document Wood Flooring Installation Guidelines and Methods NWFA National Wood Flooring Association 1380315940

document Wood Flooring Installation Guidelines and Methods NWFA  National Wood Flooring Association 1380315940
Wood Flooring
Installation Guidelines and Methods
111 Chesterfield Industrial Boulevard • Chesterfield, MO 63005
800.422.4556 (USA & Canada) • 636.519.9663 (International)
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National Wood Flooring Association ©2007 l Revised 05.2012
Notice
The National Wood Flooring Association assumes no responsibility and accepts no liability for the principles or
techniques contained in these guidelines/methods.
These guidelines/ methods for the installation and sand & finish of wood flooring were developed by the NWFA
Technical Publications Committee, using reliable installation principles, with research of all available wood flooring
installation data and in consultation with leading industry authorities. The methods are not intended to apply to
unrelated wood floor issues absent in a causal connection.
While every effort has been made to produce accurate and generally accepted guidelines, the principles and
practices described in this publication are not universal requirements. The recommendations in this
publication are directed at the North American market in general, and therefore may not necessarily reflect the
most accepted industry practices in your geographic area. Some installation methods and materials may not be
suitable in some geographic areas because of local trade practices, climatic conditions or construction methods. All
wood flooring installations must conform to local building codes, ordinances, trade practices and climatic
conditions.
In addition, manufacturers’ recommendations for installation and sand & finish of specific products should always
supersede the recommendations contained in this publication.
It is recommended that all wood flooring products be installed in accordance with the NWFA Installation
Guidelines and all applicable manufacturer guidelines by an NWFACP Certified Installer, NWFA Member, or
equivalent.
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National Wood Flooring Association ©2007 l Revised 05.2012
Acknowledgement
The National Wood Flooring Association would like to gratefully acknowledge assistance with information for these
guidelines/ methods by the following:



Hardwood Plywood Veneer Association – www.hpva.org
Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association – www.maplefloor.org
American Plywood Association – www.apawood.org
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National Wood Flooring Association ©2007 l Revised 05.2012
NWFA Involved Parties
General Definitions
Manufacturer: Any individual or entity that physically manufacturers the wood flooring product.
Specifier: Any individual or entity (including, but not limited to, architects, builders, consultants, design centers,
designers/decorators, end users, general contractors, flooring contractors, sales professionals) that recommends,
specifies, or in any way advises the buyer prior to ordering, purchasing, and/or installing the wood floor products.
Supplier: Any individual or entity (including, but not limited to, distributor, importer) that receives product from a
manufacturer and supplies the wood flooring products to a seller or buyer.
Seller: Any individual or entity (including, but not limited to, retail stores, big box stores, internet
sales, interior designers, direct sales) that physically supplies/sells the wood flooring products to the buyer.
Buyer: Any individual or entity (including, but not limited to distributors, homeowners, installers, flooring
contractors, general contractors) that is the first to use/handle/possess/receive/deliver the wood flooring material
prior to installation of the wood flooring product.
Installer: Any individual or entity that physically installs and places into service the wood flooring product.
End‐User: Any individual or entity that physically receives and puts to use the final wood flooring product.
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Contents
Page
5
6
8
11
Section I
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
General Guidelines
Jobsite Conditions
Acclimation and Conditioning of Wood Flooring
Moisture Guideline Testing and Vapor Retarders
Section II
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Subfloor Guidelines & Specifications
Wood Subfloor Guidelines
Concrete Subfloor Guidelines
Installing a Subfloor Over Concrete
22
23
26
27
Section III
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Installation Guidelines & Methods
Parquet Installation
Engineered Wood Flooring Installation
Solid Strip and Plank Flooring Installation
Installation Over Existing Floors
29
30
34
37
40
Section IV
Appendix A
Appendix D
Appendix E
Appendix F
Appendix G
Appendix H
Appendix I
Appendix J
Appendix K
Appendix L
Appendix M
Appendices
Safety Guidelines
Moisture Content by Area – U.S.
Moisture Content by Area – Canada
Fastener Schedule
Trammel Point Method
Radiant Heat Installations
Installation Over Screeds
Sound Control
Trim & Thresholds
Sample Specification
Jobsite Checklist
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
49
50
51
52
54
Section V
Glossary of Wood Flooring Terms
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Section I
General Guidelines
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
5
Jobsite Conditions
Acclimation and Conditioning of Wood Flooring
Moisture Guideline Testing and Vapor Retarders
Page
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8
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Chapter 1
Jobsite Conditions
Wood flooring by design is not to be used to strengthen/stiffen a subfloor and will not do so. If movement of the
subfloor occurs prior to installation and is not corrected, that same movement will occur after installation is
complete.
Part I
Minimum Jobsite Requirements
A. Wood flooring should be one of the last jobs completed on the construction project. Limit foot traffic on
finished wood flooring.
B. Evaluate the jobsite for potential problems before installation begins, and before wood flooring is delivered to
the jobsite.
C. Installation constitutes acceptance of flooring material, subfloor/substrate, the jobsite itself including the
ambient temperature and relative humidity at the time of installation, and all impacting variables that may
affect a wood floor. For warranty and/or hold harmless agreements, check with legal counsel.
1. Exterior surface drainage should direct water away from the building.
2. Do not deliver wood flooring to the jobsite or install wood flooring until the building is enclosed.
3. If heating and/or air conditioning is in operating condition, it needs to be operating. If it is not possible for
the permanent heating and/or air conditioning system to be operating before, during and after
installation, a temporary heating and/or dehumidification system that mimics normal temperature and
humidity conditions can enable the installation to proceed until the permanent heating and/or air
conditioning system is operating.
4. Do not deliver wood flooring to the jobsite or install wood flooring until appropriate temperature and
humidity conditions have been achieved. Appropriate temperature and humidity conditions are defined
as those conditions to be experienced in the building after occupancy.
5. Do not deliver wood flooring to the jobsite or install wood flooring until all concrete, masonry, plastering,
drywall, texturing and painting primer coats are completed.
6. Basements and crawl spaces must be dry. If power washing is required in the basement, do so before
wood flooring is installed and allow subfloor and basement to dry before installing wood flooring.
7. Crawl space should be a minimum of 18” (457mm) from ground to underside of joists.
8. Crawl space earth (or thin concrete slab) should be covered 100 percent by a vapor retarder of black
polyethylene (minimum 6 mil) or any recommended puncture-resistant membrane, such as Class C,
meeting ASTM D1745. See Figure 1-1. Check local codes.
9. Crawl Space Conditions
a. Where a proper ground covering is in place and
when venting is required by local building codes,
the crawl space should have perimeter venting
equal to a minimum of 1.5 square feet per 100
square feet of crawl space square footage,
unless local building codes differ from this
specification. Note: Local building codes may
differ. Follow local building codes.
b. For crawl spaces without ventilation openings,
vapor retarder joints must overlap a minimum
of 6 inches and be sealed or taped. The vapor
retarder should also extend at least 6 inches up
the stem wall and be attached and sealed to the
stem wall. Continuously operated mechanical
exhaust and perimeter wall insulation or
conditioned air supply and insulation must be
provided.
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10. Note the grade level so that the correct type of
flooring and system can be specified for the job.
Engineered and floating floors can be appropriate
for above-grade, on-grade and below-grade
installations. Solid wood flooring can be appropriate
for above-grade and on grade installations, but not
for below grade installations. If the soil surrounding
a structure is 3 inches or more above the floor of any
level, consider that level below grade. This includes
walk-out basements. In addition, the surrounding
soil should be sloped away from the structure. See
Figure 1-2.
11. Subfloors (wood or concrete) should be checked by
an appropriate method for establishing moisture
content. Average subfloor moisture content should
be within the range as specified for the product by
the product manufacturer. See Chapter 3, Moisture
Testing. See Figure 1-2.
12. Where the minimum jobsite conditions are present,
the flooring can be delivered and stored in the
rooms in which it will be installed. See Chapter 2,
Acclimation and Conditioning of Wood Flooring.
Figure 1-2
Part II
Additional Jobsite Conditions for Factory-Finished Flooring
A. All finished wall coverings and painting should be completed. Note: Base and shoe mold may be installed after
the flooring installation.
B. After installation, if you choose to protectively cover the floor, cover the floor completely, since some species
are light-sensitive and uncovered areas may change color. However, covering a glue-down application may not
allow some adhesives to properly cure. Follow the flooring and adhesive manufacturer’s recommendations.
Use a covering material with a vapor permeance (perm rating) of 1 perm or more (tested in accordance with
ASTM E96) to avoid trapping moisture/vapor on or within the floor. Any covering should be taped, using a lowadhesion tape, to base or shoe moldings. Do not tape to finished flooring. When taping paper or sheets
together, tape them to each other, not to the floor.
As in all installations, at completion of job, inspect flooring from a standing position.
Part III
Jobsite Checklist
See Appendix M.
Part IV
Remodel Installations
Be aware of the most current EPA regulations for lead paint dust as well as asbestos (www.epa.gov).
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Chapter 2
Acclimation and Conditioning of Wood Flooring
Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding how and whether to acclimate wood flooring.
Part I
General Acclimation/Conditioning Guidelines
Definitions:
Acclimation: The process of adjusting (conditioning) the moisture content of wood flooring to the environment in
which it is expected to perform.
Equilibrium Moisture Content: The moisture content of wood when in equilibrium with its environment. When
wood is neither gaining nor losing moisture, equilibrium moisture content (EMC) has been reached.
A. Storage and Conditions
1. Do not store wood flooring at the jobsite under uncontrolled environmental conditions. Garages, and
exterior patios, for example, are not acceptable areas to store wood flooring.
2. Ideal interior environmental conditions vary from region to region and jobsite to jobsite. It is the flooring
professional’s responsibility to know what the “ideal” climate conditions are and customize the floor
around those conditions.
a. Determine what the expected seasonal change of wood moisture content is for your geographical
location. For a general view of moisture‐content averages by region, See Appendix D and Appendix E.
b. Upon delivery, check wood flooring moisture content with a moisture meter to establish a baseline
for acclimation. Check the moisture content of multiple boards. A good representative sample is
typically 40 boards for every 1,000 square feet of flooring. Calculate what the optimal wood moisture
content is (baseline) by dividing the high season and low season. Example: If your region has an
expected EMC from a low of 6% to a high of 9%, the baseline MC of the wood would be 7.5%. If wood
flooring is delivered and recorded to its baseline MC for the geographical location and proper relative
humidity conditions are maintained, no acclimation may be required. If the moisture content of the
product received is well outside of the range of optimal moisture content, it will be very difficult to
acclimate the product properly without substantial dimensional change, distortion, and structural
damage. Example: If the moisture content of the delivered wood is 12% and the optimal range is 6%,
excessive shrinkage, bowing, cupping and other physical anomalies would be expected during the
acclimation process. The wood flooring should not be accepted.
c. Optimal wood moisture content represents only a base line to begin from and does not represent the
final EMC required for the interior environment. Acclimation is often required to customize the
moisture content of the wood flooring to the interior environment in which it is expected to perform.
B. General
Note: Some manufacturers do not require acclimation for certain products prior to installation. If the
manufacturer recommends that the wood flooring be acclimated before installation, proceed as follows:
1. Ensure that the building is enclosed.
2. Verify that the building is maintained at normal living conditions for temperature and humidity.
3. Where building codes allow, permanent heating and/or air conditioning systems should be operating at
least five days preceding installation to promote proper acclimation and should be maintained during and
after installation. For radiant heat, see Appendix H.
4. If it is not possible for the permanent heating and/or air conditioning system to be operating before,
during and after installation, a temporary heating and/or dehumidification system that mimics normal
living (occupied) conditions can enable the installation to proceed until the permanent heating and/or air
conditioning system is fully operational.
5. Acclimate the wood flooring as necessary (see Chapter 2, Part II, Acclimation).
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6.
Note: Not properly acclimating wood flooring may cause excessive expansion, shrinkage, dimensional
distortion or structural damage. The worst‐case scenario is one in which wood flooring is stored at the
jobsite in an uncontrolled environment, then immediately installed. This is especially true when the
materials are stored in an area that is subject to excessive moisture and humidity conditions. Acclimation
outside of the area in which the wood is to be installed does no good at all; in fact, it is likely harmful to
store wood flooring at the jobsite under conditions that don’t reflect expected normal environmental
conditions.
Prior to installation, ensure that wood flooring is within acceptable range of moisture content with the
wood subfloor. For solid strip flooring (less than 3” wide), there should be no more than 4 percent
moisture content difference between properly acclimated wood flooring and subflooring materials. For
wide‐width solid flooring (3” or wider), there should be no more than 2 percent difference in moisture
content between properly acclimated wood flooring and subflooring materials.
Part II
Acclimation
Wood flooring is a hygroscopic material subject to dimensional change as a result of variations in moisture,
temperature and humidity within the surrounding environment. Wood flooring simply needs to reach moisture
content level in equilibrium with the surrounding environment (EMC) in which it will be installed, at or near normal
living conditions. The process of reaching this equilibrium is defined as acclimation, which allows the wood to
properly adjust itself to the normal living conditions within the structure; that is, the temperature, humidity
conditions and moisture content that will typically be experienced once the structure is occupied.
A. The Process of Acclimation
If the manufacturer recommends that the wood flooring be acclimated before installation, proceed as follows:
1. Acclimation can be facilitated by breaking the floor units into small lots and/or opening the packaging. A
common practice is to cross‐stack the materials with spacers (¾” to 1” sticks) between each layer of
flooring to allow air circulation on all sides of all boards.
2. Most recommendations state that the materials need to acclimate from a minimum of 3 days up to no
given maximum. While it takes time to acclimate a product, the most important aspect is that the
materials reach a moisture content that is in equilibrium with its expected use. Acclimate the materials as
long as necessary to accomplish this task, taking the necessary moisture readings to indicate when the
materials have reached the proper moisture content and when no further changes occur.
a. For site‐finished wood flooring, after installation and before sanding and finishing takes place, allow
the flooring to acclimate (settle‐in) to the controlled environment, and to stabilize for a period of
time. Some flooring professionals suggest 5 to 7 days. Engineered flooring installed using an adhesive
application system may require a longer post‐installation acclimation period to allow all residual
off‐gassing to occur prior to application of a finish. Follow adhesive manufacturer’s
recommendations.
b. Tropical imported species generally require more time in order to properly acclimate the wood
flooring. Some tropical species lose moisture or gain moisture at faster or slower rates than domestic
species due to higher overall density, oil and resin content and interlocking cell structure. In addition,
the resins and oils make accurate MC readings more difficult. Resistance (pin type) meters require
multiple readings of multiple boards in order to arrive at a more accurate average MC reading. Pinless
meters that include multiple depth level adjustments may offer faster and more-accurate internal
readings.
c. Engineered and solid factory finished flooring follows specific manufacturer’s recommendations and
some may not require acclimation. Follow manufacturer’s guidelines to retain all warranty coverage.
