Hardwood floor question

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Bugle

Preston
Corporate Member
We are going to remove the carpet from our family room and replace it with hardwood flooring; either standard 3/4" or some of the newer engineered wood. I talked with one flooring company and they said that either way, the particle board over the sub floor will have to be removed because they cannot nail the new floor into the particle board.

Sounds right to me, but another contractor didn't seem to think it was necessary. Anyone have experience with this?
 

CDPeters

Master of None
Chris
I don't have any direct experience with hardwood over particle board - my utility cherry floor in the shop which I did myself is nailed over Plytanium 3/4" plywood subfloor. But in the house (13 years old, we bought it 10 years ago) - we have a substantial amount of solid 3/4" oak hardwood that is nailed over particle board subfloor. I've not noted any places where the flooring has loosened.

I suspect this contractor's concern is with long term nail holding capability in particle board. I think if it were mine, I would leave the subfloor alone - too much hassle to replace.

C.
 

Mike Camp

New User
Mike
Hey Preston, I replaced all of my downstairs carpet with 5/8" nailed hardwood flooring and everything I read online and from the flooring manufacturer said either put another layer of 1/2" ply on top or pull up the particle board. Now if you are using a floating floor you would be fine with putting it over top of the existing particle board (with a moisture barrier in between obviously) according to my flooring manufacturer. I would contact the flooring manufacturer and see what they say about it.

Link from Contractor Talk on this subject:

http://www.contractortalk.com/f10/installing-solid-hardwood-floors-over-particleboard-1726/

Pics of my particle board coming up to convince you to pay somebody to do it:
http://emcampblog.blogspot.com/2010/01/hardwood-floors-begin.html
 

gfernandez

Gonzalo
Corporate Member
In my last house, I replace the carpet with prefinished brazilian cherry hardwood floors, and had the same problem as you. My solution was to glue and screw (into the joists) 1/2" plywood on top of the particle board. Everything seemed to hold up fine with no problems, and was very sturdy. The only PITA was having to cut all the doors down by 1/2".
 

Bugle

Preston
Corporate Member
Just looked at the sub floor...it is 3/4" particle board on top of 1/2" plywood. Think that makes a difference?
 

Mike Camp

New User
Mike
Just looked at the sub floor...it is 3/4" particle board on top of 1/2" plywood. Think that makes a difference?
That is exactly what I had, there is probably a layer of tar paper sandwiched in between. I ripped up the particle board, put down a fresh layer of tar paper, then the new floor on top of that.
 

dave "dhi"

New User
Dave
I wouldn't put flooring on top of only 1/2 material. I have installed on top of particle board but first add 2 3/8 ring shank nails down and snap lines on top of tar paper were floor joist are and make sure u nail on joist as much as u can. Thats if ur using 2 inch staples.:icon_cheers Just nail down a few run and see how hard it is to tear up! i have....:no:
 

MikeL

New User
Michael
I just finished installing hardwoods in our living room. My house was built in the late 80's and had particle board on the subfloor. I left the subfloor untouched and installed 3/4" prefinished oak hardwood in 2 1/4" strips to match existing materials. I chose to use the staples.
 

ACobra289

New User
Bill
A couple of years ago I put down 3/4" prefinished flooring. Most of what I read on the net indicates that particle board is not an acceptable underlayment for nailing hardwood floors. It supposedly doesn't hold nails/staples as well as plywood.

I've included a link to a flooring website that was a big help when I installed mine.

http://www.hardwoodflooringtalk.com/forum/

Good luck.
 

petebucy4638

Pete
Senior User
We are going to remove the carpet from our family room and replace it with hardwood flooring; either standard 3/4" or some of the newer engineered wood. I talked with one flooring company and they said that either way, the particle board over the sub floor will have to be removed because they cannot nail the new floor into the particle board.

Sounds right to me, but another contractor didn't seem to think it was necessary. Anyone have experience with this?
Particle board is not an ideal underlayment for nail-down hardwood flooring for a number of reasons. No reputable installer would do a job that did not meet the specifications that are referenced in building codes.

Floating hardwood flooring should have no issue when installed over particle board.

Pete
 

BWSmith

BW
Senior User
Theres "subfloor",on top of which goes underlayment.

Partical underlayment isn't all that hard to get up.You'll need a cat's paw........get the nails pulled on seams.....Then one of those long tamping style bars,the ones that are about 5' long with a broad chisel end.....will absolutely make short work of it.The advantage to losing the 3/4 partical bd,besides already mentioned fastner issue is......the jambs and base are ready to accept 3/4 hdwood.So the time is a tradeoff........a little spent here really speeds up,"there".And you end up with a job thats more proffessional.

As a note,25+ years ago I handnailed 3k+ sq ft of White Oak here at the house(1815 Federal period repro),with at the time special order "trim cut nails" from Tremont.My dad who'd been in the biz since the early 30's would never have let me live it down to use a mechanical fastner(staples/power cleats).Just sayin,sometimes you gotta buck it up and get on with the effort.BW
 

NZAPP1

New User
Nick
I wouldn't put flooring on top of only 1/2 material. I have installed on top of particle board but first add 2 3/8 ring shank nails down and snap lines on top of tar paper were floor joist are and make sure u nail on joist as much as u can. Thats if ur using 2 inch staples.:icon_cheers Just nail down a few run and see how hard it is to tear up! i have....:no:
+1 just installed 1000 SQFT of bamboo used 2 1/4 barbed flooring nails nailed every 6 to 8 inches and placed a nail in every joist. I had to replace a couple of planks do to a missed placed hammer blow :BangHead: and they where a pain to get up. MTCW
 

LandonM

New User
Landon
As much as I love hardwood floors, reading these stories would make me take the easy way out and just do a floating floor with discount laminate flooring. Then all you need to do is lay down a vapor barrier and start snapping the pieces into place.
 

merrill77

Master Scrap Maker
Chris
Ok, at the risk of asking a dumb question - in a nutshell, what is the difference between a hardwood floor and a floating hardwood floor? (besides the number of nails used).

And next, why is it so important to have the floor held down really well? I mean, for starters, you've got gravity on your side. And probably a bunch of furniture holding it down. Where is it going to go? I'm assuming here that it is all T&G, so one board can't go anywhere without bring the ones on either side with it. Is most hardwood flooring NOT T&G?

Thanks for any clarity you can offer.
 

Bugle

Preston
Corporate Member
As much as I love hardwood floors, reading these stories would make me take the easy way out and just do a floating floor with engineered wood. Then all you need to do is lay down a vapor barrier and start snapping the pieces into place.
Exactly what I am doing...or should I say what the contractor and I are doing. There are some tricky places where it will be installed, so he is doing some and I am doing a little (and a lot of the labor) to save quite a bit of $ :gar-Bi

Thanks for everyone's advice.
 
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