wood flooring

hey guys , am considering putting in birch flooring in my livingroom and hallways. but have a question about the time of year for instalation of real wood. naturally wood shrinks in the winter and expands in the summer, sometimes considerably, so if i install this floor now (being winter) while the wood has less moisture in it , and summer comes around with all its humidity will it all expand evenly and take up the space around the edge of the walls, or will i have a bunch of trouble on my hands . so any input on this would be greatly appreciated, thanks. fred
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| hey guys , am considering putting in birch flooring in my livingroom | and hallways. but have a question about the time of year for | instalation of real wood. naturally wood shrinks in the winter and | expands in the summer, sometimes considerably, so if i install this | floor now (being winter) while the wood has less moisture in it , and | summer comes around with all its humidity will it all expand evenly | and take up the space around the edge of the walls, or will i have a | bunch of trouble on my hands . so any input on this would be greatly | appreciated, thanks. fred
Others may differ, but I like to
1. pull the trim and baseboards 2. lay the hardwood to within 1/4 inch of the walls 3. shorten the trim if required 4. put it all back and admire my work.
Inside wall are not as fussy about expansion/contraction as outside.
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PDQ
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On Fri, 18 Feb 2005 08:29:05 -0500, PDQ wrote:

Does this recommendation hold for 2.25-inch strip hardwood that is nailed down behind the tongue? I've always wondered about this.
Here in New Jersey, we have wide swings of relative humidity indoors. During heating season, it can be as low as 25% (any higher when the outside temperature is 20F or below, and we get ice buildup and/or waterfalls on our windows - I know, don't tell me to replace those crappy windows, that's a "some day" project). In the summer, it can be as high as 60% or so. We only use the air conditioning a few days a year, when its really oppressive and we want to be comfortable at night. Usually a couple of stretches of 4-5 days from mid July through late August.
After years of thinking about it, I'm about to put an oak strip floor in my family room, so this thread is quite timely. Right now, the RH inside is about 35%. I can let the matierial acclimate for several weeks. Will that be long enough?
I'll be putting in a 5/8-inch thick baseboard, and a 1/2-inch thick shoe moulding, so I can leave a pretty decent gap around the outside of the floor. Going across the width of the flooring, the room is about 14 feet wide.

What exactly do you mean by this? I don't understand. Outside as in outdoors? Or interior partition walls as opposed to exterior walls?
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Art Greenberg
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Art Greenberg wrote:

Here in CT, a similar climate to much of NJ, most strip floors are installed with 1/2" (summer) to 3/4" (winter) or so of space between the edge boards and the wall. Ends aren't as important, as the floor doesn't move much in that direction.
Don't forget to nail the shoe molding to the baseboard, NOT the floor. You want the floor to move under the molding.
Barry
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| On Fri, 18 Feb 2005 08:29:05 -0500, PDQ wrote: | | > Others may differ, but I like to | > | > 1. pull the trim and baseboards | > 2. lay the hardwood to within 1/4 inch of the walls | > 3. shorten the trim if required | > 4. put it all back and admire my work. | | Does this recommendation hold for 2.25-inch strip hardwood that is nailed down | behind the tongue? I've always wondered about this. | | Here in New Jersey, we have wide swings of relative humidity indoors. During | heating season, it can be as low as 25% (any higher when the outside | temperature is 20F or below, and we get ice buildup and/or waterfalls on our | windows - I know, don't tell me to replace those crappy windows, that's a | "some day" project). In the summer, it can be as high as 60% or so. We only | use the air conditioning a few days a year, when its really oppressive and we | want to be comfortable at night. Usually a couple of stretches of 4-5 days | from mid July through late August. | | After years of thinking about it, I'm about to put an oak strip floor in my | family room, so this thread is quite timely. Right now, the RH inside is about | 35%. I can let the matierial acclimate for several weeks. Will that be long | enough? | | I'll be putting in a 5/8-inch thick baseboard, and a 1/2-inch thick shoe | moulding, so I can leave a pretty decent gap around the outside of the floor. | Going across the width of the flooring, the room is about 14 feet wide. | | > Inside wall are not as fussy about expansion/contraction as outside. | | What exactly do you mean by this? I don't understand. Outside as in outdoors? | Or interior partition walls as opposed to exterior walls? | | -- | Art Greenberg | artg AT eclipse DOT net |
I do not know of any other way to nail down the stuff that is as efficacious as "thru the tongue". Any other way and the nails might show through.
A week of breathing time is about all you will need.
You will not need a "decent" gap, 1/4 inch will do fine. If you pay attention to the gap you will not need the shoe moulding unless it is for aesthetics. I used only 3/4 inch mouldings done in the "classic" style -- looks good, covers the gap and sits flush to the floor. I you are planning on hammer and nails as opposed to a pneumatic nailer, the shoe moulding might be needed to cover the surface nailed boards at the wall. I used a nail gun and was able to get right up to the wall. Not as much wear and tear on the old bod either.
If you wish, "interior" works just as well for me. I have had hardwood for 10 years now and the boards have not changed over the seasons. What can be a problem is the temperature and/or humidity differences experienced over the seasons at the exterior walls. These differences do not show up at interior walls like they do at the exterior walls. This is the major reason fot the gap.
Having said all this, you must live near the ocean to have such moderate weather. Here, in the cradle of the Great Lakes, we have days that are real sweaters when everything is a bit damp and others when the heat would fry an egg. --
PDQ
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On Fri, 18 Feb 2005 13:38:51 -0500, PDQ wrote:

