Wood Flooring Flooring Structure

Wood Flooring Flooring Structure
Flooring Structure
A wood floor consists of a finished floor laid over a subfloor supported by joists and beams. Joists may have solid or diagonal bridging between them to provide extra strength. Joists, beams, posts and, in a two-story house, bearing walls, carry the weight of the flooring material and subfloor and transfer it to the foundation. The finished floor may be hardwood, red or white oak, maple, beech or birch, or one of the less expensive softwoods, such as hemlock, larch or elm. The subfloor may be constructed from 1x4, 1x6 or 2x6 lumber or plywood panels. In a lumber subfloor, boards are laid diagonally across joists. A plywood subfloor has panels laid in a staggered fashion with the ends of the panels butted together over and nailed to the joists. If your house is built on a concrete slab, the floor may be laid over wood 2x4s (called sleepers) and nailed, or laid on a base of plywood and fastened with nails or adhesive.

Common Floor Problems
Problems can range from minor surface damage to serious structural defects. Daily wear and tear on a wood floor causes surface scratches and gouges. The natural expansion and contraction of wood occurring with changes in temperature or humidity, as well as alternate drying and wetting due to leaks, can cause nails to pull out of the wood, allowing flooring boards to separate or warp. Even the joists and the subfloor can separate. The natural settling of a house can also cause separations between the joists and subfloors. If your floor is sagging or uneven, there could be a serious structural problem. Consult a professional.

Repairing Surface Damage
To preserve the beauty of your wood floors, repair surface damage such as water or burn marks, scratches and gouges, immediately after it occurs. In most cases, you'll first have to remove the protective wax or oil finish from the damaged area with a wax stripper. Once you complete the repair, you must rewax or oil the area. When stripping and rewaxing, follow the manufacturer's directions for the product you're using.

Removing Water Marks
Remove the protective finish.
Rub the marks with fine-grade steel wool and a little paste wax or a solvent-base liquid floor wax.
If the marks don't disappear, wipe the wax with a soft cloth and rub again with fine-grade steel wool and odorless mineral spirits.
Wipe clean and finish.

Removing Burn Marks
For burn marks that just darken the wood's surface, lightly sand, wipe up sanding residue with a damp cloth, dry and finish as desired.
For deeper burns, carefully scrape out the burned wood with a sharp knife.
Apply one or more coats of a commercial scratch hider, putty stick or stick shellac.
Finish as desired.


Repairing Separated Boards
Measure the gap between the boards.
Transfer the measurements and cut a wood strip from a new board using a table saw with blade guard.
Glue the strip in the gap.
Wait until the glue dries then finish to match the rest of the floor.


Repairing Split Boards.
Drill pilot holes at an angle every few inches along the length of the crack.
Drive and countersink annular-ring nails.
Fill the nail holes and crack with wood putty.
Finish to match the rest of the floor.


Repairing Loose Boards
From below, drill pilot holes through the subfloor and just into the boards.
Insert screws.
From above, drill pilot holes.
Drive and countersink nails.
Fill with wood putty and finish.
Repairing warped boards
Cover the warped board with a damp towel for 48 hours.
Drill pilot holes every few inches along the board.
Insert and tighten screws
Fill the holes with wood putty and finish.


Replacing Wood Flooring
Before replacing flooring, look for evidence of the nailing method. In blind nailing, nails are driven through each board's tongue, and they don't show from the finished surface. Dots of wood putty indicate face nailing. Plugs on plank flooring often cover screws. If the plugs are just decorative, the flooring is blind nailed (some flooring secured with screws may be blind nailed as well). For any of these you can use one of the following two approaches:
Replacing tongue and groove boards (staggered)
Mark cutting lines on the damaged boards.
Using an electric drill with a large spade bit, drill a series of holes just inside the lines (be careful not to drill into the subfloor).
Split the defective area of each board using a large wood chisel and hammer.
Tap the chisel lightly to avoid splitting or cracking the surfaces of adjacent boards.
Pry out split lengths of boards using a small wood block for leverage if needed.
Carefully dry the board ends square using a wide, sharp-bladed wood chisel and a hammer.
Measure and cut the new boards. Slip the groove of the first board over the tongue of an existing board.
Tap in place with a mallet and wood scrap, then blind nail.
Remove the bottom edge of the groove of the last board.
Insert tongue side first and press in place.
Face nail at each end.
Countersink nails, fill holes and finish.


