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Old 07-04-2012, 10:08 AM   #1
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flooring in seasonal home


We are building a small home in upstate NY near Middleburg. We are getting mixed recommendations on the type of flooring we can install as we will not have any heat on in the winter months. Anyone had any experience on this subject. Am very confused and don't want to install carpeting. Thank you.

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Old 07-04-2012, 10:17 AM   #2
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flooring in seasonal home


You may want to consider at least leaving some heat on just at a low temp ... Less money doing that than potentially dealing with burst pipes, etc. Also take the time to insulate really well.

Any hard surface flooring is going to get very cold with no heat on at all over winter. If you don't like carpet what do you like?

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Old 07-04-2012, 11:01 AM   #3
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I assume you will not occupy the house in the winter. I also assume you will drain the pipes or use antifreeze in the pipes, so the flooring does not get wet from burst pipes.

Hardwood is not affected by temperature, shrinkage/swelling is almost entirely driven by relative humidity. In Upstate New York, a heated house in the winter has very low relative humidity, so the hardwood shrinks in the winter, and swells in the summer due to high relative humidity, unless you have a fully air conditioned house, which is rare in Upstate New York. So hardwood is fine in the winter, with or without heat, as long as it is properly installed to account for seasonal shrink/swell. Porcelain tile, vinyl tile, bamboo, carpet, also do fine without heat. None of these materials like to get wet, so make sure your pipes do not burst.
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Old 07-05-2012, 08:20 AM   #4
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flooring in seasonal home


Thank you for your replies. Yes, we will be draining pipes for the winter months. Hardwood is my first choice and we do have a building contractor who will be installing the floor. Is it best to install narrow planks versus wide planks?
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Old 07-05-2012, 11:41 AM   #5
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It's really a matter of personal taste ... I prefer the wider planks from a purely aesthetic perspective as it looks more like a traditional hardwood floor from where I am from (Scotland) ... The install is usually easier too as less boards to install. Also less joins so theoretically less likely to be wavey ... But with a professional installer that should not be an issue.
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Old 07-05-2012, 10:23 PM   #6
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flooring in seasonal home


Wood flooring will be ok in the winter months. Humidity in the summer is more of what could be an issue. However, if the flooring is properly acclimated and proper spacing is left around the perimeter it will be ok. My company is currently working in a building built in 1934 with original maple floors. The building is not heated or cooled as it is the States DNR building on the State fair grounds and is only used 10 or so days a year.

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