I'm planning on nailing hardwood flooring upstairs directly on the
subfloor. Would it be advisable to use some felt or even paper padding
beneath the strips to improve sound, thermal and some moisture
I understand that there are now T&G hardwood products (engineered, or
perhaps solid) that are suitable to install either nailed or floating.
When nailed down, as you say red rosin paper is traditional. But if
installed floating, would you then need a padding? I guess what I am
driving at is whether the need for padding is dependent on the
material (laminate versus hardwood) or on the installation method
(floating versus nailed down).
For a related question, if installing an engineered product over a
wood subfloor, what are the pros and cons of nailing versus floating?
Many engineered floors can be, as you say, installed either floating
or nailed, and some even glued down. Floating floors are installed
over special foam padding for two reasons: so they can move a little
as they expand and contract with temperature and humidity changes, and
so they are quiet when you walk across them. There is no point, or
need, for padding if you are glueing or nailing down; rosin paper is
used mostly to help avoid squeaks.
One advantage of floating is ease and speed of installation. If you
don't have a lot of cutting and fitting to do it really flies.
One advantage of nailed or glued is that it feels more solid and
*sounds* more solid. There is a certain hollow sound when you walk
across a floating floor. It doesn't bother me, but it drives some
folks crazy. The higher grade paddings claim to minimze this, but you
can still hear the difference.
in my area, top quality hardwood flooring installers use 30# felt
instead of rosin paper. it pads the subfloor irregularities so that it
is easier to get a tight fit. it also is a moisture barrier if there
are moisture problems underneath. Yes a pad is a specific requirement
of a floating floor.
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