Replacing Tongue and Groove Boards (rectangular)
Mark area to be cut with a pencil and steel square.
Make side marks 1/4 inch from joints so saw won't hit any nails.
Adjust the blade depth to the thickness of the boards.
Start cuts in the center and work towards ends.
Lift boards with a prybar, starting at the midpoint of a side cut.
Use a wood block for leverage and to protect the floor.
Cut away the 1/4 inch edges outside the saw cuts using a hammer and wood chisel.
Countersink exposed nail heads.
Cut one end of each new board at a 90 degree angle using a back saw and a miter box to make the cuts.
Lay each board in place fitting the cut end tightly.
Mark the other end and saw on the waste side.
Slip the groove of the new board over the tongue of the board in place and blind nail.
Remove the tongue of the last board.
Tap the last board down and face nail the ends.
Countersink nails, fill holes with wood putty and finish.
Quick Fix-up: Caring for Wood Floors
To clean minor spots and stains from a wood floor, wipe the floor with a barely damp sponge mop. If the stains remain, use a mild cleanser such as a solution of ammonia or white vinegar to remove them. Rinse the floor with a clean, damp (not wet) sponge mop to remove any residue.
To restore the floor's luster, buff it lightly and wax if necessary. Buff again. In general, vacuum or dry-mop flooring about once a week. Wax once or twice a year.


Replacing Tongue and Groove Boards (rectangular)
c drill with a large spade bit, drill a series of holes just inside the lines (be careful not to drill into the subfloor).
Split the defective area of each board using a large wood chisel and hammer.
Tap the chisel lightly to avoid splitting or cracking the surfaces of adjacent boards.
Pry out split lengths of boards using a small wood block for leverage if needed.
Carefully dry the board ends square using a wide, sharp-bladed wood chisel and a hammer.
Measure and cut the new boards. Slip the groove of the first board over the tongue of an existing board.
Tap in place with a mallet and wood scrap, then blind nail.
Remove the bottom edge of the groove of the last board.
Insert tongue side first and press in place.
Face nail at each end.
Countersink nails, fill holes and finish.


Replacing Tongue and Groove Boards (rectangular)
Mark area to be cut with a pencil and steel square.
Make side marks 1/4 inch from joints so saw won't hit any nails.
Adjust the blade depth to the thickness of the boards.
Start cuts in the center and work towards ends.
Lift boards with a prybar, starting at the midpoint of a side cut.
Use a wood block for leverage and to protect the floor.
Cut away the 1/4 inch edges outside the saw cuts using a hammer and wood chisel.
Countersink exposed nail heads.
Cut one end of each new board at a 90 degree angle using a back saw and a miter box to make the cuts.
Lay each board in place fitting the cut end tightly.
Mark the other end and saw on the waste side.
Slip the groove of the new board over the tongue of the board in place and blind nail.
Remove the tongue of the last board.
Tap the last board down and face nail the ends.
Countersink nails, fill holes with wood putty and finish.


Quick Fix-up: Caring for Wood Floors
To clean minor spots and stains from a wood floor, wipe the floor with a barely damp sponge mop. If the stains remain, use a mild cleanser such as a solution of ammonia or white vinegar to remove them. Rinse the floor with a clean, damp (not wet) sponge mop to remove any residue.
To restore the floor's luster, buff it lightly and wax if necessary. Buff again. In general, vacuum or dry-mop flooring about once a week. Wax once or twice a year.