Looking for a distributor of Stanley Knight Beaver Brand flooring

Q: We are looking for a distributor of Stanley Knight Beaver Brand flooring. We purchased from the Medford Ontario location which is now closed. Trying to match what we currently have.

A: That is sad to hear. I had no idea and they had quite a long history in Meaford. I would suggest contacting Knights of Meaford who are still in business there, manufacturing wood flooring. They actually are the same family and would be the best ones to direct you I would think.

Last few boards of install won’t fit

Q: I have been putting down a floating cali bamboo floor. Almost complete. On the last two rows all of a sudden the wood panel does not want to line up and attach. I’ve had no problems up to this point. Now all of a sudden I can’t get these boards to go in. I get one side in and the other side pops out. Even tried simultaneously. Confused. I don’t know what to do. I thought I had a bad board. So I’ve tried a few more. All doing the same thing. Ever heard of this?

A: That would frustrate the life out of me. There has to be a reason you are not seeing. The bad board idea would have been my first guess too and I would have inspected the joints for damage, any twisting of the board. And don’t forget to check the board already in place for damage to it’s joint. Is there something that has gotten under the pad, if you are installing on pad. It could be a tiny stone on the floor. It doesn’t take much. perhaps a slight hump in the floor?

Follow-up: Thank you. I will check to see if anything got under the pad. Still stumped. I’ve put a few of the boards together in another room. And they went together with no problem.

Gaps and creaking

Q: We purchased a brand new home in April 2010. Since then, every time we walk on the hardwood flooring, on the outer walls it makes cracking and creaking noises. Why is it doing this? It is very loud and what I would imagine a 100 year old home with hardwood flooring would sound like. Is there anyway to fix this?

A: I don’t know what this floor is installed on top of nor whether an appropriate amount of nails, cleats or staples was used. But clearly the floor is moving. It could also be expansion and contraction noises occurring. Do you notice any large gaps appearing or conversely do you see any cupping of the boards that would indicate expansion from moisture?

Follow-up Q: Hi! I took a picture of one of the boards [gapping] they are all like this on the exterior wails of the home. Our house is not even three years old yet. I’m jut wondering if it is normal or if I should be contacting the builder? Thanks for your help!

A: That looks like wide maple plank which is more sensitive to environmental changes in humidity than some other woods. This clearly is significant shrinkage. I’m wondering what the moisture content of both the maple and the structure it is fastened onto was at the time of installation. Yes, I think I would be calling the contractor. Tell him to bring a moisture meter with him.

Brown cardboard like underlayment

Q: I’m installing pre finished 3/4 thick by 4″ wide hickory Flooring. I am tearing out the 5/8″ particle board underlayment. Under the 5/8″ particle board is 1/2″ brown lightweight stuff that I am unfamiliar with. Looks like cardboard but it’s not. Under that is 5/8″ plywood. What is the stuff? I’m thinking maybe a sound barrier of sort. Should I take it out? I plan on installing new 5/8″ plywood in place of the particle board. However to keep floor height even I need to use either 1/2″ plywood over the brown (sound board?) or remove it as well and put down 3/4 plywood. Your thoughts appreciated. This is a condo built in 1965.

A: Good you mentioned it is a condo. They do have rules with flooring which includes sound barrier so I assume that is what you are describing. Is there some flex in the material? I would lay your plywood over top of it. But I’d rather see minimum 5/8 ply over that. 1/2″ doesn’t give your fastener much to bite into. Once it penetrates through the tongue on the board, through the plywood it isn’t likely to go through the 1/2″ sound barrier into the 5/8 under that.

Do 4′ wide planks or more need to be edge glued?

Q: We were recently told by a veteran wood flooring contractor that if we wanted to install solid wood flooring that was 4′ wide planks or more, it would need to be edge glued. When we asked some local wood retailers about this, they said they’d never heard this theory and basically said larger size widths are nailed down just like the narrow widths.

Can you offer some clarification on this?

A: 4′ Isn’t that wide. The wider the board, the closer the nail spacing should be. If you go beyond 4′ I would recommend ‘end’ gluing. The wider the board the greater potential for expansion, contraction and cupping if the environment is not well controlled.

Similar Q: I want to use shiplap for a floor and fasten it with square headed nails. Would you recommend glueing as well?

A: If the boards are 5 or more inches wide I’d probably glue the ends of the boards. There is a likely chance as with most things, you will get some movement because of changes in temperature and humidity. I don’t think you necessarily want to try to prevent that because you will fail and if there is big movement something will break. If you do use an adhesive I’d find something that stays flexible. I’m not against using adhesive though.