Warranty coverage generally requires that jobsite conditions be maintained between 30% to 50%
relative humidity and that those conditions must be maintained before, during and after installation
for the life of the floor. Failure to comply with these manufacturer’s requirements may result in
irreversible structural damage and void related warranties.
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B. Wood’s Comfort Zone
1. As a general rule, with geographic exceptions, wood flooring will perform best when the interior
environment is controlled to stay within a relative humidity range of 30 to 50 percent and a temperature
range of 60° to 80° Fahrenheit. (In some climates, the ideal humidity range might be higher or lower, 25 to
45 percent or 45 to 65 percent, for example.)
2. The chart below indicates the moisture content wood will likely have at any given combination of
temperature and humidity. Note the equilibrium moisture content in the recommended
temperature/humidity range (shaded area) coincides with the 6‐to‐9 percent range used by most flooring
manufacturers during the manufacturing/shipping process. Although some movement can be expected
between 6 and 9 percent, wood flooring can shrink or swell more dramatically outside this range. When
wood is neither gaining nor losing moisture, equilibrium moisture content (EMC) has been reached.
Equilibrium Moisture Content of Solid Wood Species at Various Temperatures and Relative Humidity Readings
Wood flooring has a comfort level too. Wood flooring will perform best when the interior environment is
controlled to stay within a relative humidity range of 30% to 50% and a temperature range of 60° to 80°
Fahrenheit. Fortunately, that’s about the same comfort range most humans enjoy. The chart below indicates the
equilibrium moisture content of wood flooring at various temperatures and humidity conditions. The left column
indicates temperature in degrees Fahrenheit and Celsius. The bottom row indicates percent relative humidity. The
values in the chart indicate the equilibrium moisture content (EMC) for any given combination of temperature and
humidity. For example, at 70° Fahrenheit and 40% relative humidity, the equilibrium moisture content is 7.7%. The
shaded area indicates the generally recommended range for wood flooring – 6% - 9% EMC, which occurs when
temperature is 60° - 80° Fahrenheit or 15° - 26° Celsius, and 30% - 50% relative humidity.
Coefficients of Change: How Moisture Affects Wood Flooring
See Chapter 9, Solid Strip and Plank Flooring Installation.
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Chapter 3
Moisture Guideline Testing and Vapor Retarders
Reference to ASTM Standard revisions: ASTM Standards listed are most recent revisions or use ASTM Standard in
effect at time of installation.
Part I
Moisture Testing for Wood Flooring and Wood Subfloors
Determining moisture content is an essential part of quality control within the flooring installation process.
Flooring Installers must know the moisture content of the wood flooring, as well as the subfloor.
A. The most accurate measurement for moisture content in wood is the oven‐bake‐out method. However, it is
not widely used because the cost and difficulty of performing the test on‐site is not practical.
B. Hand‐held electrical tools, called moisture meters, should be part of the toolbox of every flooring contractor
for measuring moisture in subfloors and floors. Moisture meters have many purposes. They can be used to
determine if floor boards are dry enough for an installation to proceed, they can check subfloors and concrete
for high moisture levels, they can determine when a second coat of finish can be applied and they can assess
water damage.
There are two main types of meters for testing wood: probe and pinless.
1. The probe type measures electrical resistance across opposed sets of pins, which are pushed into the
wood. All probes should be inserted parallel with the grain or as instructed by the meter manufacturer.
An advantage of probe type meters is that those with insulated pins are able to measure moisture content
at varying depths; for example, you can determine whether the moisture content near the bottom of the
board is higher than near the top.
2. The pinless, dielectric type employs signal penetration at one inch or more for both hardwood and
softwood. The meter can be moved across the surface to identify pockets of moisture. It is relatively
unaffected by temperature. Rough surfaces have very little effect on the reading. Measurements can also
be taken through coatings, varnish or paint without damage to the surface. Newer pinless meters can be
adjusted to depth desired. Older models may read deeper into flooring systems and not give an accurate
reading of wood flooring only.
3. Follow the meter manufacturer’s recommendations to get an accurate reading from the wood floor. One
effective testing method is to remove a sample board and get a reading with air space beneath it.
4. It is important that the meter you chose offers the following:
a. A wide moisture content range from at least 6 percent to 30 percent.
b. The necessary adjustment tables, conversion charts or settings for various species.
Test for moisture at several locations in the room – a minimum of 20 per 1,000 square feet – and average the
results. Document all results. A high reading in one area indicates a problem that must be corrected. Pay
special attention to exterior and plumbing walls.
Part II
Moisture Testing for Concrete Slabs
Note: All tests give a result – at the time the test is done – and in general give you the ability to start or not start a
job. These tests do not give a permanent condition of your substrate, but merely a “at the time the test was
performed” indication.
A. Testing Requirements
Before moisture testing begins, the concrete slab must be a minimum of 30 days old.
B. Qualitative Moisture Tests – Electrical Impedance Test and Electrical Resistance Test (Moisture Meter)
Follow meter manufacturer’s instructions.
1. Use moisture meters designed specifically for concrete moisture testing.
2. Test within the body of the slab (electrical resistance), as well as at the surface (electrical impedance).
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3.
C.
These testing methods are not recognized by any standard and should not be used for the purpose of
accepting or rejecting a floor. These electronic tests are useful survey tools to broadly evaluate the
relative moisture conditions of a slab and to select locations for quantitative moisture tests.
4. If the moisture meters indicate the presence of excessive moisture, as per wood flooring or meter
manufacturer’s recommendations, further testing is required using relative-humidity testing (ASTM
F2170), calcium chloride testing (ASTM F1869) or calcium carbide (CM) testing (ASTM D4944 and MilSpec
CRD-C154-77).
Quantitative Moisture Tests
1. ASTM F1869 – Standard Test Method for Measuring Moisture Vapor Emission Rate of Concrete Subfloor
using Anhydrous Calcium Chloride.
a. This test method covers the quantitative determination of the rate of moisture vapor emitted from
below-grade, on-grade, and above-grade (suspended) bare concrete floors.
2. ASTM F2170 – Standard Test Method for Determining Relative Humidity in Concrete Floor Slabs using in
Situ Probes.
a. This test method covers the quantitative determination of percent relative humidity in concrete slabs
for field or laboratory tests.
3. ASTM F2659 – Standard Guide for Preliminary Evaluation of Comparative Moisture Condition of Concrete,
Gypsum Cement and Other Floor Slabs and Screeds Using a Non-Destructive Electronic Moisture Meter.
a. This guide focuses on obtaining the comparative moisture condition within the upper 1” (25.4 mm)
stratum in concrete, gypsum, anhydrite floor slabs and screeds for field tests. Due to the wide
variation of material mixtures and additives used in floor slabs and screeds, this methodology may
not be appropriate for all applications. See 1.2 through 1.8 and Section 11 of ASTM F2659. Where
appropriate, or when specified, use further testing as outlined in Test Methods F1869, F2170 or
F2420 before installing a resilient floor covering.
4. ASTM F2420 – Standard Test Method for Determining Relative Humidity on the Surface of Concrete Floor
Slabs Using Relative Humidity Probe Measurement and Insulated Hood.
a. This test method covers the quantitative determination of percent relative humidity above the
surface of concrete floor slabs for field or laboratory tests.
5. Relative Humidity Testing – ASTM F2170 (Standard Test Method for Determining Relative Humidity in
Concrete Floor Slabs Using In Situ Probes).
a. Select test locations to provide information about moisture distribution across the entire concrete
floor slab. For slabs on grade and below grade, include a test location within three feet of each
exterior wall.
b. Perform three tests for the first 1,000 square feet and one test for every additional 1,000 square feet
thereafter.
c. At least 48 hours before test is placed, concrete floor slabs should be at the same temperature and
humidity that is expected during service conditions.
d. Use a rotary hammer-drill to drill holes in the concrete slab; 40% depth of slab is required for the
holes when concrete is drying from one side and 20% when drying from both sides. Follow
manufacturer’s instructions provided with test kits.
e. Allow 72 hours to achieve moisture equilibrium within the hole before making relative humidity
measurements. Follow manufacturer’s instructions provided with test kits.
f. ASTM F710 provides installation guidelines for acceptance of hardwood flooring using relative
humidity testing. Typical limits for wood and wood-based products are 75% relative humidity. When
getting readings over 75%, you must use a proper vapor retarder, based on the flooring
manufacturer’s recommendations, or wait for further concrete curing.
6. Calcium Chloride Test – ASTM F1869 (Test Method for Measuring Moisture Vapor Emission Rate of
Concrete Subfloor Using Anhydrous Calcium Chloride).
a. Select test locations to provide information about moisture distribution across the entire concrete
floor slab.
b. Perform three tests per 1,000 square feet of surface area. Add one additional test for each 1,000
square feet thereafter.
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c.
7.
At least 48 hours before test is placed, concrete floor slabs should be at the same temperature and
humidity expected during service conditions.
d. The actual test area shall be clean and free of all foreign substances. Use approved OSHA work
practices for removal of all existing flooring materials and debris.
e. Blast or grind a minimum area of 20 inches by 20 inches and let stand for a minimum period of 24
hours prior to setting test.
f. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for properly placing tests onto concrete.
g. Tests are to be covered and left in place for 60 to 72 hours. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for
labeling and recording time and date of test.
h. Send the test to a certified laboratory for results and documentation, or perform the measurements
as per ASTM F1869.
i. Always follow the flooring manufacturer’s guidelines and specifications to determine when the
concrete slab is ready for installation.
j. ASTM F710 provides installation guidelines for acceptance of hardwood flooring using alciumchloride
testing. Typical limit for direct glue-down wood flooring is 3lbs/1000sf/24hr. When getting readings
over 3lbs and up to 7lbs, you must use a vapor retarder. A reading over 7lbs may not be acceptable
for wood flooring installation. Follow the wood flooring manufacturer’s recommendations. In the
case of a glue-down installation, the adhesive manufacturer may also have recommendations.
Note: For information on the tests listed above, contact your distributor or call NWFA at
800.422.4556 (USA or Canada) or 636.519.9663 for the source nearest you.
Calcium Carbide (CM) Test – ASTM (modified) D4944, MilSpec CRD-C154-77.
a. The calcium carbide test, also known as the CM test or calcium carbide bomb, is more widely used in
Europe than in the United States. It is a gas-pressure test in which moisture in the concrete reacts
with calcium carbide crystals to create acetylene gas, and the gas pressure produced is measured to
provide a moisture content reading, expressed as a percentage of moisture. Follow the directions
provided by the test-kit manufacturer. A reading of more than 2.5% requires use of a vapor retarder.
A reading of more than 4% may not be acceptable for wood flooring installation. Follow the wood
flooring manufacturer’s recommendations. In the case of a glue-down installation, the adhesive
manufacturer may also have recommendations.
Part III
Acceptable Vapor Retarders Over Wood Subfloors
A. Always follow local codes and manufacturer’s instructions for acceptable vapor retarders.
Note: The 2012 IBC defines three classes of vapor retarders:
1. Class I
0.1 perm or less.
2. Class II
0.1 perm less than or equal to 1.0 perm.
3. Class III
1.0 perm less than or equal to 10 perm.
When tested in accordance with ASTM E96 Method A.
B. An acceptable vapor retarder is a vapor resistant material, membrane or covering with a vapor permeance
(perm rating) of greater than or equal to .7 and less than or equal to 10 when tested in accordance with ASTM
E96 Method A. Installation of a vapor retarder reduces the potential for moisture or vapor related problems,
but does not guarantee elimination of moisture or vapor related problems. Install a vapor retarder over wood
panel or board subfloors prior to installing nail down solid strip or plank flooring. Overlap seams a minimum of
4 inches or more as required by manufacturer or specifier and local building codes.
C. Some examples of acceptable vapor retarders over wood subfloors include:
1. An asphalt laminated paper meeting UU-B-790a, Grade B, Type I, Style 1a.
2. Asphalt-saturated kraft paper or #15 or #30 felt paper meeting ASTM Standard D4869 or UU-B-790.
D. Note:
1. A vapor retarder has some extra benefits in that it eliminates wood-on-wood contact, wood strips slide
more easily when positioned, it minimizes the impact of seasonal humidity change and it may reduce dust
and noise levels.
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2.
3.
However, by today’s standards, asphalt saturated kraft or felt paper may not be an effective vapor
retarder, with a Class III perm rating of 1.0 perm <10, in all applications. Consult local codes.
Over a wood subfloor, do not use an impermeable vapor retarder material with a perm rating of .7 or less,
such as 6 mil polyethylene film or other polymer materials, as it may trap moisture on or in the wood
subfloor. Such impermeable material may be used if recommended by the wood flooring manufacturer as
such materials have been measured for vapor transmission due to fastener penetration or include special
backing to dissipate vapor horizontally.
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Part IV
Acceptable Vapor Retarders Over Concrete
A. Always follow local codes and manufacturer’s instructions for acceptable vapor retarders.
B. Test concrete for moisture. For concrete slabs with a calcium chloride reading of greater than 3lbs, a relative
humidity reading of greater than 75%, or a calcium carbide (CM) rating of greater than 2.5%, install an
impermeable vapor retarder with a perm rating of less than .15 perm. Adding a vapor retarder is not required
on installations over slabs with a calcium chloride reading of 3lbs or less, a humidity reading of 75% or less, or
a calcium carbide (CM) rating of 2.5% or less. However, in on-grade and below-grade applications, adding a
vapor retarder is always recommended.
C. The 2012 IBC defines three classes of vapor retarders:
1. Class I
0.1 perm or less.
2. Class II
0.1 perm less than or equal to 1.0 perm.
3. Class III
1.0 perm less than or equal to 10 perm.
When tested in accordance with ASTM E96 Method A.
D. The NWFA recommends an “impermeable” vapor retarder with a perm rating of less than or equal to .15,
thereby limiting the passage of moisture to near zero.
