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 Post subject: 2nd floor layout help
PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2018 3:21 pm 
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My wife and I are getting ready to install 5" wide engineered T&G hardwood on the stairs up to the second floor of our house and the second floor itself, except the bathrooms. As you can see in the attached layout, the second floor is long and skinny, 60’ long x 18’ wide. (We are using engineered wood to match the engineered wood floor on the first floor, which was installed by the previous owner.)

https://i.imgur.com/79D6m8Q.jpg?1

The second floor subfloor is plywood over 2x10 joists, which run in the short direction. The subfloor has some issues and will need to be repaired. (I can feel problems in all of the bedrooms through the carpet.) The current stairs don’t have a stair skirt; they are carpet over construction lumber.

We cannot move out of the house to install the floors, so we need to install the floor in phases. We’d like to start with the Loft & Hallway(?) so we can move into the Loft while installing the flooring in each bedroom.

For layout, I planned to measure and mark the center of hallway at multiple locations and snap a chalk line (REFERENCE CENTERLINE) to the best fit centerline of the Hallway, and from that line, strike new line for the starter row (START LINE OPTION 1 or START LINE OPTION 2(?)).

Questions & concerns
1. Long distance gap: The distance from the Master to the Loft Just under 60’ – how much gap do I need at each end? My understanding is that most issues with expansion are in the short direction (grain swelling) of the wood, not the long direction, and that engineered floors have fewer issues overall.

2. Subfloor: Do I need to take all carpet out at same time or is it acceptable to do in sections as I move along with installation? (May be the real question is what are the risks if I don’t pull out all of the carpet at once because I know that the subfloor has issues?)

3. Starter Row & stairs: Should I set the starter row a 0.5” from WALL A at START LINE OPTION 1 or should I work backward from the stair landing for the starter row so that to transition into the stairs is with whole planks (START LINE OPTION 2)? (If I work from the stairs back, I assume that I would need to reverse the floor with a spline.)

4. Layout lines: I only have two layout lines planned (REFERENCE CENTER LINE and START LINE OPTION 1 or START LINE OPTION 2). Do I need any more lines? Also, since I need to do this in phases, any good ways to keep the centerline or other reference lines (such as a nail at each end of the line so I can re-snap it)?

5. Hallway width: The other challenge is that the hallway is 36-3/4" to 37-1/4" wide (measured drywall to drywall). 7 rows flooring is 34-1/8” wide (visible), which is just a little be less than the width of the hallway, and I’m concerned that a narrow strip on one side of the hallway could look bad.

6. Starting point: When starting the first row, do I need to start the first board in one of the rooms at the end (Master or Loft) or anywhere in the middle?

7. Stair Skirt: I need to add a stair skirt to the stairs. Should I add it before installing the flooring and stair nosing or after?


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 Post subject: Re: 2nd floor layout help
PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2018 11:14 am 
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Will the doorways have thresholds or will the floor flow from the hallway into the rooms? Remove baseboards or use shoe molding?


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 Post subject: Re: 2nd floor layout help
PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2018 11:23 am 
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MOB wrote:
My wife and I are getting ready to install 5" wide engineered T&G hardwood on the stairs up to the second floor of our house and the second floor itself, except the bathrooms. As you can see in the attached layout, the second floor is long and skinny, 60’ long x 18’ wide. (We are using engineered wood to match the engineered wood floor on the first floor, which was installed by the previous owner.)

https://i.imgur.com/79D6m8Q.jpg?1

The second floor subfloor is plywood over 2x10 joists, which run in the short direction. The subfloor has some issues and will need to be repaired. (I can feel problems in all of the bedrooms through the carpet.) The current stairs don’t have a stair skirt; they are carpet over construction lumber.

We cannot move out of the house to install the floors, so we need to install the floor in phases. We’d like to start with the Loft & Hallway(?) so we can move into the Loft while installing the flooring in each bedroom.

For layout, I planned to measure and mark the center of hallway at multiple locations and snap a chalk line (REFERENCE CENTERLINE) to the best fit centerline of the Hallway, and from that line, strike new line for the starter row (START LINE OPTION 1 or START LINE OPTION 2(?)).

Questions & concerns
1. Long distance gap: The distance from the Master to the Loft Just under 60’ – how much gap do I need at each end? My understanding is that most issues with expansion are in the short direction (grain swelling) of the wood, not the long direction, and that engineered floors have fewer issues overall.

Long distance gap is negligible....the space under the baseboard or shoe molding will be sufficient

2. Subfloor: Do I need to take all carpet out at same time or is it acceptable to do in sections as I move along with installation? (May be the real question is what are the risks if I don’t pull out all of the carpet at once because I know that the subfloor has issues?)

