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Best wood floors in dry climate?



 
 
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  #1  
Old February 17th 10, 02:45 AM posted to alt.home.repair,misc.consumers.house,rec.woodworking,alt.building.construction
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Posts: 12
Default Best wood floors in dry climate?

I live in Colorado, and a few years ago had a bamboo floor installed
in my kitchen and living room, and have been very disappointed.
Despite the whole-house humidifier attached to the forced air heating
system, the "planks" (is that the right word?) contract in the winter,
and then kitchen debris finds its way into the cracks, and we end up
with ugly black lines where the planks touch.

So now we're wanting to replace the 20-year-old carpet in the upstairs
with some kind of wood floor, and are not sure which way to go.

The other complication, is that we need to live in these rooms while
we're putting in new floors - we'll move all the furniture out of the
unused bedroom, redo its floor, move my daughter into that bedroom,
redo her floor, etc. so we whatever we use, it needs to be
prefinished.

There are some nice-looking engineered wood products, but we're
concerned about the odors ... the off-gassing from a lot of those
kinds of products gives us headaches, which pushes us towards solid
wood, but then with solid wood you can't install a floating floor, so
I'm worried we would get the gap problem again. And then again, I'm
wondering if it's maybe the offgassing from the prefinish that gives
us the headache, in which case for the headache it wouldn't matter if
we chose solid vs. engineered vs. laminate.

Was the guy at Home Depot right, that the more traditional woods (oak,
for example) do better in the dry climate of Colorado?

Thanks,
Chris
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  #2  
Old February 17th 10, 05:01 AM posted to alt.home.repair,misc.consumers.house,rec.woodworking,alt.building.construction
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Posts: 4,938
Default Best wood floors in dry climate?

On Feb 16, 7:45*pm, Chris Shearer Cooper
wrote:
I live in Colorado, and a few years ago had a bamboo floor installed
in my kitchen and living room, and have been very disappointed.
Despite the whole-house humidifier attached to the forced air heating
system, the "planks" (is that the right word?) contract in the winter,
and then kitchen debris finds its way into the cracks, and we end up
with ugly black lines where the planks touch.

So now we're wanting to replace the 20-year-old carpet in the upstairs
with some kind of wood floor, and are not sure which way to go.

The other complication, is that we need to live in these rooms while
we're putting in new floors - we'll move all the furniture out of the
unused bedroom, redo its floor, move my daughter into that bedroom,
redo her floor, etc. so we whatever we use, it needs to be
prefinished.

There are some nice-looking engineered wood products, but we're
concerned about the odors ... the off-gassing from a lot of those
kinds of products gives us headaches, which pushes us towards solid
wood, but then with solid wood you can't install a floating floor, so
I'm worried we would get the gap problem again. *And then again, I'm
wondering if it's maybe the offgassing from the prefinish that gives
us the headache, in which case for the headache it wouldn't matter if
we chose solid vs. engineered vs. laminate.

Was the guy at Home Depot right, that the more traditional woods (oak,
for example) do better in the dry climate of Colorado?

Thanks,
Chris


If a wood floor is installed without opening up packages and allow to
aclimatize to the lower humidity of your home this can happen, its not
a bamboo problem its a installer problem, a real pro has a moisture
meter handy. For all you know the floor was stored in a very humid
place before you got it, it can take weeks to aclimatize wood to a
house before install. Did a store install it that sold it to you, then
there was a warranty, id call the manufacturer and ask.
  #3  
Old February 17th 10, 01:27 PM posted to alt.home.repair,misc.consumers.house,rec.woodworking,alt.building.construction
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 565
Default Best wood floors in dry climate?

"Chris Shearer Cooper" wrote in message
...

