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Old 09-07-2010, 10:09 AM
 
41 posts, read 322,733 times
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Default What do I put under hardwood floors?

We are putting down some 3/4" x 3-1/4" solid brazillan cherry floors in an upstair bathroom. The planks will be nailed down to the USB underflooring.

I have been told that regular plastic is fine and other have recommended a thicker / softer foam or even roofing felt.

What should be used? What are the positives and negatives of each? I already of rolls of plastic. Also the room is only about 20 sq ft and doesn't get much use.
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Old 09-07-2010, 10:54 AM
 
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I wouldn't use plastic, as you'll trap any moisture that gets past the flooring. The foams are used with laminate flooring or floating wood floors- not with nail-down hardwood. Use either rosin paper or felt- the whole idea of the paper is just to prevent noise as the flooring moves against the subfloor.
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Old 09-07-2010, 07:22 PM
 
Location: Far from where I'd like to be
24,226 posts, read 28,505,746 times
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Wood floors in a bathroom?? Not a good idea!!
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Old 09-07-2010, 07:49 PM
 
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Default Shower or commode?

If your bathroom has either of these elements you will reget your decision to use wood flooring. Beside the obvious problems with direct water contact, the amount of moisture that occurs with either shower or commode can lead to warping or worse.

As long the sub floor is in good shape no real reason to have ANYTHING between it and the finish floor.

No good reason to have sort of moisture- proof layer. Any time the finish floor is really soaked through you will need to rip it out and redo the subfloor anyhow...
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Old 09-07-2010, 10:52 PM
 
Location: Tucson for awhile longer
4,725 posts, read 4,309,689 times
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Ditto from here. You're asking for trouble using either wood or laminate flooring in a bathroom or even kitchen for that matter. Just in my personal experience: burst pipe in the wall behind a shower, broken hose to the icemaker in a refrigerator, burst pipe to the hot water dispenser in a kitchen sink, overflowing dishwasher (in two different houses). And of these situations would have been curtains for a hardwood or Pergo-type floor.
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Old 09-08-2010, 02:37 PM
 
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15lb. roofing felt is the standard membrane material for nailed down solid (3/4") hardwood flooring. If it's minimally used, and there are no catastrphic events, hardwood will be fine for that type of application. Make sure your flooring is pre-sealed with a durable urethane finish, or that the finish applied after installation is a urethane, and the correct number of coats (2-4) have been applied.

Do not "wet mop". The days of swabbing the deck are over. Wood and water are enemies. Us a swiffer, dust mop, vacuum, etc. for regular maintenance. Wipe off sticky stuff like hairspray and cosmetic spills with a clean rag and something 409-ish, or a hardwood cleaner made for spot-cleaning. Bruce makes a couple. So does Bona. Both are excellent.

Regards,
Streamer1212

NOTE TO Chet Everett, regarding this note:
"..........As long the sub floor is in good shape no real reason to have ANYTHING between it and the finish floor......."

Don't tell people this. It's wrong. There are a number of reasons to have a membrane in place. There's NO good reason to leave out the membrane. None.

Streamer1212
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Old 09-08-2010, 02:52 PM
 
529 posts, read 1,874,720 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cgar22 View Post
...... The planks will be nailed down to the USB underflooring.........
Can we assume that you meant OSB (Oriented Strand Board) and not USB?

Regards,
Streamer1212

Last edited by Streamer1212; 09-08-2010 at 03:02 PM..
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Old 09-08-2010, 03:20 PM
 
20,734 posts, read 32,507,164 times
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Default What makes a wood floor squeak?

A long time ago I was renovating a house and the floor guy I hired had literally millions of sq ft of installed floors to his credit. He had done everything from fancy inland floors in high end home to school gyms and bowling alleys. When he swept off the subfloor and starting laying out the flooring I stopped him and asked "what about rosin paper or felt". He shook his head and said "if subfloor is sound you don't need it and if subfloor ain't sound it ain't going to fix that problem...".

Now in the situation where the subfloor itself is a moisture issue (like over slab or moisture prone crawl) there are reasons to consider sealing that and materials that do a good job, but OP is talking about using plastic to keep water / moisture on the finish side of the subfloor, sorta like installing insulation with the vapor barrier going the wrong way. That is a bad idea.

When it comes to squeaks the word from the FAQs of the most important flooring for sports courts is clear: Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association : Position Statements : Floor Squeaks

If squeaks are coming from the tongue and grove area then paper or felt on the backside will do no good.

The mechanical connnectiion of the finish floor to the subfloor (and stability of the subtler itself) are the important things in the installation.


Dust issues during construction , especially since many sites do HW after drywall, may make for a more pleasant work surface with a layer of paper / felt though since most drywall guys use dustless sanding and pretty much all trades use vacuums to clean up I don't know if that is really a.concern these days.

If there are other reasons for paper / felt perhaps you could link to something from the National Wood Flooring Association or similar.

Last edited by chet everett; 09-08-2010 at 03:37 PM..
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Old 09-09-2010, 10:04 AM
 
41 posts, read 322,733 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Streamer1212 View Post
Can we assume that you meant OSB (Oriented Strand Board) and not USB?

Regards,
Streamer1212

Oops...too much time on computer problems.
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Old 09-09-2010, 11:43 AM
 
529 posts, read 1,874,720 times
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Chet.....Please accept my apology for the tenor of my post regarding your advice. It had been a long day, and I was grumpy from having to fix a homeowner's solution to a stain problem. Both the original problem and the problem from her solution were self-inflicted.

Now...Rosin paper and roofing felt membranes are used to minimize moisture transfer from subfloor to wood flooring so that movement (warping, cupping, etc.) are reduced. Even extreme seasonal conditions like heat and humidity (both, where i live) are minimized by the addition of one of these soft membrane products.

So, it's not about squeaks (although the membrane can help by default). It's about minimizing the effect of moisture presence in adjacent surfaces like subfloors and subfloor penetrations suh as plumbing or old radiator piping.

Another quote from Chet's post:
"......No good reason to have sort of moisture- proof layer.........."

Yes....100% right. In fact, using a moisture-proof membrane such as visqueen or another poly will trap moisture and create the very problem one was trying to prevent. Usually, the red rosin paper or 15# roofing felt will hold a minimal amount of moisture long enough for it to dissipate via evaporation.

Again, I apologize for the chiding attitude of my message yeterday.

And Cgar....I hope your new floor turns out great.

Regards,
Streamer1212
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