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Red Rosin vs builders felt under floorng

DelawareDave61's picture

I contracted to have a Bruce solid oak floor (3/4" x 2 1/4" strips) installed and discovered at the end of the day that my contractor is using Red Rosin paper instead of builders felt.  Not being a pro, I checked out Red Rosin paper on the web and found out that it is marginal at best; builders felt is far better in the long-term.  This is especially true because the new floor is covering a room that is partially in an addition and partially in the original house, and the addition is about 1/8" higher than the original floor on one side of the room.  Builders felt would have smoothed out the stresses on the flooring crossing that boundary.

 

He's about 1/3 of the way through the job.  My question is: now what?  Am I making a big deal over nothing?  Should I tell him to stop everything?  As far as I can see, what he's doing meets Bruce's requriements, so he's likely to insist that he has every right to do what he's doing.  Therefore I expect that he would insist that we pay for any new wood that's needed if the wood is taken out.

 

Any suggestions?

(post #105422, reply #1 of 72)

No paper will smooth out a 1/8" difference in height. That's wishful thinking.

A belt sander would blend it nicely or they make a floor filler material. Some flooring guys lay shingles to blend things. There are lots of ways but one layer of tar paper isn't going to do anything.

Red rosin paper is made for exactly this and some people don't like the smell of felt.

Red rosin has been the choice under flooring for decades. Unless you specified builder's felt in lieu of the red rosin paper, I think you are being unreasonable. If you want felt, you should pay the differnce.

I wouldn't bother.

Bob's next test date: 12/10/07

(post #105422, reply #2 of 72)

WOW!!!


do you poke every hornet's nest that you get near???


Let the felt / rosin paper debate rage on...


 


Red Rosin paper is marginal at best;


yup


builders felt is far better in the long-term. 


yup..


and the addition is about 1/8" higher than the original floor on one side of the room.  Builders felt would have smoothed out the stresses on the flooring crossing that boundary.


not a chance...

shim up with layers of felt maybe - but removeing the offset is the best way to go... get out the planer or belt sander..

 

He's about 1/3 of the way through the job.  My question is: now what?  Am I making a big deal over nothing?  Should I tell him to stop everything?  As far as I can see, what he's doing meets Bruce's requriements, so he's likely to insist that he has every right to do what he's doing.  Therefore I expect that he would insist that we pay for any new wood that's needed if the wood is taken out.

 

Any suggestions?

 

mechanically remove the offset...

you want felt??? have him put felt in...

did you acclimate the flooring to the house at all???

 


Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming


WOW!!! What a Ride!
Forget the primal scream, just ROAR!!!

"Some days it's just not worth chewing through the restraints"

(post #105422, reply #4 of 72)

"do you poke every hornet's nest that you get near???"

LMAO - I had the same thought

 

 


Welcome to the
Taunton University of
Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
 where ...
Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #105422, reply #5 of 72)

he said there's other Q's he had....


can't wait to see what the day's rowe will be.....


 


life is never dull here....


ROAR!!!!


 


Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming


WOW!!! What a Ride!
Forget the primal scream, just ROAR!!!

"Some days it's just not worth chewing through the restraints"

(post #105422, reply #3 of 72)

Yes, you are making a big deal over nothing.

If he were using no paper at all, that would be a big deal.

there are sometimes some advantages to using tarpaper instead of resin paper, but there are also disadvantages.

 

 


Welcome to the
Taunton University of
Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
 where ...
Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #105422, reply #6 of 72)

About the only difference in rosin and felt when it comes to hardwood flooring is personal preference.


The 1/8" difference in floor height should be addressed.....but felt rather than rosin aint the answer.




J. D. Reynolds
Home Improvements



 



 




R.I.P. RAZZMAN

 

 



(post #105422, reply #7 of 72)

There are real differences between rosin paper and tar paper in this instance.

The primary one being that rosin paper will eventually turn to dust (I've seen 20 to 30 years, but I really don't know all the conditions that contribute). Tar paper will out last rosin paper by a great deal. However, rosin paper may well last long enough.

But also tar paper, in the event of a fire will burn better. I think that is pretty minor, but short term, smell can also be an issue.

(post #105422, reply #8 of 72)

I installed strip oak flooring over 30 lb. felt using radient floor heat.


smell has never been a problem. House was built in '91

(post #105422, reply #9 of 72)

"smell has never been a problem."

Yeah but you probably douse yourself with tar flavored after shave!

