When many people think of wood flooring, they think of a classic hardwood-strip floor or an elegant parquet floor. However, if your taste runs more to country look a floor made of wide pine boards is sure to come to mind. Not only will this floor treatment suit a traditional decor, it can be an economical solution as well. Instead of using high-costd materials from a flooring supply outlet, you can make your floor out of No. 2 common pine boards available at home centers and lumberyards.
Keep in mind that pine is a relatively soft flooring material, and will wear and become marred more readily than hardwood. Also, seasonal changes in humidity will cause wood to expand and contract, creating spaces between boards during drier times of year.
Pine flooring is traditionally installed with steel cut nails driven through face of boards. Unlike hardwood flooring, nails remain exposed and add to rustic character of installation.
The randomly spaced knots in inexpensive No. 2 pine also add to country charm. However, make sure that knots aren't loose and check that edges of your stock don't show any bark. Choose boards that are fairly straight–a slight bow along length of a few pieces generally can be straightened out, but consistently bent and twisted stock will be difficult to install. For our project, we used 1 x 10 pine. You could choose 1 x 8 or even 1 x 12 stock for a floor, but keep in mind that wider stock, more seasonal shrinkage you can expect and more difficult it will be to straighten bowed boards. Calculate square footage of your floor and allow 10% to 15% extra material for waste.
Though lumberyard pine is generally kiln-dried, its moisture content can range from 8% to more than 14% depending on location, how it is stored at yard and time of year it's purchased. For best results, store your wood in room in which it will be installed so it can adjust to your home's humidity level. Stack boards with 3/4-in.-thick spacer strips placed between them and wait 7 to 14 days before beginning installation.
First remove existing baseboard from walls. Use a flat pry bar to gently separate trim from wall and mark each piece to indicate its position in room. This will simplify reinstallation after floor is laid. Use locking pliers to pull finishing nails through back side of baseboard to eliminate tearout that can occur when you drive nails back through face.
We installed our pine floor over a 3/4-in. plywood subfloor. Use nails in subfloor to locate floor joists and mark joist positions on opposite walls . Carefully examine subfloor to see that there are no loose spots or bubbles, that it is properly nailed down and that no nailheads protrude above surface. plywood should be nailed every 6 in. along every joist and every 4 in. along plywood seams. If necessary, renail subfloor using ring-shank nails .
To further reduce squeaks in floor, install a layer of rosin paper between subfloor and new pine floor. Start at a wall that is perpendicular to floor joists and roll out first course of paper along this wall. Staple it every 6 in. in all directions with 5/16-in. staples . When first row of paper is down, use a straightedge to mark lines across paper to indicate joists . As each row of paper is laid down, extend joist lines. Overlap each course of rosin paper by 4 in. to 6 in.
To fit new flooring at a door, cut base of door casing so pine can slide underneath. Use a small scrap of pine flooring material to scribe door casings . Then use a small handsaw to carefully cut trim to line .
Plan for floorboards to run perpendicular to floor joists. With this orientation, each board is solidly nailed to joists and likelihood of floor squeaks is reduced.
Check floor dimensions at walls parallel to joists. It is not unusual for rooms to be out of square and for room size to vary by an inch or more from end to end. If difference is less than 1 in., it's unlikely to be noticeable when job is done. If there is an excessive discrepancy, divide difference in half and plan adjustments in both first and last rows you lay down.
In most cases, each row of flooring will be made up of two or more lengths of stock, butted end to end with each joint falling on a joist centerline. At starting wall, mark floor at each end to indicate outer edge of first row . Allow for width of first board plus a space of 1/2 in. for expansion. Snap a chalkline between these marks to generate layout line for first row .
It's a good idea to very slightly ease top edges of each board to remove any slivers or sharp edges. You could use a wooden block and 120-grit sandpaper to do job, but it's quicker to use a router with a 1/8-in.-rad. rounding-over bit. Adjust depth of cut to less than 1/16 in. Clamp each board to a pair of sawhorses and run router along top edges .