The rest of the house, where the floors are wood or tile, has shoe moulding. So we're doing that to maintain consistency.

Agree about the wear and tear bit. I just purchased a small compressor and finish nailer for the purpose. I figured it'd be a good investment, as I can use it around the shop. And I'll need a compressor to nail the flooring down, too. Renting the flooring nailer.

In our previous home, we had oak strip installed during the summer. In winter, the strip shrank noticeably in some places - like right in the middle of the room. Where the joints were tight during summer, in spots you could slip a piece of shirt cardboard in during winter.
I'm hoping that I can hold the humidity fairly high for this time of year while the wood is acclimating. So its between the extremes, and movement won't be as noticeable when the extremes do occur.

Moderate? I'm sure your winters are colder, longer, than ours. But in January, we had a few days where the high didn't break 10F. Summertime will hit 90F easily, 95F a few to maybe ten days, and 100F+ isn't unheard of. Those 95F+ days tend to be the days we give in, and fire up the A/C. It isn't that its so moderate here, more like I think we are part reptile. Both my wife and I prefer to be warm with a moderately high relative humidity. We absolutely hate that we can't run the humidity up when its very cold. Fortunately, that kind of weather doesn't last too long here.
BTW, we're in west-central NJ, north of Flemington, about 65 miles from the Atlantic Ocean as the crow flies, I think.
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| On Fri, 18 Feb 2005 13:38:51 -0500, PDQ wrote: | | > You will not need a "decent" gap, 1/4 inch will do fine. If you pay | > attention to the gap you will not need the shoe moulding unless it is for | > aesthetics. | | The rest of the house, where the floors are wood or tile, has shoe moulding. | So we're doing that to maintain consistency. | | > I you are planning on hammer and nails as opposed to a pneumatic nailer, | > the shoe moulding might be needed to cover the surface nailed boards at the | > wall. I used a nail gun and was able to get right up to the wall. Not as | > much wear and tear on the old bod either. | | Agree about the wear and tear bit. I just purchased a small compressor and | finish nailer for the purpose. I figured it'd be a good investment, as I can | use it around the shop. And I'll need a compressor to nail the flooring down, | too. Renting the flooring nailer. | | > If you wish, "interior" works just as well for me. I have had hardwood for | > 10 years now and the boards have not changed over the seasons. What can be | > a problem is the temperature and/or humidity differences experienced over | > the seasons at the exterior walls. These differences do not show up at | > interior walls like they do at the exterior walls. This is the major | > reason fot the gap. | | In our previous home, we had oak strip installed during the summer. In winter, | the strip shrank noticeably in some places - like right in the middle of the | room. Where the joints were tight during summer, in spots you could slip a | piece of shirt cardboard in during winter. | | I'm hoping that I can hold the humidity fairly high for this time of year | while the wood is acclimating. So its between the extremes, and movement won't | be as noticeable when the extremes do occur. | | > Having said all this, you must live near the ocean to have such moderate | > weather. Here, in the cradle of the Great Lakes, we have days that are | > real sweaters when everything is a bit damp and others when the heat would | > fry an egg. | | Moderate? I'm sure your winters are colder, longer, than ours. But in January, | we had a few days where the high didn't break 10F. Summertime will hit 90F | easily, 95F a few to maybe ten days, and 100F+ isn't unheard of. Those 95F+ | days tend to be the days we give in, and fire up the A/C. It isn't that its so | moderate here, more like I think we are part reptile. Both my wife and I | prefer to be warm with a moderately high relative humidity. We absolutely hate | that we can't run the humidity up when its very cold. Fortunately, that kind | of weather doesn't last too long here. | | BTW, we're in west-central NJ, north of Flemington, about 65 miles from the | Atlantic Ocean as the crow flies, I think. | | -- | Art Greenberg | artg AT eclipse DOT net
Not to sure what is up with the weather. Used to be real cold came from the West, this year seems to be coming up from the South as well.
No idea what some of the others will think about the finish nailer for the floors. That's what I used and it seems to be still holding well. I used 2 inch nails and 90 psi. Only thing I had to watch was the odd time the nail turned back upon me. A pair a side cutters trimmed them nicely.
Be sure to take the time to set the boards tightly before putting the hammer down. I noticed that the pneumatic floor guns needed a heavy hammer to set the boards and some of the yahoos laying flooring didn't like wasting time making sure the boards were tight.
--
PDQ
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Where do you live? What is your climate? Is there a large swing in the humidity?
We always do what the other poster suggested. Lift all the flooring and baseboard. Make sure there is enough expansion room - at least 1/4 " at the edges and install new baseboard afterwards.
If necessary invest in humidifiers and dehumidifiers. Cheaper than buckling a new floor and having to repair it.
fred wrote:

