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Old 01-20-2016, 08:23 AM   #1
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Vapor barrier beneath Oak wood floors?


I'm having site finished oak floors installed in a few weeks. The home is on a crawl space which is dry, but I have not measured the humidity levels yet (closing next week). The crawl space is not encapsulated, but I will be looking into that this year.

The flooring will be 3/4" select red oak that is 3 1/4" wide finished on site. What should he be installing between the subfloor and the wood? There's a bit of a language barrier with the installer, so I want to make sure I am 100% clear with him. My biggest fear is the floor cupping down the road and want to make sure it wont happen. This guy has been doing it for 6 years and I've seen his newly finished work so I assume he knows what he's doing.

If it's supposed to be a vapor barrier, how does it stop humidity if you are shooting nails/staples into it?

Forgot to mention. The home is in NC so we get high humidity in the summer, and it's low right now in the winter. Not sure if it matters or not, but I know the crawl space is also changing with the seasons.

Last edited by Billm0066; 01-20-2016 at 08:30 AM.
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Old 01-20-2016, 08:29 AM   #2
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red rosin paper, you want the wood the breath , plastic is not advisable...the wood should sit in your house under normal temp for several weeks to adjust to your houses humidity so when its installed it doesnt shrink and leave gaps or expand and cause cupping or bind against the walls and cause lifting issues...
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Old 01-20-2016, 08:34 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by ShtRnsdownhill View Post
red rosin paper, you want the wood the breath , plastic is not advisable...the wood should sit in your house under normal temp for several weeks to adjust to your houses humidity so when its installed it doesnt shrink and leave gaps or expand and cause cupping or bind against the walls and cause lifting issues...
Several weeks as in over a month? I was planning to let it acclimate in a bedroom for about 10-14 days while we do other work to the home. Is that not long enough?
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Old 01-20-2016, 08:50 AM   #4
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the new flooring should sit in whatever room it is going in to get installed in..a few weeks to a month is fine..the longer the better..
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Old 01-20-2016, 08:56 AM   #5
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the new flooring should sit in whatever room it is going in to get installed in..a few weeks to a month is fine..the longer the better..
It's going in the whole house so it should be fine. Were doing demo and drywall work and wanted to keep it closed off from the dust and debris.
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Old 01-20-2016, 12:53 PM   #6
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It's going in the whole house so it should be fine. Were doing demo and drywall work and wanted to keep it closed off from the dust and debris.
It needs to be in the rooms and the packages need to be open. If you put a plastic vapor barrier under it, the condensation will eventually rot out the subfloor. If you don't let it acclimate to the living AREAS, it will give you major problems.
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Old 01-20-2016, 01:05 PM   #7
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Old 01-20-2016, 01:49 PM   #8
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After an acclimation period pull a piece from the middle of the stack and check moisture content near the center of that piece. 6-8 percent would be good.
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Old 01-20-2016, 05:23 PM   #9
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Never use a vapor barrier. You need a vapor retarder under wood, usually.

Make sure the crawl space meets all local specs, this is critical.

Red rosin in not a barrier or a retarder, it should never be used as such.

Consult the wood manufacturer and follow their directions.

5-7 days of acclimation might be enough IF it has been stored in a conditioned space similar to your house. Two weeks should be fine IF the cartons are opened and the wood stacked so air passes.

Tell us which specific wood brand/style you're using. Meanwhile read this....all of it, twice. Then come back.
http://tinytimbers.com/pdf/nwfa-install-guidelines.pdf

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Old 01-20-2016, 05:48 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by JazMan View Post
Never use a vapor barrier. You need a vapor retarder under wood, usually.

Make sure the crawl space meets all local specs, this is critical.

Red rosin in not a barrier or a retarder, it should never be used as such.

Consult the wood manufacturer and follow their directions.

5-7 days of acclimation might be enough IF it has been stored in a conditioned space similar to your house. Two weeks should be fine IF the cartons are opened and the wood stacked so air passes.

Tell us which specific wood brand/style you're using. Meanwhile read this....all of it, twice. Then come back.
http://tinytimbers.com/pdf/nwfa-install-guidelines.pdf

Jaz
It's 3/4" thick unfinished oak that is 3 1/4" wide. Not sure what brand, I'm buying from a local flooring company. The bedroom I plan to put it in is conditioned just like the rest of the home. I'm just closing the door to the room to keep dust out of it. I believe unfinished oak is sold in bundles and not packaged like the pre finished stuff.
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Old 01-20-2016, 06:14 PM   #11
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You're right, unfinished hardwood is in unwrapped bundles. If you can't determine which mill makes it, consult the link I posted as it's considered the "bible" of the industry.

As for your conditioned bedroom........I meant where it was stored before you brought it home.

These nuances is when experience installing in your area comes in. 6 years is not very long, but perhaps with a translator it'll all work out. What has the installer told you he would do? Did he check the crawl space? You said you would improve the crawl this year. How about doing it now?

It would also help others if you posted your location in your permanent profile to easily see. Your location will influence answers as I'm sure you know.

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