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Due to formaldehyde allergies, we built up an upper floor subfloor with unfinished 4" T&G oak flooring instead of plywood, OSB, etc. These are above grade bedrooms & living room (not rooms with moisture). We are going to put pad and carpet in these rooms, not finish the wood. Question: would it be better to pad/carpet over the unfinished oak wood or should we apply a primer/sealer ahead of time? If we do apply a primer/sealer...it would probably have to be a low/no-VOC latex product like Kilz Premium since we are living in the house. Thanks in advance for your advice!
 

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Pro Flooring Installer
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You don't need a primer/sealer. Just install over the floor.
 
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I would use the pet (moisture) barrier pad to protect the floors from the cleaning solutions. Unsealed wood turns dark real quick.

The next people might be delighted to find a real wood floor under there.
 

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retired painter
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I'd apply 1 coat of poly [water based would be ok] to seal the floor to prevent staining and ground in dirt. If nothing else as Colbyt said - the next owners may thank you.
 

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JUSTA MEMBER
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It's entirely your choice.

I have seen lots of carpeting over unfinished materials.

I will say that if something gets spilled , it might soak through and cause the unfinished wood to swell a bit.

Also if a pet has an accident in one corner often it will soak through and cause the unfinished wood to have a permanent ODOR that offends your olfactory nerves.


ED
 

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I would use the pet (moisture) barrier pad to protect the floors from the cleaning solutions. Unsealed wood turns dark real quick.

The next people might be delighted to find a real wood floor under there.
I don't think the poster is really concerned about the next owner.
 
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Definitely apply some sort of sealer. Paint or clear coat.
Lots of product with low VOC's out there.
 

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Definitely apply some sort of sealer. Paint or clear coat.
Lots of product with low VOC's out there.
Why, it is totally a waste of money. It will accomplish nothing.
 

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It will reduce the tendency for the wood to move. Won't hold any moisture.
It does nothing about movement. All wood contracts and expands. If it can't freely, it splits.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for the comments so far everyone. To clarify, we could not build up the subfloor with plywood, OSB, particle board, etc. because of the formaldehyde-based resins used to glue them together. I've never had carpet over solid wood and I'm not experienced with how unfinished oak behaves, so my main concern was moisture...even in above grade bedroom/living room. If it's better to leave it unfinished so it dries, breathes, etc. under the carpet/pad, that makes sense. I don't expect anything except normal humidity and spills, accidents to ever see the carpet and potential wood for short exposures. I was mainly interested if it was a good idea to put something down not knowing how susceptible oak might be to mildew under a pad. I'm not trying to protect the oak from stains as I don't expect it will ever be finished. Thanks again for your help, I really appreciate it.
 

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Thanks for the comments so far everyone. To clarify, we could not build up the subfloor with plywood, OSB, particle board, etc. because of the formaldehyde-based resins used to glue them together. I've never had carpet over solid wood and I'm not experienced with how unfinished oak behaves, so my main concern was moisture...even in above grade bedroom/living room. If it's better to leave it unfinished so it dries, breathes, etc. under the carpet/pad, that makes sense. I don't expect anything except normal humidity and spills, accidents to ever see the carpet and potential wood for short exposures. I was mainly interested if it was a good idea to put something down not knowing how susceptible oak might be to mildew under a pad. I'm not trying to protect the oak from stains as I don't expect it will ever be finished. Thanks again for your help, I really appreciate it.
The wood will continue to dry out and shrink slightly for years. But it won't hurt anything. Carpet and pad can give off some fumes but they are generally of short duration.
 
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