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Will
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im in central ontario, canada and we do get some major differences in humidity during the summer months, i know the outside edge will move towards the wall, but will that movement be enought for the center boards to move without buckling. fred
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Fred:
We live in central Ontario as well.
fred wrote:

Maybe. :-)
Put up some new drywall etc this fall to repair a mess left by previous owner (and renovation "hexpert")... The ceiling buckled enough between walls to ripple the metal edging on the drywall. The "hexpert" had cut out a wall and left about 12" of studs hanging from the ceiling. Should have ripped out the whole room and started over - all drywall, insulation etc. Patching a botch job eats time. Since the same materials weren't used everywhere everything shrank at different rates. It's a north facing room. If you recall this January we were close to 40 below near Barrie. The room shrank enough to buckle the metal edging on the drywall... After all the painting and trim and new laminate floor was installed of course..
In this stinking climate you have to plan for considerable expansion and contraction. Recall that our swing can be -40 in winter to +40 in summer. So the floor may not shrink that much -- or expand all that much. But the house might be moving as well. Something many of our southern neighbours forget.
You may want to install humidity control if your house is not that "stable". You have probably never thought to estimate for expansion and shrinkage in the order of an inch. I will think about it in future. I estimate we had about one inch shrinkage over 10.5 feet.
The floor was ok because I left about 3/8 inch at the edges... more or less. The floor shrank a little bit, the room shrank a lot.
Put on big trim - just because of the shrinkage/expansion issue.

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| > wrote: | > | > | >>Where do you live? What is your climate? Is there a large swing in the | >>humidity? | >> | >>We always do what the other poster suggested. Lift all the flooring and | >>baseboard. Make sure there is enough expansion room - at least 1/4 " at | >>the edges and install new baseboard afterwards. | >> | >>If necessary invest in humidifiers and dehumidifiers. Cheaper than | >>buckling a new floor and having to repair it. | >> | >> | >>fred wrote: | >> | >>>hey guys , am considering putting in birch flooring in my livingroom | >>>and hallways. but have a question about the time of year for | >>>instalation of real wood. naturally wood shrinks in the winter and | >>>expands in the summer, sometimes considerably, so if i install this | >>>floor now (being winter) while the wood has less moisture in it , and | >>>summer comes around with all its humidity will it all expand evenly | >>>and take up the space around the edge of the walls, or will i have a | >>>bunch of trouble on my hands . so any input on this would be greatly | >>>appreciated, thanks. fred | > | > | | -- | Will | Occasional Techno-geek
I had the same -40. Didn't see any problems with my floor and no new cracks in my walls. Must be differences in construction quality, house didn't shrink either even if some parts of me did from the concept of being exposed to those degrees.
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PDQ wrote:

walls. Must be differences in construction quality, house didn't shrink either even if some parts of me did from the concept of being exposed to those degrees.

Well I did not want to disparage the original builder outright....
But I think you understood the message, however indirect.
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| | | PDQ wrote: | > | > | > I had the same -40. Didn't see any problems with my floor and no new cracks in my walls. Must be differences in construction quality, house didn't shrink either even if some parts of me did from the concept of being exposed to those degrees. | > | | Well I did not want to disparage the original builder outright.... | | But I think you understood the message, however indirect. | | | -- | Will | Occasional Techno-geek
Not to change the subject, but, we have just been promised a miserable weekend followed on Monday with freezing rain. There are times when I really appreciate -40. At least the crap falls as snow.
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I'd suggest not laying the floor in very dry conditions. Even though you have a space around the edge, this will only allow the first 1 1/2 feet to expand, boards in the center of the floor will bow upwards. They simply can't push all the boards towards the wall.
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Might find experience in alt.home.repair also.
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