Got some loose floorboards
What are the best type of screws to use to lock them into place?
And Am I getter getting fatter or longer screws?
Also are floorboards standard sizes if i need to replace one can i buy a
read made board from b and q?
*DON'T* do anything till you have looked what might be under those screws or
nails: they might have been left short for a reason...
Depends how big the existing holes are. Use the smallest that will do the
job of holding the board down: if the board is soft and has big holes in it
will need a big headed screw. Get boxes of a few lengths and see how you
get on. Generally they will be '8's, but bigger holes may need a '10'.
Go to a proper timber yard: the wood in the sheds is usually rubbish.
(Travis Perkins usually have nice wood.)
If it's old boards you need, keep an eye on any skips around you where
building alterations or demolition are going on: lots of lovely old ones
just get burnt, sadly. Architectural salvage yards may have some, but watch
out for those making boards from old joists - you can tell from the old nail
holes going sideways across the board -: boards made this way will be more
springy because joists are cut to take the weight from the top, not the
side. (For the same reason select new boards from wood that has the growth
rings running across the thickness of the board ie parallel lines all down
the face of the board; rather than across the width ie loops and wandering
lines on the face of the board. So much wood is poor these days that you may
find you have to use some not so good, but keep the principle in mind at
Much depends how old your house is. Those on our 1900 ish house are quite
varied widths and I had to put some new boards through a thicknesser to
match the thickness. So if you have an old house you may find it easier to
repair what boards you have (which, with modern glues and cramps/clamps is
not as difficult as you might think). This is especially true if you want
to match colour and wear: it's not easy to match dyes, dirt, and grain.
Not so important if you are carpeting and if all your boards a 'rustically
Things to watch out for when replacing nails or screws, include: you may
find that some nails stop just short of puncturing pipes or wires beneath,
and a longer one, or even the same one punched deeper, can cause a flood or
short; if you try to put screws in the same holes that held nails you will
find quite a few hit the rusty end of a broken nail and won't go in further.
Save some trouble, with self countersinking screws, or get a drill that
includes a countersink and have this in one hand and your power screwdriver
in the other. If your joists are fairly soft you might get by without
drilling, but you will need longer screws to hold the boards firm. In good
wood half an inch penetration would be enough, but if you are screwing into
an old hole you may have to go thicker and or deeper. Again, if you are
screwing into an existing board hole set your driver on a low torque or it
might go right through the board without stopping. It's all a bit situation
dependent, but you will get the hang of it.
If you do need to buy new boards, go to a proper timber yard and get them to
cut and thickness them to size for you. Treat each board as part of an
elaborate jigsaw, and make sure you note exactly which one goes where, and
keep an eye on wires and pipes and you won't go far wrong. If you are
really keen you can relay all the boards and wedge them up together to
minimise draughts: but then you also make it difficult to get any up again
if you need to in future... Any all new wood areas should be wedged
together before screwing, if poss though, as they may shrink quite a bit.
You could use tongue and groove: nice and firm, but a nuisance to lift
should you want to in future.
I have nothing further to add to this post except for my congratulations to
I am very impressed with his knowledge and the lengths he has gone to in
answering the OP.
Spamlet - It's people like you who make usenet worthwhile!
I concur re the excellent Spamlet response and add to it with a few
Board sizes were variable until about 1840 when they were standardised
at about 6" so the 1900 date is a bit late
Boards are normally held down by cut nails (floor brads) not screws. I
would be wary of using screws and avoid like the plague the type of
screws that are used with drills ie machine put in. They are
impossible to get out without damage and cut into the board. If you
have for some reason to use screws the right way is to drill the hole
and if the wood is very hard countersink the board such that the screw
can just drop in the board. (there are pre formed drill/ countersinks
for this that have the right diameter for screw, free shaft and
countersink - all in one). In theory you can pre drill the hole for
the joist at 5/8th shank diameter for soft wood and 3/4 for hard wood
but this is getting pedantic and not really necessary if there are pre
existing nail holes.
On the subject of tangential rather than radial cutting of the floor
boards, it surprises me that this is the case and any such floorboards
should be sent right back to the builders merchant and not fit for the
purpose (it risks breaking in shear). When you fit the floorboard,
look at the end grain and the lines of the growth rings should be in a
"U" shape - not an inverted "U" which is instinctively and intuitively
what one wrongly might think is right. This means that any cupping
that takes place raises the centre of the board not the edges. I
would also make sure the mc of the board is equilibrated to 10% and if
you are having them cut to size get the merchant to cut them oversize
if the mc is 18% by the calculated amount of shrinkage 18 to 10 - all
such % shrinkage is published data.Better still dry it down and when
dry cut it to size on planer thicknesser.
How many boards are you thinking of Mo; and are they screwed already? Have
you lifted them already? Are they very soft or hard? Do you want to match
the rest of the floor? Are you going to have the heads showing or are you
going to put wood filler over them? The choice is largely up to you, so
long as you get the right lengths. Slotted will be more difficult to power
drive; cross head/Phillips easier but can get chewed up if you are not
careful and the wood is hard; torx head the least likely to get chewed up,
but the most likely to snap the screw or bit when you hit something hard.
These can come in handy if you have a lot to do:
More on the ripped down rafters suitability: Our living room had been done
with these before we lived here. They appear to have quite wide gaps
between them, but, in fact, they have all been linked together with
'tongues' of strip steel to reduce the flexibility. This will make for fun
and games when we start to move the radiators next week!
Not quite clear what you mean by 'cupping'. I would have been one of those
people who would have assumed an 'inverted U' pattern would be firmer: but
when screwed in place (I do think that now we have sensitive and reversible
power drivers this is much easier and quicker than nails, and saves damaging
boards when you need to lift them.) one wouldn't expect much movement either
As to moisture content: other than a choice between timber that was stored
outside, or inside, I've not seen much alternative, but I only buy the odd
piece now and again. Cutting oversize and drying down I would have thought
were exercises for the new-builder, rather than the repairer: but if there
is no hurry and one can manage the final trimming, it is a good idea. Best
the repairer can do is to look for old 'ready dry' boards.
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