Hardwood floor install questions

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I am about to install new 3/4-inch solid hardwood flooring in a 2nd floor apartment -- a living room, 2 bedrooms, and 2 closets. The new hardwood will be prefinished and probably will be Bruce solid maple flooring from Home Depot or a similar source, such as:
http://www.homedepot.com/Flooring-Hardwood-Flooring-Solid-Hardwood/h_d1/N-5yc1vZbejw/R-202700081/h_d2/ProductDisplay?catalogId053&langId=-1&storeId051 .
I am buying the materials. The installation will be done by either a hardwood floor company or a contractor that I use for other work.
Shown below are links to two photos of the existing subfloor. I posted the same two photos in two different formats in case one works better than the other, but the two sets of photos are the same.
http://tinypic.com/r/2ih9zlg/6
http://tinypic.com/r/xp7omd/6
http://i49.tinypic.com/2ih9zlg.jpg
http://i46.tinypic.com/xp7omd.jpg
The door in the upper right corner of the first picture in each set is the entrance to the apartment. The pictures were taken with my back facing the front wall windows of the living room.
We had to take up the original hardwood flooring for a number of reasons, including that the floor had squeaks all over in all rooms. We are now in the process of re-nailing all of the subfloor boards to get rid of the squeaks and secure them tightly to the floor joists.
My questions are about how to do the installation of the new hardwood.
One question is which direction to lay the new hardwood. The existing subfloor goes across the floor joists, so I am wondering whether to install the new hardwood in that same direction as the subfloor, or install the new hardwood perpendicular to the existing subfloor.
If the new hardwood goes in the same direction as the subfloor, it will be across the floor joists which I assume is good. But, that would mean that some of the hardwood seams will be right over the subfloor seams, which may not be a good idea.
If the new hardwood goes perpendicular to the subfloor, then the lining up of the subfloor seams with the hardwood seams won't occur, but I wonder if that would be less strong since the hardwood then would not be going across the floor joists.
Another thought is whether to put down something like a 1/4-inch plywood second subfloor over the existing subfloor first, and then put down the new hardwood. In that case, the new hardwood could go perpendicular to the floor joists for strength (the way the first subfloor is now) and it would not have the issue of the hardwood seams lining up with the first subfloor seams. Is that a good idea?
And, finally, what goes under the new hardwood? I have read that it is good to put down some type of underlayment such as red rosin paper. I even saw on the Home Depot website (I think) where they suggest using roofing felt for the underlayment.
So, the question is, "What type of underlayment should I use under the new hardwood?"
Since I will be asking one or two hardwood flooring installers to give me an estimate for doing the installation only, I know that I will get some ideas from them. But, I always like to check here in addition so I have more information to work with when contractors come out to look at any job I have.
Thanks.
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First, I'm not a hardwood installer by trade. But on the couple of jobs that I've done, I put down 15lb roofing felt and then layed the hardwood on it running perpendicular to the floor joist..
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Your present subfloor should be at east 5/8", so running your new flooring perpendicular to the subfloor should be fine. If your floor joists are 2' on center, then the addition of 1/4" ply may be recommended and run your new flooring perpendicular to the joists. If your floor joists are 16" on center, then running the new flooring perpendicular to the subfloor is fine, as long as the subfloor is at least 5/8" thick.
I would recommend you go back and screw, rather than nail, the subfloor to the joists, to prevent those squeaks from recurring. At least install some screws randomly. Always use screws to stop and prevent those kinds of squeaks. The reason those squeaks are there is 1) the previous nails gave way, allowing movement enough to squeak or 2) possibly, the subfloor wasn't completely acclimated and/or dry, when installed, then dried (shrunk a little) after the finish flooring was installed, allowing the original nails to have enough play to accommodate movement, hence the squeaking.
As someone said, adding 1/4" ply over the subfloor may raise the finish floor level too much. Measure before committing to that call. You shouldn't need that 1/4" ply addition if the present subfloor is at least 5/8" thick.... hence, run the new flooring perpendicular to the 5/8" subflooring.
Felt is fine for underlayment... use 30# felt. Your working on the 15# felt may weaken it in spots or it tear easier, as you walk on it, and it be less effective in those spots... probably not much, though. 30# felt is worth the extra effort.
I second the suggestion to open the new flooring packages and let your new flooring acclimate, at least 3 days (more if convenient), before installing.
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Sonny wrote:

Thanks. I am pretty sure the subfloor is 3/4 inch thick, but I will double check to be sure. It is definitely at least 5/8 inch, but most likely 3/4 inch. And the floor joists are all 16-inch on center.