E. Some acceptable vapor retarders over concrete include:
1. A minimum 6 mil construction grade polyethylene film or other impermeable material with a perm of .15
or less is recommended. A premium polymer material meeting ASTM E1745 for concrete with higher
tensile, tear and puncture resistance is highly desirable.
2. Double felt: Two layers of #15 asphalt saturated felt paper that meets ASTM Standard D4869, with the
first layer adhered to the slap in a skim coat of appropriate asphalt mastic type adhesive recommended
by manufacturer, and a second layer felt adhered to the first layer with same appropriate adhesive.
3. A chemical retarder or urethane membrane, as recommended by the adhesive or wood flooring
manufacturer. These are usually in the form of a liquid-applied or trowel-applied membrane dispensed
from a bucket following manufacturer recommendations.
4. Installation membrane: a permanently elastic, cross linked, closed cell polyethylene membrane. Follow
membrane manufacturer instructions.
5. A loose laid or mechanically fastened plastic, waterproof, dimple type membrane, providing a thermal air
gap separating finished floor from concrete. Follow membrane and floor manufacturer installation
instructions.
6. An elastomeric, fully adhered or mechanically fastened membrane with seams sealed. Follow membrane
manufacturer installation recommendations.
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Part V
Dimensional Change of Coefficients
A. See Chapter 2, Solid Strip and Plank Flooring Installation, for dimensional change of coefficients.
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National Wood Flooring Association ©2007 l Revised 05.2012
Part VI
Moisture Content by Area
Note: Relative humidity in the building should be maintained at between 30-50 percent year-round. A consistent
interior climate environment is the key to optimum wood flooring performance.
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Note: Relative humidity in the building should be maintained at between 30-50 percent year-round. A consistent
interior climate environment is the key to optimum wood flooring performance.
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Section II
Subfloor Guidelines & Specifications
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
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Wood Subfloor Guidelines
Concrete Subfloor Guidelines
Installing a Subfloor Over Concrete
Page
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Chapter 4
Wood Subfloor Guidelines
Note: Always follow the wood flooring manufacturer’s recommendation for a proper subfloor.
Part I
Wood Subfloor Specifications
A. Subfloor panels should conform to U.S. Voluntary Product Standard PS1-07, Construction and Industrial
Plywood and/or US Voluntary PS 2-04 and/or Canadian performance standard CAN/CSA 0325.0-92
Construction Sheathing. Other CSA standards also apply.
B. Solid-board subflooring should be ¾” x 5½” (1” x 6” nominal), Group 1 dense softwoods, No. 2 Common, kilndried to less than 15 percent moisture content.
C. Both CD Exposure 1 plywood and OSB Exposure 1 subfloor panels are appropriate subflooring materials, but
the proper thickness of the material will be determined by the factors noted below in Part IV, Panel Products
Subflooring, E, Acceptable Panel Subfloors.
Part II
Subfloor Moisture
Note: The National Association of Home Builders’ Green Home Building Guidelines contain the following directive
under Section 5.3.8: “NAHB Model Green Home Building Guidelines, Section 5.3.8: Check moisture content of
wood flooring before enclosing on both sides. Ensure moisture content of subfloor/substrate meets the
appropriate industry standard for the flooring material to be installed.”
A. For solid strip flooring (less than 3” wide), there should be no more than 4 percent moisture content
difference between properly acclimated wood flooring and subflooring materials.
B. For wide-width solid flooring (3” or wider), there should be no more than 2 percent difference in moisture
content between properly acclimated wood flooring and subflooring materials.
Part III
Subfloor Flatness and Integrity
A. Wood subfloors must be flat, clean, dry, structurally sound, free of squeaks and free of protruding fasteners.
1. For installations using mechanical fasteners of 1½” and longer, the subfloor should be flat to within ¼” in
10 feet or 3/16” in 6 feet radius.
2. For glue-down installations and installations using mechanical fasteners of less than 1½”, the subfloor
should be flat to within 3/16” in 10 feet or 1/8” in 6 feet radius.
B. If peaks or valleys in the subfloor exceed the tolerances specified above, sand down the high spots and fill the
low spots with a leveling compound or other material approved for use under wood flooring. However, it is
the builder’s or general contractor’s responsibility to provide the wood-flooring contractor with a subfloor
that is within the tolerances listed above.
When possible, check the back of
the subfloor panel for American
Plywood Association (APA) rating.
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National Wood Flooring Association ©2007 l Revised 05.2012
C.
Inspect the subfloor carefully. If there is movement or squeaks in the subfloor, refasten the subfloor to the
joists in problem areas.
D. Protruding fasteners are easily remedied by driving those fasteners deeper into the subfloor.
Part IV
Panel Products Subflooring
A. For panel products subflooring, check for loose panels and renail or screw down loose panels securely.
B. Ensure that there is proper expansion space (1/8”) between the panels. If the subfloor panels are not tongueand-grooved and if there is not sufficient expansion space, use a circular saw to create the specified space. Do
not saw through joints on T&G subfloors.
C. Also check for delaminated or damaged areas and repair those areas as needed.
D. Make sure the subfloor is free of debris before beginning installation.
E. Acceptable Panel Subfloors: Truss/joist spacing will determine the minimum acceptable thickness of the panel
subflooring.
1. On truss/joist spacing of 16” (406mm) o/c or less, the industry standard for single-panel subflooring is
minimum 1 5/8” (19/32”, 15.1mm) CD Exposure 1 Plywood subfloor panels (CD Exposure 1) or 23/32 OSB
Exposure 1 subfloor panels, 4’ x 8' sheets.
2. On truss/joist spacing of more than 16”, up to 19.2" (488mm) o/c, the standard is minimum ¾” (23/32”,
18.3mm) T&G CD Exposure 1 Plywood subfloor panels, (Exposure 1), 4’ x 8' sheets, glued and
mechanically fastened, or minimum ¾” (23/32", 18.3mm) OSB Exposure 1 subfloor panels, 4’ x 8’ sheets,
glued and mechanically fastened. When possible, check the back of the subfloor panel for American
Plywood Association (APA) rating.
3. Truss/joist systems spaced over more than 19.2” (488mm) o/c up to a maximum of 24” (610mm) require
minimum 7/8” T&G CD Exposure 1 Plywood subfloor panels, (Exposure 1), 4’ x 8' sheets, glued and
mechanically fastened, or nominal 1” OSB Exposure 1 subfloor panels, 4’ x 8’ sheets, glued and
mechanically fastened – or two layers of subflooring. Or brace between truss/joists in accordance with
the truss/joist manufacturer’s recommendations and with local building codes. Some truss/joist systems
cannot be cross-braced and still maintain stability.
a. For double-layer subfloors, the first layer should consist of nominal ¾” (23/32”, 18.3mm) CD Exposure
1 Plywood subfloor panels (CDX), 4’ x 8' sheets or nominal ¾” (23/32”, 18.3mm) OSB Exposure 1
subfloor panels, 4’ x 8’ sheets. The second layer should consist of nominal ½” (15/32”, 11.9mm) CD
Exposure 1 plywood subfloor panels, (Exposure 1) 4’ x 8’ sheets. The ½” plywood should be offset by
½” panels in each direction to the existing subflooring. The panels may also be laid on a diagonal or
perpendicular, with 1/8” spacing between sheets. Nail on a 12” minimum grid pattern, using ringshanked nails or staples.
F. Fastening and Spacing Specifications
1. Follow the panel manufacturer’s recommendations for spacing and fastening.
2. Typical panel spacing and fastening requirements for truss/joist systems call for approximately 1/8”
(3.2mm) expansion space around the perimeter of each panel, with panels fastened every 12” (305 mm)
along intermediate supports.
3. Edge swell should also be flattened. This can usually be accomplished by using an edger sander.
Part V
Solid Board Subflooring
A. Solid board subflooring should be: ¾” x 5½” (1” x 6”), Group 1 dense softwoods (SYP, Doug Fir, Larch, etc.), No.
2 Common, kiln-dried to less than 15% MC. Refer to Chapter 2, Acclimation and Conditioning of Wood
Flooring, for proper subfloor moisture content at time of installation.
B. Solid-board subflooring should consist of boards no wider than 6 inches, installed on a 45-degree angle, with
all board ends full bearing on the joists and fastened with minimum 8d rosin-coated or ring-shanked nails, or
equivalent.
C. Some types of wood flooring should not be installed directly over solid-board subflooring.
1. Thin-classification solid strip flooring must have a 3/8”or better plywood underlayment installed over
solid board subflooring.
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2.
Parquet flooring cannot be installed directly to solid-board subfloors. A parquet installation over solidboard subflooring requires 3/8” or better underlayment panels, nailed on 6” minimum grid pattern using
ring-shanked nails or staples.
D. Some engineered flooring cannot be installed directly to solid-board subfloors. (See wood flooring
manufacturer’s recommendations.)
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Chapter 5
Concrete Subfloor Guidelines
Note: Always follow the wood flooring and adhesive manufacturer’s recommendation for a proper subfloor.
Part I
Concrete Subfloor Specifications
A. Subfloor must be flat.
1. Make sure the concrete slab is flat to the wood flooring manufacturer’s specification. Typically,
manufacturers will specify a flatness tolerance of 1/8”in a 6-foot radius and or 3/16” in a 10-foot radius.
2. If the slab is out of specification, consider grinding, floating or both. Many high spots can be removed by
grinding, depressions can be filled with approved patching compounds, and slabs also can be flattened
using a self-leveling concrete product.
3. When sanding or grinding concrete, care must be taken to minimize the amount of silica dust produced.
OSHA recommends using dust-collection devices, or applying water to the concrete before sanding.
Approved respirators may also be used to minimize the amount of silica dust inhaled.
B. Subfloor must be dry.
1. See Chapter 3, Moisture Guideline Testing and Vapor Retarders.
2. Concrete moisture meters and other tests can be useful in identifying moisture problem areas. However,
NWFA guidelines specify using relative-humidity testing (ASTM F2170), calcium chloride testing (ASTM
F1869) or calcium carbide (CM) testing (ASTM D4944 and MilSpec CRD-C154-77) to identify the moisture
content of the slab. See Chapter 3, Moisture Guideline and Vapor Retarders.
3. If a slab tests too high in vapor emission to glue a floor down, consider using a vapor retarder type
product, installing a vapor retarder and a plywood subfloor or using an alternative installation method.
4. Concrete slabs with a calcium chloride reading of more than 3 require use of a vapor retarder with a perm
rating of 1 or less. It is strongly recommended to use an impermeable vapor retarder with a perm rating
of .13 or less, such as 6 mil polyethylene film.
C. Slab must be:
1. Minimum 3000 psi.
2. Free from non-compatible sealers, waxes, oil, paint, drywall compound, etc.
a. Check for the presence of sealers by applying drops of water to the slab. If the water beads up, there
may be sealers or oils.
D. Do not attempt to glue a wood floor over a chalky or soft concrete slab.
E. Burnished or slick slabs may require screening or sanding with a 30-grit abrasive.
F. Specifications for lightweight concrete:
1. Make sure the concrete is well bonded to the subfloor. Check for hollow spots, cracks and loose areas.
2. As with on-grade concrete subfloors, make sure the concrete is clean, flat to specification and dry.
3. Over lightweight concrete (less than 3000 psi), if the flooring adhesive used has a higher shear strength
than the concrete, use the floated subfloor installation method. (See Chapter 6, Installing a Subfloor Over
Concrete.) If the psi of the concrete is unknown, use the floated subfloor installation method or contact
the adhesive manufacturer.
4. Rule of thumb: Draw a nail across the top; if it leaves an indentation, it is probably lightweight concrete.
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Chapter 6
Installing a Subfloor Over Concrete
Note: Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for a proper subfloor.
Part I
Direct Gluing a Subfloor Over Concrete
A. Always follow the adhesive manufacturer’s recommendation for proper application, proper adhesive and
correct trowel notch and spread rate.
B. If necessary, add vapor retarder recommended by the adhesive manufacturer before applying adhesive.
Part II
Floated Subfloor
A. In on-grade and below-grade applications, always add vapor retarder before applying underlayment.
B. In above-grade applications, follow the flooring manufacturer’s recommendations.
C. A vapor retarder is recommended anytime solid ¾” wood flooring is installed over concrete. A vapor retarder
is required for installation over concrete with a calcium chloride reading greater than 3 pounds, a relative
humidity reading of greater than 75%, or a calcium carbide (CM) reading of greater than 2.5%.
D. Floated Subfloor System
1. Materials
a. 2 layers minimum 3/8” (10mm) minimum CD Exposure 1 Plywood subfloor panels (CDX) 4’ x 8' sheets.
2. Installation method
a. Place the first plywood layer with edges parallel to wall, without fastening. Leave ¾” space between
wall and plywood.
b. Plywood panels should be placed with 1/8” gaps between sheets.
c. Lay the second layer perpendicular or at 45 degree angle to the first.
d. Plywood panels should be placed with 1/8” gaps between sheets and a ¾” minimum expansion space
at all vertical obstructions and wall lines.
e. Staple/screw and glue (with urethane or construction adhesive) the second layer to first layer on 12”
interior grid pattern (6” on the perimeter). Be careful not to penetrate the vapor retarder.
E. Alternate Subfloor System
1. Materials
a. Use minimum ¾” (23/32”, 18.3mm) CD Exposure 1 Plywood sheathing, 4’ x 8’ sheets.
2. Installation method
a. Cut sheets to 16” x 8’ or smaller panels, scored on back 3/8” deep a minimum of every 12” across
width.
b. 16” planks oriented perpendicular or diagonally to direction of flooring.
c. Panels staggered every 2’, and spaced 1/8” between ends, with ¾” minimum expansion space at all
vertical obstructions.
Part III
Glue-Down Subfloor
A. Always follow the adhesive manufacturer’s recommendation for proper subfloor, spread rate and trowel
notch.
B. If necessary, add vapor retarder before applying underlayment. A vapor retarder is recommended anytime
solid ¾” wood flooring is installed over concrete.
C. Glue-Down Subfloor System:
1. Materials
a. Use minimum ¾” (23/32, 18.3mm) CD Exposure 1 Plywood subfloor panels, (Exposure 1), 4’ x 8’
sheets.
2. Installation method
a. Cut the plywood panels to 2’ x 8’ or 4’ x 4’ sections.
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b.
c.
d.
Score the back of the panels ½ the thickness on a 12” x 12” grid.
Apply an adhesive approved for the installation of plywood, per the plywood manufacturer’s
recommendations.
