Solid wood flooring is an elegant looking luxurious beauty which enhances the look of your home and office. Flooring is a permanent covering of floor or the work of covering the floor. Hardwood floor brings warmth, beauty, and style with effective durability to the home floor. Though considering its characteristics solid wood tends to wrap, twist, expand and contract, precision seasoning, controlled accurately machined woodworking builds solid stable components for wooden flooring. We a WoodArtGuru ensure to build wooden flooring with high-quality wooden components with highest quality finishing.
Wooden flooring can be installed on conventionally raised plywood which may act as the subfloor or a properly laid concrete slab. Usually, the concrete slab may have little waves or unevenness which may challenge in evenly laying the wooden floor. Also, moisture is the biggest enemy of wood which causes warping, twisting, expansion, and contraction. Even the highest quality of concrete slab laid with utmost accuracy concrete always seep groundwater to its surface which will damage the lower face of the wooden flooring. We use right techniques to ensure moisture from the ground is been blocked to avoid its reach to wooden flooring, which in turn ensures long life and protection of wooden floor for its longer life.
The above grade concrete slab should be at least 60 days old, dry, flat, have a glass like finish to be free from high or low spots. Well, low spots can be filled with compounds and high spots can be grounded down to level the floor which involves high skill to manage difficult and dusty. Professional testers help us to measure the moisture content in a concrete slab which helps us to take the right decision on laying a long lasting elegant looking wooden flooring. Usually, we don’t lay wooden flooring directly on the concrete slab. Wooden flooring fastened to plywood or Oriented Standard Board (OSB) that are secured to a base of 2X4 pressure- treated “sleepers”. Plywood and flooring raise the floor level by the thickness of about 1½ inches which then will be raised by another 1½ inches to of about 3 inches. The sleeper method allows for 1½ inches – thick rigid foam insulation between the sleepers, which is important for comfort and energy savings.
Laying flooring only on plywood
Laying hardwood flooring directly on the concrete is a little bit of challenge. Usually, after measuring a moisture content in the concrete slab we can apply the concrete sealer to prevent any incremental moisture coming through. Concrete sealer is a moisture barrier to eliminate any moisture coming through the concrete slab. The moisture coming through slab eventually make its way into the wood and cause a wood to swell a bit which brings cupping which in turn causes regular waves on the floor. Special adhesives are being used which interacts with booth wooden flooring and sealer. Both sealer and adhesive are polyurethane based which is recommended as installation process.
With this installation, we don’t really nail any bonding between the concrete layer and wooden flooring. The adhesive spread on sealer acts as a bonding component which holds it together throughout the life of the flooring. The floor has been laid immediately within 30-45 minutes to work with adhesive to ensure we do not lose the time against the drying capacity of adhesive. The adjustment to the floor layout must be done within this time as after that it gets into a state of we can’t move it anymore. To make the layout more efficient we pay more attentions to pre-cutting as per layout which in turn will make the process a bit quicker. A rubber mallet (hammer) is been used to ensure that we give enough pressure to fit in the wooden flooring within tongue and groove as needed. Immediately after laying wooden panels on the floor, we tape it down together. After laying a product on adhesive, chances are you slightly shift the product during this process where the boards tend to pull it back or separate them from one another. Putting a tape down will help to keep it together until it fully settles down with required joints. Racking it up i.e. forcing all the components of wooden flooring to hold each other with tongue and groove to form a consistent strong floor base is a skill that we must lay down a solid wooden floor.
Care needs to be taken while laying down these components together. The glue from the surface should not stay in between tongue and groove of the components while putting them together. A stronger adhesive remover is being used to ensure that the glue stuck in between is been removed while putting them together. In this process, we also ensure to keep the top face i.e. surface of the flooring neat and clean for elegant looking consistent finishing. The taping on the freshly laid floor can stay on the floor for the minimum of 4 hours to 24 hours (recommended).
We have pre finished wooden flooring which comes with the almost 8 layers of aluminum oxide finish that have been UV dried between the layers with a longer warranty/guarantee on durability and finishing. However, the climatic circumstances are different in different areas hence most of the clients prefer non-finished wooden flooring for laying it out on the floor which is then been finished post assembly. Post proper layout of non-finished wooden flooring the whole surface undergoes sanding with both high and lower grit sanding papers. Here again, the sanding pattern must be consistent and should use overlapping pattern where the first round of sanding is done across the grains and second round of sanding is done along the grains. This will ensure consistent finishing while bringing flattest surface in wooden flooring. Corners of the wooden flooring are hand leveled and sanded to ensure an even and professional results. Any imperfection such as nail holes are hand filled and sanded.
Before applying final finishing, buffing activity is been carried out on the sanded wooden flooring. Buffing helps in bringing the elegant looking grains beauty out of wood for constituent finishing and for great polishing.
Though this is a best and recommended method to lay down the flooring, the planning for this must start right from laying the concrete slab for that area in comparison with other areas. The height of this flooring raises significantly which may end up reducing ceiling height, step up problems and transition to other rooms. The idea of this subflooring is to ensure that we keep our main flooring away from the cold concrete floor which is more exposed to moisture to transmit it into the main finished wooden floor. This will help to have a warmer or stable finished floor. The moisture always moves from more to less content, hence using any kind of wood is not an ideal choice in building this layer of floor. Earth surface consists of 99% of moisture where concrete consists of porous material. Hence moisture moves from the higher concentrated surface ground to fewer concentrates of the concrete surface through its porous. We experience this comparatively higher in basement surfaces than on the surfaces of the higher floor.
