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Old 05-16-2007, 10:01 AM   #1
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Wood floor help/suggestions


I have a house built in 1942. My wife and I are remodeling our 120 sq ft kitchen. We are now down to the subfloor that has 1/4" plywood down. I removed a small section to see what was under that. There appears to be a hard substance that looks like self leveing compound of some type. We had a floor guy come over and tell us that we can remove the 1/4" ply and place the new, 3/4", unfinished wood flooring on top of that white, hard substrate. The floor is strong and has a mild slope which is almost undectable, however, I was told that I can use shingles to straighten that up since it's so minor. If this is possible, can I lay those right under the new wood plank floor, or do I put them under the moisture barrier? I would however like to place something under the new wood floor to make sure it will have a nice solid feel. What are my options at this point? Should I remove the old 1/4" ply that exists and replace it with another thicker or new 1/4" think medium or just take it all out and place the wood floor on the white surface? I have been read that I should match the 3/4" thick wood floor with a 3/4" thick subfloor, is this right or even necessary? Any help is greatly appreciated! I will provide picture is necessary!

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Old 05-18-2007, 08:41 AM   #2
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Wood floor help/suggestions


I can't believe this...no replies...no help...??? This is a simple question for you pros out there.

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Old 05-18-2007, 09:35 AM   #3
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Are you intend to float the wood finish flooring? or nail them?

If it would be me... I would nail them for sure... I don't like floating wood flooring... If you nail them... you nee strong plywood suflooring... and you cannot nail on the levelling compound... so you have to have solid plywood subflooring...
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Old 05-18-2007, 11:45 AM   #4
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Thanks for that information. How thick do you recommend for a subfloor? I did intend to nail it all down...I don't like float either. The floor now is a good firm surface. I have a transition that goes from the dining room to the kitchen that was about 1.5 inches with all the tile that I removed. Now, all exists is a 1/4 ply sheet. Do you recommend removing the 1/4 inch ply or just getting as much of the mortor off the old 1/4 " ply floor as I can and start installing the hardwood? I have heard that you should match the thinkness of the subfloor with the new hardwood thickness you are installing. Also, I wanted to level out the floor a bit too. I have some roof shingles in my garage that I have left over, can I just put those under the newly installed flooring to shim in out a bit, then vapor barrier, then flooring?

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Old 05-18-2007, 11:54 AM   #5
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Thanks for the detail explanation, I answer you earlier just hoping to start the ball rolling and for someone like "Florfcraft" to pop in... I am not qualify to give you further details.... but I think you did provide more info....for the real expect to pop in.... your first message is a bit more difficult to get the full picture...
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Old 05-20-2007, 11:18 AM   #6
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Sounds to me that the 1/4 is underlayment and not subfloor.
you have leveler of some sort on top of the actuall subfloor which is probably 3/4 plywood on your joists. See if you can find out for sure.
I know when installers nail down, they use roofing felt for help preventing squeaks. Not sure about the shimming.
I know you all do not like floating, but in 10 years, 90% of what I have done has been floating. In alaska the humidity changes are disgusting...so Engineered wood helps.
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Old 05-20-2007, 07:22 PM   #7
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Thanks so much for the reply. I do believe your are right, it looks to be 3/4 thick subfloor with about 1/2" ply overlay on top. Now, I went to Lowe's and the guy convinced me to use either floating or laminate flooring. I do not wish to do tile. Now, here's the kicker, the guy that tiled the floor used morter to attach the tile right to the 1/2" overlay (top layer of flooring). Now, I want to use that floor to lay my floating/laminate flooring on. I believe I will remove as much of that morter before applying the finished product, right? The floor is sound and sturdy with no creaks or gives. The floor appears to have no water damage of any type. The kitchen is a high traffic area with three different enterences coming into it. We have no kids (yet) and no pets (with nails anyway), that's not saying that the people that buy the house from us won't 5+ years downt the line. Now, what do you suggest as my next step and I want your opinion on the floating vs. regular laminate floor. If you would like to see pics of he kitchen pre and post remodel go to: http://www.myspace.com/doriandjoeltrausch
Thanks,
Joel
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Old 05-22-2007, 12:06 AM   #8
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Laminate and wood can be floating. If you can afford it, go with the engineered floating wood if you like.
I would tear out the underlayment and said mortar at the same time. Trying to make it all flat after tearout is a mess.
Then all you have is subfloor to install over.
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Old 05-22-2007, 09:59 AM   #9
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I really don't want to tear all that 1/2 top cover of flooring out, but I will. I was able to get all the morter off the 1/2" ply that is on there now. It looks like there is 3/4" ply under the 1/2" that remains. I just don't want to be opening a hornets nest by tearing all that out and not having enough money to finish the project once I find an issue. I have had a 4 floor companies come out and look, all say it's got a slight slope an none say tear out the top 1/2 inch layer of flooring, all except one say that if I get the morter off, the floor is salvageable. I just want to do this right. I do want to go with engineered floating, however, the cost is a killer and how is this stuff to install? If I do tear out the 1/2 inch, can I use regular asphalt roof shingles to help shim up the floor in the area of sloping, then lay down the new layer of 1/2" sub?

