Installing hard wood

foamspoonFebruary 26, 2011

I have 600 sq. feet of hardwood in my house getting acclimated to the new environment of my house for the past 3 weeks. My GC wants to install the wood floor now and then add the heat. I want to install the baseboard heat now and install the hardwood floor after. He told me they always install the hardwood floor before the heating is put in.

I know installing in a heated area is ideal but should I be ok to install it if it has been sitting inside my house for the past three weeks in a heated area?



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The wood should be acclimated in the area it will be installed, with the final heating/cooling system controlling the environment.

The idea is to get the wood closer to the state it is going to be in when everything is finished.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 11:55AM
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your gc is wrong....they are not flooring people..what he always has done should have no bearing as the previous clients were fools to let him get away with it. I just cant get over what some half baked GC's will say to their customers to make their life easier instead of caring about whats best for the home and their client. Tell him he has no choice but to do it right and you do not want to waste any more breath on it.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 9:33PM
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It is way easier for the GC to install the wood before the radiators. That might be a good way to go in a region of the country that is always temperate and in a house building project where all of the building materials are dry and the site is always protected from severe weather events, such as rain, snow and high humidity. As there are few situations where that would be so...then no, the floor should not be installed before the HVAC is in and operating.

Does your GC have a moisture meter and does he know how to use it? Is your wood a solid product or engineered?

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 10:35AM
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If I'm planning on retrofitting new baseboard heat, then I must then rip out all the existing flooring first, by your assessment? Reinstall it after the heat has been done? Sounds like more expense, but if that's the only way to do it...

Baseboard heat always goes in after flooring and usually after trim, unless it's a type where there is no base trim.
Do you insist that the toilet is installed first, then floor up to it?

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 11:51AM
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Those that disregard the requirements of how close in percentage points that a solid hardwood flooring product and the subfloor it is installed over need to be to have a successful job...take a shot-in-the-dark on whether or not the floor will show moisture-related issues down the road.

However, that said...I have seen floors that should never have been successful installations, yet were.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 2:07PM
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I have installed floors both ways. it really depnds on maintaining temperature and humidity at about what it will be in the finished house. Where we live in the mountains of New Mexico, if you install mid-April through early October, and if your subfloor and underlayment have been maintained dry, you are perfectly fine laying the floor first. However, in my home town in the Adirondacks, I would never try that trick. BTW, I always install the baseboard heaters before the baseboard trim-- which needs to butt up to the baseboard.


    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 11:50PM
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We just refuse any longer to install wood without the HVAC in and running. There should be moisture tests to the sub strait and hardwood prior to installation and after the hardwood. Anything less than that is compromising the job to a point.When things happen after the fact, questions are asked and the finger pointing begins. If you do things to the basic letter of the law, there is a much lessor percentage of ever having a problem. it is that simple. Now, if it's a pain in the butt to install the heat prior, then you must weigh the extra grief or cost vs knowing that it is being done correctly. If it is baseboard than i would agree that we will install after the flooring is in, but the humidity be controlled, and there would be a heat source in that house that is temperature set 24 hours a day and 1 week before the install and giving me the basic environmental temperature and climate that will be present during and after installation. I want that house warmed up and dried out. Especially if solid wood and more so if a plank. I was a little harsh with my 1st statement as I see so many GC take shortcuts to make their lives easier and say the heck with the client. It may not be the case in your situation. I just would not hem saying the heck with climate as long as i acclimate as that is playing Russian roulette and sometimes the results are not good.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 12:30AM
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Of course if he wants to do it his way, prepare a written statement for him to sign that if any problems occur, say in the next 5 years, he will replace the floor at his expense without any arguments

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 6:20PM
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