Lay sections in a staggered joint pattern in the adhesive, with 1/8” spacing between sheets, and ¾”
minimum expansion space at walls and all vertical obstructions.
Part IV
Nail-Down Subfloor
A. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for proper subfloor.
B. In on-grade and below-grade applications, always add vapor retarder before applying underlayment. In abovegrade applications, follow the flooring manufacturer’s recommendations.
C. A vapor retarder is recommended anytime solid ¾” wood flooring is installed over concrete.
D. Nail-Down Subfloor System Over Concrete
1. Materials
a. Minimum: Use minimum ¾” (23/32, 18.3mm) CD Exposure 1 Plywood subfloor panels (CDX), 4’ x 8’
sheets.
2. Installation method
Note: Fasteners may be powder-driven pins, pneumatic driven nails, screws, deformed pins, or other
fasteners suitable for concrete application. Check with fastener manufacturer for specification such as
length, drill size, and/or shot load where applicable.
a. Stagger panel joints allowing approximately 1/8” expansion space around all panels to prevent edge
peaking due to compression caused by panel swell.
b. Allow ¾” minimum expansion space at all vertical obstructions.
c. Panels should be mechanically fastened. For powder load or pneumatic pressure information, contact
your local supplier.
d. Nailing requirements, minimum 32 shots per 4’ x 8’ panel.
e. Areas with higher humidity may require additional fasteners.
Part V
Screed System
A. Solid ¾”, 25/32” and 33/32” tongue-and-groove strip flooring may be installed directly to screeds.
B. Engineered wood flooring less than ¾” (23/32”) thick, thin-classification strip flooring (including ½”) and solid
plank flooring (3” or wider) cannot be installed directly to screeds.
C. For engineered flooring less than ¾” thick, thin-classification strip, and for solid plank (3” and wider), the
screed system must be overlaid with proper subflooring. The screed system must be overlaid with nominal ¾”
(23/32”, 18.3mm) Exposure 1, or nominal 5/8” (19/32”, 15.1mm), Exposure 1, CDX plywood subfloor panels or
nominal ¾” (23/32”, 18.3mm) OSB underlayment properly spaced and oriented perpendicular to screed
direction. All joints must be staggered.
D. Installation method. See Appendix I, Installation Over Screeds.
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Section III
Installation Guidelines & Methods
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
29
Parquet Installation
Engineered Wood Flooring Installation
Solid Strip and Plank Flooring Installation
Installation Over Existing Floors
Page
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Chapter 7
Parquet Installation
Part I
Acceptable Jobsite Conditions and Jobsite Checklist
A. See Chapter 1, Jobsite Conditions.
Part II
Acclimation Guidelines
A. See Chapter 2, Acclimation and Conditioning of Wood Flooring.
Part III
Appropriate Grade Levels
A. Solid parquet wood floors can be installed successfully
above grade level or on grade, but are not recommended
for installation below grade.
B. The entire flooring level is considered to be below grade
where soil is present along any perimeter wall and is
more than 3” above the installed wood flooring level.
Ground should be sloped away from the house for
proper drainage. (Follow local building codes.)
Part IV
Subfloors – Wood Joist Systems
A. See Chapter 4, Wood Subfloor Guidelines.
B. Parquet cannot be installed directly to solid board subfloors. For parquet installations, board subfloors must
have additional underlayment.
Part V
Subfloors – Concrete Slab
A. See Chapters 5, Concrete Subfloor Guidelines, and Chapter 6, Installing a Subfloor Over Concrete.
Part VI
Parquet Installation Methods
A. Follow manufacturer’s recommendations.
1. The styles and types of block and parquet flooring, as well as the recommended procedures for
application, vary somewhat among manufacturers. Detailed installation instructions are usually provided
with the flooring or are available from the manufacturer or distributor.
B. Test wood subflooring for moisture according to moisture testing procedures. (See Chapter 3, Moisture
Guideline and Vapor Retarders.)
C. Test concrete for moisture according to moisture testing procedures in Chapter 3, Moisture Guideline and
Vapor Retarders. Moisture indicators should be within the adhesive and flooring manufacturers'
specifications.
D. A minimum expansion space of ½” must be left around the perimeter and all vertical obstructions.
E. Some ¾” parquet is appropriate for nail-down installation, as long as the pattern continues to have an
exposed side tongue in which to nail.
F. Lay blocks and/or individual pieces of parquet in adhesive.
G. Use the wood manufacturer’s approved adhesive. Follow the spread rate, trowel size and installation
procedure as recommended by the adhesive manufacturer.
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National Wood Flooring Association ©2007 l Revised 05.2012
Part VII
Parquet Layouts
A. Square Layout from the Center of the Room (See Figure 7-1)
Note: For instructions on using the trammel point method to square a room and find the center point, see
Appendix G, Trammel Point Method.
1. Start by snapping a chalk line through the center of
the room (line Y). The next line (X) must be exactly
90 degrees to line Y to form a perfect square corner.
To ensure this angle, do the following:
2. From the center point (A) of line Y, measure 4 feet
along line Y and mark that point (B).
3. From the same center point, measure 3 feet in the
general direction of where line X will be and scribe
an arc.
4. Return to the original 4-foot mark on line Y and
measure 5 feet, scribing an arc that crosses (point C)
the 3-foot arc you made in the previous step.
5. Verify all measurements before proceeding.
6. If correct, snap a chalk line through the conjunction
of the two arcs at point C and the center point of line
Y. This will be line X, at an exact 90-degree angle to
line Y.
B. Square Layout from the Wall (See Figure 7-2)
Square edge block or basket weave pattern can be laid wall to wall without centering the tiles on the room.
The results will not be balanced but the tiles have no edge treatment to delineate the difference in tile sizes
when unbalanced. More intricate patterns generally require the flooring to be centered.
1. Wall Line Layout
a. If the room dimensions allow, in at least two places from the corner, measure out and establish a
chalk line parallel to and 24½" (62cm) away from the starting wall opposite the entrance doorway.
The ½" (12.7 mm) is for expansion space.
b.
C.
Snap a second chalk line 90 degrees to the first chalk line using the method shown in Figure 7-2, 24½"
(62cm) away from the right angle wall. The ½” is for expansion space.
c. Make any necessary adjustments to allow for walls out of square before proceeding.
Installation Using Wall Layout (See Figure 7-3)
1. Spread the Adhesive
a. After both chalk lines (at 90 degrees to each other and 24½" (62cm) from the wall) have been
snapped, start spreading the adhesive in the 24½" (62cm) wide area next to the starting wall.
b. Continue spreading the adhesive along the entire length of the starting wall. Be careful not to spread
adhesive beyond the 24½" (62cm) chalk line.
2. Immediately lay the floor tiles on the newly spread adhesive.
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National Wood Flooring Association ©2007 l Revised 05.2012
3.
4.
5.
Do not lay the floor tiles on dry adhesive. If the adhesive becomes too dry, scrape up the old adhesive and
spread more.
Important: Stand or kneel on the subfloor during the installation to avoid shifting the tiles.
Proper placement of the first floor tile is the key to the entire installation. Carefully place a 12" x 12" (30 x
30 cm) parquet tile at the intersection of the two chalk lines. (See Figure 7-3.) Do not use the edge of the
tongue for aligning the tile on the chalk lines.
When the starting area
has been completed,
including cutting to the
wall, proceed to the
second laying area,
then to laying areas 3,
4, 5, etc., repeating the
installation procedure
of the starting area.
6.
Lay the second floor tile ahead of the first tile to fit ½” (12.7 mm) from the starting wall. Gently lock in the
tongue and groove between the first and second floor tiles.
7. Recheck to be sure both floor tiles are properly lined up with the chalk line. This is to ensure a square
starting area.
8. Continue laying the balance of the 12’ x 12’ (30.48cm) floor tiles along the starting wall area. Put each
floor tile in place and gently push the floor tiles together to interlock the tongue and groove. Align each
floor tile squarely.
9. Do not push the floor tiles too strenuously as this could cause the first and second floor tiles to move.
Simply realign them and proceed with the installation. Avoid hammering or forcing the floor tiles together
as this may destroy the squareness of the floor tile.
10. After laying the floor tiles across the first 24½"(30.48 cm) starting area, trim the last floor tiles as needed
to obtain the proper ½" (12.7 mm) expansion space next to the walls. Use a small band or saber saw for
final trimming. Firmly secure each floor tile when cutting with a saber saw.
11. Complete the installation.
a. When the starting area has been completed, including cutting to the wall, proceed to the second
laying area. (See Figures 7-3.)
b. Cut the last floor tiles to allow a ½" (12.7 mm) expansion space from the end wall.
c. Proceed by laying areas 3, 4, 5, etc., repeating the installation procedure of the starting area. Trim out
each laying area before proceeding to the next area.
d. Maintain the ½" (12.7 mm) expansion space around the perimeter of the room and around all fixed
objects.
e. Allow a minimum of 24 hours drying time before moving furniture or walking on the newly laid
parquet floor.
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National Wood Flooring Association ©2007 l Revised 05.2012
D. Diagonal Layout (See Figure 7-4)
1. Establish a 45-degree working line.
2. From the center point, measure 4 feet down in each
direction on lines X and Y, which you have already
determined by the method described previously.
3. From each of these points, measure 4 feet and scribe
an arc. The conjunction of these arcs creates points
D and E.
4. Snap a chalk line between points D and E, and the
center point. This line represents a 45-degree angle.
E. Herringbone Layout
1. Use reference lines throughout the area that is being
installed.
2. The multiple of the width should equal the exact
length of the piece. If the width of the product
varies, this will cause separations at the end of the
herringbone pieces.
3. Herringbone parquet can be laid out parallel or at a
45-degree angle to the room. Regardless of
direction, Herringbone parquet will require a
centerline and two working lines (See Figure 7-5).
4. Begin by laying out a few alternating slats.
5. Snap lines A & B through the corners of the
alternating slats (See Figure 7-5).
6. Measure the distance from Line A to Line B. Line C
should be ½ that distance and run parallel to Lines A
& B. The centerline of the room and the center of
the pattern is represented by Line C.
F. Herringbone Installation
1. To begin installation on working Line B (See Figure 76), cut a square piece of plywood the size of the
herringbone pattern. For example, if the
herringbone pattern is 3” x 12”, cut a 12” x 12”
square of plywood.
2. Fasten the piece of plywood at your starting point on
Line B, with one corner of the square pointing in the
direction of the pattern.
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National Wood Flooring Association ©2007 l Revised 05.2012
Chapter 8
Engineered Wood Flooring Installation
Part I
Acceptable Jobsite Conditions and Jobsite Checklist
A. See Chapter 1, Jobsite Conditions.
Part II
Acclimation Guidelines
A. See Chapter 2, Acclimation and Conditioning of Wood
Flooring.
Part III
Appropriate Grade Levels
A. Engineered wood floors can be installed successfully on,
above or below grade level. Engineered wood floors can
be installed directly to a concrete or wood subfloor.
B. The entire flooring level is considered to be below grade
where soil is present along any perimeter wall and is
more than 3” above the installed wood flooring level.
Ground should be sloped away from the house for
proper drainage. (Check local building codes. Local
building codes prevail. Follow local building codes.)
Part IV
Subfloors – Wood Joist Systems
A. See Chapter 4, Wood Subfloor Guidelines.
Part V
Subfloors – Concrete Slab
A. See Chapters 5, Concrete Subfloor Guidelines, and Chapter 6, Installing a Subfloor Over Concrete.
Part VI
Engineered Flooring Installation Methods
A. Engineered wood flooring can be installed directly to screeds, provided the engineered flooring is a minimum
of ¾” thick. For engineered flooring less than ¾” thick, the screed system must be overlaid with proper
subflooring. See Appendix I, Installation Over Screeds.
B. Note on random-width plank.
1. Random-width plank is laid out with alternating courses varying by widths. Start with the widest board,
then the next width, etc., and repeat the pattern.
C. Choose a starting wall.
1. Choose a starting wall according to the most aesthetically or architecturally important elements in the
room, taking into consideration fireplaces, doors, cabinets and transitions, as well as the squareness of
the room. The starting wall will often be the longest unbroken wall in the room.
D. Glue-down engineered strip and plank.
1. There are several different ways to start the installation of glue-down engineered wood flooring. The
following has proven successful. However, where instructions differ from manufacturer
recommendations, manufacturer recommendations prevail.
2. Test the substrate for moisture according to appropriate moisture testing procedures in Chapter 3,
Moisture Guideline and Vapor Retarders. Excessive/elevated moisture should not be present. The
subfloor should be within acceptable moisture content as per adhesive and wood manufacturer’s
recommendation before installing.
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National Wood Flooring Association ©2007 l Revised 05.2012
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
E.
F.
Expansion space should be left around the perimeter in accordance with the manufacturer’s
recommendation.
Snap a working line parallel to the starting wall, the width of the board, plus the tongue and
recommended expansion space.
Install a starter board along the edge of the working line and begin installation. Alternatively, lay one row
of plank in the adhesive along the length of the working line.
Follow manufacturer instruction for tongue and groove direction and placement.
Use an adhesive approved by the flooring manufacturer. Follow the installation procedure recommended
by the adhesive manufacturer, which includes subfloor moisture content, spread rate, trowel size, open
time, working time and flash time as necessary. Spread the adhesive as instructed up to and along the
working line.
Distribute lengths, avoiding “H” patterns and other discernible patterns in adjacent runs. Stagger end
joints of boards row to row a minimum of 6” for strip flooring, 8”-10” for 3” to 5” plank, and 10” for plank
wider than 5”. (See Figures 8-1 and 8-2.)
9. If recommended by the manufacturer, use tape or tensioners to maintain a tight floor.
10. If recommended by the adhesive manufacturer, roll the floor with the proper roller.
Mechanically fastened strip and plank.
1. If necessary, add a vapor retarder.
2. Snap a working line parallel to the starting wall, allowing expansion space as specified by the
manufacturer.
3. Lay one row of plank along the entire length of the working line.
4. Top-nail and blind-nail the first row (hand-nail if necessary), using appropriate fasteners. Denser species
may require pre-drilling. Each succeeding row should be blind-nailed wherever possible.
a. Typical: Narrow crowned (under 3/8”) 1”-1½” staples or 1”-1¼” hardwood flooring cleats designed for
engineered flooring, spaced as recommended by the manufacturer.
b. Typical: Every 3”-4” with staples, every 4”-6” with cleats, and within 1”-2” of end joints. Use
appropriate size fastener for top nailing first row, last row and any area where blind nailer will not fit.
