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pancakes

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I will be laying down some 3/4" hardwood tongue and groove flooring soon. I think the most important thing will be laying the first row straight. This is a call for the experienced of the bunch to share their methods of ensuring the straightness of the first row. Any tips and tricks are appreciated. What is the easiest way to ensure a straight first row?

Mudd

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Most important in the grand scheme of things, assuming you've got a clean, flat, dry, and sound subfloor, is where you start your first row.

Generally start on your longest run.

You'll find that walls are never square. Getting it straight/parallel to one wall often means it is angling on another wall. For aesthetics, you may want to decide which wall is most important that it be parallel to.

While you may not be doing a rectangular area, the textbook example is -

Find the midpoints of the 4 walls and snap a chalk line between the midpoints of opposite walls. Where the chalk lines cross, measure out from the intersection 3 feet one way and 4 feet the other. Mark those spots and check to see if the diagonal is 5 feet. If you lines are at right angles to one another, it will be 5 feet. If not, adjust your lines until they are squared.

Measuring larger distances is more accurate... it's better to measure 6', 8', and 10' than 3", 4", and 5".

You're not obligated to start in the middle of the room. Once you establish your base lines, you can snap perpendiculars where needed close to the wall if need be.

rocketdoctor

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I will be doing something similiar with Wide Plank fooring (5") to a newly remodeled room kitchen dining room which should be fairly square since it was rebuilt from the ground up. The Room has large folding doors that open to the outside so I would like to start the Wood floor on that side and work it to the other side where if I have to rip the wood to smaller sizes it would be less noticeable. would this work?

pancakes

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I think you may be better off than I am starting on an exterior wall which are generally more straight. I have to start on an interior wall because most of my floor joists are perpendicular to the exterior wall. Plus, the long part of the room goes along the interior wall so I think this is the more esthetically pleasing look.

I think the rule of thumb is that you should start your floor at the focal point of the room which sounds like where your folding doors are. And like you said, if you have to rip some boards at the end you want them to be in a less conspicuous space. Good luck with your floor! I started prepping my subfloor tonight and hope to start laying the floor in the morning...keeping my fingers crossed.

jaros bros.

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Do the math. Measure the room and calculate what you will need to start with so the rip on the other side of the room will be the same size. If it is too small of a rip, change your calculations so that you are using two larger rips by reducing full pieces by one. Start off the first row on a chalked line, a fine ink one works best. I like to use a finish nailer to set the outside and then angle the first couple rows until I can get enough room for the flooring nailer.

pancakes

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Do the math. Measure the room and calculate what you will need to start with so the rip on the other side of the room will be the same size. If it is too small of a rip, change your calculations so that you are using two larger rips by reducing full pieces by one. Start off the first row on a chalked line, a fine ink one works best. I like to use a finish nailer to set the outside and then angle the first couple rows until I can get enough room for the flooring nailer.
What do you mean by "angle the first couple rows", are you referring to nailing the tongue?

jaros bros.

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Yes, angle the finish nailgun into the tongues for the first couple or so rows.

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