How to attach new floor to doorway with no tongue or groove

Q: We had carpet in our dining room and hardwood in the entrance way. We want to extend the hardwood into the dining room running the same way as the hallway (which is perpendicular to the joists as recommended). I ripped up the carpet and found the last piece of hardwood that is in the doorway does not have a tongue or groove and it is stapled to the floor. I was wondering how to attach the new floor to the board that does not have a tongue or groove. Also, there is a walk way from our kitchen into the dining room and the same is true for that hard wood – no tongue or groove. Any help you could provide would be appreciated. In that case, it is running the opposite way so I will need to tie the ends of the boards into that piece somehow. Thanks

A: Aside from replacing those two boards with the tongue or groove intact the only other option is to use adhesive. Try to find a mastic or rubberized, flexible adhesive and you can weight the board down until it has set. I don’t know of any other options.

RH and moisture readings before installation

Q: I installed hardwood flooring on the main level and the top level of a new home as well as a hardwood staircase. The install was in Nov 2013. The floor on the main level is showing areas of gaping and splitting and so is the staircase. There is a lot of shrinkage in the trim and mouldings as well as some shrinkage in the kitchen cabinets and the solid wood cupboard doors in the same areas of the house.

The RH at the time of install was in the 40% range and the wood was in the house for at lest 72 hours before being installed.

The present moisture reading in the floor on the main level where all the problem is are 9 to 8 and up to 12 in some areas; the stair treads have different readings one is 7 and the next one is up to 13. When we take a reading in the basement of the floor and the sheeting for the first floor the meter does not give a reading because the level is too low for the meter to read. I have developed the basement and added a propane stove in the last year. The ceiling is a T-bar type with a drop in tile. Did this cause the staircase and the floor on the main level of the house to react in this way? The RH at present on the main is 38% and the basement is 30%.

A: It sounds to me the moisture reading of the wood products were not taken prior to installation. At any rate, significant heat rise coming from under the stairs and floors could significantly dry the areas you mention. You could add some moisture to the air, but 38% is not bad at all in winter, and I don’t think you would want to go much higher. It is possible none of the wood, stairs, floors, etc., were dry enough, or dry enough to be within range of 4% moisture content in the sub structure.

Cleats over staples

Q: What is the main reason for using the correct number of staples while stapling down hardwood? I have a shrinkage issue and a splitting problem. I’m not sure if using the wrong number of staples is the cause. What would cause this to happen to my hardwood floors?

A: There are certain procedures that should be followed when installing a wooden floor. First, the flooring itself should be taken to the job site and allowed to acclimate to the climate in that house for a week or more. Greater care needs to be taken in newly built homes which at some stage during construction were totally open to the elements. So, it must be determined that sub floors in particular have dried out to a normal level. Checking with a moisture meter, good and safe practice says a sub floor should not contain more than 4% higher reading for moisture than the floor to be installed on top of it. If these steps are not followed and if there isn’t some climate control in the house you may end up with first expansion of the floor, resulting in some cupping followed by severe shrinkage and very large gaps after the moisture starts to finally equalize.

I would choose cleats over staples any day of the week. Staple will allow a little stretch with expansion. Staples won’t and in severe cases can lead to breakage of the tongues on the boards which fit in the grooves on the back edge of the flooring and keep the flooring securely in place.

Best way to nail when I cannot nail tongue side

Q: What is the best way to nail the boards down when I can not nail the tongue side? This is a repair job. My first thought was to face nail the boards. I was wondering if I can nail the boards down from the grove side? Any help will be great.

A: You can drill and nail through the bottom edge of the groove. I would also use some adhesive.

Follow up Q: Glue to the bottom of the board?

A: That’s correct.

Installing floor on top of foam pad residue

Q: I am installing Engineered flooring in my basement (it is concrete). Currently it has glued down carpet. When I started ripping the carpet up it left a thin layer of foam. Can I install the flooring on top of that foam or do I need to remove it? Can it be the underlay for the engineered floor? The engineered floor will be floating and glued together (tongue and groove, not click).

A: I would scrape as much of the pad away as possible using a flat blade trowel. You want the floor to be as flat as possible. Definitely this padding is not a substitute for the padding that comes with your engineered floor which is designed no doubt to serve in part as a vapour retardant to help protect your floor from moisture coming through the concrete or condensing on the concrete.

Follow up: Thanks for your response, I took the advice and wasn’t that hard to scrape up with a sharp floor scraper.

6 Inch wide planks without cupping?

Q: I am doing new construction on the coast in NJ, hardwood floors throughout. Humidity is an issue. I have 12 ft of above grade heated garage area under the hardwood installation. Floor is insulated. Question is can I use a 6″ or wider width plank without issues with boards cupping. Thanks for your response.

