Above Grade on a Wood Based Sub-floor
New Home Build
Building a new home is very exciting, but it’s also very stressful picking out hundreds of products that look good when put together. Consider the hardwood flooring as a permanent fixture in your home and make your choices around it. Pick a hardwood floor that is timeless and will outlast all the trends. Dark shiny floors look great in magazines but are almost impossible to keep looking good. Large windows and LED lighting highlight scratches and dents from pets and children’s toys making dark shiny flooring look used and abused. This may hurt your homes resale value. With today’s fast pace of life people don’t have time to waste cleaning floors. Hardwood flooring for pets and busy families is our specialty.
Most new builds in our region are above grade on a wood based subfloor. If you haven’t chosen your subfloor yet we would recommend plywood over OSB. Both have arguable advantages but when exposed to rain OSB loses its ability to hold fasteners causing the flooring to squeak. The subfloor in this video had been exposed to continuous rains, ruining the subfloor . The picture tells it all. The stacks at the front are new product never been wet. The samples behind are ones that were wet and re-dried. When OSB gets wet it doesn’t shrink back to its original size while the plywood will. For more detailed information watch our OSB vs Plywood video. (Link Below)
On wood based subfloors we recommend following our nail down installation guidelines. For boards 5” & wider follow our wide plank nail and bead install. On the wider boards this will prevent squeaks as you have less nails holding the boards down.
Manufacturing both solid and engineered we will give you the true options of what product you can use. Most carpet and box stores will push you toward engineered representing it as the bullet proof trouble free option. Gaylord engineered is the highest quality product on the market and performs well in our climate but is not bullet proof. Unlike most engineered on the market Gaylord’s is full ¾” thick and comes in lengths up to 10 & 12’. It is still a product made of wood which reacts to the conditions it is exposed to. Controlling humidity is very important. An engineered product 3/8” thick fastened to a flimsy OSB subfloor over time in traffic areas will likely squeak.
Quite regularly people come in and tell us they are building a new home and need hardwood. Unfortunately when they tell us the hardwood flooring allowance the only flooring to fit into the price range would be a made in China product. As we are all aware Made in China products are not known for quality or longevity. In most states and provinces the builder legally has to warranty the new home for a one year period. Even the poorest quality floor will get the builder through one year. Hardwood flooring should be deemed a lifelong fixture in your new home. Although you are just building your new home and the last thing on your mind is selling, the North American average reselling of new homes is 5 years? This makes what your floor looks like in 5 years very important. You are building a beautiful home and hardwood flooring is a huge part of that beauty so choose a product that will outlast all the others. Paying $2-3 more now for a quality product is well worth it. Good carpet will outlast poor quality Chinese hardwood flooring. If your builder is not willing to negotiate take the carpet option and put in a quality hardwood floor when you take possession. It may delay your move in a few days but you will have a floor that will be there for the long term.
Above grade most of our solid and all of our engineered flooring will perform. New homes are being built with energy efficiency in mind and are very tight. Vapor barriers meant to stop air movement are trapping and holding the excess moisture which can be damaging to any wood products inside the new home. According to the National Wood Flooring Association 78% of hardwood flooring issues are in new homes of which 95% are moisture related.
We manufacture our flooring to be compatible with your new home after all the new home moisture is removed, which can take 1.5 to 2.5 years. New homes are saturated with moisture as you will see in our videos “Hardwood Flooring and Moisture – Wet Houses” (Link below)
As the videos stress this moisture must be removed during the build and continue after you take possession. Hardwood flooring is the driest product in the new home and will absorb this moisture like a sponge. Wood loses every battle with moisture. Wood absorbs moisture very gradual and in most cases issues are not noticed until they are obvious.
As the health chart indicates hardwood flooring enjoys the same temperature and humidity conditions as humans. That being 30-50% for solid between and 35-55% for engineered with a temperature between 60 & 80F. Depending on your location you may require either a humidifier or dehumidifier or both to keep within these humidity ranges. Being in the Northeastern region we are exposed to very dry conditions in the heating season and very high humidity in the summer which makes both a humidifier and dehumidifier necessary to minimize movement in the wood. If controlling your humidity is not likely we can steer you towards products that can better handle your specific conditions.
We have stressed how damaging moisture is on wood. All wet trades, dry walling, painting, masonry and tiling must be done before considering having the wood on site. Quite often we are asked to deliver the flooring to jobsites early so the wood can acclimate. You want the wood to acclimate to “Normal Living Conditions” which is not the conditions of a house filled with moisture. Having the wood at the jobsite before the wet trades are done is very damaging to the hardwood flooring. We take great care producing and storing our products and all that can be lost if the product is left or installed in unacceptable conditions.
Watch Are you ready for your hardwood flooring video (Link Below)
Have your HVAC operating as well as a commercial dehumidifier in the basement capable of removing at least 10 gallons per day. An HRV is an air exchanger only and does not remove moisture from the air.
Don’t finish your basement ceiling until the subfloor and joists are within 2% moisture content of your wood flooring. This traps the moisture under your floor causing long term cupping. Moisture and humidity can’t be seen, making it a silent killer to any wood products. See Finishing Your Basement Ceiling video (Link Below)
Occasionally builders, contractors and installers find our guidelines and recommendations to be too severe and unnecessary. They may tell you they have been doing their jobs for a long time and have never heard this before. People who follow what we say have very few issues. Others take short cuts and blame the product when they have issues. A short cut today may not show up for 8 months or more.
Taking the time to view the product description, watch our videos and go through our information will save unnecessary problems down the road. Pass this information to your builder, contractor or installer so they know what product was purchased and how it should be installed. Not all floors are installed the same so it is important they visit our website and view the guidelines.
We are the manufacturers, the sales people and the complaints department. We take responsibility for our products and our actions, and don’t pass it on to others. It is very important to us that you be happy. How can you go wrong buying the highest quality product from people who understand each and every aspect of what they do?
Please call or email if you would like more information concerning your project.
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Plywood vs OSB Sub-Floor
See Finishing Your Basement Ceiling video