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PhilC 12-11-2005 11:30 PM

Hardwood Floor - Reversing Direction
I am planning to install a hardwood floor in two adjoining rooms with a perpendicular doorway and need advise on how to reverse the direction of my wood strips once I pass through that doorway. I can certainly understand working my way forward to the end of the second room but how do I then work my way back to the start of that room? (Probably a silly question to anyone who had done this type of project before, but.....I am new to this "fun"!) THANKS for your help.:)

Bonus 12-12-2005 12:28 AM

If I understand you correctly, you start at the common doorway and nail through the tongue, add a course, nail, etc 'til the room is done. Then you come back to the start where you now have an exposed groove, and you turn it into a tongue using a spline that you cut on your table saw. Then you're off to the races. Did I answer the right question?

PhilC 12-12-2005 08:24 AM

Thanks Bonus, I did not know if you had to make that piece (spline) yourself or is there was something on the market that did that job for me. Unfortunately, in my case the reversal will not take place in the doorway as the boards would be going from one room into the second through the doorway, perpendicular to it. Then I will have to work backwards through about half of the second room. Or, should I end the job at the doorway, put in a couple of boards the opposite way in the doorway, and start the second room on it's own?

Bonus 12-12-2005 10:00 PM

OK, got ya now. Start at one wall, bring the boards up to the doorway and then run the first course of boards through into the other room. You might want to put some temporary blocks down to maintain a straight line on the first long course or two. Keep laying all the way across both rooms til you get to the other side of the door, then you can finish the first room then come back and do the same 1/2 of the second room. Then come back to the door and add your spline to the groove to reverse the boards, and finish the last half of the second room. You can either rip a spline from the flooring or use an appropriate piece of plywood, I usually glue the spline in. I'm not a professional hardwood flooring guy, but that's what I do. You certainly could put a transition in the doorway but it's just an aesthetic consideration. Maybe someone else will comment.

Zero Punch 12-15-2005 11:00 PM

Run it through and use a spline to reverse direction your hardwood supplier should have them or cut your own I prefer to use a little wood glue on the spline. It will look better than breaking it at the doorway.

Teetorbilt 12-16-2005 10:30 PM

You should have the tongue exposed if you are doing it correctly. This normally carries on through. The spline is OK when groove to groove but the grain usually runs in the same direction as the flooring allowing for it to split. I use a biscuit cutter (#20's), space them 4" OC and glue. Be certain that the cutter is splitting the grooves or all bets are off.

sti470 01-16-2006 02:00 PM

I don't know if you have completed your 2 rooms yet or not but you can buy what they call a "slip tongue" to reverse directions

WoodFlooristcom 03-06-2008 06:22 PM

Where to get slip tongues
I get a kick out of this question. I have people who buy flooring at Home Depot and ask the flooring people if they sell slip tongues. When the answer is no they call me.

I have worked in both the flooring depts of Lowe's and Home Depot. I have also been an installer. I tell people that Home Depot does not sell slip tongues...they give them away for FREE!! That's right FREE!!

Go to the paint dept of either Lowe's or Home Depot and ask for the stir sticks for 5 gallon pails. Ask for 5 or more.

These stir sticks are exactly 1/4 inch thick. You will think they were designed for this when you slip them into the groove of 3/4 inch flooring. If you cut the stirring strips into 3/8 in wide splines using a jig saw or table saw they are perfect. You should be able to get 3 out of each stir stick.


mike costello 03-07-2008 05:44 AM

I personally wouldnt use paint stir sticks.

While they may fit fine they are not made of oak and are not as strong.

You also lose strength with the short pieces,real splines are 4 feet long

Spend the extra coupla bucks and buy real splines.

TrainU2Fly 05-17-2008 11:05 AM

Splines for reversing direction of strip flooring.
I bought splines at Menard's. They are $4.99 for 3 pieces which are 4 feet long. A bit pricey but they are nice to use and it beats my setting up and all the hassle of making my own.

troubleseeker 05-17-2008 08:46 PM

[quote=PhilC;6550]Thanks Bonus, I did not know if you had to make that piece (spline) yourself or is there was something on the market that did that job for me. quote]

Spline material is readily available from the flooring supplier.

Jakperformance 12-31-2008 06:06 PM

I purchased a 5/8" solid Bamboo floor. It is to be nailed down. I have the same issue with changing direction. I was thinking of taking the 1/4" exterior grade plywood subflooring and ripping it into splines as I will have extra material and the 1/4" thickness happens to match the 1/4" groove in the flooring. Would that be a good idea or not. My concern is whether another material will cause problems like shrink/swelling because its not the same material as the bamboo. If I were to find a spline product at the hardware store, what would the wood material be made of?

SENZA 07-15-2009 09:09 PM

After the 2 grooves are joined by the new spline do I top nail that first row?:laughing:

ARI001 07-16-2009 08:29 AM

I make my own splines on site out of whatever type of wood the floor I am laying is. I usually sacrifice a piece of the flooring to do this. You will need to do this on a table saw or possibly a band saw if that is what you have. Do not attempt it with a jig saw, you will not get a good spline and will probably end up hurting yourself trying. Make sure you use glue when installing the spline.

We don't have Menards out in my area but I was in Ohio last week and visited one. I like the selection there much better than Lowes and Home Depot. I hope they put one out this way sometime soon.

1sttimer2010 04-07-2010 03:23 PM

when I am using spline to reverse direction, do I need to fill 100% of the groove?

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