I live in Colorado, and a few years ago had a bamboo floor installed
in my kitchen and living room, and have been very disappointed.
Despite the whole-house humidifier attached to the forced air heating
system, the "planks" (is that the right word?) contract in the winter,
and then kitchen debris finds its way into the cracks, and we end up
with ugly black lines where the planks touch. . . .
There are some nice-looking engineered wood products, but we're
concerned about the odors ... the off-gassing from a lot of those
kinds of products gives us headaches


Both topics viz.
-- expansion/contraction of wood flooring with changing humidity,
-- health effects of varnishes, manufactured flooring, etc.
are research topics at the US National Bureau of Standards
(building research division, or whatever it is called.) I.e. you
can get expert advice there, probably free (because US
taxpayers paid for it in the first place.) You may find no
wood is wholly free from either effect.

--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
(Ottawa, Canada)


  #4  
Old February 17th 10, 03:33 PM posted to alt.home.repair,misc.consumers.house,rec.woodworking,alt.building.construction
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 9,137
Default Best wood floors in dry climate?

On 2/16/2010 10:01 PM, ransley wrote:

If a wood floor is installed without opening up packages and allow to
aclimatize to the lower humidity of your home this can happen, its not
a bamboo problem its a installer problem, a real pro has a moisture
meter handy. For all you know the floor was stored in a very humid
place before you got it, it can take weeks to aclimatize wood to a
house before install. Did a store install it that sold it to you, then
there was a warranty, id call the manufacturer and ask.


Well, you start off on the wrong foot ... bamboo is NOT wood, it is a
_grass_.

And the OP's is most definitely a "bamboo problem" (related to
"climate"), and more than likely NOT an installation problem.

Bamboo is notorious for having wildly varying degrees of moisture
content, some of which has not been observed to change for months no
matter how long the acclimation period ... unless in an extremely dry
client, like where the OP indicates his is installed.

With regard to moisture meters ... once again, bamboo is not wood, and
moisture meters are calibrated to use on WOOD, and furthermore, specific
species of wood.

AAMOF, I can personally attest that as of the summer of 09 there were no
moisture meters currently on the retail market calibrated to accurately
and consistently determine the actual moisture content of bamboo
flooring .. which was the last time I was asked to have on installed.

Unless there have been very recent changes, the only way to approximate
a usable MC reading of bamboo is by _comparison_ with a known sample,
using the same meter, thus your "real pro" is basically at the same loss
to give an accurate MC for installation as any DIY'er without a moisture
meter would be.

Most important thing when contemplating using bamboo flooring is the
quality of the product. This is the single most important factor on
whether you will have a successful installation ...and, as with all the
Pacific Rim shoe merchants and ribbon clerks looking to make a buck
these days, that is a most difficult thing to do with this particular
_grass_ flooring product.

The second is the climate of the locale of the intended installation.

In short, bamboo flooring, despite what the retailers will try to tell
you, seems to be more suitable when building for what are classified in
the trade as "Hot, Humid, Climates", and can be problematic, as the OP
has discovered, when building in drier climates.

IOW, the single biggest factors in the success of the installation in
drier climates is the QUALITY of the product ... a hit and miss
proposition at best in this day and age, and one reason why, as a
builder, even then I generally discourage my clients from using the stuff.

IME, YMMV, FWIW, etc. ....

--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 10/22/08
KarlC@ (the obvious)
  #5  
Old February 17th 10, 03:59 PM posted to alt.home.repair,misc.consumers.house,rec.woodworking,alt.building.construction
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 4,938
Default Best wood floors in dry climate?

On Feb 17, 8:33*am, Swingman wrote:
On 2/16/2010 10:01 PM, ransley wrote:

If a wood floor is installed without opening up packages and allow to
aclimatize to the lower humidity of your home this can happen, its not
a bamboo problem its a installer problem, a real pro has a moisture
meter handy. For all you know the floor was stored in a very humid
place before you got it, it can take weeks to aclimatize wood to a
house before install. Did a store install it that sold it to you, then
there was a warranty, id call the manufacturer and ask.


