Oak Flooring questions- My first project

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Forum topic by Sac posted 07-07-2008 04:13 PM 4156 views 0 times favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Sac's profile


268 posts in 4201 days

07-07-2008 04:13 PM

Hello fellow lumberjocks, My wife has decided that since I can get oak @ $1 a bf from the fellow I got my wood from last week that she wants oak flooring in the living room and hall. I am looking at 450 sq ft with 50 additional allowance.

Info on the Oak I would be buying.
1×4x6-8 ft. I would plane either 1/16 or 1/8. The oak is 8 years old on the racks dried.

She asked me some questions I of course couldn’t answer so I thought I would ask all of you, the pro’s.

1. How much will this Oak expand and shrink with the weather changes throught the seasons. What she is seeking out here is what kind of gap size between boards might happen over time.

2. Should I bevel the sides at an angle? I have already planed on beveling the ends at a 5-10 deg angle.

3. Should I use only glue? Or use glue and finishing nails?

Your help is greatly appreciated in all my questions but since she has handed me my first project I would like to get it right since it will be something that we plan on having the rest of our lives.


-- Jerry

25 replies so far

View brunob's profile


2277 posts in 4737 days

#1 posted 07-07-2008 04:20 PM

No glue. Just nailed. They have a machine just for tjis. You can rent them. Machined tongue and groove – very time consuming. Finished all sides is best- that prevents much of the movement but assuming the room is kept fairly constent, one side finish would be OK. I have a floor down for 20 years that way, no problem.

-- Bruce from Central New, if you'll pardon me, I have some sawdust to make.

View Sac's profile


268 posts in 4201 days

#2 posted 07-07-2008 04:30 PM

Could I dado the tongue and groove or just the tongue and route the groove? Or would it be to inconsistant or more time consuming than a rented tool?

-- Jerry

View Don Newton's profile

Don Newton

720 posts in 4186 days

#3 posted 07-07-2008 04:31 PM


If possible “V” groove the flooring. This allows you ro prefinish the flooring so you won’t have to sand it. If the material does shrink it will not be noticeable. There is a trick to machining T & G flooring that helps keep the face joints tight. When you machine the groove cut back the portion below the tongue 1/16”. This guarantees the face side will bump-up tight. I would not use any adhesine to attach the flooring just finish nails through the tongue. Make sure to install some sort of felt/rosin paper or the foam that the laminate flooring people use between the flooring and the subfloor to keep the floor from squeeking, another reason you would not glue down the floor unless of course you are going over concrete. Don’t forget to allow plenty of time for the flooring to acclimate before installation.

-- Don, Pittsburgh

View lew's profile


12908 posts in 4323 days

#4 posted 07-07-2008 04:38 PM


This may be counter productive to your post but planing a 1” board to 1/16” or 1/8” seems like a terrible waste of good lumber, to me. You could get twice the flooring by re-sawing to 1/2” then planing!

My 2 cents.


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4390 days

#5 posted 07-07-2008 09:10 PM


If you are going to be using this as flooring then you should not be going less than 3/4” for the oak. The purpose of the tongue and groove system is to help conceal the inevitable gaps that will come from normal wood movement. Brunob is talking about a floor nailer as a rented tool. You can rent these either as a manual or as a pneumatic nailer. If you want to buy one Ebay is a good source for these. Wood flooring has a tongue on the left side and the front and has mating grooves on the other two sides of each board. You must nail it down rather than gluing. If you glue and nail the wood movement can cause the boards to split. After it is installed you will need to sand it through at least 120 grit then apply at least two finish coats, usually polyurethane.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View pommy's profile


1697 posts in 4259 days

#6 posted 07-07-2008 09:55 PM

hi sac
i’d use nails no glue but as for shrinkage i’d leave it in my house for two weeks to aclimatise to the house then there should be little or no shrinkage and please do not use a nail gun there is a manual tool you can use were you strike the tool and it punches the nail through the tongue
if its what we call new t&g or click t&g then you dont need anything

hope this helps
andy aka pommy

-- cut it saw it scrap it SKPE: ANDREW.CARTER69

View brunob's profile


2277 posts in 4737 days

#7 posted 07-07-2008 10:45 PM

You could cut the tongue and groove any way you have handy. The tool I was referring to was mentioned by Pommy. It’s for bnailing the floor down. Perfectly placed and countersunk nails every time.. Make sure the tongue is a little less than the depth of the groove.

-- Bruce from Central New, if you'll pardon me, I have some sawdust to make.

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 4312 days

#8 posted 07-08-2008 12:12 AM

I understand you to mean that you’re taking 1/16- 1/8” off of the 1” boards. That will give you nice thick boards to work with. I agree with the nailing that everyone has mentioned. The best time to put this floor down is in the dead of winter. Let the wood acclimate for several days in the heat of the house and it will shrink about as much as it’s going to. Then in the summer when the humidity comes back, it will just tighten everything up.