A: I do believe the recommendation from the NWFA is when installing anything over 4″ wide you should mix it with another, narrower width. Also be sure the flooring is on site and exposed to the normal living environment inside for several days. I would allow at least a week. Check moisture content in both the sub floor and the flooring with a meter to be sure they are within 4% of each other. Especially is this important with new construction. During building the place has been open and exposed to the elements. It takes time to dry out.

Even out subfloor for floating floor

Q: In removing vinyl tile from a subfloor, some of the plywood layer came up with the tiles. There are still spots with a lot of glue on them in which the tiles came up fine. I checked and saw that this is only a 3/8″ thick piece of plywood, evidently put in over a plywood sub floor before the current tile that I am removing. What do I do to get this ready for a 3/8″ thick bamboo click together floating floor?

A: There are multiple options but you will have to decide which one is best and less costly. If you can remove the remaining adhesive sufficiently that it is flat by sanding it off or scraping chiselling then that is the way to go. If the it is in bad shape it may be best to remove it down to what it is sitting on and then decide if you need to install a smooth ¼ for example. One of the issues with engineered and laminate click together floors is they have fairly severe tolerances when it comes to flatness of the sub floor. Dips you can deal with. Humps are much more serious.

Subfloor between poly vapor barrier and felt

Q: First off, I want to thank you for taking the time to respond to my question. Second, I apologize for being a little vague in my original question. I am planning on a “floating” installation, a “one-piece” vinyl floor covering in the room. That being said, should I now go with the 1/4″ underlayment and if so, is it still OK to loose lay the felt? (Do you recommend 15# or 30#?) I have heard that this may create noise problems due to the possible shifting of the felt/floor covering – is that an accurate assumption? Also, the combo of the 3/4″ subfloor & the 1/4″ underlayment will give me a 1″ thick substrate. Given that the shortest underlayment nail I’ve seen is 1-1/4″ long and I don’t want to have numerous holes in the poly thermal wrap installed under the subfloor, I am assuming that I should go with narrow-crown staples which are available in 3/4″ or 1″ length. My planned fastening procedure is every 2″ along edges and every 4″ ( both directions ) in the field. In closing, I have one final thought – will/would having the 3/4″ subfloor “sandwiched” between the poly vapor barrier underneath and the felt laid on top create a moisture build-up thus causing the 3/4″ subfloor to rot/deteriorate? I will look forward to your follow-up, and welcome any suggestions/recommendations you may have to offer. Thank you for your time.

A: I may have slightly mis read your original description. I understood initially that your floor was insulated and poly installed on the joists at the crawl space side, not the sub floor side of the joists. But as you say, there is no access to the crawl space so obviously the original thought was incorrect. Did you also overlap and tape the poly joints? I can now understand why you are applying the 1/4″ luon or even poplar which is often used with vinyl, not only because of thickness concerns but you want a smooth, defect free surface to install onto. Years ago when I was a young employee I helped a vinyl installer on a number of jobs but I’m no expert on that. I’m really a hardwood guy.

That aside, on first reading your email my immediate concern was of trapping moisture inside the sub floor structure. The plastic should prevent this. I’ve never known a sheet goods installer to lay roofing felt or any other type of membrane down first. In a nail down hardwood installation such is usually used but with 1000 nails punching holes in it, the felt or wax paper can hardly be a ‘vapour barrier’. In that application is retards moisture movement giving the wood floor time to adjust. In your case, I don’t see any reason to use it and there is the added risk of locking any possible moisture in the structure below. I think you have everything else covered. Definitely use the staples. Staple guns and rubber mallets are probably dirt cheap to rent unless you have an electric version. Just keep an eye out for any mis fires that don’t go flush with the underlay. You may have to use an underlay patching compound on the joints as a last prep before installation. Any rough, uneven edges will eventually show through the sheet goods.

Dry Wood Heat and Hardwood Floors

Q: We’ve been wanting to put solid wood floors down in our home, when it is time to replace the carpet we laid after building our home. Recently, we had some water damage on the second floor which damaged our 1st floor master bedroom and on down to the basement. Well, instead of carpet in our bedroom we want to install a hardwood floor. Originally, we liked hickory for the strength. Since the damage, we are researching wood flooring and since we heat our home with a wood furnace in the basement, we aren’t too sure about hickory in our bedroom. The house gets very warm in the winter and our bedroom can range in the 80’s in the winter. Very warm. What type of hardwood floor should we install in our bedroom? We’re thinking Mesquite might do better in our bedroom, since it is the hottest room in the winter and coolest in the summer. In the next few days, we will have to make a decision. The restoration company will begin remodeling all the damaged areas. So we need to decide on a wood species for the floor and we are finding it difficult to make a decision because of the dry wood heat.

A: Mesquite isn’t a common species here in Canada, so I don’t really have any experience with it. It is fairly hard and I have noted that the harder, denser woods such as Hickory, Maple, Jatoba also tend to be more unstable with changes in climate, exhibiting greater shrinkage and gapping. Have you considered quarter sawn white oak? It is harder than red oak, has a unique tiger stripe sort of grain and stains well.