Don't normally have to pull all the carpet at once, but what are the subfloor issues?

3. Starter Row & stairs: Should I set the starter row a 0.5” from WALL A at START LINE OPTION 1 or should I work backward from the stair landing for the starter row so that to transition into the stairs is with whole planks (START LINE OPTION 2)? (If I work from the stairs back, I assume that I would need to reverse the floor with a spline.)

Use the stair landing tread as your adjustment point....may have to rip down the landing tread.....not less than 3 1/2" wide....will also need to bullnose it.

4. Layout lines: I only have two layout lines planned (REFERENCE CENTER LINE and START LINE OPTION 1 or START LINE OPTION 2). Do I need any more lines? Also, since I need to do this in phases, any good ways to keep the centerline or other reference lines (such as a nail at each end of the line so I can re-snap it)?

5. Hallway width: The other challenge is that the hallway is 36-3/4" to 37-1/4" wide (measured drywall to drywall). 7 rows flooring is 34-1/8” wide (visible), which is just a little be less than the width of the hallway, and I’m concerned that a narrow strip on one side of the hallway could look bad.

6. Starting point: When starting the first row, do I need to start the first board in one of the rooms at the end (Master or Loft) or anywhere in the middle?

Start at one end and work your way down the hall. Will you flow into rooms or have thresholds at room doors?

7. Stair Skirt: I need to add a stair skirt to the stairs. Should I add it before installing the flooring and stair nosing or after?

I would install the skirt first....otherwise you will have to make precide cuts to avoid gaps and would also have to cut around the stair overhangs. Easier to fit the stair treads.....a stair tread jig makes this easy....make or buy the jig


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 Post subject: Re: 2nd floor layout help
PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2018 12:47 pm 
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Thanks for the comments.

We intend to flow the flooring through the rooms, without thresholds. All of the existing baseboard is going to be removed and replaced, so I'm not worried about trying to keep it.

The subfloor in the master has a definite high spot (it could be the plywood is sagging to the side of the joist) and a small hole of some kind in a bedroom 1 (haven't pulled the carpet back yet). My concern is that I don't want to start the floor and then find out I need to put another sheet of plywood down to level the floor out.

Sounds like the recommendation is to start installation in the Loft, along Wall A, using Start Line 1, and to trim to fit the last board into the stairs, as long as it is 3-1/2" wide. I have stair nose molding -- it is 3-1/8" overall with 1-1/8" nose (2" on the tread). I'll measure the stair to start line distance so that the last board is not under width. Does that mean I may need to rip the entire starter row?


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 Post subject: Re: 2nd floor layout help
PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:04 pm 
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4. Layout lines: I only have two layout lines planned (REFERENCE CENTER LINE and START LINE OPTION 1 or START LINE OPTION 2). Do I need any more lines? Also, since I need to do this in phases, any good ways to keep the centerline or other reference lines (such as a nail at each end of the line so I can re-snap it)?

Draw parallel lines from the outside hallway wall to wall F/E and to Wall C to try and get the whole 2nd floor 'square'. Adjust as necessary to avoid narrow pieces when you pass through the room doors. You may have to notch some pieces to fit around walls as you move from the hallway into the rooms. Once you establish the Baseline and lay the first row of flooring on it you will be good to go. Even if you don't lay the first row all the way down the hall you can use straight edges to keep all pieces in the first row aligned. You could also screw some straight scraps on the baseline.

5. Hallway width: The other challenge is that the hallway is 36-3/4" to 37-1/4" wide (measured drywall to drywall). 7 rows flooring is 34-1/8” wide (visible), which is just a little be less than the width of the hallway, and I’m concerned that a narrow strip on one side of the hallway could look bad.

The last row in the hallway will 'disappear' under the baseboard or shoe molding and you won't be able to tell if it is wide or narrow....you just don't want really narrow pieces when you notch around the walls as you work your way into the rooms.

Don't skimp on the amount of time you spend doing the layout work. It is best to know before you start what it will all look like before you start the installation.
Also, when you get to the stairs be aware that there are codes for the stair tread rises and runs.


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 Post subject: Re: 2nd floor layout help
PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:19 pm 
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MOB wrote:
Thanks for the comments.

We intend to flow the flooring through the rooms, without thresholds. All of the existing baseboard is going to be removed and replaced, so I'm not worried about trying to keep it.

The subfloor in the master has a definite high spot (it could be the plywood is sagging to the side of the joist) and a small hole of some kind in a bedroom 1 (haven't pulled the carpet back yet). My concern is that I don't want to start the floor and then find out I need to put another sheet of plywood down to level the floor out.