View Sac's profile


268 posts in 4201 days

#9 posted 07-08-2008 12:48 AM

Good Advice from all of you. I thank you. I’ve a pneumatic framing, finish and brad nailer. But I should go rent a bnailer. Ok That shouldn’t be a problem. The thought about felt/rosin paper or the foam for laminate flooring I had no idea about. We have foam for laminate flooring left over from the basement. Would the felt roofing paper be ok? We may just purchase more of the foam. It sounds like it may actually be better than the felt/rosin. I reallt don’t know but just handling the 2 types is a major difference. Yea the flooring will be 4/4 and I’ll plane 1/16 or 1/8 off for the finished side.

Should I have to plane both sides?

Thanks for your responses. I’ve decided to go a different route on the purchase. I’ll be purchasing the wood from the sawmill down the road. It isn’t alot probably for most of you but for me it seems to be alot. So yes I will rent me a BNailer in 3-4 months. He’s going to cut it this week and I’ll bring it to the house and let it sit for 90-120 days before I install it. He’s also going to cut the spacers as well. I’ll just let it sit and dry here.

Could I cut the tongue and grove now or wait till I get ready to install it?

Thanks for your responses.

Thanks again for your thoughts.

-- Jerry

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1288 posts in 4305 days

#10 posted 07-08-2008 01:43 AM

Jerry, I have installed many types of flooring. Just installed some oak flooring for a job on sunday. I suggest you go to a store that sells wood flooring and get a sample of any type of flooring with tongue and groove. You will notice that the shape of the tongue is not a regular straight edge tongue. It is slightly more relieved on the bottom edge. This ensures that the upper sections will mate up with each other tightly. The bottom of the boards have dados which stablize the wood and allow air to move under them.
You will be much better off trying to have a local mill run the oak you want into flooring with their cutters. You also will not have any problems with the flooring if it is milled to 3/4”, which is an industry standard. The cost for the milling will more than pay for itself by getting a floor with true tongue & groove with bottom dados.

Good Luck

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View Grumpy's profile


25847 posts in 4419 days

#11 posted 07-08-2008 04:09 AM

Jerry, I agree with John.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Sac's profile


268 posts in 4201 days

#12 posted 07-08-2008 02:43 PM

Thanks folks. We have 2 milling bussiness’s close by and a third a few miles away. I’ll get some pricing from them today. Who knows they may be able to beat the overall price for everything. Anyway looks like my first project will be installed after several other projects since the wood will be sitting for awhile. Thank you all again for the advice and opinions on how to do this.

I can’t imagine another resourse anywhere as good as LJ’s!

-- Jerry

View Sac's profile


268 posts in 4201 days

#13 posted 07-08-2008 04:55 PM

You bring up an interesting point. We have considered Bamboo. But due to the cost oak will be done instead. The one thing about wood floors we had in our other house is that it does cut down on any alergens. That goes for about any flooring other than carpet. We’re not concerned about the scratches. It’s going to happen to us. We have 3 golden’s. And we’ll be in this house till we’re gone from this earth. Pine is just to soft. Red oak is nice but around here it is more expensive than white oak due to the fact that alot of the builders are starting to use it by request from the buyers. Thanks for the link though. there is good info there.

-- Jerry

View woodbutcher's profile


592 posts in 4734 days

#14 posted 07-08-2008 05:28 PM

John is definitely correct about the milling that needs to be done. Also the felt paper 15# roofing felt is sufficient don’t use the foam underlay designed for floating floor systems it provides too much unnecessary spacing between the wood flooring and the sub-flooring you’re going to nail too.Once your wood fllooring has acclimated in the house where it is to be installed-check the moisture content with a pin meter there should be no more than 4% difference between the wood flooring and the sub-floor. Be sure and leave a minimum 1/2”-3/4” spacing around the perimeter of the wood flooring and any stationary objects in the room. This spacing or gap will be hidden by the wall base and quarter round molding when you trim it out. This spacing is critical to prevent the movement which will occur from causing the wood to buckle up.After all the proper milling is done finishing the one side and the beveled edges is sufficient. If you can find the poly-urethane with the aluminum oxide added this is the most durable finish currently available for flooring products of wood. Good luck!
Ken McGinnis

-- woodbutcher north carolina

View Sac's profile


268 posts in 4201 days

#15 posted 07-08-2008 05:36 PM

oh cool. Thanks for answering about the 15# roofing felt. I have a couple of rolls left over. 1/2 in on the outside perimiter. ok. I hadn’t thought about the possability of it buckling if I ran it all the way up to the wall which I had planned on doing. Now I know why the oak laminate in the basement is buckling. I didn’t run it. We hired that out and he ran it all to the walls edges. on one wall it is buckling a little bit. I may be mistaking about laminate being able to buckle since I have never laid it before or read about laying it.

-- Jerry

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