Long before the first nail is placed, we've been monitoring moisture content in three areas: the hardwood to be installed, the subfloor it will be installed over, and the general conditions of your home. A wide gap in moisture content between the new hardwood and the home can lead to major issues with swelling, warping, cupping, or shrinking.
Usually it's just a matter of placing the new hardwood in the home long enough for it to acclimate. However, mere acclimation isn't the whole story. It's important to take moisture readings in key areas across the floor to detect unusual concentrations of moisture that might indicate a leaking roof, pipe, or other localized problem.
Hardwood flooring is usually stored and shipped in conditions that approximate the normal living conditions of most homes, rendering a long acclimation period unnecessary. However, since every house is different it's best to plan on the new hardwood sitting in your house for up to two weeks while it reaches an equilibrium. National Wood Flooring Association standards recommend a difference of no greater than 4 percentage points of moisture content between your subfloor and the hardwood flooring for long-term stability.
We check over the subfloor to make sure it has the necessary strength to permanently hold the flooring nails. NWFA standards require at least 5/8" plywood or OSB. We clean off dried chunks of plaster, set protruding nails, sand down high spots, and fill in low spots until we have a clean, flat, and dry surface.
An important but sometimes neglected step in the art of installing hardwood floors is undercutting all of the door jambs. This allows for the wood flow seamlessly under the door trim with no gaps or unsightly open spots. It should look as if the house was built around the hardwood floor.
In the final step before laying out the hardwood, we roll out an asphalt-laminate moisture barrier paper. Its purpose is to slow the transmission of water vapor from the crawlspace, through the subfloor, and into the hardwood. A water-tight seal is inadvisable because it could trap moisture in the subfloor, leading to rot. Instead, the moisture barrier helps protect the hardwood from sudden spikes in moisture content. By retarding the effects of moisture transmission, it can minimize seasonal moisture changes and even help save the hardwood flooring in the event of a flooded crawlspace.
Now we are finally ready to snap a straight line, open up the wood, lay it out in an organized fashion, and begin nailing. We leave a narrow gap around the perimeter where the wood meets the wall; this allows for normal expansion and contraction of the wood. The gap will be hidden by the baseboards or shoe molding. Old Town Wood Floors also follows all National Wood Flooring Association standards pertaining to joint placement, nailing schedule, and every other aesthetical and structural consideration. We take pride in installing tight, clean, structurally sound hardwood floors.
Details and descriptions of the best and most popular species of wood used in flooring
A new hardwood floor installation is the most dramatic way to impact your home design short of a major structural remodel. There are so many possibilities for wood species, board configurations, stain colors, and custom features, that you will never have to settle for the same hardwood floor as your neighbor.
Check out the pages below for in-depth discussions of common hardwood flooring topics, or scroll down for an informative look at our installation process.
From simple to grand, read on for examples and pictures of custom staircases
Distinguish your floors with a variety of borders, inlays, and patterns.
Discussion and recommendations on common questions such as: