Wood Strip Flooring

Wood strip flooring is manufactured in various widths and thicknesses and is available in several grades. The strips come in random lengths in separate bundles. The thickness of wood-strip flooring required for various support conditions is shown In Table 38.

To link the wood strips together, one edge of each strip has a tongue and the other a groove. Wood flooring is generally hollow-backed, and the top face is slightly wider than the bottom so that when the strips are driven together the upper edges touch, but the lower edges are slightly apart. The tongue must fit snugly, because a loose fit may cause the floor to squeak.

The flooring should not be laid until gypsum board taping and other interior wall and ceiling finishes are completed. All windows and exterior doors should also be In place. This precaution prevents damage to the wood flooring either through wetting or other construction activities.

Strip flooring looks better when laid lengthwise in a rectangular room. When lumber subflooring Is used, It is usually laid diagonally under wood strip flooring so that the strips can be laid either parallel or at right angles to the joists. Where it is necessary to place the wood strips parallel to the lumber subflooring, an underlay (described in a following section, Underlay for Resilient Flooring) should be used to provide a level base for the narrow strips.

Hardwood flooring should not be brought into the house until the basement floor slab has been placed and gypsum board taping is completed. Moisture given off during these operations can be absorbed by the flooring and make the wood swell; then, after being put into place, the wood strips will shrink and open the joints. The flooring should be stored in the warmest and driest place available In the house until it is installed.

Various types of nails, including annular and spiral-grooved types, are used for nailing the flooring. Minimum nail lengths and nail spacing are listed in Table 39. Various types of staples applied with manual and pneumatic tools are also available.

To nail the wood strips in place, many workers use a mallet-driven nailing tool which drives the nail in the proper location, at the correct angle, and sets the head to the proper depth. Others drive the nails using a carpenter's hammer.

Figure 135B shows the method of nailing the first strip of flooring with the nail driven down through the board at the grooved edge. The nails should be driven into the subfloor or joist and near enough to the edge so that the base or shoe moulding will cover the nail heads. The first strip of flooring should also be nailed through the tongue.

Succeeding strips of flooring can be fastened (using a carpenters' hammer) by driving nails into each strip at a 45° angle at the spot where the tongue adjoins the shoulder (Fig. 135C). Nails should not be driven home with the hammer as the wood may be struck and easily damaged (Fig. 135D). Instead, to finish the driving, nail set positioned as shown in Figure 135D is used. To avoid splitting, it is sometimes necessary to pre-drill the nail holes through the tongue. For all courses of flooring after the first, the pieces should be selected by length so that the butt joints are well separated from those in the previous course (Fig. 135A). By using a piece of scrap flooring as a driving block, each board can be driven up tightly against the previous course with no danger of damaging the wood with the hammer.

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