Subscribe or Renew Membership Subscribe Renew

Hardwood floors installed before drywall

rezz1488's picture

Just curious what you folks would think about hard wood floors going in before the drywall. I have been talking with a Homebuilder and his GC said they did it that way so there is less face nailing. Just seems to me that alot of traffic across the floors would damage them. They are not sanded and finished yet, still seems backwards to me.

(post #100083, reply #1 of 15)

 If they are not finished I do hope that they protect the wood during the drywall, otherwise you will have a mess, and the floor finisher may charge you more to do his job.

(post #100083, reply #2 of 15)

To me, that seems like a bad idea. Face nails disappear with a little putty. But having drywall dust impregnated into the raw hardwood...nasty.

(post #100083, reply #3 of 15)

Never seen it done that way out here, and I know my flooring sub wouldn't do it. 

I would say it's the GC's problem if in the end it doesn't turn out well, so unless you're him  I wouldn't worry to much in your case.  In the least you could request they cover the floors with cardboard sheets or the like to protect them during construction.

What kind of wood by the way?

Reason I ask is I wouldn't want a soft floor down due to tools being dropped etc. causing deep gouges.

Team Logo

(post #100083, reply #4 of 15)

Ask the home builder and GC for you to visit a house they're doing that's got sheetrockers in there doing thier thing.  Observe the kind of floor protection they have installed.  Watch what happens when a rocker drops a sheetrock screw, doesn't stoop to pick it up and then they all grind the screw into the floor protection (cardboard? rosin paper? masonite?).  Then go back when the tapers are there and watch what happens when they drop a glop of mud.  Then when they're sanding, priming and painting. 

Edited 12/30/2005 2:38 pm ET by johnnyd

(post #100083, reply #5 of 15)


Even though it is possible to protect raw hardwood floor from the hazards listed in the replies given above, there is another risk, which is much harder to protect against. That risk is excessive humidity from drywall finishing and latex painting causing the flooring to swell and buckle. Compared to all that, what's a few face nails?


(post #100083, reply #13 of 15)

I'm with Bill-

It's a far bigger problem than just appearance, you then are going to alter the houses moisture content with the worst offender. Drywall mud and primers and paint all need to dry completely before wood is even intorduced to the space. Wood floors should be thought of as trim and the only thing after them is carpet.

(post #100083, reply #6 of 15)

Bad idea, see all reasons above.

I would guess Masonite with lots of tape is the only hope for survival. Maybe plastic underneath of it - help with moisture?

My guess is the real reason is scheduling conflicts with the floor sub.


Never underestimate the value of a sharp pencil or good light.

Never underestimate the value of a sharp pencil or good light.

(post #100083, reply #7 of 15)

I agree with BillBrennan along with the other posters.

A wood floor should be layed after the wood has climatized in the heated building for, ideally, a couple weeks. That's a bit difficult to achieve before the structure is buttoned up with rock AND the majority of the paint on.

Rock dust ground into the wood and between the planks sounds ugly.

Face nailing shouldn't be a big deal.


(post #100083, reply #9 of 15)

Rock dust ground into the wood and between the planks sounds ugly.

Ever heard of people using talc powder to silent noisy wood floor? So all that rock dust might just do the trick. :)


(post #100083, reply #8 of 15)

Guess I'm flyin solo here...............seen it done and have done it that way often, new construction.

Go ahead and put up the drywall and finish it.

But be prepared to fix a bunch of banged up sheetrock.

The other side of the coin.

Also may depend on species. I'm talking 2 or better oak and similiar. Spec grade stuff mostly.

Never had a problem after it was sanded and finished. it's done a lot in my region.




It's Never Too Late To Become What You Might Have Been






"When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking." — Sherlock Holmes, 1896

(post #100083, reply #10 of 15)

Seen it done all the time around here in new construction too.

Never causes any problems that I've seen.

Rockers hate it on 8 ft. high ceilings 'cause they have to rip boards but most crews around here are Hispanic and don't complain much at all.

Mostly red oak #1 or 2.

(post #100083, reply #11 of 15)

We have done it this way many times because of schedule issues, but also there is then MUCH less damage to the wall sheething. No dings or scratches.

As for the occassional screw - They don't get ground that far into the floor if it is oak. If you are laying pine - then cover it with masonite. Pine and masonite are always budgeted together.

If the flooring boards have beveled edges - well that's something to consider. Masonite is in order then too - regardless of when it is installed. Those grooves are a b__ch!

I like laying it before wall sheathing also because the expansion gap is under the baseboard AND the sheathing. It also makes installing the last strip of flooring and the shoe moulding installation easier.

Never had an issue with gypsum dust. Anyone having sanded more than 1 floor in their life knows that after sanding you need to sweep and vacuum. If there is still dust then, the flooring guy is doing something wrong.

One last thing - No matter when you inslall, the globs of compound will need to be scraped off and floor then swept well, prior to laying or sanding floor. Red rosin paper is great to eliminate the scraping exercise.


There he goes—one of God's own prototypes—a high powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live and too rare to die.

—Hunter S. Thompson
from Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas

Flay your Suffolk bought-this-morning sole with organic hand-cracked pepper and blasted salt. Thrill each side for four minutes at torchmark haut. Interrogate a lemon. Embarrass any tough roots from the samphire. Then bamboozle till it's al dente with that certain je ne sais quoi.

Arabella Weir as Minty Marchmont - Posh Nosh

(post #100083, reply #12 of 15)

I've seen it done alot too, though I still don't like it and would not choose to do it personally. I've even had flooring guys tell me that the gypsum dust makes for a better finish somehow .. don't know what they are smoking.

(post #100083, reply #14 of 15)

Do the drywall first. Been standing on the 2nd floor when the guys on the 1st floor were banging in the floor  on the 1st floorand the 2nd dloor shook causing screw pops.  The floor is sanded anyways so any drywall debris or dust accumulated before the floor is varnished is removed anyway.

(post #100083, reply #15 of 15)

Thanks for all the responses....

I am building my own house currently and will have hardwood floors as well. I tend to agree with the majority that it's best to install the floors after the drywall.

Take care  Rezz