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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Central Iowa
    Posts
    19

    Default engineered hardwood floor - how to change from south to north

    ***, how to ask so this makes sense!
    in 2004 we had a walk-in bay added to the house. We had a picture window removed and they extended the floor joists and added a neat bay window area out. I guess it's called a walk-in bay? It's got a floor area, walls, etc. and large windows. Anyway, the house was all carpet except kitchen and bath, and the new bay area needed a floor. I saved a ton and did the interior finishing all myself - sheetrock, floor, all trim, etc. For the floor I built it up to the same level as the original house floor/carpet and installed engineered hardwood, a nice natural oak, the 2 1/4" wide stuff that really resembles the hardwood I grew up with. I glued that down as it was a small area and simple to do.
    Fast-forward to now, we decided the carpet was getting old and showing its age and we've always wanted wood floors anyway. I told my wife "yeah, I can do that and save us a bundle" - and I can... save for one simple problem.
    The bay floor is on the north side of our living room. When I glued it down I did so with the groove facing into the room. I wanted to staple the new floor - and we could not get that exact same floor any longer so I made myself tongues I inserted into the south edge of the bay flooring, and using my router table and a few tricks got the new flooring to mate up perfectly to the old/existing even though the tongues and grooves had changed in size slightly and were not the same height in the flooring. Now I have the new flooring so the tongue is facing me and am happily stapling it into place (after ripping up carpet, finding that it was particle board under that and then ripping up the particle board and installing .... OSB and oh, boy!)
    So I'm working from that bay, most of the way across the living room, moving from north to south, tongues facing south and out so I can properly staple them.
    That's great -and when I get to the south wall and out the opening to the living room and into the hall, it's a long hall to the west and I just keep laying from north to south across and down the hall, and when I get to our bedroom at the other end of the hall, I keep working south into the bedroom, and I'm done when I hit the south wall of our bedroom.
    Well, no, I'm not - and this is the tricky part and I know someone will laugh as the answer is going to be SO simple...
    There are TWO rooms on the NORTH side of the hall. But wait a minute - the north side of the flooring is the groove-side. You staple into the tongue at a 45, not into the groove. So I want to go from the hallway north into the bedrooms but the tongue will now be on the wrong side of the floor boards.
    I know how this would go for me - so start on the north wall and work south until you get to the hall, right? I thought of that and then thought - sure - one slip and I end up 1/4" away from the north board in the hall and have to rip and nail a tiny strip of floor, or I get there and it's 1/8" too tight for the final board....
    So how does one lay floor in a hallway where the rooms go off of the hall both north and south?
    Do what I did to join the new to the old - make myself a tongue that goes into the groove on the north side of the hall boards then having reversed direction, be ok working north into those rooms?
    Did that book I just wrote make any sense?
    Any flooring folks here?
    If the TOH guys ever saw this they'd probably chuckle......... I can engineer and create my way out of a lot of things but this very simple thing has me baffled and of course the basic instructions don't say hoot about that little issue!
    I guess home builders should make sure all rooms are always on the same side of a hallway to account for someone like me.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    7,084

    Default Re: engineered hardwood floor - how to change from south to north

    You have a number of choices:

    1 - Reverse direction by splining the grooves together through the doorway, then lay tongue first to the outer wall.
    2 - Take exacting measurements of an area already laid to know exactly what your room width will require for planks, then set your first plank there.
    3 - Lay from the outer wall to the doorway without care, then install a threshold or T-molding in the threshold of the doorway where the hall and room meet. I would still lay out as suggested in item #2, but not worry about being exact, as the T-molding will cover any differences, the point of the layout is to have similarly sized boards on either side of the T-molding.
    4 - Lay the flooring into the room from the hallway and nail through the groove rather than the tongue. While more difficult, you can do it this way too. Be prepared to have to hand set each nail, laborious, but worth the effort.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    6,598

    Default Re: engineered hardwood floor - how to change from south to north

    Good answer Spruce.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Central Iowa
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: engineered hardwood floor - how to change from south to north

    You've confirmed my suspicions.
    My wife doesn't want any sort of molding (and frankly neither do I) so that sort of leaves out #3 - while the easiest option, it's the least desirable as far as final outcome.
    I did #1 when I connected to the floor I laid in 2004 in the walk-in bay area. It took some doing as I cut strips to exacting measurements and used 1 run of the new old-stock planks I had left from that job back then to keep it simple since the new floor had a slightly different tongue thickness and the height was a bit different.
    Using wood splines I made inserted into the groove of the 2004 floor, I put a strip of the old floor up with tongue out.
    I then took several pieces of the new floor, used water-proof glue and filled the groove with more snug-fitting strips, used a piece of the old floor to set up my router table and a 1/8" groove cutter and cut a new groove in the new floor strips which matched the tongue on the new old floor strips I laid.
    Since I've be going new to new flooring, I'd be able to skip the step of modifying the groove to fit a different floor specification, it would simply be groove to groove to reverse direction.

    I am intrigued by #2, I'd have to be very careful in my measurements and be sure I didn't vary the way I laid the floor due to being tired or in a hurry, etc.
    I would need to do the room first, then when I got to the hallway be able to continue on down the hall as to do the hall, then expect to join the room to it, well, how to get that final strip of t&g into the middle would be a bit of a puzzle!

    #4 I'd need to pre-drill the holes and hand-set each nail as you said. I'm using a pneumatic stapler now (made specifically for this size flooring) which makes it go reasonably fast once I have the subfloor leveled and shimmed, the OSB laid down and secured and things are flat, laying and stapling the floor is the "easy part" so far.

    Since I'm only dealing with the width of a doorway for each of those 2 bedrooms, meaning 30" or so, I'm leaning strongly toward #1 - I can lay the northern-most strip in the hall, nail through the groove in the doorway, put in a spline and then move as normal.

    Thank you very much for the responses - I think "talking it through" with someone helped figure it out and decide.
    The front room is nearly done - just a bit more shimming and leveling before the final OSB goes down. Just 30" more of the 3/4" OSB underlay and flooring over the 20+ foot length of the room and then I'm in the hallway.
    (After I relocate an air intake for the furnace, patch the wall and ceiling where I removed a closet that stuck out into the room and figure out why one small section of subfloor gives a little bit while the rest is rock-solid.)

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