe nails at each corner of the block into the I joist flanges (8 toe nails)

3) Add filler blocks (e.g. plywood of the appropriate thickness) to each side of the I-joist web to fill out the web flush to the edges of the flanges. Use joist hangers with full dimension blocks

I feel like I know enough about I joists to say option (3) would definitely work, but it is also the most effort, and interleaving new joists could well be easier than option (3). The manufacturer can tell you if options (1) or (2) might be acceptable, I don't know enough to say.

Cheers, Wayne

cx 11-01-2017 02:53 PM


Originally Posted by Wayne
So it is carrying 2.75 times the load of a common joist.

I think with the cantilever (as I understand it from the description), I think that beam would actually benefit at least somewhat in reduced load.

3. For blocks spanning only between joists I can't see using full dimension blocks there, Wayne. Seems like 2x4s would be more than adequate while 2x6s might be easier to install. What's your thinking on the full depth blocking?

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