-Side note-I had a guy come in yesterday and said we have to use hardwood 3/4" due to the slope in the floor. he's th eonly one that said that. The rest say the floor is level enough and I can use floating. This is frustrating!
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Old 05-22-2007, 10:06 AM   #10
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My experience of floating is that it is quite flessible to commodate light slope..and if there are heavy furnitures... it is better. however, I am yet to see a perfect installations in my life for floating on residential installations... I saw spots of bouncy stuff on every installations so far, there are all together 4 installations I saw so far from my relatives and myself.... for commerical it is different, if you go to wal mart or ikea... their installation is perfect... basically contribute by their perfect level/large subflooring....etc.
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Old 05-22-2007, 11:23 AM   #11
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Do you mean that the floor has a gradual slope, from one side to the other? Or do you mean that there's a dip or unevenness in the floor, like a depression in the middle?

If the floor is flat, but just slightly tipped to one side, then a floating floor will install perfectly. But if you have a depression in the floor, the floating floor will bridge over that depression, and when you step there, the floor will sink, and maybe make a tapping noise.

If you shop around you can probably find engineered floor that doesn't cost much more than 3/4", especially when you consider all the labor and expense of nailing, sanding, and finishing 3/4". Installing engineered floor is amazingly easy and fast. It'll probably take you less than a day start to finish, in a moderate size room.

I've gotten perfect results on the two rooms I've put floating floors in. Both were on very flat, solid plywood subfloors. I've seen poor results over concrete slab in basements, because I think it tends to be less even.
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Old 05-22-2007, 01:38 PM   #12
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Thanks to all who have written me thus far on my floor issues. Yes, the floor has a gradual slope from the left wall to the right wall. I have placed a 6 foot 2x4 in both directions to check for a depression in the floor. The floor surface is straight with no depression. It may have appeared to the floor guy that way because the floor cabinets were still in the room at the time. Now, if I do find a depression, can I just remove the 1/2" floor that is there, place some roof shingles (or whatever you recommend) under the floor and screw it back down? Do I really to replace all the existing 1/2" plywood that looks brand new 1/2" ply as it stands? I also don't want you guys to think that the only floor in the kitchen is 1/2". Strating from the bottom layer of flooring is 3/4" plank, then 3/4 ply, then 1/2" ply (which is what I'm standing on now). It just sounds like a bunch of unneeded work. I will however unscrew the piece(s) of flooring and shim them up when/where needed. When walking on the subfloor alone, there is no squeak or anything while walking on it. Nothing is mushy or patchy. I'm leaning toward an engineered floor as NateHanson has suggested. After talking with the engineered floor rep, it sounds like this is the floor for me, for he stated that it works well with less than perfect floors, is as thick as 3/4", and is prefinished. The house will always have inperfect floors, the house was built in 1942 and the overall kitchen that will have the new floor (someday) is 120sq ft. If you need pictures, let me know, I would be more than happy to send them. The website only allows me to send crappy small file size that are nearly worthless. You can see the kitchen project at: http://www.myspace.com/doriandjoeltrausch

Thanks!

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Old 05-22-2007, 10:45 PM   #13
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no need to remove the ply if you can take the height difference. I just thought it would help with height, and keep you from scraping away terribly at mortar or whatever.

Whatever is easiest and doable.
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Old 05-22-2007, 11:50 PM   #14
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Ok, cool...that puts me at ease, I've been working with the step up stuff since we bought the house, after awhile i don't even notice it nobody trips over it. Also, I went to Lowe's today and they have prefinished hardwood flooring on sale for 2.98sq ft, the actual stuff that we nearly bought the other day. Why would I go and buy an unfinished floor, install it and pay someone to come and finish it on site and have to leave the house for 3 days due to the smell???
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Old 05-23-2007, 10:52 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigboyjoel View Post
Why would I go and buy an unfinished floor, install it and pay someone to come and finish it on site and have to leave the house for 3 days due to the smell???
Thanks

There probably is no resaon why you should do that.

Some folks might get a bargain on a higher end wood...so it works in their favor to save compared to prefinished.
Plus there is a look to sand on site that some people prefer, that no prefinished can duplicate....

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