Well, you start off on the wrong foot ... bamboo is NOT wood, it is a
_grass_.

And the OP's is most definitely a "bamboo problem" (related to
"climate"), and more than likely NOT an installation problem.

Bamboo is notorious for having wildly varying degrees of moisture
content, some of which has not been observed to change for months no
matter how long the acclimation period ... unless in an extremely dry
client, like where the OP indicates his is installed.

With regard to moisture meters ... once again, bamboo is not wood, and
moisture meters are calibrated to use on WOOD, and furthermore, specific
species of wood.

AAMOF, I can personally attest that as of the summer of 09 there were no
moisture meters currently on the retail market calibrated to accurately
and consistently determine the actual moisture content of bamboo
flooring .. which was the last time I was asked to have on installed.

Unless there have been very recent changes, the only way to approximate
a usable MC reading of bamboo is by _comparison_ with a known sample,
using the same meter, thus your "real pro" is basically at the same loss
to give an accurate MC for installation as any DIY'er without a moisture
meter would be.

Most important thing when contemplating using bamboo flooring is the
quality of the product. This is the single most important factor on
whether you will have a successful installation ...and, as with all the
Pacific Rim shoe merchants and ribbon clerks looking to make a buck
these days, that is a most difficult thing to do with this particular
_grass_ flooring product.

The second is the climate of the locale of the intended installation.

In short, bamboo flooring, despite what the retailers will try to tell
you, seems to be more suitable when building for what are classified in
the trade as "Hot, Humid, Climates", and can be problematic, as the OP
has discovered, when building in drier climates.

IOW, the single biggest factors in the success of the installation in
drier climates is the QUALITY of the product ... a hit and miss
proposition at best in this day and age, and one reason why, as a
builder, even then I generally discourage my clients from using the stuff..

IME, YMMV, FWIW, etc. ....

--www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 10/22/08
KarlC@ (the obvious)


Moisture meters measure % of moisture they are not only "calibrated to
wood" The one I use Delmhorst, has scales on the screen to use it for
concrete plaster or wood. In construction you have to Know when
concrete, plaster, drywall, wood are too wet to use and too wet to
paint. The floor guys I have used have them, it saves them from doing
bad jobs and redoing floors. Inspectors and roofers use them to
pinpoint problems, Its one tool that has saved me alot of money over
the years from bogus complaints and knowing a products moisture before
working with it, like PT, everybody wants it stained now when its new,
and it works on Bamboo.
  #6  
Old February 17th 10, 04:08 PM posted to alt.home.repair,misc.consumers.house,rec.woodworking,alt.building.construction
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 9,137
Default Best wood floors in dry climate?

On 2/17/2010 8:59 AM, ransley wrote:
On Feb 17, 8:33 am, wrote:


With regard to moisture meters ... once again, bamboo is not wood, and
moisture meters are calibrated to use on WOOD, and furthermore, specific
species of wood.



Moisture meters measure % of moisture they are not only "calibrated to
wood" The one I use Delmhorst, has scales on the screen to use it for
concrete plaster or wood.


You're shooting yourself in the foot, Bubba ... show me were it is
calibrated for GRASS!



--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 10/22/08
KarlC@ (the obvious)
  #7  
Old February 17th 10, 04:22 PM posted to alt.home.repair,misc.consumers.house,rec.woodworking,alt.building.construction
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 3,139
Default Best wood floors in dry climate?

Chris Shearer Cooper wrote:
I live in Colorado, and a few years ago had a bamboo floor installed
in my kitchen and living room, and have been very disappointed.
Despite the whole-house humidifier attached to the forced air heating
system, the "planks" (is that the right word?) contract in the winter,
and then kitchen debris finds its way into the cracks, and we end up
with ugly black lines where the planks touch.

So now we're wanting to replace the 20-year-old carpet in the upstairs
with some kind of wood floor, and are not sure which way to go.

