Solid strip and plank flooring installation

Part I – Acceptable Jobsite Conditions and Jobsite Checklist

  • Refer to previously described guidelines.

Part II – Acclimation Guidelines

  • Refer to previously described guidelines.

Part III – Appropriate Grade Levels

  • Solid strip and plank wood floors can be installed successfully above grade level or on grade, but are not recommended for installation below grade.
  • The entire flooring level is considered to be below grade where soil is present along any perimeter wall and is more than 3” above the installed wood flooring level. Ground should be sloped away from the house for proper drainage. (Follow local building codes.)

Part IV – Subfloors – Wood Joist Systems

  • Refer to previously described guidelines.

Part V – Subfloors – Concrete Slab

  • Refer to previously described guidelines.
  • When installing solid strip and solid plank flooring over concrete, a vapor retarder is always required over the concrete slab and below the subflooring material. A minimum 6 mil construction grade polyethylene film, with perm of 0.13, or other impermeable material with a perm of 0.15 or less is recommended.
  • Wego does not recommend our solid hardwood floors to be installed by the direct-glue down method over a concrete slab.

Part VI – Solid Strip & Plank Installation Methods

  • Always follow the Wego's recommended installation procedures.
  • Basic Tools and Accessories:
    Rubber mallet / 4d-6d Flooring nails / Jamb saw or hand saw / Chalk line / Pencil / 15 lbs. Asphalt felt / Table saw or band saw / Hammer / Tape measure / Leading brand of hardwood flooring cleaner / Broom / Powernail manual 45 T&G Powernailer, pneumatic 445 Powernailer or other machines designed or adapted specifically to ¾” solid wood flooring / Quality moisture meter with manufacturer's relevant exotic species calibration figures.
    NOTE: ¾” is meant for nail-down or staple-down (with 2” fasteners) installation only.
  • Unfinished and factory-finished solid strip and solid plank flooring should be installed perpendicular to the joists or on a diagonal for any single layer subfloor. (Exception: Over diagonal, solid subfloor boards, install perpendicular to joists or subfloor direction.)
  • When ¾” solid strip and solid plank flooring is laid parallel with the floor joists, follow one of these two steps:
    • Add a layer of minimum nominal ½” (15/32”) CD Exposure 1 (CDX) plywood underlayment to the existing subfloor (as previously recommended).
    • Or brace between truss/joists in accordance with the truss/joist manufacturer's recommendations and with local building codes. Some truss/joist systems cannot be cross-braced and still maintain stability.
  • Before installing wood flooring, place an approved vapor retarder. Some examples of acceptable vapor retarders over wood subfloors include:
    • An asphalt laminated paper meeting UU-B-790a, Grade B, Type I, Style 1a.
    • Asphalt-saturated kraft paper or #15 or #30 felt that meets ATM Standard D-4869 or UU-B-790 Grade D.
      These moisture retarders do not replace the need to conduct mandatory moisture testing of floor boards and subfloor!
  • Wall Line Layout
    • Choose a starting wall according to the most aesthetically or architecturally important elements in the room, taking into consideration fireplaces, doors, cabinets and transitions, as well as the squareness of the room. The starting wall will often be the longest unbroken wall in the room.
    • Snap a working line parallel to the starting wall, allowing ¾” expansion space between the starting wall and edge of the first strip or plank run.
    • Random-width plank is laid out with alternating courses varying by widths. Start with the widest board, then the next width, etc., and repeat the pattern.
    • Lay one row of strip or plank along the entire length of the working line.
    • Top-nail and blind-nail the first row (hand-nail if necessary), using appropriate fasteners. Denser species may require pre-drilling. Each succeeding row should be blind-nailed with the nailing machine wherever possible. At the finishing wall and other obstructions, it may be necessary to blind-nail by hand until top nailing is required.
    • Distribute lengths, avoiding “H” patterns, stair stepping and other discernible patterns in adjacent runs. Stagger end joints of boards row to row a minimum of 6” for strip flooring, 9” for 3”, 12” for 4”, 15” for 5” and 18” for planks wider than 5”.
    • To minimize expansion on floors wider than 20 feet, more or less spacing between rows may be needed, depending on geographical area, interior climate control and time of the year.
    • Where spacing is required: Use a washer or removable spacer to leave additional space every few rows and/or start in center of room and work out to both sides. Do not use spacers that may cause damage on our factory-finished floors.
    • Nailing: Blind-nail through the tongue using 1 ½” - 2” fasteners. Use 1 ½” fasteners with nominal ¾” plywood subfloor direct to concrete slab. Face-nail boards where needed using 6d-8d casing or finish nails. Fasteners should be spaced every 6” - 8” on blind-nailing, or every 10” - 12” on face-nailing.
    • For additional fastening, any of the following options may be used in addition to the nailing schedule.
    • For wide-width plank flooring (5” or wider), to assist the nailing schedule of 6” - 8” and increase holding power, there are three options:
      - Screw and plug at end joints, alternating at staggered locations and intervals along each board.
      - Apply an approved urethane wood flooring adhesive, such as Bostik's Best.
      - Use kerfing or relief cuts every 8” to 12” parallel to the grain – using more relief cuts for wider boards. Typically, the relief cut should be 3/8” on a ¾” board.