Birch wood floors durability, dents and scratches

Q: We recently purchased a house. I noticed that the birch wood flooring has dents from sliding wheels on stools, and it has quite a few noticeable scratches in some areas. What do you recommend? Is birch wood floors durability below par? I don’t know if the floor is waxed or treated. We are the third owners so we don’t know much about the flooring except that it’s birch.

A: If the floor is thick enough to take it, I would completely re-sand and finish it. I have a birch floor in my kitchen. It’s very nice to look at, but not the best choice for that room because it is a bit softer than oak and does tend to get banged up.

Note from Webmaster: for more info, see Janka hardness test from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Sole plate transition

Q: I want to install hard wood flooring in my kitchen. I have a railing and a step into my family room, with a piece of wood at top (that’s in the kitchen). How do you deal with this?

A: It sounds like you are saying that the ballister system is anchored into a sole plate. If you are installing a 3/4 thick floor and that sole plate is 3/4 then you can just run right off that. If it is not that thick you will either have to remove the ballisters or install off of or up to the sole plate and then use a tiny piece of beveled trim to hide the board edge. You will likely need to install a short length of stair nosing across the opening to the step.

Wood flooring changes in procedure and products in the last 50 years?

Q: Our house was hit by Hurricane Ike in Galveston this past month and took in about a foot of water. It was built in 1955 with 80% wood floors on planks. We tore out the old floor and there was a black tar type substance under them. The foundation is in a bowl of sorts. The insurance covered everything, but my question is about wood flooring changes: is there a newer replacement out in the last 50 years, new products, new procedures, or is everything done just the same? Do we replace and paint the sheet rock before the floors are installed?

A: Not everything has changed but there is a wider selection of woods to choose from. 3/4 Plywood replaces planking for a sub floor. The black asphalt roofing paper is meant to be a vapor retarder. I would make sure everything is dried out well and install the plywood, then install a 3/4 thick floor on top. The sheet rock should be done first. In fact all wet trades ought to be done before the floors, which will be about the last thing done in your house. Makes sure the flooring contractor checks everything with a moisture meter.

Best wood floor acoustics

Q: I am about do up my 14*11 penthouse room, and I want a wooden floor. I am definitely not going for a laminate. Should I go for softwood or hardwood, and how should I lay it? Considering I am a musician, it would be nice if it helps in the acoustics of the room. Which species has the best wood floor acoustics? Also, what are your thoughts on deodar cedar?

A: I’m not an expert on acoustics and don’t know how soft or hard wood affects that. I do know that concrete buildings generally require a sound absorbing barrier under a wood or engineered floor. That could be cork or a synthetic material. Keep in mind, the softer the wood, the easier it will dent.

Note from webmaster: Below are some related links I’ve digged up.

“My experience has been that wood flooring increases volume…” This forum has a thread on the issue in relation to various flooring effects on acoustics:
http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/17724.html

“Hardwood is better than carpet for acoustics…” a similar thread only in relation to hardwood:
http://forums.soundandvisionmag.com/showthread.php?573121-acoustics-with-hard-wood-floors

“Wood and acoustics in buildings” and “Wood in concert halls” are some of the topics covered in this article:
http://www.amjbot.org/content/93/10/1439.full

Here is an article entitled “Sound Tranmission and Flooring Types”:
http://learn.builddirect.com/flooring-info/noise/sound-transmission/

And this post hints at the complexity of the issue not just by species, but subspecies:
http://www.gearslutz.com/board/3916347-post30.html

Good luck!

Should baseboards match floor?

Q: I’m installing a cherry bamboo floor. Should the baseboards match the floor?

A: Not necessarily. I would paint the base and possible quarter round. It gives a nice contrast and doesn’t look like the floor is climbing the walls.

Webmaster’s note re should baseboards match floor: You can compare the somewhat old fashioned look of matching the two: https://www.google.ca/search?q=wood+baseboards&hl=en&prmd=imvns&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X
with a more modern painting of baseboards: https://www.google.ca/search?q=painted+baseboards+wood+floor&hl=en&prmd=imvns&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X

What type of wood floor is it that has this wavy, raised texture sort of look?

Q: We recently were in a home while house hunting that had very interesting “wood” floors and I am interested in finding out what they were. I want to have this installed in our new home. I am assuming that they were a manufactured product as they had a raised grain appearance. That really does not explain them correctly… it was more wavy, on purpose though. Not cupping. Rather, the individual boards had a wavy raised texture that was pronounced. Textured wood flooring. Does that explain it well enough?

A: Yes, that is manufactured. It is called “hand scraped”.