OldTools Archive

Recent Bios FAQ

275036 Erik Levin 2022‑01‑03 Re: wood movement and construction question...
I can speak from limited experience only, and in a space much smaller (the
largest I have is 18'X12'). My house is climatically similar, varying from
sub-20% to 90+% humidity through the year. It's a good bit over 100 years old,
and the subfloor is 4X1-1/4", roughly, rough milled, gapped, somewhat twisted,
and over a century of other cracks, knots dropped out, checks, holes, and the

I layed mine during the highest humidity time intentionally. I have had no
issues. I made a few compromises (letting the boards under the existing
baseboards rather than pulling them, figuring I could cover up with show molding
later. Then I realized that I dislike the few mistakes a lot less than I dislike
shoe molding. Shoulda pulled the baseboards) I get squeaks, in part due to
shrinkage and in part due to not leveling the subfloor as well as I should have.
But no buckling or large gaps. If I had put this down in the dry season, I have
no clue how I would have controlled it. As it is, in the dryest times, there are
perceptible gaps between the boards and where the ends butt up, but barely so. I
used rosin paper between the finish and the sub to control air movement and ease
the squeaks.

Hand nailed the whole lot through the house, as well as cut and fit the boards
in a galootish manner, including letting some of the boards to make up for the
unsquareness of the room, which took tapering about every third or fourth course
by maybe 1/16". Can't see it at all. Still have a few rooms to go, but I'm not
in any rush.

As far as the book caseing: One was installed before the floor went in, so I
butted to it, and it is ok. I think I may one day go back and redo the last
floor board and skirt board better. Or not. The other went in on top of the
finished floor. A neater job all around. I used a couple 2X on the finish floor,
and picked the anchor points carefully to allow future repair if the case comes
out. The skirt board covers all of that. If I needed, I probably would have slot
the attachments through the floor to allow for movement, but, again, I
intentionally did the install when the wood was swole up.

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Recent Bios FAQ