5. Add each additional row of flooring. Distribute lengths, avoiding “H” patterns and other discernible
patterns in adjacent runs. Stagger end joints at least three times the width of the boards, as product
allows.
6. During installation of flooring pieces, push or gently tap boards flush to the previous row. Tap against the
tongue; tapping the groove may damage the edge. To prevent damage to the finish, avoid tapping the
face of the board with a rubber mallet.
Floating engineered flooring.
1. Subfloor flatness is critical to the success of a floating floor installation. (See Chapter 4, Wood Subfloor
Guidelines, and Chapter 5, Concrete Subfloor Guidelines.)
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National Wood Flooring Association ©2007 l Revised 05.2012
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
Test the substrate for moisture according to appropriate moisture testing procedures in Chapter 3,
Moisture Guideline and Vapor Retarders. Excessive/elevated moisture should not be present. The
subfloor should be within acceptable moisture content as per manufacturer recommendation before
installing.
If necessary, add vapor retarder. (See Chapter 3, Moisture Guideline and Vapor Retarders, Part III,
Acceptable Vapor Retarders Over Wood Subfloors.)
Expansion space should be left around the perimeter or in accordance with manufacturer’s
recommendation.
Typical: Subfloors are covered with a resilient material, foam underlayment or cork. Follow
manufacturer's instructions for correct materials and thickness.
Typical: Floating engineered flooring is edge-glued or edge-attached with a self-locking mechanism.
a. For edge-glued products, use a glue approved by the flooring manufacturer.
b. Apply glue at the spread rate to the side grooves and/or ends as recommended by the flooring
manufacturer.
Starter boards should be aligned with the groove side and end against the starting wall. Tapping block
should be used against tongue only.
Stagger end joints per manufacturer’s recommendation.
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National Wood Flooring Association ©2007 l Revised 05.2012
Chapter 9
Solid Strip and Plank Flooring Installation
Part I
Acceptable Jobsite Conditions and Jobsite Checklist
A. See Chapter 1, Jobsite Conditions.
Part II
Acclimation Guidelines
A. See Chapter 2, Acclimation and Conditioning of Wood Flooring.
Part III
Appropriate Grade Levels
A. Solid strip and plank wood floors can be installed
successfully above grade level or on grade, but are not
recommended for installation below grade.
B. The entire flooring level is considered to be below grade
where soil is present along any perimeter wall and is
more than 3" above the installed wood flooring level.
Ground should be sloped away from the house for
proper drainage. (Follow local building codes.)
Part IV
Subfloors – Wood Joist Systems
A. See Chapter 4, Wood Subfloor Guidelines.
Part V
Subfloors – Concrete Slab
A. See Chapter 5, Concrete Subfloor Guidelines.
B. When installing solid strip and solid plank flooring over concrete, a vapor retarder is always required over the
concrete slab and below the subflooring material. A minimum 6 mil construction grade polyethylene film, with
perm of .13, or other impermeable material with a perm of .15 or less is recommended.
C. Some manufacturers allow direct glue installation of ¾” solid strip and solid plank flooring. In such cases,
follow wood or adhesive manufacturer's recommendation.
Part VI
Solid Strip & Plank Installation Methods
Floor preparation: Refasten any loose areas of subfloor and clean the subfloor by sweeping, scraping, etc., as
necessary. With frame construction, mark location of joists on perimeter walls so that starting runs and finishing
runs, which require face nailing, can be nailed into joists. Marking also locates the joists for plank flooring
installation. Flooring direction: In general over single layer subfloor, wood should be installed perpendicular to the
floor truss.
A. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommended installation procedure.
B. Unfinished and factory-finished solid strip and solid plank flooring should be installed perpendicular to the
joists or on a diagonal for any single layer subfloor. (Exception: Over diagonal, solid subfloor boards, install
perpendicular to joists or subfloor direction.)
C. When ¾” solid strip and solid plank flooring is laid parallel with the floor joists, follow one of these two steps
below:
1. Add a layer of minimum ½” (15/32”) CD Exposure 1 (CDX) plywood underlayment to the existing subfloor
(as previously recommended).
2. Or brace between truss/joists in accordance with the truss/joist manufacturer's recommendations and
with local building codes. Some truss/joist systems cannot be cross-braced and still maintain stability.
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National Wood Flooring Association ©2007 l Revised 05.2012
D. Before installing wood flooring, use an approved vapor retarder. Some examples of acceptable vapor retarders
over wood subfloors include:
1. An asphalt laminated paper meeting UU-B-790a, Grade B, Type I, Style 1a.
2. Asphalt-saturated kraft paper or #15 or #30 felt that meets ASTM Standard D4869 or UU-B-790, Grade D.
3. Cover the subfloor with a good grade of #2 vapor retarders (see Perm Rating Chart in Chapter 3) ASTM
4869, lapped 2”- 4” along the edge seams. This retards moisture movement from below. Extend the
felt/building paper completely to the walls. It is necessary to fasten the felt to the subfloor.
E. Wall Line Layout
1. Choose a starting wall according to the most aesthetically or architecturally important elements in the
room, taking into consideration fireplaces, doors, cabinets and transitions, as well as the squareness of
the room. The starting wall will often be the longest unbroken wall in the room.
2. Snap a working line parallel to the starting wall, allowing ¾” expansion space between the starting wall
and the edge of the first strip or plank run.
3. As a general rule, a ¾” expansion space must be left around the perimeter and at all vertical obstructions.
4. Random-width plank is laid out with alternating courses varying by widths. Start with the widest board,
then the next width, etc., and repeat the pattern.
5. Lay one row of strip or plank along the entire length of the working line.
6. Top-nail and blind-nail the first row (hand-nail if necessary), using appropriate fasteners. Denser species
may require pre-drilling. Each succeeding row should be blind-nailed with the nailing machine wherever
possible. At the finishing wall and other obstructions, it may be necessary to blind-nail by hand until top
nailing is required.
7. Racking rule of thumb: Avoid H patterns. Stagger end joints of boards row to row a minimum of 6” for
strip flooring, 8”-10” for 3” to 5” plank, and for plank wider than 5 inch, stagger as much as possible with
minimal or no H joints. See Figures 9-1 and 9-2.
8.
To minimize expansion on floors wider than 20 feet, more or less spacing between rows may be needed,
depending on geographical area, interior climate control and time of the year.
9. Where spacing is required: Use a washer or removable spacer to leave additional space every few rows
and/or start in center of room and work out to both sides. Do not use spacers that may cause damage on
factory-finished products.
10. Nailing: Blind-nail through the tongue using 1½” to 2" fasteners. Use 1½” fasteners with ¾” plywood
subfloor direct to concrete slab. Face-nail boards where needed using 6d-8d casing or finish nails.
Fasteners should be spaced every 6”-8” on blindnailing, or every 10”-12” on face-nailing.
11. If adhesive is used with nailing, follow wood and/or adhesive manufacturer's instructions for installing
plank flooring.
12. Blind-nail, face-nail or use wood floor adhesive, as necessary, to complete the final rows.
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National Wood Flooring Association ©2007 l Revised 05.2012
F.
Center Line Layout
Note: For instructions on using the trammel point method to square a room and find the center point, see
Appendix G, Trammel Point Method.
1. Find the center of the room, measuring off the two longest walls, and snap a line down the center of that
room.
2. Install a starter board on the line. Fasten the starter board to the floor using wood screws.
3. Nail the first row of wood flooring against the starter board, being careful not to move the starter board
when nailing. The groove of the flooring should be against the starter board.
4. Use a blind nailer to install the remaining rows of wood flooring. Use the nailing practices described
earlier in the chapter.
5. After installing in one direction, remove the starter board and start rows going in the opposite direction.
6. Install a spline or a slip tongue in the groove of the board that was against the straightedge. Put wood
flooring adhesive down the entire length of the groove before installing the splines.
7. Install the spline using a blind nailer. To keep the spline in alignment for the next flooring board, use a
scrap piece of wood flooring to run along the length of the spline as you nail.
8. Install the remaining rows in the opposite direction. Use the nailing practices described earlier in the
chapter.
Coefficients of Change: How Moisture Affects Wood Flooring
At 70 Fahrenheit, a relative humidity of 25 percent gives an EMC of 5 percent, and a relative humidity of 75
percent gives an EMC of 14 percent. A 50 percent variance in relative humidity produces an EMO change of 10
percent. How that affects wood flooring depends on which species is being used. However, let’s say the width
variation is just 1/16” for a 2¼” board. That’s a full inch over 16 boards in a floor. Over the width of a 10-foot wide
floor, that amounts to more than three inches of total expansion or contraction. Protective coatings cannot
prevent wood from gaining or losing moisture; they merely slow the process. Installers need to take those
expected dimensional variations into account when installing the wood flooring.
This is a tool for the wood flooring professional to calculate perpendicular movement, but not absolute due to
variable conditions. These variables need to be taken into consideration when calculating dimensional change
coefficients (e.g., plain sawn dimensional change vs. rift sawn dimensional change, etc.). These figures are
noninstalled boards.
The following is a simple way to determine the number that will be used to calculate dimensional change
coefficient for any given species:
Examples:
Species type: (example only) Lapacho/Brazilian Walnut
Average reported shrinkage value (green to oven dry): Tangential 8.0%
Coefficient is determined by taking the tangential shrinkage and dividing it by the fiber saturation point. (To find
the fiber saturation point, google the species.)
Answer: .8/20 = .004 coefficient
A red oak (change coefficient = .00369) (see page 6 of NWFA Technical Publication A100, Water & Wood) board 5
inches wide experiences a moisture content change from 6 to 9 percent – a change of 3 percentage points.
Calculations: 3” x .00369 = .01107 x 5 = .055 inches
In actual practice, however, change would be diminished in a complete floor, as the boards’ proximity to each
other tends to restrain movement.
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National Wood Flooring Association ©2007 l Revised 05.2012
Chapter 10
Installation Over Existing Floors
Part I
Existing Floor Requirements
A. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for installation over existing flooring.
B. Glue-down parquet applications that require the use of PVA adhesives are not recommended over existing
sheet vinyl or vinyl and cork tile flooring unless an underlayment is put down first. Underlayment should be in
accordance with adhesive and/or flooring manufacturer’s recommendations.
C. Particleboard is not generally an acceptable underlayment, because it lacks stability. Some manufacturers
approve particleboard as an acceptable underlayment, as they do not warrant against subfloor movement. In
such cases, follow manufacturer’s recommendation.
D. Other types of adhesives may require the use of a primer or vinyl blocker when installing over sheet vinyl or
vinyl and cork tile flooring. Follow adhesive manufacturer’s recommendations.
E. Nail-down applications may be successful over existing sheet vinyl or vinyl tile if fastener penetration is not
significantly diminished and the subfloor meets minimum requirements. Fasteners must penetrate a proper
subfloor by at least 5/8”.
F. Wood flooring can be installed over existing ceramic tile, terrazzo, or marble with proper underlayment or
adhesives only on manufacturer's recommendation.
G. Installing wood flooring over an existing wood floor.
Caution: Do not sand any surfaces containing lead based finishes/paints or asbestos. Check applicable local
and federal EPA and OSHA regulations. For buildings built in 1978 and earlier, contact the EPA for lead based
testing prior to any sanding (www.epa.gov).
1. If safe to do so (see caution above), sand off old finish and or high spots and prep to clean, dry, sound and
flat. Repair, renail or replace loose flooring products as needed.
2. Over an existing glue-down floor, glue direct to the existing floor. Or, if the thickness of the floor will allow
it, staple to the existing floor. Check with the flooring manufacturer for recommendations.
3. When installing new wood flooring parallel to an existing solid nail-down floor, add a minimum of 3/8”
plywood underlayment over the existing floor to increase stability. Check with the flooring manufacturer
for recommendations.
4. When installing new wood flooring at a 45-degree to 90-degree angle to an existing solid nail-down floor,
additional underlayment may not be required.
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National Wood Flooring Association ©2007 l Revised 05.2012
Section IV
Appendices
Appendix A
Appendix D
Appendix E
Appendix F
Appendix G
Appendix H
Appendix I
Appendix J
Appendix K
Appendix L
Appendix M
41
Safety Guidelines
Moisture Content by Area – U.S.
Moisture Content by Area – Canada
Fastener Schedule
Trammel Point Method
Radiant Heat Installations
Installation Over Screeds
Sound Control
Trim & Thresholds
Sample Specification
Jobsite Checklist
Page
42
43
44
45
46
47
49
50
51
52
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National Wood Flooring Association ©2007 l Revised 05.2012
Appendix A
Safety Guidelines
Safety First
Safety on the job is the foremost concern for contractors, because accidents with power tools can be critical, even
disabling or deadly. No amount of experience or expertise exempts you from safety risks inherent in using the
tools required to install hardwood floors. The good news is that these risks are easily managed. Start with these
general guidelines:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
Never work under the influence of alcohol, drugs or medication.
Work with others nearby, if possible.
Do not work on a cluttered floor.
Use proper lighting and ventilation.
Make sure that the electrical power and wiring at the jobsite is sufficient to operate all machines safely.
Know your insurance company’s policy on coverage related to accidents or jobsite situations.
Wear proper work clothing and shoes. Do not wear loose clothing that could get caught in a machine.
Wear NIOSH-approved hearing protection and safety glasses, as well as dust and fume respirators, knee
protection and gloves.
Have an OSHA-approved first-aid kit on the job site.
Read and fully understand the owner’s manuals that are supplied with the equipment.
Use tools only as intended.
Use all tool and machine safety guards.
Turn off and unplug electrical tools and machines when making adjustments and attaching accessories.
Turn off all sources of ignition when using flammables.
Use ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) on electric tools to avoid electric shock.
Carry and read MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) for all products.
Do not exceed manufacturer’s recommended working air pressure for pneumatic systems.
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National Wood Flooring Association ©2007 l Revised 05.2012
Appendix D
Moisture Content by Area – U.S.
Note: Relative humidity in the building should be maintained at between 30-50 percent year-round. A consistent
interior climate environment is the key to optimum wood flooring performance.
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National Wood Flooring Association ©2007 l Revised 05.2012
Appendix E
Moisture Content by Area – Canada
Note: Relative humidity in the building should be maintained at between 30-50 percent year-round. A consistent
interior climate environment is the key to optimum wood flooring performance.
