No heat in home where wood floor is being installed

Q: I was wondering if you could answer some questions for me and give a little guidance. I’m a tile installer 95% and on occasion I install some hardwood or laminate. I am heading out to Montana in late April to do all the tile and hardwood in a friends new cabin.

There isn’t going to be any heat or electric at the cabin while I’m installing besides a generator to run tools and a fireplace that I will use intermittently for heat. I’m concerned about temperature and moisture changes without the cabin being more finished. I’ll be installing refinished hardwood, he hasn’t picked a species yet. I’m guessing 3/4″.


Any advice? Should I have him hold out on the hardwood until the place is temperature controlled? He will only be maintaining a 50F temp in the cabin when he isn’t there.

A: Given the setting, I think you can only have so much control over the temperature. My bigger concern would be moisture. If this is a new building, it now has a roof and is all closed in but at some point, everything was fully exposed and got wet. You are going to need a moisture meter to check the levels in the hardwood and the subfloor you will be installing on. There should not be more than a 4% difference. If the subfloor is say 7% or higher than the hardwood, you need to wait for it to dry out. I’d probably be checking the structure too if this is a new building to see how high those readings are. And you will be injecting more moisture into the environment when you do the tile work. Wood floors should be one of the last things done, definitely, after all the wet trades have been completed.

Installing a multicolored floor

Q: I am looking for advice on how to lay a multicolored floor with three different colors of hardwood from the same brand. Any suggestions on how to make the pattern random?

A: Perhaps laying out an area at a time without nailing the boards, and then standing back and determine if you need to move the grouping slightly.

Finishing a Douglas Fir floor

Q: We have a 1930s colonial revival home. Upstairs, in the bedrooms, we have what I believe are Douglas Fir wood floors. Two rooms were Previously finished when we bought the home. We are now in the process of removing the carpet in the other two. The floor appears to be in good shape, but still has a thin layer of wax finish on it and is otherwise rather raw. I am really leaning on cleaning them up, lightly sanding and rewaxing them. I’m drawn to the easy repairs and the ease of application, but mostly to the natural softness wax floors offer.

Continue reading Finishing a Douglas Fir floor

Need to have air conditioning installed before laying hardwood floors?



Q: Do you absolutely need to have air conditioning installed before laying hardwood floors? What if you have a dehumidifier and can keep the humidity in the acceptable range? Continue reading Need to have air conditioning installed before laying hardwood floors?




Why does my new red oak flooring differ so much from my existing red oak flooring?



Q: Why does my new red oak flooring differ so much from my existing red oak flooring? I recently replaced my tile runway and tiled kitchen with red oak to match my existing red oak wood floor that runs parallel. Now it’s all wood, but looks completely different. Continue reading Why does my new red oak flooring differ so much from my existing red oak flooring?




I installed 3/4 OSB directly over a concrete slab, with a vapor barrier



Q imported from our old site, Face Lift Floors: I installed 3/4 OSB directly over a concrete slab, above grade, with a vapor barrier Rosen paper and Nailed down 3/4 Maple (Canadian!). What problems can I look forward to? Continue reading I installed 3/4 OSB directly over a concrete slab, with a vapor barrier




Is it okay to put a new oak floor over an old one?



Q imported from our old site, Face Lift Floors: Is it good to put a new oak floor over an old one, or is it better to tear up the old one and put new plywood boards and then install the new oak floor? Continue reading Is it okay to put a new oak floor over an old one?




Should we remove multiple layers of subfloor before installing?



Q imported from our old site, Face Lift Floors: After removing carpet from my bedroom I discovered that there are 2 subfloors, one on top of another. Continue reading Should we remove multiple layers of subfloor before installing?




Remove and relocate old 3/8″ strip flooring to another room?



Q imported from our old site, Face Lift Floors: Is there any way to remove and relocate hardwood flooring to another room? We are remodeling our home and don’t want to lose our beautiful flooring. Continue reading Remove and relocate old 3/8″ strip flooring to another room?




Removing pine floors without damaging them



Q imported from our old site, Face Lift Floors: Our pine floors are over 100 years old, and we have no subfloor. Our plan was to tear up the pine floors and put plywood down then put the original pine floors back down. Were then going to insulate with icynene (especially for damp places, that sticks to everything). How do I tear up these floors without damaging them further? Continue reading Removing pine floors without damaging them