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1" x 8" Pine flooring install — Questions

Questions and answers relating to houses built in the 1800s and before.

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1" x 8" Pine flooring install — Questions

Postby eidelweiss » Wed May 05, 2010 10:33 pm

Hi everybody,
Have a 1850 house where somebody put down a Bella wood veneer floor over the original floor (ugh). I am guessing (hoping) the original floor is underneath this modern veneer floor. However, the veneer floor extends into a kitchen that is a recent addition (7 years old) to the original home. Also, other parts of the house are missing their original floors and are covered with carpet :^(

My questions are:
1. Has anybody put down wide plank pine floors? We want to restore some of the old home charm by installing and distressing this pine flooring by hand scraping it and nailing it down with "wedge-style" old nails (sorry, don't know correct term).
2. Where would I find these "wedge-style" nails? Are they sold rusted or "tarnished".
3. Does anybody know where to purchase the right hand scraping tools I would need to distress the floors?
4. Anyone know a good resource for methods used to distress floors?

I numbered my questions so they would be easier to respond to.

I'm so grateful for any input! So glad I found this community. You all rock!

Best,
John
1850 House
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Re: 1" x 8" Pine flooring install — Questions

Postby khwils » Thu May 06, 2010 9:55 am

OK, I'll give an opinion since everyone seems to be mulling this one over.

I'm not going by your number system because my answers don't necessarily answer YOUR questions - sorry :oops: , will kind of all at once!

1850 house - probably didn't have 1x face nailed plank flooring, they were much nicer by then. Face nailing pine plank in 1850 would be a CHEAP(read poor) way of doing the floor. So while you are looking for old-timey-charm, this probably isn't HC. That being said I don't see why you couldn't put these floors in your new kitchen addition and say this is the look you were trying to achieve.

Also, in response to one of your questions(2), someone is making square nails again, pricy but available. Also, try to find someone tearing down a property - they will have plenty available just waiting for your "help". Square nails are easily straightened and reused - them suckers are durable!

Veneer flooring and carpeting - hmmm. You suspect the original floor is under the veneer? I suspect the original floor is under the carpet! Find out what you have first, original flooring should get you your old house feel good. Refinish what you have and remember, it is probably in much better shape than you think. Just cleaning off the decades or dirt can do wonders to some floors. You need to enlist Vaso, I believe that's who it is, they are the current floor champions with their latest 104 yo douglas fir porch floor clean up! Hey Vaso, what did you put on those floors anyway - you said you'd be embarrassed to say and nobody called you out on it! Give it up!

Answer to #4 - "Take my kids..... please". OK, we only have a 15 year old so someone else will need to donate a couple as well! The ultimate stress machine is a 3 yo!

Kurt
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Re: 1" x 8" Pine flooring install — Questions

Postby eidelweiss » Thu May 06, 2010 10:13 am

Thanks Kurt for your input. It's greatly appreciated!

Anyone else?

Thanks everybody! :D
1850 House
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Re: 1" x 8" Pine flooring install — Questions

Postby HB » Thu May 06, 2010 11:35 am

Quick response cause I'm short on time...

You can get cut masonary nails at home depot that look like old nls.

You can get old nails from Tremont nail Company. Google it.

I put white pine plank flors in our bathroom 2 years ago and coated with real tung oil. They have begun to mellow into a nice golden color.

Good Luck.

HB
The lord hates a coward....
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Re: 1" x 8" Pine flooring install — Questions

Postby HB » Thu May 06, 2010 2:04 pm

Long response -

Face nailed board floor were still common at the time your house was built. It really depended on the style, whether or not they would be appropriate. They were definitely still present in areas of the house where guests wouldn't see them. Fancy floors were reserved for rooms used for socializing.

I've installed floors like this a couple of different ways and I've come to prefer using rough pine from a sawmill, run through a thickness planer to a uniform thickness, and then applying a tongue and groove to the edge of the board. More work than most are willing to do, but the finished floor cost is about $0.70 a square foot for me when I do it this way.

If you want, you can certainly use pre-planed wood from Home Depot or some other lumberyard. Try to get relatively knot free boards though, it makes a big difference in the final appearance.

It seems that aplying a tongue and groove to the long edges of the boards make for a more solid, and quiet floor. I just laid the boards next to each other in our bedroom and you can tell that every single board has a life of its own. I still like it, just not as much as the tongue and grove that I have elsewhere. it gives it a more professional feel. I happen to use a matched set of handplanes to put the tongue and groove on the boards, but you could use a table saw or router to do it as well.

Another thing that you should be aware of is that 8 inch wide boards will move a bit as they gain and loose moisture throughout the year. Generally, in SEPA where I'm located, the summer is humid and the winter is dry. If you lay the floor in the depth of winter, it's wise to leave a little space between the boards so that they have room to expand when the humid summer weather rolls around. I typically leave about a 16th of an inch between boards. I use pennies on their edges as spacers to keep things even. If you lay the boards during the driest time of the year and don;t leave space, there's a chance that they could buckle during the humid months. ( It's just a slight chance, but not totally unheard of).

Conversely, if you lay the floor in the summer, lay the boards as tightly as you can so hat you aren;'t left with huge gaps in the winter months.

IF your house is equipped with a good HVAC system, then the moisture swings won;t be as dramatic, so you cna just use the pennies for spacers whenever you lay the floor.

