Thursday, February 13, 2014

I’m having old barn timbers turned into flooring, do I need to have them t&g or can I just install them with a square edge?


I’m having old barn timbers turned into flooring, do I need to have them t&g or can I just install them with a square edge?


You really should have them t&g (tongue and groove) when you have them milled, there are several reasons for this;

No matter how old the flooring is it will shrink and expand as the humidity levels change in your new home. If you do not t&g the flooring then you will see large gaps in the flooring. Things can full in these cracks and restrict the movement of the floor when it swells from the humidity in the warmer seasons. If a floor cannot freely move back and forth it will deflect.

The t&g will help keep the old boards straight and also give the boards a tighter fit during installation.

T&g helps the flooring act as one large sheet of wood. The flooring becomes stronger when it is linked
together with the t&g, it helps it span any dips and rolls in the sub-floor and also will help reduce the squeaking in the floor from individual boards.

If you don’t have the boards t&g’d then you have to face nail the boards which costs a lot more money, t&g’d flooring is nailed through the tongue into the board at an angle. This nailing helps in two ways; the first is that it drives the boards together for a tighter fit and the second one is that it gives the floor the look of no fasteners and a clean finish.

A lot of companies won’t warranty a floor if the common practises aren’t meant when installing in a new home.

When using older wood even though it is kiln dried you need to make sure that when it is delivered it sits in your new home for at least a week before you try and install it. The floor needs time to adjust to the humidity level of the new home and you also need to make sure that there is a dehumidifier in the room. This is the easiest way to help the floor to adjust to the humidity of the home. After the flooring is installed you must take great care that you manage the humidity in your home, if you allow large fluctuations from one season to the next you will end up with a damaged floor. Wood is a living things no matter how old the material is and being a live it reacts to the moisture in the air expanding and contracting, use heat when it's cold and air conditioning when its warm and humid.

Make sure that when you have the timbers milled down for the flooring that you will have enough of it to do all the rooms that you want to do, make sure that you add 15% at the least to the order as extra. Old timber flooring has a lot of waste; there is a lot of holes, knots, cracks and problem spots that you will need to cut out when installing. The one thing that you don’t want to happen is to run short of a flooring material that you will have trouble getting quickly or at all.

Remember that your flooring will come raw and you will have to have the flooring sanded and finished onsite, make sure that you add this to your budget and your time line. When a floor is sanded and re-finished no activity can happen in the house, the more activity in the house the more dust and debris is thrown into the air which will end up in your finish.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

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