What we did so far is hammer in all of the existing subfloor nails. We are now in the middle of re-nailing every subfloor board at every joist with a nail gun using (I forget the name) spiral-type nails. With two rooms done, that seems to be working well. I am not sure if we are going to want to also add screws anywhere, but it's a thought.

If felt is okay to use, and if 30# felt would be better than 15# felt, then we'll use the 30# felt. For me, decisions like that are easy since the cost difference is minimal and I only pay for the materials once for the life of the installation. So, spending more on materials one time is almost never an issue for me.
I do wonder exactly what purpose the felt or underlayment serves overall. I have heard it helps prevent future squeaks. However, I do wonder if there are any issues with a thicker underlayment making it more likely that there will be movement between the new hardwood and the subfloor rather than a more solid link between them.
I don't know if adding the underlayment will do anything for sound, but if it does and if one material would provide more sound deadening that another, I'd go with the one that does the most to dampen down the sound transmission to the floor below. I do realize that putting hardwood on the second floor will cause more of a sound issue for the apartment below than wall-to-wall rugs. But, I really do like hardwood floors instead of wall-to-wall rugs for a lot of reasons; and I know that some landlords include in their leases that tenants have to at least use area rugs over the hardwood floors which helps protect them and provides some sound dampening.

Agreed.
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TomR wrote:

Perpendicular. ____________
No ____________
Building paper works fine, anything will work to help avoid dust.
--

dadiOH
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Oren wrote:

Subfloor
--

dadiOH
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Oren wrote:

I'll check again, but I am pretty sure it is 3/4-inch thick.

I don't think that would be a problem, but I can double check to be sure. There are only 3 doors that would be involved -- the two bedroom doors and a living room closet door. They are new and were installed when the original 3/4-inch hardwood flooring was down. So at most they would each need to have 1/4-inch trimmed off the bottom.

It will be nailed down.

I have an almost identical apartment on the first floor right below this one and I put new hardwood floors in that one about 2 years ago. The direction of the new hardwood in that one is the same as the direction of the subfloor shown in the pictures of the second floor apartment that I posted and that looks good. The flow from the living room into the bedrooms looks good too. In that apartment, the new hardwood went over top of the old hardwood flooring, and we ran the new hardwood perpendicular to the old hardwood. So, in that apartment, the subfloor was in the same direction as the 2nd floor apartment, the old hardwood was perpendicular to the subfloor, and the new hardwood on top of that was perpendicular to that. When I re-did that apartment, I re-did everything -- all new kitchen and bath and all new door frames and doors. So, adding the new hardwood on top of the old hardwood didn't present any problems with doors etc. because we set them in place after allowing for the extra 3/4-inch of new hardwood. And, in that apartment, the floors weren't squeaking etc. which meant that I didn't have to worry about re-nailing the subfloor boards to the floor joists. We also had access to the subfloor joists from underneath the first floor apartment in case anything needed to be tightened (which it didn't).

I agree. I did read about that and that's what I did with the apartment below and that's what I will be doing with this apartment.
Thanks.
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On 4/27/2012 10:04 AM, TomR wrote: ...

Go to the Bruce site and download the installation guide for the product(s) in which you're interested (or get them from the distributor of choice).
All will become known.
--
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dpb wrote:

Good suggestion. I just went there and the Bruce flooring hardwood floor product line that I probably will be putting down is called "Kennedale Strip".
The link for their installation guide for this particular product line is:
http://www.armstrong.com/pdbupimages/190071.pdf .
I just printed that out but didn't get to read it yet.
Thanks.
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Felt or any reasonable underlayment is a moisture barrier as well as helping, even slightly, dampen sound. 1/8" cork is expensive, but a great underlayment.
No adequate underlayment will have any affect on the stability of the finished floor against the subfloor. Your attachment mechanisms (nails, screws, etc.) are responsible for that stability.
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TomR wrote:

http://www.homedepot.com/Flooring-Hardwood-Flooring-Solid-Hardwood/h_d1/N-5yc1vZbejw/R-202700081/h_d2/ProductDisplay?catalogId053&langId=-1&storeId051
I can't help on the installation techniques, but I can offer a couple of suggestions on materials that might save you bags and bags of cash.
Consider Lumber Liquidators http://www.lumberliquidators.com /
Right this instant they're having a sale on hardwood (solid maple, 3/4 x 2", $3.29 sq/ft).
Also Floor & Decor Outlets http://www.flooranddecoroutlets.com /
Their solid maple, 5/8 x 2-1/4", is $2.49 sq ft.
I've used products from both. Excellent quality and no complaints (except you can't find an empty cart at the Floor & Decor joint).
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Thanks. I went to Lumber Liquidators in Cherry Hill, NJ this past weekend when they were having a sale. But nothing that they had on sale beat the everyday price of $2.99 per sq. ft. for 3/4 inch by 2-1/4 inch prefinished solid maple (or oak) that I can get at Home Depot 2 blocks down the road.
Also, I am in New Jersey and there are no Floor and Decor Outlets stores in New Jersey or in any state nearby. Plus, their $2.49 price is for 5/8 inch by 2-1/4 and not 3/4 inch by 2-1/4. I would rather pay a little more and go with 3/4 inch thick instead of 5/8 inch thick hardwood for the added strength etc.
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TomR wrote:

