I've purchased a new tongue and groove solid wood floor that I'm going
to be putting down. I tore the old floor up, and right now, there are
1x6's perpendicular to the joists as the subfloor.
Everything I read says you should install the wood floor perpendicular
to the joists. Now, should I install the wood floor perpendicular to
the subfloor 1x6's, or perpendicular to the joists?
On the face of it, I would agree. Do we have the full picture? Are the 1 by
6 laid such that they are six inches tall? If so, why? To tie into another
structure/ extension. I would need more info. to provide a secure comment.
Aaaaaaargh. The confusion.
I *believe* you were trying to tell the O. P. to install the flooring
perpendicular to the subfloor, to give it "stiffness in the other
direction now", right? In that case, the flooring should go *parallel*
to the joists, as the subfloor is perpendicular to the joists.
OK, glad we cleared that up now.
No. I meant what I said. The I value of the floor joists is huge
compared to the thin stuff on top. You don't need more members
parallel to the floor joist. Lay them perpendicular.
OK, glad I re-cleared that up.
Newer construction? But not that new if you have 1x6 subfloor. The old
guys always ran the 1x6 sub floor on a 45 to the joists and the hardwood ran
perpendicular to the joists.
When plywood is used, the hardwood is always perpendicular to the joists.
In your case I would do the same. Use 30# roofing felt over the subfloor
before laying the hardwood. This serves as a moisture barrier and a squeak
reducer. Trust me the minor extra expense is worth it a year after the
Please come visit www.househomerepair.com
"Always" is pretty inclusive. My home, built in the 40's has joists that
run both ways. In my living room area they run front-to-back in relation to
the house, while in the rest of the original home the joist run
side-to-side. The 1x6 subfloor does run at a 45 (to both obviously), but
the hardwood runs front-to-back so than means it is parallel to the joists
in the living room area. I've been here 30+ years and haven't noticed any
problems one way or the other.
Fast forward to a few years ago when we added on our family room. It is
open off the kitchen, and the builder ran the new joists front-to-back.
Remember that the kitchen was side-to-side, so we had to decide which way to
run the floor. I decided that since running it parallel to the joist over
the old 1x6 subfloor worked in the living room, I'd run it side-to-side
(parallel to the joists in the old kitchen area) so that it would be
perpendicular to the joists in the new construction where the subfloor is
So far so good, with one exception. I wish I'd been around more as the new
floor was going in. The installers didn't take much care when nailing
(power nailer) on the old 1x6 and when I look at it from the basement I see
where a good number of nails either missed the subfloor and went into the
gaps between the 1x6, or were close enough to the edge of the 1x6 to split
the wood. The original installers back in the 40's seemed to take more care
to hit the subfloor with the nails (by hand I'm assuming). I'm guessing
I'll be having some squeaks in the kitchen area eventually, but that will
only make it like the rest of the old house where there are some squeaky
You are right. Always was a poor choice of words. One of our former homes
was built much like you describe.
I really think a big part of the lasting part is the subfloor on the 45
degree angle. That and the fact the sub floor was hand nailed and well
secured. Neither of which are very likely in modern construction.
The 45 degree subfloor added a lot of racking resistance to the floor
and eliminated the problem of subfloor unevenness from telegraphing
through to the strip flooring - regardless of which way the strip
flooring was laid.
In this instance, why is a hammer driven nail better than using a nail
I work only on old houses and I've seen plenty of loose 1x subfloors.
They didn't glue subfloors to the joists back then and they didn't use
So it's not "one step forward and two steps back", it's more like one
step forward and one step back. ;)
Skip the tarred roofing felt if you have alergies of any type, you don't
want the smell nor the offgassing. Use waxed kraft paper, it is made to go
under floors. If your floor is not over a damp, uncovered dirt floor
crawlspace you don't need a moisture barrier, which tar paper doesn't really
do much. These days many flooring manufacturers recommend a layer of plywood
over the 1x6 subfloor to ensure that the surface is level over the wood
boards which are probably cupped and uneven.
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