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Unread 10-16-2012, 10:27 PM   #1
big_rat
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Why did people used to install subfloor planks diagonally?

See title. I always wondered...
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Unread 10-16-2012, 10:29 PM   #2
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Provides more lateral stability in the structure. Today we have sheet goods to take care of that.
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Unread 10-16-2012, 11:33 PM   #3
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It also allowed the finished hardwood floors to be installed perpendicular to the joists. If the subfloor planks were straight across the joists, then the hardwood would either have to go the same way as the joists (very undesirable, leads to wavy floors); or the hardwood have to go the same way as the subfloor (would lead to large gaps & loose squeaky floors as the subfloor shrinks).
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Unread 10-17-2012, 04:14 AM   #4
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Helped a friend build a new deck. Until we installed diagonal bracing on the underside the frame was very wobbly. A lot of towns now require diagonal bracing with all the plastic decking being used. Both friends were blown away on the stability of the frame once the two diagonals were installed. Inspector was happy too!
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Unread 10-18-2012, 07:12 AM   #5
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Ok so I see some benefits of the diagonal planks. What are some of the cons? The planks are longer than 16" OC between joists?

My mom's house and my house both have plank subfloors but they are perpendicular to the joists and the 5/16" top nailed hardwood floors has no problems.
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Unread 10-18-2012, 04:01 PM   #6
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Only Con I can think of is cost. Most codes use to require diagonals in the walls as well, specifically the corners. Plywood eliminates the need for diagonals, saving material and labor costs. The diagonals were used under hardwood floors to change direction. Although the days of cheap labor, may be returning
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Unread 10-18-2012, 05:05 PM   #7
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Before the 60's this was the common way to sheath floors. The cons are:

1. It is very time consuming compared to ply sheet. We used to scoot around on an 18" square piece of carpeted ply with 4 casters attached so we did not have to stand up and squat down all the time. Even then, by the end of the day your knees were gone.

2. This was before nailers. A good carpenter could set a 16d nail with two blows of a California framer. Anybody who used a nailer was considered a girl.

3. The pine was the cheapest available and it was common to break through at a large knot, trapping your leg in a splintery bear trap.

The pros are... Well, there are no pros. Ply and OSB are much better.
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Unread 10-18-2012, 05:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Anybody who used a nailer was considered a girl
That's how I was trained. I now have at least a half-dozen nailers.
The longer span by going diagonal is a real con, especially after the boards shrink away from each other at the laps (no T&G around here, just lap). Also the warping, shrinking, loose knots, gaps, and poor attachment on the butt joints makes for a really hard time on tile underlayments. No wonder those old floors have such thick mud beds.
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Unread 10-18-2012, 07:17 PM   #9
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Back in the day, they used to use diagonal bracing in the walls too. For softer siding, like asbestos or aluminum, they would do the whole wall. For harder siding, like wood or clapboard, they would use a few pieces of 1xrecessed into the framing. This was called "let-in bracing" same basic principals apply with bridges, trusses, and towers, and other structures- diagonal bracing used in a propper design is far superior.
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Unread 10-20-2012, 11:10 PM   #10
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"Anybody who used a nailer was considered a girl "

Yeah, now I own everything from micro-pinners to several framers. It's amazing that we were as fast as we were without nailers. I can't imagine trimming out a house without them, yet we used to do it, including setting the doors, with two guys in three or four days.
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Unread 10-21-2012, 07:21 AM   #11
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I did notice there is a diagonal brace in an interior load bearing wall in my house. Interesting.
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Unread 10-21-2012, 08:36 AM   #12
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John, it is probably a sway brace to keep the framing square. Joe
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