As far as nailing it down goes, in the modeern portion of my house, I laid the flooring perpendicular to the floor joists and nailed into every other joist (every 32 inches.) It helps give the correct appearance. I used 2 1/2 inch nails to hold down 1 inch thick flooring because i wanted to be sure it was well secured. I typically nail about 1 1/2 inches in from the end of a board and 1 inch in from the side. Be sure to align the nails so that the long side of the nail head is parallel with the length of the board, or it'll act as a wedge and split your baord as you nail it in place.

Finally, with regard to distressing the floor, I used natural Tung oil from the "Real Milk Paint Company" and it has mellowed into a nice golden color in the past 2 years. It's on it;'s way to that nice pumkin color that you see in old houses. It's on the floor in the bathroom and we aren't careful about getting the floor wet, and it has held up beautifully. Our cat sand dogs do a nice job of adding some age to the floor, but you can appoximate that with walking on the floor with golf cleats, putting together a very large ring of keys and repeatedly throwing that on the floor, or attaching it (the key ring)to a rope and smacking it against the floor in a random pattern. It also helps to finish the floor first, distress it and then come back and finish a second time. That adds depth to the finish.

Good Luck. Making my own flooring was one of the most satisfying projects I've tackled.

HB
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Re: 1" x 8" Pine flooring install — Questions

Postby twentyone » Fri May 07, 2010 1:50 am

What makes you think that the parts under the carpet are missing the orginal floors? What's under the carpet supporting it now? In my 1850s house there is only one layer of flooring (wide, random widths, 5/4. face nailed T&G pine). That's what was and is the finish flooring. Originally it was probably also covered with strips of ingrain carpet (the tack marks are visible). When we bought the house the floors were mostly covered with variously-aged iterations of "linoleum" ranging from the real deal lino to modern textured sheet vinyl, and everything in between that passed for reslient flooring.

In the more formal rooms the flooring has a better grain pattern; it was cut in such a way that the growth rings are not as obtrusive. In less important rooms, the grain is more visible and likely to be splintery. Maybe this was just the selection of individual boards, but perhaps it was how they were sawed out. I'm not really expressing this well, but it's kind of like the difference between flat sawn boards and quarter sawn siding? Someone who knows lumber better terms better than I would probably be clearer. It might be useful to consider the difference if you decide to have some flooring milled - at least you'd know what's best to ask for! I have tons of knots, none of my flooring would qualify as clear.

I don't know how thick Bellawood is, but you might be able to get away with just putting a low threshold where the addition B'wood meets whatever is under the B'wood or carpet. Some parts of my house have different heights of flooring (1", more or less) and I can't recall ever having tripped over the threshold.

New pine is so soft that unless you are unusually careful, it will distress itself saving you the trouble.
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Re: 1" x 8" Pine flooring install — Questions

Postby eidelweiss » Fri May 07, 2010 3:09 pm

:D Thank you everybody for such awesome and supportive responses. Keep 'em coming!

Best regards,
John
:D
1850 House
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Re: 1" x 8" Pine flooring install — Questions

Postby Dave » Sat May 22, 2010 8:40 am

I would add that the appropriateness for the wide plank floor in a particular room of a particular house can be dictated by what clues you can find. For example, if the parlours and vestibule were originally hard wood strip flooring, then it is likely the dining room would have been strip hardwood as well.

It was often a question of where the owner wanted to spend the money. In our house (1896) they decided to make the formal room floors oak, then saved some expense by making the kitchen flat sawn sap pine rather than quarter sawn fir or heart pine.

As for T&G vs square abutted edge, I would suggest matching whatever exists in the house.

If there are no flooring clues left, you can often use the "fanciness" of the trim work as a guide to determining whether the owner might have invested in finer floors for the public rooms. for example, if a house is "fitted" with profiled case moldings even in "non public" rooms, then it would seem the owner had a few $ to spare and may have used hard wood in the public rooms. Walking into a Victorian, you can often get a feel for the affluence of the original owners by the "fitting out", the size of the house, and even the material the foundation is made from.

For nailing the planks. HD sells both cut masonry nails AND cut flooring nails. I suggest using the flooring nails as they are more slender and less prone to split the planks. I used the 3" variety. Look to existing floors in the house as models to determine nailing patterns and nail locations.

Let the planks sit in the room for a few days to acclimate to your house's current humidity. Then use 'twentyone's' advice on spacing with pennies and minding the season.

I prefer to orient the planks so that natural deformation causes them to crown rather than cup. This means that looking at the end of the board, the growth rings will form an "upward horseshoe" rather than downward.

If your joists are solid old fir, like many, you might have to pre-drill each hole. I had to pre-drill, or I would not have been able to hammer in the nails.

You'll need a beefy nail set, and it's likely you'll have to grind it flat occasionally, depending on how hard you have to work the nails, it can tend to round over.

Hit the nail set only once before placing it back on the center of the nail. If you hit it twice, the second hit finds the set off the nail and you punch a hole in your nice plank.

If your joists are old hard fir, floor bounce can hamper your ability to set the nails.

Dave
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Re: 1" x 8" Pine flooring install — Questions

Postby Dave » Sat May 22, 2010 8:43 am

I would also add that it's good to mimic existing original floors in the house in regard to whether the new floor planks have a consistent width or a random width.
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