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making pine flooring

nathan_wegemer's picture

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I have a small landing and a couple stairs to do. I've never installed wood flooring. I'll be making t&g out of 3/4 d select clear. What I'm wondering is, what should I be looking for when selecting my stock? The vertical grain stuff is hard to find in the supply, so, an education on flooring material grain and orientation during installation would be appreciated.

Thanks

(post #159095, reply #1 of 15)

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i What should I be looking for when selecting my stock?

Old-growth recycled heart pine, available from many sources. It's nearly as hard as oak. Eastern white and other similar species are too soft for flooring - there may be some who disagree - they are the ones with the high heel marks and dents.

Jeff

(post #159095, reply #2 of 15)

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Lots of 1x12's (and 2x10s/12s)have sections of VG on each side of the center. Check it out.

(post #159095, reply #3 of 15)

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Nathan, I wouldn't use soft pine on a floor, or deck. Is this an outdoor landing? Why have you chosen pine? For the color? If you choose heart pine, the color under a clear finish will be much darker than the soft pine stuff.

As for the grain, I think that kind of depends on the stability the wood you use...grain orientation matters less with stable species. But overall, VG is more stable, no matter what. It gives the face grain a particular look too.

(post #159095, reply #4 of 15)

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Someday, hopefully sooner than later, I'll install a floor like you're talking about. I went and bought the soft stuff, ponderosa. If it's any consolation, I searched for density and appearance. There is some difference in hardness within this species, and you can hear it audibly when you strike the board against a concrete floor.

It's a kids playroom, and someday a quiet spot for Dad to remenisce. I think the dents will be thought of fondly. I hope.

Hey, another question. We straightened and ripped some random widths tonight, and I'm wondering what the installers of that old-growth would've used with boards 4-1/2 to 8-1/2 " wide. Thickness is 3/4. We thought face nailing, using a cut nail.

nathan

(post #159095, reply #5 of 15)

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I was looking, and seeing some of that. Passed up two beautiful 1x10x16's that were too perfect. I hope no one else is willing to dig to the back of the stack I stashed them in.

(post #159095, reply #6 of 15)

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The pine was chosen because there is a good deal of it elsewhere in the room, and the stair way is long enough for it to act as some kind of transition, from a home trimmed in ribbon Honduran mahogany, into a playroom in ponderosa. There is a door off the entry, you might think it a closet, but it's the door into the garage, remodeled into a kids playroom.

i the color under a clear finish

Thomas, do you have any new pine flooring finishes...?

nathan

(post #159095, reply #7 of 15)

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Nathan, ponderosa pine is harder than eastern white pine, which my dad has on his home office floor. After ten years of moderate traffic it shows plenty of dents but it's not unattractive. We used water-based polyurethane for the quick drying time. I would recommend a good marine spar varnish, though, such as McKlosky's. It dries more slowly but brings out the warm amber color. More importantly it stays somewhat flexible, so the dents may not damage your finish layer.

As for width, anything over 3 or 4 inches is going to show seasonal gaps if you're in a place that has seasons.

Grain orientation--vertical grain is best, but flat sawn is fine. Put the prettiest face up. How are you milling the t&g? Gotta be precise there or you'll spend forever with a sander and may have squeaks.

(post #159095, reply #8 of 15)

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The surface of VG lumber is more durable than flat sawn, too. The "rings" are really the winter growth, which is slower and harder. If you scratch across the face of a board with a nail you'll see the summer growth, between the grain, is softer and dents more easilly. By using VG material, you expose less of that soft tissue to traffic.

Not to mention far more uniform swelling and contracting - way less cupping and twisting.

For Ponderosa Pine cabinetry I use an oil modified polyurethane because it penetrates and slightly hardens the wood. I'd be nervous using Ponderosa on a floor. Crosscut Hardwoods usually stocks a few hundred feet of Southern Yellow Pine, Nathan. That would be plenty hard for flooring, way, way harder than any of the Ponderosa Pine I've come across.

(post #159095, reply #9 of 15)

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Nathan, I have had excellent results using DURASEAL on wood floors. I finished a wide plank ( 12" ) ponderosa pine floor last winter. I like using DURASEAL 210 Neutral as my fisrt coat. It is a clear stain with a high solids count. I brush it liberally into the flooring and let it dry overnight. Wipe off any excess with dry rags. Then I use two coats of DURASEAL gloss polyurethane, screen between coats. Finish with a top coat of satin.

The solids in the 210 help strengthen the soft wood by filling the pores of the wood. It acts much like a penetrating oil. The gloss poly also has a harder finish than the satin whereas the satin as a finish knocks most of the sheen down.

Duraseal would be my reccomendation.

walk good

david

(post #159095, reply #10 of 15)

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david, any problems with pitch in the process you used?

thanks for sharing your process

nathan

(post #159095, reply #11 of 15)

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nathan, the boards I used were from recycled timber (14 x 14) resawn into 1" planks. They were maybe 100 years old so fresh pitch was non-existent.

Fresh pitch I will cull out, even a full board because of the problems that will probably develope in time. Pitch does not make a good floor, it is softer and dry becomes brittle. Besides it makes excellent fire starter material especially in those early November blizzards in the mountains.

walk good

david

(post #159095, reply #12 of 15)

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Hey Nathan, I used Southern Yellow Pine for my floors and stair treads and landings. Soft, but gorgeous. The dog's toenails give each board more character every day. I finished them with water based Varathane. It's nice, but I wish I had used Waterlox, don't let the water part confuse you, tung oil based. Real easy to touch up, with pine that's a major factor, and, it lets the wood oxidize to a nice mellow color.

Good luck, BB

(post #159095, reply #13 of 15)

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Another vote for Waterlox. Nice stairs bb. White pine was/is pretty common for floors/ stairs here. I think it makes a pretty floor face nailed using cut nails or screwed and plugged. Jeff is right about it being soft; dents and dings are inevitable. Character the realtors call it.

(post #159095, reply #14 of 15)

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If you are using white pine and are going to face nail it, don't bother putting a t&g on it. Use it square edged and glue it down to your subfloor. I have seen the top of the groove split off when the floor was resanded.

(post #159095, reply #15 of 15)

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I have a small landing and a couple stairs to do. I've never installed wood flooring. I'll be making t&g out of 3/4 d select clear. What I'm wondering is, what should I be looking for when selecting my stock? The vertical grain stuff is hard to find in the supply, so, an education on flooring material grain and orientation during installation would be appreciated.

Thanks