The other complication, is that we need to live in these rooms while
we're putting in new floors - we'll move all the furniture out of the
unused bedroom, redo its floor, move my daughter into that bedroom,
redo her floor, etc. so we whatever we use, it needs to be
prefinished.

There are some nice-looking engineered wood products, but we're
concerned about the odors ... the off-gassing from a lot of those
kinds of products gives us headaches, which pushes us towards solid
wood, but then with solid wood you can't install a floating floor, so
I'm worried we would get the gap problem again. And then again, I'm
wondering if it's maybe the offgassing from the prefinish that gives
us the headache, in which case for the headache it wouldn't matter if
we chose solid vs. engineered vs. laminate.

Was the guy at Home Depot right, that the more traditional woods (oak,
for example) do better in the dry climate of Colorado?


I have no idea whether he is correct or not but I certainly prefer it. My
experience...

I laid solid maple in my wife's home office about 10-12 years ago. The
planks are about 2 1/2" wide. We live in central Florida...hot and very
humid in the summer, cool and much dryer - but not as dry as Colorado - in
the winter.

The planks were acclimatized in the house for several weeks. They were laid
in the summer and as tight to each other as I could get them. Most but not
all were tight to their neighbors; any gaps were minimal - maybe 1/64 - and
were due to planks not being perfectly straight. Gaps were filled with saw
dust and varnish before final sanding and finishing.

In the winter, most all planks are still tight to their neighbors. Those
that are not are 1/32 at the most. Oddly, the tight ones that had slight
filling push up that filling in the winter...not enough to be easily visible
but enough to feel with your finger. That pushing up may be year around,
don't know.

Winter or summer, the floor looks good and homogenous.



--

dadiOH
____________________________

dadiOH's dandies v3.06...
....a help file of info about MP3s, recording from
LP/cassette and tips & tricks on this and that.
Get it at http://mysite.verizon.net/xico



  #8  
Old February 17th 10, 04:25 PM posted to alt.home.repair,misc.consumers.house,rec.woodworking,alt.building.construction
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 9,137
Default Best wood floors in dry climate?

On 2/17/2010 9:08 AM, Swingman wrote:
On 2/17/2010 8:59 AM, ransley wrote:
On Feb 17, 8:33 am, wrote:


With regard to moisture meters ... once again, bamboo is not wood, and
moisture meters are calibrated to use on WOOD, and furthermore, specific
species of wood.



Moisture meters measure % of moisture they are not only "calibrated to
wood" The one I use Delmhorst, has scales on the screen to use it for
concrete plaster or wood.


You're shooting yourself in the foot, Bubba ... show me were it is
calibrated for GRASS!


Here you go, Bubba ... backs up everything I said about my experiences
as builder with bamboo flooring:

http://www.hardwoodinstaller.com/har...oomoisture.htm

If you check around further you will find ample evidence that moisture
meters are notoriously inaccurate with bamboo flooring.

--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 10/22/08
KarlC@ (the obvious)
  #9  
Old February 17th 10, 05:23 PM posted to alt.home.repair,misc.consumers.house,rec.woodworking,alt.building.construction
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 546
Default Best wood floors in dry climate?


"ransley" wrote in message
...
On Feb 17, 8:33 am, Swingman wrote:
On 2/16/2010 10:01 PM, ransley wrote:

If a wood floor is installed without opening up packages and allow to
aclimatize to the lower humidity of your home this can happen, its not
a bamboo problem its a installer problem, a real pro has a moisture
meter handy. For all you know the floor was stored in a very humid
place before you got it, it can take weeks to aclimatize wood to a
house before install. Did a store install it that sold it to you, then
there was a warranty, id call the manufacturer and ask.


Well, you start off on the wrong foot ... bamboo is NOT wood, it is a
_grass_.

And the OP's is most definitely a "bamboo problem" (related to
"climate"), and more than likely NOT an installation problem.