Lay first board on layout line with a 1/2-in. space between its end and wall. If board is cupped, place concave side down. Find joist centerline under board nearest its other end and mark a square cut line at this point. Use a circular saw to crosscut board at line .
Place board back on layout line and use 8d or 10d steel cut nails to fasten it in place . Locate nails about 1 in. from each board edge. If you are using 1 x 8 stock, two nails in each joist are sufficient. If you are using 1 x 10 or 1 x 12, place a third nail in center. Use a drift punch to set each nail about 1/16 in. below surface . This allows you to sand floor and keeps anything from catching on a protruding nailhead. When nailing a floorboard at an end seam, angle nails so that they're sure to enter floor joist below . Unlike wire nails with wedge-like points that tend to split wood, square-tipped cut nails push through fibers to reduce splitting–even at board ends.
Continue laying each row of boards tight to preceding row. For best appearance, stagger end joints of floorboards in adjacent rows by two joist spaces.
If you encounter a board that is slightly bowed, cut it to length and position it with bow extending out from adjacent flooring. Temporarily screw a block to subfloor and drive a wedge between block and bowed board . Nail board down before removing wedge.
Once you have worked across room, measure space for last row . Again, check dimension at each end of room, and, if necessary, plan for tapered boards. Allow a 1/2-in. expansion space against wall. If flooring must enter a closet or wrap around an outside corner use a sabre saw to cut stock to fit .
To make a transition between pine floor in one room and a different floor material in another, cut a pine threshold to fit between entry doorjambs. Use a bench plane to taper outside edge of board . Start taper 2 1/2 to 3 in. from outside edge of threshold and plane edge no thinner than 1/4 in.
The perfect tool for sanding a new pine floor is a large orbital floor sander. These tools can be rented for - $ *30 to - $ *40 per day plus cost of friction pad, sandpaper and abrasive screens. sandpaper or screen is placed on floor with a friction pad on top of it. sander is positioned over pad and turned on. Your main job is to keep sander moving evenly over floor . action of this type of sander is easy to control so danger of damaging floor is almost nonexistent. First sand floor with 100-grit paper, then remove dust and go over floor with a 120-grit screen.
Use a shop vacuum to remove sanding dust from floor , then thoroughly wipe floor with a dry towel to pick up any remaining dust.
To finish our floor, we used a water-based urethane called Easy Street by Basic Coatings Inc. (available from Harman Hardwood Flooring Co., 29 Hebard St., Rochester, NY 14605). urethane comes in gloss, semi-gloss and satin, and is a 2-part product that requires addition of a catalyst.
Apply initial sealer coat with a trim pad and allow it to dry at least 3 hours. Then, lightly abrade surface with 120-grit screen and remove all dust before applying next coat.
Because this finish is extremely clear in comparison to traditional oil-based finishes, we added an amberizer (coloring agent) to remaining coats. Each coat adds more color to floor, so it's a good idea to run a test on scrap pine to determine how many amberized coats you need. For best protection of floor, apply a minimum of three coats.
Reinstall baseboard, then cut pieces of shoe-MOULDING to fit around room. Cut seams in shoe-MOULDING at 45 degrees to provide less-visible joints . Nail shoe-MOULDING to baseboard with 4d finish nails–the flooring must be free to expand and contract independent of perimeter MOULDING.
While we installed our pine floor over a plywood subfloor, you can also do job over a linoleum or tile floor. Simply make sure that flooring is sound and has no loose spots or bubbles. Use a stud sensor to locate floor joists.
To lay a floor over concrete, there are additional preparations. If slab tends toward seasonal dampness, it's not a good candidate for wood flooring. If concrete floor stays dry, first spread a barrier of 6-mil polyethylene sheeting over entire surface. Overlap seams by 6 in. and tape them. Next, lay 2 x 4 sleepers flat on 16-in. centers across floor. Nail sleepers to slab using concrete nails or powder-actuated fasteners. Then install a 5/8- or 3/4-in. plywood subfloor over sleepers, leaving 1/8-in. spaces between panels. Due to this subfloor, you'll lose approximately 3 in. of ceiling height in room after finished flooring is in place.