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National Wood Flooring Association ©2007 l Revised 05.2012
Appendix F
Fastener Schedule
Hardwood flooring must be installed over a proper subfloor using a fastener specifically designed for the
installation of wood flooring. Tongue and groove flooring must be blind nailed using the appropriate fastener that
is specifically made for the type of product being installed. Smooth fasteners (finish nails, etc.) may only be used
for the purpose of attaching the start and finish rows either by face or blind nailing.
Wood Flooring Type
Solid strip T&G ¾” x less than 3”
Fastener to be Used
1½” to 2” fastener, or 6d-8d casing
or finish nails. On slab with ¾”
underlayment, use 1½” fastener
Solid strip T&G ½” x 1½”, ½” x 2”
1½” fastener
Solid strip T&G 3/8” x 1½”, 3/8” x 2”
1¼” fastener
Solid strip T&G 5/16”
Narrow crowned (under 3/8”)
1”-1½” staples or 1”- ½”
hardwood flooring cleats
Solid plank ¾” x 3” or wider
1½”-2” fastener, or 6d-8d casing
or finish nails. On slab with ¾”
underlayment, use 1½” fastener
Engineered wood flooring
Narrow crowned (under 3/8”)
1” to 1½” staples or 1”-1½”
hardwood flooring cleats designed
for engineered flooring
Fastener Spacing
Blind fastener spacing along the
lengths of the strips, minimum two
fasteners per piece near the ends
(1”-3”). In addition, every 8”-10”
apart for blind nailing, 10”-12” for
face nailing.
Blind fastener spacing along the
lengths of the strips, minimum
two fasteners per piece near the
ends (1”-3”). In addition, every
10” apart. ½” flooring must be
installed over a minimum 23/32”
thick subfloor.
Blind fastener spacing along the
lengths of the strips, minimum two
fasteners per piece near the ends
(1”-3”). In addition, every 8” apart.
Space fasteners at 3”-4” intervals
for staples, 4”-6” for cleats, and
within 1”-2” of end joints, or as
recommended by the flooring
manufacturer.
Blind fastener spacing along the
lengths of the strips, minimum
two fasteners per piece near the
ends (1”-3”). In addition, every 6”8” apart for blind nailing, 10”-12”
for face nailing. To assist the
nailing schedule, option is to apply
adhesive.
Space fasteners at 3”-4” intervals
for staples, 4”-6” for cleats, and
within 1”-2” of end joints, or as
recommended by the flooring
manufacturer.
See Section V, Glossary of Wood Flooring Terms.
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Appendix G
Trammel Point Method
Trammel Points
Trammel points, which are used to scribe a circle or radius, consist of two points mounted on a beam – typically a
piece of wood – designed to slide along the beam to increase or decrease the radius. Typically, one of the points is
a pencil or pen, while the other is usually a metal point used to anchor the center of the circle or the radius. The
size of the radius can be adjusted by sliding the marking point along the beam to the desired length and locking it
into position.
Trammel Point Method for Squaring a Room and Finding the Center
See Figure G-1.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
Measure the width of the room from top to bottom left of center (Line A).
Find the center of Line A and mark it (Point B).
Measure the width of the room from top to bottom right of center (Line C).
Find the center of Line C and mark it (Point D).
Adjust for any difference in center between Point B & Point D. For example, if Point B is one inch different
than Point D, divide the difference by two to establish the new center point of Line A.
Snap a line the length of the room from Point B through Point D. This is now Line E.
Find the center point of Line E and mark it Point F.
From Point F, use trammel point at fixed position on flat board to mark through Line E left of center, and mark
it Point G.
From Point F, use trammel point at the same fixed position on flat board to mark through Line E right of
center, and mark it Point H.
From Point G, use trammel point at a fixed position on flat board to draw arc above Line E. Mark this Arc I.
From Point G, use trammel point at the same fixed position on flat board to draw arc below Line E. Mark this
Arc J.
From Point H, use trammel point at the same fixed position on flat board to draw arc above Line E. Mark this
Arc K.
From point H, use trammel point at the same fixed position on flat board to draw arc below Line E. Mark this
Arc L.
Where Arc I and Arc K intersect, mark it Point M.
Where Arc J and Arc L intersect, mark it Point N.
Snap a line from Point M through Point N, and mark it Line O.
Where Line O intersects Line E is the center of the room. Line E and Line O also form a 90-degree angle.
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National Wood Flooring Association ©2007 l Revised 05.2012
Appendix H
Radiant Heat Installations
With radiant heat, the heat source is directly beneath the flooring, so the flooring may dry out faster than a similar
floor in a home with a conventional heating system. Wood flooring can be installed over radiant heat as long as
you understand radiant heat and how it can impact wood flooring, what precautions to take, and what type of
wood flooring to use.
Types of wood flooring that are best suited-for radiant heat subfloor are products that possess improved
dimensional stability such as these:
1. Engineered wood flooring is more dimensionally stable than solid wood flooring.
2. Certain species are known for their inherent dimensional stability such as North American oak, and others.
Denser species such as maple and Brazilian cherry are less stable.
3. Quarter sawn and rift-sawn wood flooring is more dimensionally stable in width than plain sawn wood
flooring.
4. Narrow boards expand and contract less than wider width boards.
General Radiant Heat Installation Guidelines
1. To minimize the effect that rapid changes in temperature will have on the moisture content of the wood floor,
NWFA recommends that an outside thermostat be installed. If one is not present; suggest to your customer
that this should be considered. Unlike conventional heating systems, which switch on as needed, radiant
systems work most effectively and with less trauma to the wood floor if the heating process is gradual, based
on small incremental increases in relation to the outside temperature.
2. Subfloors should have proper moisture tests according to the moisture testing procedures outlined in Chapter
3, Moisture Guideline and Vapor Retarders.
3. The essential requirement in proper applications of wood flooring over radiant heated systems is to avoid
penetration of the heating element. Radiant-heated subfloor systems can be concrete, wood or a combination
of both. The type of subfloor as described in the previous chapters determines subfloor preparation.
4. If the subfloor is concrete and it has cured, turn the heat on, regardless of season, and leave it on for at least
5-6 days to drive out residual moisture before installation of the wood flooring. Some installation systems,
particularly glue-down applications, require the heat to be reduced or even turned off before installation of
the flooring begins, so the adhesive does not cure excessively. Test concrete in accordance with Chapter 3,
Moisture Guideline Testing and Vapor Retarders.
5. With water-heated radiant-heat systems, a pressure test must be performed and documented by a qualified
plumber or the system installer prior to beginning the installation of the wood flooring. Electric under floor
systems should also be tested prior to floor installation. Check heat system manufacturer guidelines.
6. If flooring materials that conduct heat at different rates are on the same circuit or heating zone, check with
the HVAC mechanical engineer and Radiant Panel Association (www.radiantpanelassociation.org) before
proceeding.
7. Radiant heat is dry heat. A humidification system may be necessary to maintain wood flooring in its comfort
zone.
The following installation and subfloor systems can be used successfully over radiant heat:
1. Glue-down, engineered or solid parquet.
2. Floating engineered.
3. Direct-nail, solid wood or engineered wood flooring to wood subfloor.
4. Solid T&G floor direct-nailed to sleepers.
5. Single layer of plywood on sleepers.
6. Double plywood floating subfloor.
7. Loose-lay single layer of ¾” plywood cut in 16” planks staggered with ½” gap between, laid perpendicular to
wood direction.
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National Wood Flooring Association ©2007 l Revised 05.2012
Glue-Down, Engineered or Solid Parquet
Note: Follow manufacturer’s installation instructions.
Install over approved subfloor. See Chapter 7, Parquet Installation, and Chapter 8, Engineered Wood Flooring
Installation.
1. Use an adhesive approved by the manufacturer.
2. The heating system has to be turned off before installation.
3. The maximum allowable subfloor surface temperature is 85° F (29.44° C).
4. Expect some heating season shrinkage.
Direct Nail, Solid Wood or Engineered to Wood Subfloor
Note: Follow manufacturer’s installation instructions.
1. Install over approved subfloor. See Chapter 8, Engineered Wood Flooring Installation, and Chapter 9, Solid
Strip and Plank Flooring Installation.
2. Always check for subfloor moisture. See Chapter 3, Moisture Guideline Testing and Vapor Retarders.
3. Solid wood must be properly acclimated to normal living conditions.
4. All other installation procedures are the same as outlined in Chapter 8, Engineered Wood Flooring Installation,
and Chapter 9, Solid Strip and Plank Flooring Installation.
5. Be sure fasteners are not so long as to penetrate of heating tubes or heat sources.
6. Maximum subfloor surface temperature is 85° F (29.44° C).
Solid T&G Floor Direct Nail to Sleepers
Note: Follow manufacturer’s installation instructions.
1. The use of solid wood flooring 4 inches and wider is not recommended over sleepers.
2. Wood flooring must be properly acclimated.
3. Do not use shorts.
4. Maximum subfloor surface temperature is 85° F (29.44° C).
Single Layer of Plywood on Sleepers
Note: Follow manufacturer’s installation instructions.
1. Wood flooring must be properly acclimated.
2. Use extreme caution to prevent penetration of heating tubes or heat sources.
3. Maximum subfloor surface temperature is 85° F (29.44° C).
Double Plywood
Note: Follow manufacturer’s installation instructions.
1. Wood flooring must be properly acclimated.
2. Maximum subfloor surface temperature is 85° F (29.44° C).
Floating Engineered
Note: Follow manufacturer’s installation instructions.
1. Install over approved subfloor. See Chapter 8, Engineered Wood Flooring Installation.
2. A 6 mil or better polyethylene vapor retarder should be installed over concrete subfloors. In some cases, this
may be part of the flooring underlayment.
3. A foam or resilient underlayment recommended by the flooring manufacturer must be installed prior to
application of the wood flooring.
4. Use an adhesive approved by the manufacturer for side and/or end joints.
5. Maximum subfloor surface temperature is 85° F (29.44° C).
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National Wood Flooring Association ©2007 l Revised 05.2012
Appendix I
Installation Over Screeds
1.
2.
3.
Note: Solid ¾” and 33/32” tongue-and-groove strip flooring may be installed directly to screeds.
Note: Engineered wood flooring less than ¾” thick, thin-classification strip flooring (including ½”) and solid
plank flooring (3” or wider) cannot be installed directly to screeds.
For engineered flooring less than ¾” thick, thin-classification strip, and for solid plank (3” and wider), the
screed system must be overlaid with proper subflooring. The screed system must be overlaid with 23/32”
(18.3mm) Exposure 1 plywood subfloor panels, or 19/32” (15.1mm), Exposure 1 plywood subfloor panels or
23/32” (18.3mm) OSB Exposure 1 underlayment properly spaced and oriented perpendicular to screed
direction, and across two or more spans.
Installation Method
Note: The following method does not apply to screed systems over radiant heat.
1. Abrade or scrape the concrete slab to ensure it is clean of paint, sheetrock mud and general construction
residue and dry of moisture.
2. Check slab for flatness with 6’ minimum straight edge.
3. Fill low areas or dips in slab with concrete underlayment compound.
4. Break out or grind down concentrated high areas of slab.
5. Pour hot tar (where building codes allow) or a urethane adhesive to cover the slab completely.
6. Install short lengths (approximately 24”) of 2” x 4” or 1” x 4” screeds in the hot tar or urethane adhesive,
perpendicular to the direction of the flooring. Screeds should be placed on approximately 6” to 7” centers, to
provide approximately 50% coverage. Screed joints should be staggered, easily accomplished by alternating
full and half pieces on the starter wall. Note: Treated screeds are preferred only if they are kiln dried after
treatment (KDAT). Otherwise, yellow pine, fir or other kiln dried framing species is acceptable. With treated
screeds, stainless-steel fasteners are required.
7. Allow adequate time for the tar or adhesive to properly cure.
8. Check screeds for flatness with 6’ minimum straight edge.
9. Sand or plane the high areas of the screeds. Shim the low areas of the screeds with your preferred shimming
material. Masonite or thin layers of plywood work well. Sand or plane shims to feather out transitions.
10. Cover screeds with an impermeable vapor retarder, such as 6-mil poly membrane.
11. Rack out flooring.
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Appendix J
Sound Control
When installing wood floors (hard surface flooring) in multi-family dwellings, it is necessary to take into
consideration both the UBC and NBC requirements. The UBC Uniform Building Code and the BOCA National
Building Code both have requirements regarding sound control for multi-family dwellings. Areas of the country
that do not follow either of these code standards may have local building code regulations with their own sound
control requirements. The BOCA National Building Code, 1996, has the following section for sound control:
“1214.2 Air-borne noise: Walls, partitions and floor/ceiling assemblies separating dwelling units from each other or
from public service areas shall have a sound transmission class (STC) of not less than 45 for air-borne noise when
tested in accordance with ASTM E90 listed in Chapter 35. This requirement shall not apply to dwelling unit
entrance doors; however, such doors shall be tight fitting to the frame and sill. 1214.3 Structure borne sound:
Floor/ceiling assemblies between dwelling units or between a dwelling unit and a public service area within the
structure shall have an impact insulation class (IIC) rating of not less than 45 when tested in accordance with ASTM
E492 listed in Chapter 35.”
Condominium associations may have a set of protective covenants with even more stringent regulations than the
Uniform or National Building Code. The STC Sound Transmission Class is a laboratory measurement of the ability of
a specific construction assembly (such as partition, window, door, etc.) to reduce airborne sounds including voice,
television and alarm clocks.
The IIC Impact Insulation Class is a laboratory measurement of the ability of a floor/ceiling assembly to reduce
impact sound such as footfalls, movement of furniture, etc. The F-IIC rating is a field measurement done in situ
after a floor installation is completed. The higher the value of any of the quantities above, the greater the airborne
or impact isolation provided by the assembly.
In any building, a sound rated flooring system, when properly installed, will significantly improve the IIC/FIIC when
compared with a non-rated hard surface floor system. The sound rated flooring products do not have a significant
effect on the STC measurement.
Sound Control Product Types
There are a wide variety of materials that are marketed for noise control properties. Some are systems, and others
are specific materials. Noise transfer from floor to ceiling is dependent upon the entire floor/ceiling assembly.
When comparing the performances in sound control products, only products with testing from a certified
laboratory should be considered. Copies of the test should be requested so that variables can be closely compared.
Variables, such as type of floor (i.e., wood or ceramic, laminate, marble), concrete thickness, with or without
suspended ceiling, wood frame structure can greatly affect the performance or lack thereof, of the product.
