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JDeFuria 03-07-2009 05:30 PM

Diagonal Hardwood Install Advice
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I've been doing quite a bit of reasearch and am considering doing my own install of 3/4" solid hardwood....4 or 5" width. (I'm pretty handy but never installed a wood floor before.) Anyway, I'm looking for comments for anyone who thinks I'm on the right track...or if I'm crazy. :)

Have not ordered the wood yet, but we're looking for a mid to high quality wood in a dark brown (little to no red color), relatively uniform finish and are leaning toward a Brazilian Walnut. We loved the BR-111 Bra. Walnut we saw in a showroom but it's pricey. We're considering this:

Anyone have experience with this product or company?


I've attached the floor plan. Everything except the master bathroom is to be floored. A total of about 850 sq. ft. It's all currently builder's special wall-to-wall carpet / padding, which is installed directly on the 3/4" OSB sub-floor. I'll be taking up the carpet and installing the wood directly on the sub-floor with #15 felt underlayment. (Or should I use red rosin paper?)

I was going to do a standard install oriented lengthwise north-south...which should be the most visually appealing (hallways) and is also perpandicular to the joists. Then my wife and I saw some diagonal installs and now of course we're leaning toward that. There's not as much info on line about diagonal installs, so some questions:

1) Are there any practical or visual considerations for which diagonal orientation? I am thinking I'd install with the planks oriented lengthwise in a northeast to southwest direction. Why? The stairway. (See layout). There's about 25 feet from the stairway wood railing base to the northeast corner of the bedroom. Since (I think) the floor will be installed flush (no expansion gap) against the wood railing base, I'd rather have that length of floor running lengthwise to the railing to minimize expansion.

Does that make sense?

2) Speaking of the stairway, see attached JPG. I assume that I can install the floor flush up against the wooden base of the railing (no expansion gap), as I've seen other floors installed that way. I did pull back the carpet and check the height, and it will be flush with the 3/4" hardwood so there's no transition issue. Should I be worried about expansion? Is there some other way to install in this area?

3) Starting a diagonal install...should I start in the middle of a room (say along the red line in the floor plan), or start at a corner? I've read about people doing both. I did read that if you start in a corner you need to be more careful about "bowing" at the edges of the room. On the other hand, if I start in the middle of the room, I assume I'll have to do something (screw down 1"x scrap?) so that I can blind nail the first few rows against it to keep them straight. And then I'll have to reverse/spline and back-fill a portion of the room. Anyone have experience starting either way?

4) Finally...I don't own a table saw...any reason with a diagonal install that I'd need one? I can't see the need to rip any boards...I suppose I better get a decent mitre saw though! :icon_cheesygrin:

Thoughts? Prayers?

HardwoodGuy 03-10-2009 05:15 PM

Lotta work doing a diagonal, especially getting the cuts right and those closets! Yes you can go flush against the stairway plate. It does sound odd when you think about expansion properties, but you do have room on the opposite wall.

Many will offer different opinions but my starting point would be the green line shown. But that could change after I thought about it for a few days. Arrows indicate the direction to take the installation.

Brazilian Hardwood? I know Dan personally...have for about seven years now. He does offer a good quality product at outrageous prices...low. Have you spoken to him recently? He doesn't respond to my emails unless he's out of action? I did hear about a possible back surgery.

More later if you respond.

JDeFuria 03-10-2009 06:27 PM

Thanks for the reassurance on the stairway plate.

I'm also curious as to why you would choose that particular place to begin. (Or if you change your mind...)

Also (newbie installer question) you would stabilize the first plank (and next few rows) when starting the installation mid-room...would you use some scrap and screw down behind it, and then remove after a few rows...then spline and reverse direction?)

I'd of course welcome any odd "issues" you see with this layout. Yeah...closets won't be fun.

I have not spoken to Dan driectly...I've been corresponding with Nicole P. to get the quote and answer any questions. She's been extremely responsive to any inquiry I've had.

HardwoodGuy 03-11-2009 07:16 AM

Reason for starting there? That area requires the most precision when fitting up against the rail plate. Chances are the plate istelf may not be straight so once you've started, 45 degree angle cuts may work, but adjustments may have to be made for that first board when continuing. In other words, 45 degrees may turn into 45 and 1/4" etc. if you want a nice professional appearance.

I also prefer to get the harder meticulate stuff out of the way first.

Starting? Exactly what you are planning. Scraps. I simply use 3-4 nails...just shoot 'em in. Blind nail the tongue area when starting and the groove when you change direction, but the nails may have to be set before the spline is used.

Odd. Yes. Running through all those areas and keeping it straight. I uploaded a pic illustration here not long ago. I do have some time saving tips for all the corners you'll be faced with.

JDeFuria 03-11-2009 09:41 AM

Interesting...fir the first piece you recommend nailing the groove (and set if needed) and then (glue in?)the spline. All other accounts I've read have been other people splining and then nailing the spline in. I was always worried about how the spline would hold up to nailing (and not shift making the next piece difficult to install.)

I think I like the idea of nailing in the groove to avoid spline you usually have to adjust the nailer...or just keep it the same as the tongue nailing (and set if needed as you said?)

I'll do some searching on this board and see if I can find those pics and corner suggestions. Thanks!

HardwoodGuy 03-13-2009 05:46 PM

In the construction business, opinions will always be different. Whatever you feel most comfortable with works. I've seen the issues and some demonstrations by the National Wood Flooring Assoc(NWFA) and those guys don't follow the golden rules all the time either.

soch 06-28-2009 08:31 AM

starting in middle or corner?
I got two advise:

-Start in the middle using a spline, glue the spine, dry, then nail both tongues.
-Start in the corner. First stack few rows in the corner (in rectangular fashion), make sure the row around 6 feet away from corner is at 45 degrees, start nailing. Start nailing from center of each row, don't build the entire row edge to edge, build few rows, then do the sides. -- This was the advice given by an HD guy who found info on homeinstallers. com.

ARI001 06-29-2009 03:35 PM

Check out the April 2009 issue of the JLC. There is a pretty good article in there about laying a angled hardwood floor with a border. I would recommend using some kind of padded flooring underlayment instead of 15# felt. It will go a long way to reducing the echo effect a lot of people don't like about wood floors. I would also advise that you invest in a table saw and miter saw for this project.

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