Bob's next test date: 12/10/07

(post #105422, reply #10 of 72)

You obviously didn't look in the Picture of yourself folder.


I haven't shaved since Oct. '72 while living on the Eisel River in Holland- working in a salvage lumber outfit.

(post #105422, reply #11 of 72)

I've seen rosin paper under 90 year old floors in perfect condition.

I've never heard of this debate between the two. In fact, I've never seen felt under a wood floor.

What benefits would felt have over rosin paper?

(post #105422, reply #12 of 72)

More cushioning for less chance of squeaks, mainly

(post #105422, reply #13 of 72)

More cushioning for more movement=less squeaks?

That doesn't make sense. Squeaks are from wood moving across nails that don't move. Why would you want the wood to move more?

I have always understood the paper to help even out the moisture coming from the basement traveling through the cracks in the subfloor to help prevent cupping.

(post #105422, reply #31 of 72)

wood riding on nails is opnly one of at least three reasons why wood floors an squeak. Wood/wood is one that the paper barrier prevents

 

 


Welcome to the
Taunton University of
Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
 where ...
Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #105422, reply #32 of 72)

enough of movement between the finish floor and substrate and rosin wears thru...


had a thought...


remember the diaoginal 1by sub floors???


I have found the rosin on that type of subfloor fails misaerably...


 


Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming


WOW!!! What a Ride!
Forget the primal scream, just ROAR!!!

"Some days it's just not worth chewing through the restraints"

(post #105422, reply #33 of 72)

Let's see... 1x floors are where I have encountered 90% of rosin paper. So wear through.

I still don't think the paper helps much for floor squeaking. Seems you get more of a creak from the wood moving against wood and the ear piercing squeak from wood moving against nails.
Shouldn't you be putting felt in all the grooves between boards as well?

This whole argument seems like a waste of effort.

(post #105422, reply #34 of 72)

yur right...

 


Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming


WOW!!! What a Ride!
Forget the primal scream, just ROAR!!!

"Some days it's just not worth chewing through the restraints"

(post #105422, reply #35 of 72)

red rosin is traditional... it's a slip sheet


i don't have any problem with using it


but we use 15 # felt mostly.... it has an additional advantage of being a vapor reducer.. so it will help marginally over damp basements and crawls


as far as the original question... the red rosin doesn't indicate a sub-par install'' more a personal preference


if you wanted felt, you should have spec'd felt


Mike Smith Rhode Island : Design / Build / Repair / Restore

Mike Smith Rhode Island : Design / Build / Repair / Restore

              www.mfsmithbuilder.com

(post #105422, reply #36 of 72)

"f you wanted felt, you should have spec'd felt"

Exactly! And if you want to switch in the middle of the installation, get out your checkbook and let your dollars do your talking.

Bob's next test date: 12/10/07

(post #105422, reply #41 of 72)

Once again, I'm going to show my newbie-ness.  How'd you send your message to all instead of just reply to one person?


What I wanted to do is thank everyone for the advice.  You may not agree with each other, but you made it possible for me to explain the pros and cons of Red Rosin and builders felt to my wife well enough to make her think I knew what I was talking about. ;^)


Here's what brought on the question: A friend of my wife who has been involved in construction came over, saw the 1/3-done floor with Red Rosin sticking out, told us that Red Rosin was a big mistake and that builders felt should have been used, and that the builder was a cheapskate for using it.  Also, I knew about the height difference between the existing and new floor, but wasn't there to see how the contractor dealt with it, and this friend went on to talk about how the builders felt would have handled this better.  Now it's the word of my wife's friend against the contractor's judgement.


You guys saved the day.  The Rosin Paper's fine.  I off-handedly asked the contractor about how he handled the height difference in the flooring and he said he shimmed it.  In other words, this whole thing was a big deal over nothing.  And that's what I was hoping.


As for the other problem IMERC mentioned, Splintergroupie already helped me out.  Somebody told me she'd start growing on me!  The problem was that when the contractor brought in the 3/4" thick Bruce strips, he said that he was going to let it adjust to the room for a few days and then install it.  I mentioned this to a friend in the trade and he said it should sit for three weeks.  Big difference.  Mentioned this to Splintergroupie while we were having our Islam vs Christianity vs who knows what smackdown, and she suggested I get a moisture meter.  Well, I bought one today; a Timber Check from Lee Valley tools; should be coming in a few days.


