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Old 05-12-2010, 09:34 AM   #1
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New hardwoods in an old house

Hello everyone. I am new to the forum and have been browsing through some of the current posts and would like some advice on a project that I am about to undertake. I have never laid hardwoods so I am trying to do as much research as I can and would appreciate any advice I can get.

My wife and I purcahsed a beautiful house that was built in 1892 last fall. We purchased the hardwood flooring about three weeks ago (3/4" by 5" solid Brazillian Cherry) and it has been sitting in the living room in the boxes while we have been finishing up painting. We plan on laying it in the living room, entry way, and dining room.

Currently, there is old 5/16" hardwoods laid perpedicular to from what I can tell is 1" by 3 1/4" floor boards. I plan on ripping out the old 5/16" to see what I have to work with and do any leveling or securing of the old floor boards. Here are some of my questions:

1). The current 5/16" floors are laid perpendicular to the floor boards. The floor boards are laid perpedicular to the joists. The joists are 16" on center. From all that I have read, the new flooring should be laid perpendicular to the joists. Is it okay to lay the new flooring in the same direction as the floor boards - which would be perpedicular to the joists?

2). I am attaching a floor plan of the living room, entry way, and dining room. I would like advice on how to design the floor layout (starting position, fireplace options, etc...). I am leaning towards picture framing the fireplace since I think it would look the best, but I am confused on how to tie all of that together and make it look seamless from the living room into the entry and on into the dining room.

Thanks in advance for any help and advice.
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Old 05-12-2010, 11:25 AM   #2
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Try going with bamboo


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Old 05-12-2010, 12:18 PM   #3
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When they tell you that you need to lay your new flooring perpendicular(perp.), it's so you get the optimal holding strength with the fasteners that you use. In new construction, a 3/4" plywood is laid on top of the floor joist, and some fasteners will go all the way through this, severely reducing the strength of the fasteners. With a floorboard vs. the plywood, it's a different story. The floorboards will be thicker and will act like the joist when you are fastening the flooring down. The perp. to the joist applies to floors sheeted with plywood, not so much floorboards. Use discretion though, the purpose of that instruction is to improve your hold down strength.
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Old 05-14-2010, 01:31 PM   #4
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Thanks for the info. After pulling some more of the old hardwoods up, I'm starting to lean towards going ahead and putting down 3/8" or 1/2" plywood over the old floor boards to make sure that I have a good strong foundation. The main reason that I was hoping to avoid doing that is that we don't want to remove the baseboards since the walls are plaster and don't want to risk damaging the wall while taking them out. Looks like we might lose a little bit of our base height, but I would rather make sure that I have a solid subfloor for the 3/4" hardwoods.
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Old 05-14-2010, 06:46 PM   #5
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Nice diagram!
If I could only remember to THINK about what I was doing before I did it.
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Old 05-14-2010, 09:20 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by ews View Post
Try going with bamboo
What are the advantages of bamboo?
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Old 05-16-2010, 01:17 PM   #7
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Its a "green" material and less expensive. Also nice and durable.

Can you get 5/8" tongue and groove plywood in there? Or is there not enough room? If not then just try to get the plywood as tight as you can at the seams.


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