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Timber T&G floors. To lay or not to lay in the dry weather.

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  1. #1
    Member MikeT's Avatar
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    Default Timber T&G floors. To lay or not to lay in the dry weather.

    Hey All, Sorry about the length - brevity is not my forte.

    I'm in the process of reclaiming a studio room above our freestanding garage, previously tiled (@ 8 degrees) and so leaking, it's now colourbonded and dry.

    In fact things are a little too dry in Sydney at the moment. I'm putting the flooring in now and doing it myself. It won't be a high traffic area with much extranious moisture about so for ease we decided to go for some pre-finished blackbutt flooring. We chose 130mm wide boards, before realising that you really shouldn't be secret nailing that wide but that decision is made. Max board length 1800mm. Using sikabond T-55 - secret nailing every 200 or so. I've left a 15mm gap around the edges - though to be honest I don't understand how a 15mm gap helps the board on the edge to maintain its integrity when the nails and glue is expected to move up to 15mm into that gap. (I'll take that on face value though would love an explanation) There are minor gaps here and there where I've layed it due to me or the fact that the boards aren't as precise as they should be. (the china factor) The short ones are a mm or so out on the ends. There are sections though where I think it's quite tight. (I've attached a photo of one of these - perhaps that's not tight and there will be enough movement.) I've tried to lay them a little looser but the secret nailer has other ideas.

    2013-08-14-08.34.02.jpg

    I've done about 6 rows but are now wondering if I should delay the rest until it's not quite so dry. It's RH 40% today and has been low and dropping over the last week. I've had the board for a while so it is acclimatised to the room though was told with this stuff it isn't so important as it's been to china and back, kiln dried and old enough that it won't change moisture levels very quick. Maybe that was just a sales pitch, though the guy seems pretty down to earth. Not sure what the current moisture level is of the board. Out of curiosity I've just cleaned the poly off an off-cut, chopped it up, weighed it and bunged it in the oven on a low heat to see. Will keep weighing it until it stops moving. Hopefully that won't be after three days and a lot of electricity. It still may not give an accurate measure I guess.

    Should I delay laying the rest until it's a little less dry? If so, for how long should the moist weather hang about before I lay it? Would a 1mm gap (say metal ruler thickness) every 7 or so boards be enough of a failsafe? (I'd rather not have those gaps but can live with it to get the job done). How do you lay them a little looser when the secret nailer just takes up the gap. I have a vapouriser, should I throw that in the room for a couple of days or is that likely to cause uneven moisture and warping? Am I making a mountain out of a molehill?

    Sorry again for the length and thanks for any responses,

    Cheers,
    Mike.

  2. #2
    Hammer Head - 1K Club Member
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    are you trowel glueing 100% how wide is the room? whats the MC of the timber these are all factors to consider

  3. #3
    Senior Member shanetorque's Avatar
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    Default Timber T&G floors. To lay or not to lay in the dry weather.

    I'd say the final comment is the clincher: making a mountain out of a molehill.

    You've 'acclimatised' the flooring to the live in conditions of the weather tight room. This is all that should be required. Do you intend on humidifying the room in dry conditions or the opposite, for the rest of the floors lifespan?

    You're using the right install method: plenty of glue and some secret nails. I'd just keep an eye on the secret nails as I've noticed a small lift in the boards where the nail goes in so have chosen to use as few as possible.
    Australian Timber Flooring Association Contractor of the Year 2012/13

  4. #4
    Member MikeT's Avatar
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    Gaza,
    Yes, gluing 100% though troweling across the board rather than the floor as it's a lot less messy for this novice. Had a nightmare with the first board after the alignment row where I'd troweled the floor and had to pull up lots of half off glue. Turned out the board was dodgy (thought I was doing something wrong) but was gun shy after that. The rest have been pretty good so might go back to floor trowelling. Be a lot quicker.

    Room is 3.8 wide. 6.8 long. Edge gap left is at least 15mm.

    Not sure on the MC. Went to do an oven dry. Put some samples in the oven for the day, and then my scales died, replaced batteries and still dead. Great timing. Based on an intermediate weigh it looked like it was going to be low but that's mostly guestimation.

    Shane,
    The substrate is ply on old yellow tongue which I thought had a lot lower expansion rate. That's why I was worried. More expansion in the blackbutt resulting in tenting/cupping in high humidity. It's a locked room but there could be long periods where it's left to it's own devices, south side of a steep hill under trees. Though I have jackhammered out behind the garage and improved drainage so it will just be atmospheric moisture. I was told every 200 for the nails - I'll reduce that. I do tend to overthink things, so if the timber contractor of the year says don't worry I'll continue on my merry way tomorrow.

  5. #5
    Senior Member shanetorque's Avatar
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    Default Timber T&G floors. To lay or not to lay in the dry weather.

    Every site is different but if you have taken all precautions on board, and operate on a best practice standard then it is just that, the best that is possible.
    I always tell people it is just a floor, it's meant to be walked on. Timber is a natural material, let it do its thing.
    With most flooring, by the time the timber has time to expand or contract due to dry or moist humidity, the weather has changed anyway. It's all in the prep, prior to installation. Get that right, as you've done and you shouldn't have a problem.
    Australian Timber Flooring Association Contractor of the Year 2012/13

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