I'm stunned.
'Course I'm more of the laminate flooring type - at $0.49 / sq ft
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HeyBub wrote:

I was surprised too -- at least in regard to the Lumber Liquidator prices for 3/4 inch prefinished solid hardwood. I have seen their sales ad and I am on their mailing list, and I know people who have bought products on sale there and who talked about the good pricing. I even bought unfinished 3/4 inch solid Red Oak there a couple of years ago and they seemed to have the best price for that. But, recently, people I know have suggested to me that Home Depot (and I think Lowes) have some prefinished 3/4 inch solid hardwood flooring in the $2.99 price range. I checked that out and it was true.

On the other hand, Lumber Liquidators does seem to have some of the best prices in my area for laminate flooring and possibly engineered hardwood. The same people that I know who talked about the solid hardwood flooring prices at Home Depot etc. also talked about the lower prices at Lumber Liquidators for laminate flooring etc., and they almost always go there for those products.
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Oren wrote:

Exit 4. Cherry Hill East or Cherry Hill West?

The subfloor does seem strong, especially now that it has been re-nailed to the joists. It is 3/4-inch tongue and groove wood although the tongue and groove parts aren't very tightly connected in many places. It looks like the wood shrank over the years as it dried out, so the tongue and groove seams tend to have small gaps rather than fitting together tightly.

I think it was built in the mid 1940's.
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It looks like

*>so the tongue and groove seams tend to have small gaps rather thanfitting together tightly.
.... And very likely why the nails appeared to have loosened, contributing to the squeaking.
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I'll agree with the idea of the flooring boards sliding on paper better, vs sliding on felt.
When laying the felt, align the long seams and overlap the end seams (if you have end seams), then cut through both end seams with a box knife, so that the end seams' edges match perfectly. That will be easier than trying to align the long seams and the end seams at the same time, as you roll out the felt. You may not have end seams, since your area to be covered is relatively small. It shouldn't be too hard to align long seams.
Sonny
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Sonny wrote:

That's good to know. I think I'll probably do my felt plus rosin paper idea.

Good idea. I hadn't thought about that.

One thing I forgot to mention earlier. I read on one site that putting a few staples in the felt and/or rosin paper to hold it in place is a good idea. Is that correct?
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From the word go, you seem to have a very good handle on your project, asking all the right questions and evaluating all the recieved infomation. Now, I'm going to have to laugh at you, with a little sarcasm thrown in. Stop over thinking this paper/felt aspect of the project. This is probably the least of your concerns. Put the damn paper down and tack it, staple it or whatever is good for you. The paper laying job, itself, will tell you what may be the best thing to do.
On second thought, go have some beers and relax, then go back to the paper job and take care of it.
Sonny *You're welcome to fuss me back. We'll get the job done, one way or the other, and it'll be great, you'll be pleased.
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Oren wrote:

Thanks.
The area to be done is 460 square feet -- which includes a living room, 2 small bedrooms, and 2 closets.
One hardwood floor company looked at it a while back before I had decided what I was going to do and they said that if I buy the materials, the cost for them to do the installation would be $700.
Two other people that I know said what the companies that they use charge for installation only. One company charges $1.30 a square foot and the other company charges $1.55 a square foot. I am pretty sure that both companies said those were their prices for a minimum of 500 square feet. So, my guess is they will say about $650 ($1.30 times 500 sq. ft.) and $775 ($1.55 times 500 sq. ft.) respectively.
I actually have a contractor person that I use on an ongoing basis who could do the installation. I pay him on a time and materials basis for most jobs. He and his brother installed the new hardwood floor in the apartment below this one and it came out fine. I can't remember for sure, but I think it took them about 2 days to do it from start to finish. With this apartment, I am thinking of paying a hardwood flooring company that almost exclusively does hardwood floor installations every day to do this installation. The reason is that I would just like to see exactly how they do it, how they figure out the transitions from room to room so that everything lines up correctly, etc. And, I would probably have my person there either helping or doing other things in the apartment in the kitchen and bath so he can see and learn whatever tricks of the trade the regular hardwood floor installers use.
I am not sure how long it would take for a hardwood flooring company to do the installation, but my guess is that with two people doing the work they could probably finish it in one day. Does that sound about right?
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