Maybe a crown in the joist. You can either shave the high spot down or do a gradual build up from the low spot. Depending on what it is and how severe the build up can be done with different materials e.g. layers of vapor retarder, roofing felt, etc.

Sounds like the recommendation is to start installation in the Loft, along Wall A, using Start Line 1, and to trim to fit the last board into the stairs, as long as it is 3-1/2" wide. I have stair nose molding -- it is 3-1/8" overall with 1-1/8" nose (2" on the tread). I'll measure the stair to start line distance so that the last board is not under width. Does that mean I may need to rip the entire starter row?


Is the outer hall wall the same as the Loft wall?. Your stair nose molding is what I was referring to so disregard my comment. When your flooring approaches the top of the stairs you may have to rip the piece that abuts the stair nose molding to that everything will fit.....if this ripped piece is too narrow you may have to readjust your starting baseline. Have to look at the second floor as a whole in order to determine where to make your adjustments so that they will be the least obvious. When a lot of adjustments are required sometimes it is best to make entire rows slightly narrower instead of having one or two rows a lot narrower.


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 Post subject: Re: 2nd floor layout help
PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:02 pm 
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The Hallway, Loft, & Master all share the same wall, Wall A.

I agree, a good set-up and layout will make the final installation go much better.

I'll update the drawing with the suggested layout lines and add some more dimensions to get a better idea where the flooring will line up at door thresholds and stairs.


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 Post subject: Re: 2nd floor layout help
PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2018 5:22 pm 
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I picked the flooring up today and measured the planks from a couple of boxes and they are 5” wide exactly (excluding the tongue).

To see how the floor would layout overall, I sketched the distance from Wall A to all of the other walls (except Bedroom 1 (Wall D) & Bedroom 2 (Wall C) since they will have furniture against those walls). (I hope that the sketch makes sense.)

https://i.imgur.com/dxnoeqj.jpg

The flooring appears to layout well

I paid close attention in the Master (Wall A to Wall G) where the flooring transitions through three doorways. The distance from Wall A to Wall G varies from 12’-5/16” and 12’-1 1/16”. (I sketched it at 12’-1 1/16”.)

I’m also back to my concern with the Hallway. The Hallway is a minimum of 36 3/4" wide. Offsetting the floor 1/2" from each side, and I could have a 3/4" strip along the interior hallway wall.

Also, the Loft is unique, in that the flooring will not be covered by trim on Wall B. The picture shows that the flooring is against a metal cap. Any suggestions on how to close the 1/2" gap? I can get 3/4" quarter round or I could cut one edge of a piece of T-molding.

https://i.imgur.com/4bXYvkq.jpg

The actual installation will never exactly match the sketch and layout, but they do appear to show the layout will work.

Am I missing anything and is the Hallway still not an issue?


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 Post subject: Re: 2nd floor layout help
PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2018 6:05 pm 
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MOB wrote:
I picked the flooring up today and measured the planks from a couple of boxes and they are 5” wide exactly (excluding the tongue).

To see how the floor would layout overall, I sketched the distance from Wall A to all of the other walls (except Bedroom 1 (Wall D) & Bedroom 2 (Wall C) since they will have furniture against those walls). (I hope that the sketch makes sense.)

https://i.imgur.com/dxnoeqj.jpg

The flooring appears to layout well

I paid close attention in the Master (Wall A to Wall G) where the flooring transitions through three doorways. The distance from Wall A to Wall G varies from 12’-5/16” and 12’-1 1/16”. (I sketched it at 12’-1 1/16”.)

I’m also back to my concern with the Hallway. The Hallway is a minimum of 36 3/4" wide. Offsetting the floor 1/2" from each side, and I could have a 3/4" strip along the interior hallway wall.

You can split the difference between the outer most rows....rip down the rows that abut the inner and outer hallway walls. OR 3/4" is bit thin but it disappears under the baseboard so the eye doesn't really know it is a thin piece.

Also, the Loft is unique, in that the flooring will not be covered by trim on Wall B. The picture shows that the flooring is against a metal cap. Any suggestions on how to close the 1/2" gap? I can get 3/4" quarter round or I could cut one edge of a piece of T-molding.

The 3/4 round or shoe mold would work. Nail it to the subfloor. The finished floor needs to be able to expand under 3/4 round so do not nail the 3/4 round to the finished floor.

https://i.imgur.com/4bXYvkq.jpg

The actual installation will never exactly match the sketch and layout, but they do appear to show the layout will work.

Am I missing anything and is the Hallway still not an issue?