      NOTE: These options, however, will not necessarily eliminate cupping.

    • Blind-nail and face-nail, as necessary, to complete the final rows
  • Center Line Layout

    NOTE: For instructions on using trammel point method to square a room and find the center point, see Trammel Point Method.

    • Find the center of your room, measuring off the two longest walls, and snap a line down the center of that room.
    • Install a starter board on the line. Fasten the starter board to the floor using wood screws.
    • Nail the first row of wood flooring against the starter board, being careful not to move the starter board when nailing. The groove of the flooring should be against the starter board.
    • Drill and hand-nail the first three rows through the tongue. DO NOT USE TOP NAILS.
    • Use a blind nailer to install the remaining rows of wood flooring. Use the nailing practices described earlier in the chapter.
    • After installing in one direction, remove the starter board and start rows going in the opposite direction.
    • Install a spline or a slip tongue in the groove of the board that was against the straight-edge. Put wood glue down the entire length of the groove before installing the spline.
    • Install the spline using a blind nailer. To keep the spline in alignment for the next flooring board, use a scrap piece of wood flooring to run along the length of the spline as you nail.
    • Install the remaining rows in the opposite direction. Use the nailing practices described earlier in the chapter.

Tongue and Groove – Too Loose

Caution! When first starting to nail the flooring down and after nailing down a small section of approximately 25 square feet, make sure that this initial test section of flooring, once nailed to the subfloor, is firmly affixed. In particular, check to make sure that the groove side of each piece, being held down only by the tongue of the adjacent piece, does not rock up and down if weight is place on it and then removed. If the groove side does exhibit up/down movement, STOP!

This movement will not sand out nor can this up and down movement be corrected later on! It will be necessary to glue this floor down in addition to nailing it in order to correct this condition, which is caused by a too loose tongue and groov e. Loosely milled flooring may be nailed and installed in beads of a non-hardening construction adhesive such as “a Liquid Nails caulking type” laid on 8” centers or the flooring may be laid with a full mastic spread in addition to nailing.

It is the installers responsibility to ascertain whether this “too loose of a T & G” condition exists in the flooring prior to installation. If the flooring is found to have a “too loose T & G condition”, Wego will, upon notification from the installer prior to installation, correct the problem as follows: At Wego's option, Wego will either replace the flooring, refund the purchase cost of the flooring, or compensate the installer for the extra cost of the adhesive/mastic now necessary to insure a good installation. Wego shall not be responsible for replacing any flooring in excess of the 25 square foot nailed down as the test section and then found to have excessive up and down movement.