Home>Discussions>INTERIORS>Molding & Carpentry>Hardwood floor installing question
7 posts / 0 new
Last post
duha79
Hardwood floor installing question

I am planning to install hardwood floor by myself. I am using 2 ½ by ¾ inch red oak. I have two questions regarding this subject.

1. For Massachusetts climate should I use nails as oppose to staples? I did some online browsing and people seem to be split 50/50 for nail Vs. staple. Some say staples hold the wood tighter initially but over time as the wood expands and contracts nails do a better job in holding them in place.

2. In my online browsing I found that everyone unanimously agree that wood planks should be laid perpendicular to the floor joists. Everyone also agree that planks should be laid parallel to the longest wall. My problem is I have 30x14 room where the joists run parallel to the longest wall. So if I lay the floor parallel to the longest wall I would be also placing them parallel to the joists. What should I do in this situation?

JLMCDANIEL
Re: Hardwood floor installing question

My personal preference is to use nails if the sub floor is plywood or wood and use staples if the subfloor is OSB.

Usually parallel to the longest wall is more aesthetic but perpendicular to the joists is a must.
Jack.

duha79
Re: Hardwood floor installing question

Thank you very much for your help Jack. I have couple more questions:

JLMCDANIEL wrote:

My personal preference is to use nails if the sub floor is plywood or wood and use staples if the subfloor is OSB.

What is OSB and how do I know which one I have?

JLMCDANIEL wrote:

Usually parallel to the longest wall is more aesthetic but perpendicular to the joists is a must.
Jack.

What's the consequence of laying parallel to the Joists? Can I strengthen the subfloor somehow to be able to lay the planks parallel to the longest wall?

A. Spruce
Re: Hardwood floor installing question
duha79 wrote:

What is OSB and how do I know which one I have?

OSB = Oriented Strand Board. Imagine potato chip sized flakes of wood that have been glued into a panel, that is OSB. Google images if you're still unsure.

duha79 wrote:

What's the consequence of laying parallel to the Joists? Can I strengthen the subfloor somehow to be able to lay the planks parallel to the longest wall?

I believe the primary thing is that you're more likely to see waves between the joists, whereas if you ran perpendicular, the hardwood would span any irregularities.

duha79
Re: Hardwood floor installing question
A. Spruce wrote:

I believe the primary thing is that you're more likely to see waves between the joists, whereas if you ran perpendicular, the hardwood would span any irregularities.

A friend of mine suggested that I nail small pieces of wood perpendicular to the joist into the joists under the floor to add extra strength to the sub-floor. Do you think it would help?

Any suggestion for nail Vs. staple?

A. Spruce
Re: Hardwood floor installing question

Adding blocking would strengthen the floor, though I don't know that you'd notice much difference from the top. Also, any waves that are there won't be cured with blocks.

I'm a nail man. Nails are easier to set to the proper depth and they can be driven a little deeper if need be. IMHO, most of the time a nail will hold better than a staple because staples tend to get driven improperly, either too high or too low. If it's too high, it will bend over before being manually driven any further. If it's too low, then it's likely split or destroyed whatever you're trying to hold down, making that staple worthless.

JLMCDANIEL
Re: Hardwood floor installing question

I'm with Spruce. I always use plywood for subflooring and always use flooring nails.
Jack

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.