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FLOORING Powered By Docstoc
					Buying and Installing Used Flooring
Solid wood floors are as practical and economical as they
are beautiful and comfortable. Compared with carpets and
other man-made floor coverings, solid wood flooring will
hold up to decades of heavy use, while being appreciated
for its ease of maintenance and earth friendliness. Salvaged
wood flooring is not only economical, but the quality of
older woods makes it an unbeatable option.

Why use reclaimed wood flooring?
Salvaged wood flooring is as good if not better than new
flooring. Much of it is old growth with exceptional beauty,
grain, length, color, and character. These are all qualities
difficult to find in modern wood flooring. Many salvaged
floors have been protected for years by carpeting. Most old
floors have had few sandings, preserving plenty of wood for
a new life and further potential sanding down the road.

Finding the right floor                                                          Buying tips
Wood floors are abundant and diverse, making for a robust used flooring            ■ Start early! Check out different sources and
market. The design and function of your project will help you determine what        get to know your suppliers. Though the used
type of wood to use. Fir, maple, and oak are some of the most widely available      flooring market is steady, it is unpredictable
salvaged flooring types. Softwoods such as fir work well in bedrooms and private      and inconsistent in the short term.
areas. Hardwoods such as maple and oak work well in higher traffic areas.            Procuring a consistent quantity of flooring
Visit used flooring stores to learn about their inventory, looking for species,      that matches your project can be difficult
dimensions, grain, age, history, color, and function. You can learn more about      without some long-term planning. If you
wood floors by looking at www.nofma.org and www.woodfloors.org                        need a significant quantity of flooring, you
                                                                                    may need to buy from multiple sources over
                                                                                    a period of months (see Storage, on back).
                                                                                 ■ Consistency is key. Whatever the quantity,
                                                                                    you want consistency in species, width,
                                                                                    quality, and in thickness. Thickness variance
                                                                                    of more than 1/16” may be difficult to sand
                                                                                 ■ Be wary of heavy finishes and dirt in the
                                                                                    grooves and on the tongues. This will add
                                                                                    labor time for sanding and cleaning. See the
                                                                                    defect list for other qualities to avoid in your
                                                                                    prospective flooring.
                                                                                 ■ Know how much you need. Used flooring
                                                                                    is de-nailed and typically comes bundled for
                                                                                    sale, priced by the square foot. Pricing will
                                                                                    vary by factors such as wood, grain, length,
                                                                                    and quality. As long as you know the square
Salvage experts filter out flooring with defects. Defects include:
                                                                                    footage of the area you are trying to cover,
■   bug damage                          ■ damaged end tongue or groove              reuse store staff can help you find what you
■   water damage                        ■ over-sanded (less than about              need. Make sure to buy enough for your
■   warping                                 3/16” between tongue and floor           floor without over-buying. Buying 5% to
■   more than 2/3 of the tongue             surface)                                10% more than calculated is a good rule of
    missing                                                                         thumb, to compensate for cut boards, etc.
Store your wood flooring properly to avoid excessive movement. Store the flooring in a dry, well-
ventilated location lifted off the ground to avoid any contact with water.                                        When installing,
                                                                                                                  stagger board ends
Floor preparation                                                                                                 by at least 6”
Have your flooring ready to go when the time comes to install it. Thoroughly inspect each piece and, if
necessary, clean the grooves and tongues from debris that slipped through the cracks. Use a scraper or            Tools Needed
putty knife to remove the debris. Check for a tight fit by putting the boards together.
                                                                                                                  ■ Flooring (measured
Site preparation                                                                                                      amount plus 5% to
Just as you would with new wood flooring, you want to have a solid, level and clean sub-floor before
                                                                                                                  ■   15lb roofing felt or
you begin installation. Mark the location of the floor joists on the walls for face nailing the first and
                                                                                                                      Kraft paper
last boards. Lay out a moisture barrier of 15lb felt paper or Kraft paper. Make sure to prepare any
                                                                                                                  ■   Hammer and nails
obstructions that will get in the way of installing the floor, such as doorjambs.
                                                                                                                      (a rented floor
Installation                                                                                                          nailer is best)
                                                                                                                  ■   Tape measure
Installation of a salvaged floor is similar to installing a new wood floor. If you plan to install it yourself,     ■   Scraper or putty
do your research in advance. Proper installation is the first step to a good finished product. The Internet             knife
and books are good resources. Websites such as www.hammerzone.com and the book section at home                    ■   Nail set
improvement stores are great sources of information.                                                              ■   Wood glue and
It is best to install when humidity is lowest and after drywall taping is finished. Some people who install            wood filler
wood floors in a heated space during extremely damp times of the year recommend placing the floor in                ■   Saw: chop, table, or
the space at least five days before installation, to acclimate the flooring.                                            circular
Proper installation means having the appropriate tools available in advance. The list to the right details some   ■   String
of the tools needed for installation. Consider renting a floor nailer, which will make the job much easier.        ■   Rubber mallet
                                                                                                                  ■   Drill, drill bits, and
Sanding                     After sanding and finishing, a salvaged floor will provide a beautiful look
A properly installed
used wood floor will
                                                                                                                  Safety First!
                            Reclaimed                Sanded                            Finished
sand out as if it were                                                                                            Be prepared, regardless
brand new. A professional can level and unify the whole floor into a thing of beauty whereas an amateur            of the size of your
can do a good job with some dips and inconsistencies. If you are a do-it-yourselfer, do your homework.            project. Make sure
                                                                                                                  you have the proper
Finishing                                                                                                         tools and keep
There are many options open to you: from water to oil based finishes. Research the options and weigh               your workspace
the pros and cons of each. Ask yourself: does the finish require maintenance and is it easy to repair?             clean. Separate your
Is it toxic during application (e.g. Swedish Finish) or when dry? Some finishes are toxic if they burn             workspace from the rest
(e.g. Polyurethane). Non-toxic-when-dry natural finishes are available, such as OSMO Hardwax. Non-                 of the house and wear
toxic finishes are often easy to repair, but some may require more coats and recoats and more specific              proper safety gear for
application techniques than others. Follow manufacturers’ instructions for application, drying time, and          the task at hand.
proper ventilation when refinishing.                                                                               ■ Safety glasses
                                                                                                                  ■ Respirator
                                                                                                                  ■ Gloves

Alternative Flooring Ideas                                                                                        For more information
                                                                                                                  about Green Building,
Plank floors                                             Gym flooring sections                                    visit www.seattle.gov/
Bleacher boards from schools can be used as              Gym floors float on a sub floor of plywood or 2”            sustainablebuilding
plank flooring, giving old world charm. You can           x 4” “sleepers” that make it possible to cut into
pre-plane the boards or sand after installation.         modular sections. These floors can be re-installed,
Cut the edges square or mill tongues and grooves         aligning the tongue and groove and counter-
for a tight joint. Top nail or counter sink screws       sinking screws to a sub floor. An elevated, floating
with wood plugs to fasten, leaving small gaps for        floor is great for basements, garages, dance floors,
expansion.                                               or any portable flooring.                                 Printed on 100% recycled paper

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