Amish made hardwood

It is currently Tue Apr 23, 2019 8:49 am

All times are UTC - 5 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 6 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Two-inch top-nailed flooring
PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 11:07 am 
Offline
Worthy Contributor

Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2013 4:13 pm
Posts: 128
Location: Burlingame, CA
I thought people might be interested in hearing about a different kind of job experience. In the nine county San Francisco metro area, the predominant type of flooring is 2" x 5 / 16" square-edged oak, which is top-nailed. When I got started in the trade, I assumed that top-nail was THE type of flooring, because T&G flooring was just a curiosity that showed up once every two years.

We install T&G in new construction, but in most remodel projects, we still install the square-edge, to match the existing floors.

Square-edge appears to go in faster than T&G, because we cut everything to fit and tack it down quickly. It looks impressive to the customer, because at the end of the day, the whole house has flooring laid. But we have to go back and lay out the nail lines, and then spend hours shooting nail rows every seven inches across the floor. Two nails per course, and sometimes six nails at each joint—two on each board, and one to either side of the joint. Some companies lay out the lines and nail as they install, but this isn’t the typical approach.

There are only two mills in the U.S. that produce this flooring, and there are six metro areas where it’s common. I’ve heard that square-edge was made popular because it was easier to install borders and feature strips. There are a lot of houses with borders, feature strips, and elaborate keyed corners in the Bay area, whereas T&G floors typically just run end-to-end.

Sanding these floors can be a problem, because of all the nailholes that can be uncovered. We end up using gallons of trowel filler. A 500 square foot floor can have a minimum of 10,000 nails, and spot-filling them is often a waste of time. We also just run with the coarse paper, because we can be shredding it against lots of uncovered nails as we go.

It adds a lot of time and expense to the bid to set all the nails and fill them, and the cheaper companies cut corners by not bothering to do this. The trowel filler can’t get all the shallow holes, so there is also hand-filling nailholes before the final coat. I explain all of this in a procedure document I give to the customer, because the nailholes are a big issue. They’re the source of a lot of disputes between customers and flooring contractors here.

On a thousand square feet, me and one assistant can easily spend three hours filling “flick out” nailholes on final coat day. I put this into the bid on a “maybe” basis, because we don’t necessarily uncover hundreds of nails on every floor. But I have no way of knowing beforehand, and neither does the customer. They don’t even know the nails are there—everything on an old floor looks smooth and even, until we get in there and sand.

Repairs are a lot easier than T&G. With no tongue to worry about, it’s easy to remove the old boards. We can often flip them over and use the other side, if the stain hasn’t penetrated too deeply.

There’s also no nested bundling. Bundles are sized by length, and 2-footers are the shortest boards sold.

We shoot them in with nail guns, but there is also a special nailer made for this kind of flooring. It’s call a Cavanaugh, and it’s an elaborate piece of machinery that rolls on four wheels, and has a large hopper that holds hundreds of 1" nails. The nails are channeled down into a feeder line, and the installer hits a plunger to sink them. There’s approximately 2300 nails in a typical small bedroom, and that’s a lot of hammer swinging.

Installing top-nail does not require the same mental energy that T&G does. I don’t have to think ahead, and plan three corners in advance, because there’s no interlocking involved. We can also jump around and install different sections more easily—we don’t bottleneck waiting for someone to install a register, for instance. With bordered floors, there’s always a rip strip somewhere in the field, so we can install from both sides if necessary, without back-laying and using sliptongue.

When I started doing floors 35 years ago, the only T&G flooring in houses around here came from WW II-era installations, where they used odd sizes of flooring like 2” x 1 / 2" (because conventional flooring was rationed? I don’t know). Commercial buildings had T&G, with maple floors especially, but most homes had the square-edged. Nowadays most new installs here are T&G, but that wasn’t always the case.


Top
 Profile  
 
Amish made hardwood

 Post subject: Re: Two-inch top-nailed flooring
PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 11:25 am 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2004 10:08 pm
Posts: 1677
Location: Bonita Springs, Florida
Hard to say why those floor types are popular out there. One of our long time contributors, Gary who lives in Antioch talked about them often. He is since retired of about two years and did run into some health issues. I've been meaning to get in touch with him because he has been the most valued contributor to this board.

I thought the popularity started because of the shortage of material right after WWII. Gary also referred to them as potato chip floors because the older ones sound that way.

By the way, welcome aboard! It is always nice to have guys with experience like yourself.

Have a name to go along with your presence?

There's also a pneumatic tool similar to the Cavanaugh.

http://www.hardwoodinstaller.com/hardwo ... d-thin.htm


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Two-inch top-nailed flooring
PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 10:32 pm 
Offline
Worthy Contributor

Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2013 4:13 pm
Posts: 128
Location: Burlingame, CA
Thanks for the welcome, Ken. That's interesting, about the pneumatic tool. Guys refurbish Cavanaughs and keep them around. They're hard to keep from jamming, and we used to put paint thinner in with the nails to keep the runway lubricated.

