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Old 08-04-2005, 06:22 PM   #1
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Installing Help! hardwood flooring in Hot&Humid weather


I live in Hot and Humid New Jersey and I am wondering if I can install the unfinished hardwood strips, sand and polyurethane this weekend. I'm taking Friday and Monday off to do this. But someone told me now is the WORST time to install because during the winter the floor will contract and there will be a lot of spaces. Any knowledgeable suggestions?

Some background...

The house was built in 1920. I am working on the third flr (top).. I have joists, no subfloor, then end-of-life hardwood, on top of which I recently laid .5" plywood. Now I have 3/4" unfinished red oak strips that I would like to install.

Although the apartment is top floor and generally hot, the attic fan is on most of the time, and the floor is the coolest part of the room as it is the lowest part of the apt (obviously). Still it must be 80 degrees on the flr. There is no bathroom or kitchen or moisture source in the floor below where the hardwood is to be installed... There is no sun streaming in, heating the floor.

On another forum I have someone telling me the only time they install is from November to May (in Maine) because the floor can handle the humidity swelling much better in the hot months, than installing in the hot months and there being a bad shrinkage problem when it gets cold. Is this true? If so, is there any technique that I can use to install the flooring now so that in the winter months I dont get such issues? How about if I install the floor now, but wait until November or so to sand and finish it?

thanks for your input, I really appreciate it.

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Old 08-04-2005, 06:42 PM   #2
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Installing Help! hardwood flooring in Hot&Humid weather


So, they say don't install now because in winter the hum. will drop and leave gaps.....OK...so I guess it would be better to install in low hum., then as it increases, you have big bulges. Now, chances are neither of these things are going to happen if you install the flooring correctly. Rent the nailer to do it right, leave 1/4" expansion space around the entire perimeter of the room(it will be covered with baseboard anyway), sand, stain(if you're going to), LIGHTLY sand again, poly, lightly sand, poly, and you're done.

BTW when nailing down your baseboard, remember not to nail into the floor, just the wall.

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Old 08-04-2005, 08:31 PM   #3
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Installing Help! hardwood flooring in Hot&Humid weather


Buying a humidifier for the home will help too.

There is no right or wrong time in some areas...
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Old 08-06-2005, 08:10 AM   #4
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Installing Help! hardwood flooring in Hot&Humid weather


When we install hardwood floors, which we do quite a bit of, the material is delivered to home and kept there for at least 3-5 days in a climate controlled area prior to installation, this allows the material to acclimate to the enviroment where it will be installed.
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Old 08-06-2005, 12:26 PM   #5
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good point.
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Old 08-06-2005, 09:37 PM   #6
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Installing Help! hardwood flooring in Hot&Humid weather


So far good advise from all. I'm in FL, hot and humid most of the time. Wood flooring is tough in these conditions but I let it acclimate for at least a week (ricked) before installation. I prefer summer (maximum expansion) for installs. If you have to do it during the winter, you have to bring in a humidifier or space the planks. Only experience will teach you this and it will be an expensive education.
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Old 08-07-2005, 08:53 AM   #7
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Installing Help! hardwood flooring in Hot&Humid weather


Thanks guys.

This was a great discussion, with the installing in the dry winter vs. the humid summer, the dangers of each.

With a rented pneumatic stapler in hand, a rock solid plywood subfloor underfoot, and acclimatized red oak 2 1/4" planks I began yesterday. It's going well, although taking much longer to lay than expected. Sometimes my girlfriend racks the boards if she is around. Was able to lay 210 square feet and will finish up installing today.

The boards are pretty flush to each other, looks like a minimal sanding needed.

I have such respect for people who do this and do it well...

Thanks again for everyone's comments
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Old 08-08-2005, 05:45 PM   #8
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Installing Help! hardwood flooring in Hot&Humid weather


Keep in mind that solid wood is less stable than engineered.

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