Comparing products with similar variables make it easier to see which product performs better.
Sound control materials sold with F-IIC ratings (field tests) may not be accurate if all floor and ceiling construction
is not included in the test.
Installation
Product installation varies by product and manufacturer. One basic key to peak performance is to avoid hard
surface transference points. This would mean that the floor should not come in direct contact with the wall or the
molding. A small gap should be left between the molding and the floor as well as the floor and the wall. Leaving a
gap would prevent sound from traveling across the floor to the wall or molding and down behind the wall where
there is no sound control.
Nails are also considered a hard surface transference point. When installing a nail down wood floor, nails should
not penetrate through the floor and into the sound control material and subfloor below. Doing so would greatly
diminish the performance of the sound control material.
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Appendix K
Trim & Thresholds
Moldings Used with Hardwood Floors
Wood floors require expansion space at the wall and all vertical obstructions. Moldings are used to
cover the expansion area, to hide cut ends, to adjust height differences or transitions between floors
and to aesthetically finish the area. Profiles are many and vary through the industry. Here are some
examples of standard profiles.
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Baseboard – from 3/8” and thicker, from 1½”and higher used to protect the wall and cover
expansion space.
Base Shoe – from 3/8” to 5/8” thick, from ½” to 1” high; used instead of baseboard or with
baseboard too on vertical surfaces/bases to complete expansion coverage; flexible enough to
conform to irregular surfaces.
Quarter Round – one quarter of a full round; from ½” to 1”; used as an alternative to base shoe
in some areas.
Reducer – from 5/16” to ¾” thick, 1” to 3½”+ wide; used to transition in thickness from wood
floor down to thinner surface, generally through door openings. Also used to cover expansion
space around vertical surfaces such as fireplace hearths when mounted directly to surface of
flooring.
Threshold – from 5/16” to ¾” thick, many widths; used to make the transition at doorways,
between interior rooms and to the outside. Can be custom milled to any size.
Baby Threshold – often variable in thickness. Used to cover expansion space in perimeter areas
where vertical molding cannot be used, and to transition to thicker material, such as carpet.
Example: Stone, brick wall and hearths as well as floor to ceiling glass and sliding doors. May also
be used at existing door thresholds.
T-Moldings – 5/8” thick by 2” wide, beveled down on both sides with a T-configuration, used for
transition from one hard surface floor to another.
Custom Moldings – Moldings created for unusual circumstances may be manufactured to job site
requirements to complement the wood floor and allow for proper transition and coverage of
expansion space.
Stairs/Steps
•
•
•
Stair Riser – ¾” thick, various heights and lengths, used to create
the vertical "rise" in the step.
Stair Tread – ¾” to 1 1/16” thick, various widths and lengths. It is
the actual step surface.
Nosing – also called stair nosing, bull nose, stairwell trim, landing
tread. Thickness same as flooring. Used to create finished edge on
top step, around stairwell, sunken living room, etc.
For additional information see www.stairway.com.
Follow local building codes.
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Appendix L
Sample Specification
For format purposes only.
Part 1 – General
1.1 Summary
A. Section Includes:
1. Solid strip wood flooring
1.2 Submittals
A. Product Data: For each type of product indicated
B. Shop Drawings: Show installation details, including location and layout of each type of wood and
accessory.
C. Samples: For each type of wood and accessory, with stain color and finish required, approximately
12” long and of same thickness and material indicated for the work. Include sample sets showing full
range of normal color and texture variations expected.
1.3 Quality Assurance
A. Installer Qualifications: An experienced installer who has completed wood flooring work similar in
material, design and extent to that indicated for this project, and whose work has resulted in wood
flooring installations with a record of successful inservice performance.
B. Source Limitations: Obtain each type of material and product from one source with resources to
provide materials and products of consistent quality in appearance and physical properties.
1.4 Delivery, Storage and Handling
A. Deliver wood materials in unopened cartons or bundles.
B. Protect wood from exposure to moisture. Do not deliver wood flooring until after concrete, masonry,
plaster, ceramic tile and similar wet-work is completed and dry.
C. Store wood materials in dry, warm, well-ventilated, weather-tight location.
1.5 Project Conditions
A. Conditioning: Maintain relative humidity planned for building occupants, and an ambient
temperature between 65° and 75° Fahrenheit in spaces to receive wood flooring for at least seven
days before installation, during installation and for at least seven days after installation. After postinstallation period, maintain relative humidity and ambient temperature planned for building
occupants.
1. For unfinished products, open sealed packages to allow wood flooring to acclimate.
2. Do not install wood flooring until it adjusts to the relative humidity of and is at the same
temperature as the space where it is to be installed.
3. Close spaces to traffic during flooring installation and for time period after installation
recommended in writing by flooring and finish manufacturers.
B. Install factory-finished wood flooring after other finish operations, including painting, have been
completed.
1.6 Warranty
A. Warranty: Provide manufacturer’s standard warranty in which manufacturer agrees to replace
materials defective in quality and workmanship.
1.7 Extra Materials
A. Furnish extra materials described below, before installation begins, that match products installed and
that are packaged with protective covering for storage and identified with labels describing contents.
1. Wood Flooring: Equal to 1 percent of amount installed for each type and finish indicated.
Part 2 – Products
2.1 Wood Flooring
A. Wood Material: As indicated in Interior Drawings & Specifications.
B. Finish System: Water-borne urethane floor finish as approved by flooring manufacturer and as
required to achieve desired finish to match customer’s sample.
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2.2 Accessory Materials
A. Wood Flooring Adhesive: Adhesive recommended by flooring and adhesive manufacturer for
application indicated.
B. Fasteners: As recommended by manufacturer, but not less than that recommended by the National
Wood Flooring Association’s “Installation Guidelines and Methods.”
C. Vapor retarder: As required by subfloor conditions and local building codes.
Part 3 – Execution
3.1 Examination
A. Examine substrates, areas and conditions, with installer present, for compliance with requirements,
installation, tolerances and other conditions affecting performance of wood flooring. Proceed with
installation only after unsatisfactory conditions have been corrected.
B. Concrete Slabs: Verify that concrete slabs comply with requirements specified by flooring
manufacturer or, if none, by test methods specified in the National Wood Flooring Association’s
“Installation Guidelines and Methods.”
3.2 Installation
A. General: Comply with flooring manufacturer’s written instructions and recommendations by the
National Wood Flooring Association’s “Installation Guidelines and Methods,” as applicable to flooring
type.
B. Pattern: Lay wood flooring in pattern indicated in drawings or, if not indicated, as directed by interior
designer, architect or owner.
C. Flooring: Install using one of the following methods, as approved by interior designer, architect or
owner:
1. Blind nail flooring to substrate according to methods specified in the National Wood Flooring
Association’s “Installation Guidelines and Methods.”
2. Glue flooring to substrate as recommended by wood flooring manufacturer.
3. Expansion Space: Provide expansion space at walls and other obstructions and terminations of
wood flooring of not less than inch, unless otherwise indicated on drawings.
a. Unless fully concealed by trim, fill expansion space with flush cork expansion strip.
3.3 Sanding and Finishing
A. Apply finish according to finish manufacturer’s written instructions. Apply the number of coats
recommended by finish manufacturer for application indicated.
B. For water-based finishes, use finishing methods recommended by finish manufacturer to minimize
grain raise.
3.4 Protection
A. Fully cover installed flooring to protect it from damage or deterioration, before and after finishing,
and during remainder of construction period. Use building paper or other suitable covering. Do not
use plastic sheet or film that could cause condensation. Do not tape covering to finished flooring.
1. Do not cover site-finished floors until finish reaches full-cure, but not less than seven days after
applying last coat.
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Appendix M
Jobsite Checklist
See Chapter 1, Jobsite Conditions.
One primary rule will eliminate many potential problem-causing jobsite conditions: Wood flooring should be one
of the last jobs completed on any construction project. In particular, the jobsite should be enclosed and climatecontrolled before wood flooring is delivered or installed. In addition, other trades working on the jobsite can
damage the wood flooring installation, so many problems can be minimized by limiting the amount of traffic at the
jobsite after the wood flooring is installed.
Certainly the jobsite should be carefully evaluated for potential problems before installation begins, but a
thorough site evaluation should also be done even before wood flooring is delivered to the jobsite.
The reprintable Jobsite Checklist on the following pages can be used on the jobsite.
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Section V
Glossary of Wood Flooring Terms
Abrasion Resistance: That property of a surface that resists being worn away by a rubbing or friction process.
Abrasion resistance isn't necessarily related to hardness, as believed by some, but is more closely comparable to,
or can be correlated with, toughness.
Acclimation: The act of allowing wood moisture content to become at equilibrium with the environment in which
it will perform. See Equilibrium Moisture Content (EMC).
Acid: Chemical substance rated below 7 on the PH scale.
Air-Dried: Dried by exposure to air in a yard or shed without artificial heat. Not kiln dried.
Alkalinity: A measurement of an alkaline rating about 7 on the PH scale.
Annual Growth Ring: The layer of wood growth formed on a tree during a single growing season.
Asphalt Saturated Felt Paper: A #15 asphalt felt paper that meets ASTM Standard D4869 or asphalt laminated
paper that meets federal specification UU-B-790a Grade B, Type I, Style 1a, or asphalt saturated paper that meets
federal specification UU-B-790a, Grade D, Type I, Style 2. Commonly used as a vapor retarder.
American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM): Develops and publishes voluntary technical standards for a
wide range of materials, products, systems, and services. ASTM uses a consensus process involving technical
committees that draw their members from around the world. ASTM International has no role in requiring or
enforcing compliance with its standards, but in many instances, its standards have been adopted by rules-making
industry and governmental bodies.
ASTM D4944-043 (modified): Calcium Carbide (CM) Test.
ASTM F1869: Test Method for Measuring Moisture Vapor Emission Rate of Concrete Subfloor Using Anhydrous
Calcium Chloride.
ASTM F2170: Standard Test Method for Determining Relative Humidity in Concrete Floor Slabs Using In Situ
Probes.
Base Shoe: A molding designed to be attached to baseboard molding to cover expansion space. It is the alternative
to a quarter-round in profile.
Bastard Sawn: See Rift Sawn.
Beveled Edge: The chamfered or rounded edge of wood flooring, plank, block and parquet. An edge of a structure
that is not perpendicular to the face of the piece.
Board Foot: A unit of measurement of lumber represented by a board 1 foot long, 12 inches wide and 1 inch thick
or its cubic equivalent. In practice, the board foot calculation for lumber 1 inch or more in thickness is based on its
nominal thickness and width and the actual length. Lumber with a nominal thickness of less than 1 inch is
calculated as 1 inch.
Borders: Simple or intricate designs that frame and customize a flooring installation.
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Bow: The distortion of lumber in which there is a deviation, in a direction perpendicular to the flat face, from a
straight line from end to end of the piece.
Burl: A swirl or twist of the grain of the wood that usually occurs near a knot, but doesn't contain a knot,
commonly found in the stump of a tree and where limbs branch out from the tree.
Chatter Marks: Slight, closely spaced indentations causing a ripple effect on the surface of a wood floor.
Check: A lengthwise separation of the wood that usually extends across the rings of annual growth.
Checking (finish): Similar to alligatoring (see NWFA Technical Publication No. C200, Problems, Causes and Cures),
except that the finish is broken into smaller segments. Crowfoot checking is the name given to the defect when the
breaks in the film form a definite three-prong pattern with the breaks running outward from a central point of
intersection. When the checks are generally arranged in parallel lines, the defect is known as line checking.
Irregular checks without a definite pattern are known as irregular checking.
Chemical Fastener: A chemical system, usually an adhesive that is designed to permanently bond the wood
flooring to the subfloor.
Cleat: A barbed fastener commonly used as a mechanical device to fasten hardwood flooring.
Color Change: Visual changes in the color of the wood species caused by exposure to light, deprivation of light and
air, or some chemical reaction.
Compression Set: Caused when wood strips or parquet slats absorb excess moisture and expand so much that the
cells along the edges of adjoining pieces in the floor are crushed. This causes them to lose resiliency and creates
cracks when the floor returns to its normal moisture content.
Coniferous: See Softwoods.
Crook: The distortion of a board in which there is a deviation, in a direction perpendicular to the edge, from a
straight line from end to end of the piece.
Cross Directed: Laying of material perpendicular to the material below it.
Crowning: A convex or crowned condition or appearance of individual strips with the center of the strip higher
than the edges. The opposite of cupping.
Cupping: A concave or dished appearance of individual strips with the edges raised above the center. The opposite
of crowning.
Deciduous: See Hardwood.
Deformed Fasteners: Fastener in which the sides are not smooth and the head shape may be irregular. Examples
are ring-shank and screw-shank nails.
Delamination: The separation of layers in an engineered wood floor, through failure within the adhesive or
between plies. Also between layers of stain and/or coating.
Diffuse-Porous Woods: Certain hardwoods in which the pores tend to be uniform in size and distribution
throughout each annual ring or to decrease in size slightly and gradually toward the outer border of the annual
growth ring. Hard maple is an example.
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Dimensional Stability: The ability to maintain the original intended dimensions when influenced by a foreign
substance. Wood is hygroscopic (readily takes up moisture) and isn't dimensionally stable with changes in moisture
content below the fiber saturation point. Engineered wood flooring, however, is more dimensionally stable than
solid wood.
Distressed: A heavy artificial texture in which the floor has been scraped, scratched or gouged to give it a timeworn antique look.
Drywall: Interior covering material (such as gypsum board, hardboard or plywood) that is applied in large sheets or
panels.
Durability: The ability of the wood species or finish to withstand the conditions or destructive agents with which it
comes in contact in actual usage, without an appreciable change in appearance or other important properties.
Eased Edge: See Beveled Edge.
End Joint: The place where two pieces of flooring are joined together end to end.
End Lifting: A swelling of the top layer of engineered wood flooring, occurring at an end joint.
End-Matched: In tongue-and-groove strip and plank flooring, the individual pieces have a tongue milled on one
end and a groove milled on the opposite end, so that when the individual strips or planks are butted together, the
tongue of one piece fits into the groove of the next piece. See Side-Matched and Tongue-and-Groove.
Engineered: An assembly made by bonding layers of veneer or lumber with an adhesive so that most adjacent
layers have their grains going in perpendicular directions to increase dimensional stability.
Equilibrium Moisture Content (EMC): The moisture content at which wood neither gains nor loses moisture when
surrounded by air at a given relative humidity and temperature.