Quote:
I thought the popularity started because of the shortage of material right after WWII. Gary also referred to them as potato chip floors because the older ones sound that way.


No, they were around in San Francisco and Oakland at the turn of the century, and in all the houses built in the teens, 20s, and 30s. After I wrote the post, I remembered that in the mansions in San Francisco, T&G were the preferred floors, because they were considered more formal out here. But in my first ten years, I wasn't working any mansions.

Lebanon and L and L are the two mills doing the square-edge. I see that Lebanon was listed in the link. In some homes we run into what we call "matchstick"--one-inch square-edge. I've never run across anyone who can explain what the advantage would be in installing such a tiny width. It's usually in apartments, but I've seen it in homes. They don't list it in the Lebanon inventory, but someone still makes bundles of it for repairs. I have a few sitting in storage.

This is a great site, by the way. I've been looking for a message board like this for some time, and never found anything until now.
Farrell Wills


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Two-inch top-nailed flooring
PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 5:25 am 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2004 10:08 pm
Posts: 1677
Location: Bonita Springs, Florida
Thanks Farrell:

That's not going to be an easy name to remember. I have some problems with names, particularly those that don't post frequently. I've seen 1 1/2" but not one inch. This message board has been around since 2005 and I think you'll discover everyone gets along quote well.

Gary was one guy I could count on when it came to finishing applications which I am very weak on. In fact you'll rarely see me answer any questions on the subject because there is so much to know and I was never active in that end of the business. We do have other knowledgeable guys that I appreciate, but they don't go into the detail and the way he presented the subject matter. And of course some seem to have busy work schedules so they aren't around consistently.

I find it also interesting you mentioned fir floors on your website. They're typically 3 and 1/8 in width? I wonder how that came to be? It's similar to common pine I see in parts of the south where most are three inch. Could be more traditional as I've seen entire homes built out of 3" heart pine including interior walls and ceilings.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Two-inch top-nailed flooring
PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2013 6:33 am 
Offline
Worthy Contributor
User avatar

Joined: Sun Apr 14, 2013 1:34 pm
Posts: 173
Location: Westchester NY
Very interesting to the the variety on other parts of the country. In my market (Westchester/CT just outside NYC), solid hardwood is the standard and very much preferred (except for apartments where some have concrete subfloors).

There is one town (older) in my county where I've seen something similar with top nailed parquet which is pretty intricate. I see your point about borders/inlays, and I could see how that could be easier. (Here in some of the older/fancier homes, the borders are feature strips of peruvian walnut sometimes w/ maple in between). Similar to what you are mentioning, but a different surface, I just came across a local cork company in The Bronx. They focus on glued down cork and they have some really fancy shapes that allow you to do some super cool visually stunning cork floors. (some of them give that 3D look) - Globus Cork. http://www.corkfloor.com/index.html

These can really only be done by gluing down (vs. most residential cork are now floating).

Debbie Gartner, aka The Flooring Girl
http://TheFlooringGirl.com


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Two-inch top-nailed flooring
PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 12:30 pm 
Offline
Worthy Contributor

Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2013 4:13 pm
Posts: 128
Location: Burlingame, CA
Ken Fisher wrote:
I find it also interesting you mentioned fir floors on your website. They're typically 3 and 1/8 in width? I wonder how that came to be? It's similar to common pine I see in parts of the south where most are three inch. Could be more traditional as I've seen entire homes built out of 3" heart pine including interior walls and ceilings.


Douglas fir floors are fairly common around here, while pine is not. In parts of Berkeley and Oakland, it was common to have hardwood downstairs, and fur in the bedrooms upstairs. The 'old' fir is 3 1/4", though, while it's the 'newer' stuff that's 3 1/8". I'm not sure when the switch happened, but I often can't get the older width at a lumber yard. I have to go to a flooring distributor for that.

TheFlooringGirl wrote:
Quote:
There is one town (older) in my county where I've seen something similar with top nailed parquet which is pretty intricate.
-

Yes, we have a lot of 5/16ths parquet, too, but that's glue-down. Or we have the 2" strips, cut and nailed in parquet block patterns. I was surprised when I found that they quit making the glue-down "finger block" parquet--it's only available special-order, online. It costs quite a bit, too.

Quote:
Similar to what you are mentioning, but a different surface, I just came across a local cork company in The Bronx. -


I've maybe sanded two cork floors, and have never installed one. The cork tends to be in one room--I've not seen it throughout a house.


Top
 Profile  
 
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 6 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group

phpBB SEO