This sounds great, except that with the flooring two-thirds done, the train has already left the station.  The flooring ended up sitting here 10 days before installation started.  So why bother getting the moisture meter?


1) I can at least get a sense of whether I should expect trouble or not.


2) This is just phase one of the flooring project.  This summer, we're putting hardwood floors in the main hallway and the kitchen.  This time I'll be ready.  Think I'm going to specify builder's felt too, just for kicks.  Might even do it myself, since my business's busy season is during the school year.

I'm sure that there are other issues.  If you want to give a heads-up on anything, either for this time around or the summer, please let me know.  But, for what you've already done, THANK YOU.

Edited 1/3/2008 10:40 pm ET by DelawareDave61


Edited 1/3/2008 10:43 pm ET by DelawareDave61

(post #105422, reply #46 of 72)

Ah-Ha! The infamous old "Know-it-all friend of the owner" syndrome!

That and half-baked TV DIY shows causes more trouble on this earth than the tension between Arab and Jew ever thought of

 

 


Welcome to the
Taunton University of
Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
 where ...
Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #105422, reply #49 of 72)

Made for some interesting dinner conversation.... ;^)

(post #105422, reply #50 of 72)

"That and half-baked TV DIY shows causes more trouble on this earth than the tension between Arab and Jew ever thought of"


-- You wanna issue a fatwa on that?

(post #105422, reply #51 of 72)

we'd like to...

 


Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming


WOW!!! What a Ride!
Forget the primal scream, just ROAR!!!

"Some days it's just not worth chewing through the restraints"

(post #105422, reply #48 of 72)

I prefer red rosin paper unless there is some compelling reason for a vapor barrier like if the floor is directly above a damp crawl space (which should be fixed anyway).  Here is why I prefer rosin paper: if there is a plumbing leak in the house the red builders felt will hold the water up against the hardwood floor and it will almost never dry out.  With the rosin paper, if there is a leak, there is some drying down through the subfloor, the water will not necessarily run directly under the hardwood, and will have a much better chance of leaking down through the subfloor - with the caveat that most hardwood I get installed is on the first floor of the house.  Rosin paper helps to prevent squeaks just as good as felt paper.   Really though, either one is acceptable.


Regarding the acclimation period, some of depends if the house in under construction and unheated at the time of the install, under construction and heated or if it is a complete and lived in house.  The later requiring the longest acclimation period.

Matt

(post #105422, reply #52 of 72)

Re. acclimation......you should be OK with the 10 days you got.


I personally prefer at least two full weeks.


Be careful with your summer install. That wood is going to show up good and wet with the seasonal humidity. If you don't give it enough time before install, you're gonna have some pretty big gaps come next winter.


Best of luck!




J. D. Reynolds
Home Improvements



 



 




R.I.P. RAZZMAN

 

 



(post #105422, reply #39 of 72)

>>More cushioning for more movement=less squeaks?

>>That doesn't make sense. Squeaks are from wood moving across nails that don't move. Why would you want the wood to move more?

>>I have always understood the paper to help even out the moisture coming from the basement traveling through the cracks in the subfloor to help prevent cupping.

My understanding is that the paper/felt also (primarily?) acts a slip plan between two layers of wood which will also cause squeaks if they aren't separated.




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(post #105422, reply #14 of 72)

I don't know what conditions he's speaking of either. Here in the northeast I've torn out dozens of floors, hundreds of years old, where the rosin paper held up just fine.


The reason for the paper is to minimize the squeaking of floor boards rubbing subflooring.


Any imagined benefit of felt over rosin would be better addressed by focusing on alleviating whatever "condition" the felt is supposed to be attentioning in the first place.


I'll leave this debate to those with grander imaginations regarding the benefits of one over the other.




J. D. Reynolds
Home Improvements



 



 




R.I.P. RAZZMAN

 

 



(post #105422, reply #21 of 72)

I know of exactly one circumstance when felt is preferred...but you are unlikely to encounter it unless you are a nut like me...


Under a wide plank (antique) floor, where is a lot of seasonal movement, felt doesn't  show as much as rosin paper in the winter...


These are the floors that the 300-year-old house is supposed to have, but they were covered in 1895 with oak strips.

(post #105422, reply #22 of 72)

The national assoication of flooring manufactures used to have the installation manual posted on the web. Now you need to buy them.

But when they where free the only underlayment that they speced was felt paper.

.
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