Loose florboards

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?
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*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 least.)
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 uneven anyway.
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.
Cheers, S
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I have nothing further to add to this post except for my congratulations to 'Spamlet' .
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!

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I concur re the excellent Spamlet response and add to it with a few minor commments
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.
Chris
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Thanks
Are there any specific types of screws you can recommend on screwfix?
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mo wrote:

Turbogold Ultra. The mutts nuts.
--
Dave - The Medway Handyman
www.medwayhandyman.co.uk
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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: http://www.screwfix.com/prods/13110/Drill-Bits/Drill-Bit-Sets/Wood-Sets/Drill-Bit-Countersink-Set-4-Pc
S
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chris wrote: > I

whats 'mc' ??
[g]
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Moisture content (weight by weight) sorry - should have said
Chris
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wrote:

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 way.
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.
Cheers, S
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