Planning to lay 3/4" hardwood floor soon to my upstairs (2nd floor
bungalow). Watched a few you tube videos to see if there is anything I
can still learn. Some videos show a barrier between the hardwood and
subfloor, some simply shoe hardwood on the subfloor. What are reasons to
use it and/or not use it?
Normally, a vapor barrier is recommended under any type of flooring.
Maybe it's not an issue on upper floors.
One source claimed that a laminate floor was "quieter" with the spongy
backing. Maybe that's more of an issue on upper floors.
I did my first laminate room with black plastic vapor barrier.
The rest used the recommended spongy stuff. Can't say I can tell
Noise is my main concern. Currently the subfloor, which we painted and
had bare for some time now, is squeaky in spots. I plan to walk
throughout the entire floor and add some screws to those squeaky areas
prior to installing the hardwood floors. Then a co-worker stated the
barrier can also serve as a noise suppressor, thus, leaving me to wonder
if I should still add it.
A free floating interlock floor should have the recommended underlay
foam to take up the motion and stop noise. A nailed down or glued down
floor does not need the cushion. If installing hardwood flooring above
an unheated space, a vapour barrier might be adviseable even over a
solid plywood subfloor, but over "conditioned space" it is not
On 4/26/2014 12:15 AM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
That makes more sense and something I did when I laid my free floating
floor in the basement. I didn't think I needed the foam and vapor
barrier upstairs when nailing hardwood which is why I asked. Since the
lower floor is heated, I assume, per your statement, it is not required.
| Noise is my main concern. Currently the subfloor, which we painted and
| had bare for some time now, is squeaky in spots. I plan to walk
| throughout the entire floor and add some screws to those squeaky areas
| prior to installing the hardwood floors. Then a co-worker stated the
| barrier can also serve as a noise suppressor, thus, leaving me to wonder
| if I should still add it.
If it's solid wood flooring the standard practice is to
use rosin paper under it. (The faded red paper that comes
in 3' rolls.)
On Saturday, April 26, 2014 8:16:18 AM UTC-4, Mayayana wrote:
That's what I thought too. The other obvious question would be
what does the product manufacturer's instructions say? Every flooring
company I know of has a website with documents, instructions, FAQs, etc.
I putover 20 lbs of screws into the subfloor of my living toom and
dining room before I but down my hardwood. About 300 sq ft. Just had
to be carefull when using the nailer not to hit a screw. I ruined 3
boards by not being carefull enough. Those cleats turn into miniature
horseshoes in a hurry when they find a screw!!!!
One other thing you might want to do if the floor is accessible from
below. Make sure all the cross braces are good and tight I screwed
about a dozen that were iffy and it made a big difference - got rid of
the one nasty squeak in the dining room. Luckily it is over the
furnace room - the only unfinished ceiling in the whole house.
It is 9X12 feet with 2X8 framing on 12" centers - long way , with 2
of them doubled(4 feet apart) and a double header between them about
16" from the wall under the sliding pattio door. Don't know why it was
done that way unless it was toallow the concrete sill for the patio
door to sit on the foundation where the joists would normall have
It is my understanding that an open subfloor will allow moisture to come
up on the backside of your wood flooring, posibly causing it to 'cup'
Hoever, solid underlayment, such as large sheets of ?? will not allow that
ingress of moisture.
IMO, I'd use the membrane, since it seems required in one case and 'maybe'
not required in the other. Seems like it can't hurt. and having it would
be good insurance aginst cupping.
True, I didn't notice the added description of 'upstairs', utnil you asked
where the moisture was coming from.
Breathing? A LOT of breathing? Ok, then, cooking?
As I said, since it costs so little to do, and provides so much potential
benefit, why not? I know, braces/belt philosophy.
I decided to install a hardwood floor "myself" recently rather than hiring
an outside hardwood flooring contractor. By "myself", I mean that I used an
individual that I know who does a lot of construction work for me and we did
it ourselves -- meaning that he did most of the work with me helping.
In my case, the subfloor was old 3/4-inch tongue and groove subfloor planks
across the floor joists. I did what you are doing -- watched all of the
YouTube videos etc. and I never could quite get an exact answer regarding
whether to do any kind of underlayment etc. I also saw that people use
either red rosin paper (which is really inexpensive), or they use 15 or 30
pound roofing "felt", which costs more but is still cheap. I wanted a
barrier because I wanted to prevent dust from coming up through the
imperfections and spaces in the tongue and groove subfloor. I also wanted
some type of sound barrier between this second floor apartment floor and the
apartment below. I ended up doing both -- I put down 30 pound roofing felt
first and put red rosin paper on top of that. I added the red rosin paper
over the felt because the videos seemed to suggest that it would make it
easier sliding the hardwood pieces in place. I don't know if that was true
or not -- it didn't seem so. But, I also didn't want to walk on the black
roofing felt and track black marks onto the new hardwood that I was putting
down. And, I didn't overlap the roofing felt -- I made the butt joints.
Then the red rosin paper covered those seams to prevent dust from coming up
through those seams.
I also decided to buy my own pneumatic hardwood floor nailer rather than
rent one. I looked around to find one that was on sale and I bought one for
$149 -- I think it was a Norge, and it was from Lumber Liquidators which
currently are selling for a lot more than that. But, I just now did a quick
search and Harbor Freight has one on sale for $149:
Buying one was way better than renting because it took us a lot longer than
I thought that it would to do the job, so I didn't have to worry about
getting the job done in a hurry so I could get a rented nailer back to a
rental place. And, if you buy one -- especially if you have access to an
air compressor -- definitely get a pneumatic floor nailer, not the cheaper
manual ones. But, I do know someone who bought and used a manual one to do
his own hardwood floor and, even though it involved more work, he said he
was okay with that.
I used the L cleats instead of staples.
Before starting, we went over the whole floor and the contractor person I
know used a pneumatic nailing gun and put in a zillion screw-type nails
(spiral nails?) to make sure the subfloor was tightly nailed to the floor
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One good reason NOT to use it is my earlier mentioned "horseshoe"
effect. Can't see the screwsnd nails in the subfloor through the paper
ant it is a royal pain when the nail comes back up at you through the
face of the hardwood.
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