It is always advised to choose flat, preservative-treated, kiln-dried 2X4 length bracket wood for a proper layer. To prepare, lay out the sleepers in mastic around room’s perimeter. Fix the brackets to the floor with 2 1/4-inch powder-actuated masonry nails or fasteners. Highly powered pneumatic guns are used with the relatively higher length of nails to fix the brackets to the floor. Using the same methods, on 16-inch center place sleepers across the slab, which will run perpendicular to the direction the finish flooring. Use a long, straight board and a carpenter’s level to check for any dips as you work, adding small cedar shims beneath the sleepers to adjust heights if necessary.
1 1/2-inch-thick foam insulations are being placed between the sleepers which will help to insulate the floor. Foam Insulators are made to fit between the sleepers with no gap or allowance, this will ensure that there is no room to move against each other. The sleepers then will be covered with 6-mil polyethylene sheeting overlapping the edges by 6 inches which will be then be extended by 4 inches on the wall serve as a boundary of the surrounding wall.
Next, cover the sheeting and sleepers with 4-by-8-foot-by-5/8-inch plywood (grade CD Exposure 1) or 3/4-inch OSB panels, centering their long edges over the sleepers. Allow 3/4 inch of space at the walls and 1/8 inch between panels. Where cutting a panel is necessary, measure for size, snap a chalk line across the panel, and then use a power circular saw with a plywood-cutting blade to cut it.
Calculate the square feet (Length X Width) area of room or office to find out how much flooring we need to buy. This calculation is simple for the square room. For irregular shared room divide the room into smaller pockets of squares and rectangles, calculate the square feet of each smaller pocket and sum them up for total area. To cover up imprecise math, irregular pieces and working mistakes add 10% to the total square feet. Remove the old baseboards, carpets. If you have vinyl we can install certain flooring right over it. Your subfloor must be clean, dry, leveled and structurally sound. For glue down applications we will remove the wax, paints, oils with a sanding machine. For floating and nail down floors we will clean up the dust to make it dust free. After we clean the floor we measure the moisture level using the moisture meter. For a subfloor of plywood over a concrete, the level of both floors needs to be checked. The floor levels shouldn’t vary more than 3/16 inch over every 10 feet. We will sand the high spots and fix low spots according to your subfloor type. On glue down and floating floors, we can apply a leveling compound. For nail down floors, we can level by reinforcing the joints. Your sub floor must be strong and structurally sound where lose or cracks boards need to be fixed by wood or decking screws. Flooring typically looks best running along the longest wall within a room, but it should be perpendicular to the floor joists. If it is not perpendicular we can add another layer of thin plywood to strengthen the floor. The doorways need to be prepared in line with the requirements for wooden flooring. The door casing needs to be cut in line with the height requirements of the flooring. When our subfloors are in good shape we can put down the underlayment, the type of underlayment depends on the type of flooring installations. We will lay down the underlayment living it long at the end of the ends of the floor. We overlap the layers for about six inches and staple them together for the solid grip. For glue down floors, moisture barriers are a part of adhesives, where adhesive becomes moisture-resistant when cured. The good quality adhesives are easy soap and water cleanup before it is cured.
It is important to mark the starting lines square to the room wall; however, many walls are bowed or out of square. Here is a technique which can be used to ensure we have the right markup to lay down our wooden flooring – mark the center of each wall which is been connected by lines in between. Then measure from the centerline to the starting wall, subtract the expansion gap and mark this distance at the end. Snap a line between two marked ends to get a straight line against the wall.
To understand the working cost, completion time on your wooden flooring, it is also important to decide to opt for prefinished flooring or raw flooring. The pre finished wooden flooring requires special skills where we help you to ensure the quality of prefinished flooring is maintained throughout the working conditions. Raw flooring comes with option and flexibility of laying down the flooring and choosing right finishing color which will suit unique individual preferences.
– Stagger the joints at least by 6 inches and avoid edge joints, in other words, don’t allow the joints to line up unless they are at least two rows apart.
– It’s smart to calculate the width of the last row too if it would be less than one inch consider cutting the first row by half.
– During storing the flooring for room temperature, utilize this time to check on the defects or bad pores in the pieces of wooden floorings.
– We can sort them and keep aside the slightly defective pieces which can be used to fill in the last row in the place. We can also cut off the damaged pieces and select only good pieces to install.
– When flooring is acclimated, pick up the straightest pieces for first two rows.
– Set spacer for the expansion gap, usually we provide ¾ inch of a gap between wall and the edge of flooring
– Face nail for an about ½ inch from the tongue side starting about 3 inches from the end and generally every 6 inches in between. We usually use a pneumatic or air nail gun to ensure no damage to the surface of the wooden flooring.
– When we come towards the end of a line remember to measure the right distance by considering an expansion gap of a ¾ inch from the wall.
– To start the second row, push the groove of the second row to the tongue of the first row and tap the component together with the tapping block. Continue installing all next rows by staggering the joints and maintaining the expansion gaps.
– Mix pieces from different boxes while installing wooden flooring on the floor so that we don’t have patches of similar color or grains.
– For the last two rows, depending on the space or room for nail guns we need to face nail along the tongue side.
– To fit the last row with right width cut the pieces by keeping in mind the expansion gaps. Face nail the last piece after we ensure the last pieces alignment in the overall layout.
– If the last piece is less than one inch in width glue it to the previous row.
– Reattach the baseboard and shoe moldings. Attach trim to the wall, not to the floor and then add the transitions.