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 Post subject: Re: 2nd floor layout help
PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2018 6:45 pm 
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Finally getting back to installing the floor. (I would’ve started earlier, but we had a contractor doing some other work for us, and the inspectors had issues at final inspection. I was a bit tied up with that.)

I took the carpet out of the loft and generally the floor is sound, but I did have one surprise, there used to be a circular stair case in the room – it’s pretty obvious when you look at the picture.

https://i.imgur.com/pMwMs9R

The subfloor is 5/8” plywood nailed to joists 16” OC. The subfloor mostly is level between the joist, but sags in between them, around 1/8”, or sometimes sags at the joist where two pieces were nailed down.

https://i.imgur.com/ABU0dZP

https://i.imgur.com/3OexgjE

At some places the circular staircase was patched, it is a little above or a little below the surrounding subfloor.

https://i.imgur.com/CNBPUgV

What’s is the best approach for these issues?

I have a belt sander and can knock the high edges down and can build up the low spots with Aquabar paper or card stock (as Don Bollinger did in his video “Laying Hardwood Floors”. Not surprisingly, the subfloor creaks a little bit, so I planned to screw it down in more places along the joists.

(I would attach pictures directly into the post, but I keep getting the error "It was not possible to determine the dimensions of the image." Any help?)


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 Post subject: Re: 2nd floor layout help
PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2018 6:57 am 
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You're on the right track. Knock down the high spots. To build up the low spots you can lay pieces of the Aquabar B in a style of a topographical relief map. Yes, add screws to stop the squeaks. Set existing nail heads flush or remove completely. Lay flooring perpendicular or at a 45 degree angle to the joists.


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 Post subject: Re: 2nd floor layout help
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:06 am 
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Pulling up the carpet was like pulling a loose thread – just kept finding new issues – which stopped work on the floor. I found that the original repiping in the house was thin, type M copper. I’ve had a pin hole leak, so I replaced it with thicker type L. At the same time, I have issue with my phone line not working, so those are being replace as well.

With the repiping, I have been able to see portions of most of the floor joist in the master bedroom and much of the rest of the second floor. The joists in the master are causing a lot of issues with the flatness of the subfloor. Several joists have been sistered from earlier work.

The master bedroom is 15’-9” wide x 12’ high. I used a 13’ piece of 1.5”x1.5” aluminum L channel and laser level to survey the subfloor. There are some sudden height changes at the joist, particularly the ones that were sistered. With the level, I measured that the center of the room dips up to an inch compared to the perimeter. I realize that I need the floor to be flat, not level, but the laser level made taking the measurements easy.

My plan is to

1. Removing all of the existing 5/8" plywood subfloor (which is cut in several random sizes from the original repiping)

2. Shimming/shaving joist as required (shim using luan (1/8”), plywood, roofing paper, shingles)

3. Replacing the subfloor with new 5/8 plywood

4. Adding 1/4" underlayment


The only other option I can think of is to shimming on top of the existing subfloor and add underlayment on top of that, but I’m concerned with building up too much material on the low spots.

https://imgur.com/a/F2oTOFk


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 Post subject: Re: 2nd floor layout help
PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2019 10:43 am 
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With the subfloor down, glued, and screwed off, and having sanded the high spots with an edging sander, I’m looking at layout details. It was a lot of work, especially doing it by myself only. (I’m still deciding if I want to add 3/8” sheathing on top of the 5/8” subfloor. With the subfloor screwed down, I don’t have any squeaking and only a little bit of flex.)

I snapped a chalk line 12” off of the long exterior wall (Wall A) in the master and the loft and found that the wall bows inward through the Hallway about an inch, to 11” inches off the wall. The chalk line and the Hallway wall are parallel within 1/8”. The 1” of bow is only in the Master and Loft. (I have a good sketch, but I haven’t had any luck posting it directly into the text. In case the picture at the beginning of the post doesn’t’ come up, the second floor is ~60’ long. From left to right, is the Master (15’ wide), Hallway (32’ wide), and the Loft (13’ wide).) (I haven't figured out how to post pictures directly into the post, otherwise I include pictures with the measurements and how I flattened the floor.)

At the stair landing, I also measured the distance from the risers on the stair stringer to the line and the wall to the line. The risers on the stair stringer were parallel to within 1/16”, which I can shim with a roofing felt. The chalk line and Wall A are parallel to within 1/16”.

Since Wall A bows out in the Loft and Master, what’s the best approach for starting the first row? I was thinking that I should snap a line at the edge of the tongue of the first row, so that I have a full board at the stair nosing. As I set the first board I can rip it to width based on the measurement of the chalk line to the wall. (Also, the floor manufacturer says to use either 1-1/2" or 1-1/4" cleat nails -- any reason to choose one length over the other.)


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