Installing flooring - page 5
Most people choose to buy good wood from a local producer, rather than the big box store in the city. They like to know where the wood came from, and see for themselves the methods used to produce it.
Face to face sharing beats any third party certification system in the world.
Wide Plank Oak (12" and wider) and Rough Sawn flooring are unique opportunities that produce even higher values from the forest. My emphasis in the future will move in this direction as my timber gets larger and more mature. Having carefully dried lumber is critical and explaining the special features of this wood to the homeowner is important.
Wood flooring is alive and changes with humidity and the seasons. Each species is a little different. It is important to talk with customers and discuss all the features of character flooring and how it will react to humidity before you get started. Be sure to start with dry wood! The more natural character you use in a floor, the less the concerns about movement and damage from hard use.
A typical flooring installation:
The species and style has been chosen by the homeowner. The first day we move our tools and pick the wood from the storage room in the barn. At the house, I again show the wood to the owner and ask them what types of character, color, and texture that they like. It is hard to predict what a mixed species character floor will look like when it is installed, so the more input I get from the owner as we start, the less likely they would have any complaints. I also encourage them to help out if they wish. When a homeowner gets involved in selecting the wood and nailing it down, their satisfaction level is much higher. Happy customers are very important to my business success!
Our important tools on the jobsite are a table saw for ripping, reciprocating saw for notching, chop saw for cross cutting, air compressor & air nailer, and sanders. The chop saw should have good rollers or tables to support the wood on each side as you work. Choose an air compressor for quietness and have a long air hose to keep the noise as far away from where you are working as possible. I use a biscuit joiner and ¼" thick board as a "jamb saw" to cleanly cut off the vertical trim on the walls so the flooring can be slipped underneath. A toolbox full of hand tools - hammers, drills, chisels, nail sets, pliers etc is handy too. One small flooring job will pay for all these tools. Rentals are usually available too, but I own everything I need.
Laying out the floor and fastening the first line of boards is the critical step. Getting the first line straight and square to the other floors and walls can be tricky. We use string lines and big squares and multiple measurements to pick the best orientation. Planning ahead can save a lot of time and wood when you get to the edges. Sometimes we start on a straight wall & go across - and other times we start down the middle and go out both ways. A spline is used to make a double-tongued row so you can go each way.