Fading: The loss of color due to exposure to light, heat or other destructive agents.
Fastener: A method or device used to attach wood flooring to a subfloor. See Mechanical Fastener or Chemical
Fastener.
Feature Strip: A strip of wood used at a threshold or to border a room or to otherwise serve as an accent. Usually
of a contrasting color or species.
Fiber Saturation Point: The stage in drying or wetting wood at which the cell walls are saturated with water and
the cell cavities are free from water. It’s usually taken as approximately 30 percent moisture content, based on
over-dry weight.
Fiberboard: A broad generic term inclusive of sheet materials of widely varying densities manufactured of refined
or partially refined wood or other vegetable fibers. Bonding agents and other materials may be added to increase
strength, resistance to moisture, fire or decay, or to improve some other property.
Figure: Inherent markings, designs or configurations on the surface of the wood produced by the annual growth
rings, rays, knots and deviations from regular grain.
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Filler: In woodworking, any substance used to fill the holes and irregularities in planed or sanded surfaces to
decrease the porosity of the surface before applying finish coatings. Wood filler used for cracks, knotholes and
worm holes is often a commercial putty, plastic wood or other material mixed to the consistency of putty. A wood
filler also may be mixed on the job using sanding dust from the final sanding, or other suitable material, mixed with
a product appropriate for this use.
Fillets: The small components that comprise finger-block parquet. Also called fingers or slats. Fillet may also refer
to the top layer of some engineered wood flooring.
Finger-Block: Parquet made from small strips of wood assembled together. See Fillets.
Fingers: See Fillets.
Fire Resistance: The property of a material or assembly to withstand fire or given protection from it. Certain
species naturally provide greater fire resistance than others. Classes are I-II-III or A-B-C with Class I or A being the
most fire resistant.
Fire Retardant: A chemical or preparation of chemicals used to reduce flammability or to retard the spread of a
fire over a surface.
Flag: A heavy dark mineral streak shaped like a banner.
Flag Worm Hole: One or more worm holes surrounded by a mineral streak.
Flame Spread: The propagation of a flame away from the source of ignition across the surface of a liquid or solid,
or through the volume of a gaseous mixture. Note: Most wood species are Class C Flame Spread unless the wood
floor has been treated and marked as to flame spread.
Flecks: The wide irregular, conspicuous figure in quartersawn oak flooring. See Medullary Rays.
Floating Floor: A floor that does not need to be nailed or glued to the subfloor. Typically, the flooring panels are
connected together by adhesive or mechanical connectors.
Flow: The characteristic of a coating that allows it to level or spread into a smooth film of uniform thickness before
hardening.
Graininess: The objectionable appearance of small, grain-like particles in a finishing material or in the dried film
thereof.
Hardened Steel Pin: Specialty fasteners designed to penetrate and hold concrete, steel and other substrates. Steel
pins are typically installed with powder, pneumatic or gas-powered tools.
Hardness: That property of the wood species or dried film of finishing material that causes it to withstand denting
or being marked when pressure is exerted on its surface by an outside object or force.
Hardwood: Generally, one of the botanical groups of deciduous trees that have broad leaves, in contrast to the
conifers or softwoods. The term has no reference to the actual hardness of the wood.
Heartwood: The wood extending from the pith to the sapwood, the cells of which no longer participate in the life
processes of a tree. It is usually darker than sapwood. See Pith and Sapwood.
Heavy Streaks: Spots and streaks of sufficient size and density to severely mar the appearance of wood.
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Honeycombing: Checks often not visible at the surface that occur in the interior of a piece of wood, usually along
the wood rays.
Humidity: The amount of water vapor in the air. See Relative Humidity.
Hygrometer: An instrument for measuring the degree of humidity or relative humidity of the atmosphere.
Hygroscopic: A substance that can absorb and retain moisture, or lose or throw off moisture. Wood and wood
products are hygroscopic. They expand with absorption of moisture and their dimensions become smaller when
moisture is lost or thrown off.
International Building Code (IBC): A model building code developed by the International Code Council (ICC)
adopted throughout most of the United States.
In Situ: A Latin term that means “in place” or “on site,” the term applies to testing done on site, or on materials in
their original location, as opposed to testing done in a laboratory. Some sound control testing is done in the field
or “in situ,” and moisture testing of concrete slabs is often done using “in situ” probes.
Intensity: The intensity of a color is its purity or degree of hue as seen by the eye.
Jointed Flooring: Strip flooring, generally birch, beech, hard maple or pecan, manufactured with square edges, not
side-matched, but usually end-matched. It is used principally for factory floors where the square edges make
replacement of strips easier.
Joist: One of a series of parallel beams used to support floor or ceiling loads and supported in turn by larger
beams, girders or bearing walls.
Kiln (Often Pronounced “Kill"): A chamber having controlled air flow, temperature and relative humidity for drying
lumber, veneer and other wood products.
Kiln-Dried: Dried in a kiln with the use of artificial heat.
Knot: The portion of a branch or limb that has been surrounded by subsequent growth of the stem. The shape of
the knot as it appears on a cut surface depends on the angle of the cut relative to the long axis of the knot. In
hardwood strip flooring, small and pin knots aren’t more than ½” in diameter. A sound knot is a knot cut
approximately parallel to its long axis so that the exposed section is definitely elongated.
Manufacturing Defects: Includes all defects or blemishes that are produced in manufacturing, such as chipped
grain, torn grain, skips in dressing, hit-and-miss (a series of surfaced areas with skips between them), variation in
machining, machine burn, and mismatching.
Mechanic: A flooring installer, sander or finisher.
Mechanical Fastener: A mechanical device such as a cleat or staple or nail specifically designed for the purpose of
installing wood flooring. The fastener is coated (staples) or serrated (nail/cleats) to increase the holding power.
The fastener is used typically within the “pocket” of the tongue at the point that horizontal portion of the tongue
becomes the vertical edge of the wear layer. Some specialty flooring use face nailing only while other specialty
products may allow for positioning the fastener in the groove side.
Medullary Rays: Strips of cells extending radially within a tree and varying in height from a few cells in some
species to four or more inches in oak. The rays serve primarily to store food and transport it horizontally in the
tree. On quartersawn oak, the rays form a conspicuous figure sometimes referred to as flecks. See Flecks.
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Mineral Spirits: A solvent product used as a thinner and/or cleaner.
Mineral Streak: Wood containing an accumulation of mineral matter introduced by sap flow, causing an unnatural
color ranging from greenish brown to black.
Mixed Media: A wood floor that is made predominately of wood, but also incorporates other materials, such as
slate, stone, ceramic, marble or metal.
Moisture Content: The amount of moisture in wood expressed as a percentage of the weight of oven-dried wood.
NOFMA/NWFA hardwood flooring is manufactured at 6 to 9 percent moisture content, with a 5 percent allowance
for pieces up to 12 percent moisture content. Five percent of the flooring may be outside of this range.
Muratic Acid: A diluted acid used to neutralize alkalinity of concrete subfloors.
Nailing Shoe (or Nailing Plate): An attachment to a blind-nailing machine that broadens the impact area. Often
required for fastening factory-finished flooring.
Nominal Size: As applied to timber or lumber, the size by which it is known and sold in the market; often different
from actual size.
Nosing: A hardwood molding used to cover the outside corner of a step, milled to meet the hardwood floor in the
horizontal plane, to meet the riser in the vertical plane. It is usually used on landings.
Oriented Strand Board (OSB): commonly used as an underlayment or subfloor material. Strands tend to be
oriented with their length aligned with the panel length (typically). OSB is therefore stiffer and stronger when
installed with the long axis across supports.
Overwood/Underwood: A flooring condition in which there is a perceived misalignment of the flooring surface,
with some wood pieces raised above adjacent pieces leaving a slightly uneven surface. Also called lippage.
Parquet: A patterned floor.
Particleboard: A generic term for a material manufactured from wood particles or other lignocellulosic material
and a synthetic resin or other suitable binder. Flakeboard is a particle panel product composed of flakes. Oriented
strand board is a type of particle panel product composed of strand-type flakes that are purposely aligned in
directions that make a panel stronger, stiffer and with improved dimensional properties in the alignment
directions than a panel of random flake orientation. Waferboard is a particle panel product made of wafer-type
flakes. It is usually manufactured to possess equal properties in all directions parallel to the plane of the panel.
Photo-Sensitive: The property of some wood species that causes them to lighten or darken when exposed to light.
See Color Change.
Pin-Worm Hole: In hardwood flooring, a small round hole not more than 1/16” (1.5626mm) in diameter, made by
a small wood-boring insect.
Pith: The small, soft core occurring near the center of a tree trunk, branch, twig or log. First growth.
Plain Sawn: The annual growth rings make an angle of less than 45° with the surface of the piece. This exposes the
pores of the springwood and dense summerwood of the annual growth ring in ring-porous woods to produce a
pronounced grain pattern.
Planer Bite: A deeper than intended groove cut into the surface of a piece of wood by planer knives.
Plank: Solid or engineered boards 3” and wider designed to be installed in parallel rows.
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Plugs: Used to cover countersunk screws when installing wood flooring or for decorative purposes in wood
flooring.
Plywood: Board or panel made of cross-directional veneers and/or layers of wood for dimensional stability.
Prefinished: Factory-finished flooring that only requires installation.
Quartersawn: The annual growth rings of wood form an angle of 45° to 90° with the surface of the piece. In
quartersawn strips, the medullary rays or pith rays in ring-porous woods are exposed as flecks that are reflective
and produce a distinctive grain pattern.
Raised Grain: A roughened or fuzzy condition of the face of the flooring in which the dense summerwood is raised
above the softer springwood but not torn or separated.
Rays, Wood: See Medullary Rays.
Reducer Strip: A teardrop-shaped molding accessory for hardwood flooring, normally used at doorways, but
sometimes at fireplaces and as a room divider. It is grooved on one edge and tapered or feathered on the other
edge.
Relative Humidity: Ratio of the amount of water vapor present in the air to that which the air would hold at
saturation at the same temperature. It is usually considered on the basis of the weight of the vapor, but for
accuracy should be considered on the basis of vapor pressures.
Rift Sawn: Lumber (primarily hardwoods) in which the annual rings make angles of 30° to 60° with the surface of
the piece. Also known as bastard sawn.
Ring-Porous Woods: A group of hardwoods in which the pores are comparatively large at the beginning of each
annual growth ring and decrease in size, more or less abruptly, toward the outer portion of the annual growth ring.
The large pores are springwood and the smaller pores are summerwood.
Ring Shank: Nail headed nail for underlayment installation with rings on the shaft (shank) to improve the holding
characteristics.
Saddle: A flat molding with beveled or rounded edges designed to transition between two surfaces of the same
height. Often used to cover expansion at doorways and typically attached to the surface of the flooring products.
Sapwood: The wood near the outside of a tree. It is usually lighter in color than heartwood.
Sawn: See Plain Sawn, Quartersawn and Rift Sawn.
Screed: A wood member laid perpendicular to the finished floor, providing a nailing surface. Usually a 2” x 4”
(50mm x 100mm) piece of wood laid flat side down and attached to a concrete subfloor to provide a nailing
surface for tongue-and-groove strip flooring or a wood subfloor.
Shake: A separation along the grain, the greater part of which occurs between the annual growth rings.
Sheathing: The structural covering, usually sheets of plywood, placed over exterior studding, or rafters or subfloor
of a structure.
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Side-Matched: In tongue-and-groove strip and plank flooring, the individual pieces have a tongue milled on one
side and a groove milled on the opposite side, so that when the individual strips or planks are placed side by side,
the tongue of one piece fits into the groove of the next piece. See End-Matched and Tongue-and Groove.
Slats: See Fillets.
Sleeper: Another name for screeds.
Slip-Tongue/Spline: A small strip of wood or metal used to reverse or change direction in installing standard
tongue-and-groove strip flooring.
Softwoods: General term used to describe lumber produced from needle and/or cone-bearing trees (conifers).
Solid Board Group 1: A designation of a certain species based on density, strength and stiffness.
Split: Separations of wood fiber running parallel to the grain.
Square Edge: Flooring that abuts without a broken plane.
Squares: Parquet flooring units, usually composed of an equal number of slats.
Streaks: See Mineral Streak.
Strip Flooring: Solid or engineered boards, less than 3 inches in width, to be installed in parallel rows, produced in
various thicknesses and widths. The strips are side-matched and end-matched (tongue-and-grooved). They are for
nail-down installation directly to wood or plywood subfloors, or over wood screeds on concrete slab construction.
Some types can also be glued directly to a concrete subfloor.
Surface: The outside or exterior boundary of any substance. One is said to surface the wood when it is rubbed or
sanded to a smooth, level plane.
Surface-4-Sides (S4S): Flooring that isn’t tongue-and-grooved. May also refer to square-edge strip flooring that is
face-nailed when installed.
Tongue-and-Groove: In strip, plank and parquet flooring, a tongue is milled on one edge and a groove cut on the
opposite edge. As the flooring is installed, the tongue of each strip or unit is engaged with the groove of the
adjacent strip or unit. See End-Matched and Side-Matched.
Trim: The finish materials in a building at the floor of rooms (baseboard, base shoe, quarter round, for example).
Trowel Fill: Method to fill an entire floor or large area.
Truss: Engineered or solid floor joist system.
Unfinished: A product that must have stain and/or a finish applied after installation.
Vapor Impermeable Membrane: A material or covering having a permeance rating of .15 perms or less when
tested in accordance with the desiccant method, Procedure A of ASTM E96. A vapor impermeable membrane
limits the passage of moisture to near 0.
Vapor Permeable Membrane: A material or covering having a permeance rating of 5 perms or greater when
tested in accordance with the desiccant method, Procedure A of ASTM E96. A vapor permeable membrane permits
the passage of moisture.
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Vapor Retarder: A vapor-resistant material, membrane or covering such as foil, plastic sheeting or covering having
a permeance rating of 1 perm or less, when tested in accordance with the desiccant method, Procedure A of ASTM
E96. Vapor retarders limit the amount of moisture vapor that passes through a material, or floor, wall or ceiling
assembly.
Warping: Any distortion of a piece of flooring from its true plane that may occur in seasoning.
Working Pressure: The pneumatic pressure range specified in pounds per square inch (PSI) to optimally run an air
tool. (See tool manufacturer’s guidelines.) Note that these air pressures should be metered at the tool.
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National Wood Flooring Association ©2007 l Revised 05.2012
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