Bamboo is notorious for having wildly varying degrees of moisture
content, some of which has not been observed to change for months no
matter how long the acclimation period ... unless in an extremely dry
client, like where the OP indicates his is installed.

With regard to moisture meters ... once again, bamboo is not wood, and
moisture meters are calibrated to use on WOOD, and furthermore, specific
species of wood.

AAMOF, I can personally attest that as of the summer of 09 there were no
moisture meters currently on the retail market calibrated to accurately
and consistently determine the actual moisture content of bamboo
flooring .. which was the last time I was asked to have on installed.

Unless there have been very recent changes, the only way to approximate
a usable MC reading of bamboo is by _comparison_ with a known sample,
using the same meter, thus your "real pro" is basically at the same loss
to give an accurate MC for installation as any DIY'er without a moisture
meter would be.

Most important thing when contemplating using bamboo flooring is the
quality of the product. This is the single most important factor on
whether you will have a successful installation ...and, as with all the
Pacific Rim shoe merchants and ribbon clerks looking to make a buck
these days, that is a most difficult thing to do with this particular
_grass_ flooring product.

The second is the climate of the locale of the intended installation.

In short, bamboo flooring, despite what the retailers will try to tell
you, seems to be more suitable when building for what are classified in
the trade as "Hot, Humid, Climates", and can be problematic, as the OP
has discovered, when building in drier climates.

IOW, the single biggest factors in the success of the installation in
drier climates is the QUALITY of the product ... a hit and miss
proposition at best in this day and age, and one reason why, as a
builder, even then I generally discourage my clients from using the stuff.

IME, YMMV, FWIW, etc. ....

--www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 10/22/08
KarlC@ (the obvious)


Moisture meters measure % of moisture they are not only "calibrated to
wood" The one I use Delmhorst, has scales on the screen to use it for
concrete plaster or wood. In construction you have to Know when
concrete, plaster, drywall, wood are too wet to use and too wet to
paint. The floor guys I have used have them, it saves them from doing
bad jobs and redoing floors. Inspectors and roofers use them to
pinpoint problems, Its one tool that has saved me alot of money over
the years from bogus complaints and knowing a products moisture before
working with it, like PT, everybody wants it stained now when its new,
and it works on Bamboo.


Swingman is right.

I use a Delmhorst RDM2, a high end meter but several years old, it does
not have a built in calibration for bamboo, here is a conversion table to go
from doug fir to bamboo flooring:

Doug Fir reading -Actual % M/C
6- 3
7- 3.5
8 -4
9 -4.5
10- 5
11 -6
12 -6.5
13 -7
14 -7.5
15 -8
16 -8.5
17- 9
18 -9.5
19 -10
20 -11
21 -11.5
22 -12
23 -12.5
24 -13
25 13.5
26 -14
27 -14.5
28 -15.5

The important point is the equilibrium moisture content,
at 72 degrees and 15% relative humidity the ECM is only
2.5%, any floor laid at a higher moisture content that this
will eventually shrink and leave cracks.

It may take a year for hardwood flooring to reach ECM,
no one can wait a year to lay their floor, acclimating the
flooring to the house for a couple of days or a week may
help a little but is for the most part worthless.
Bamboo isn't hardwood and I have found no information
on the drying rate, it being a closed cell glued up product
I suspect Swing is right about it not drying out at any
timely speed.

There is a handy ECM calculator he

http://www.csgnetwork.com/emctablecalc.html

Most quality hardwood flooring is dried to 7-8% MC
and when laid will swell slightly in most home environments
making a nice tight floor that doesn't generally leave
much gap even in dry periods.

Most wood shrinks and swells the most between
12% and 25% MC, with smaller changes between
0% and 12%. I have no idea about the shrinkage rate
of bamboo.

I think people expect consistent perfection from
wood/bamboo/cork/name your favorite cellulose
based floor, from products that cannot deliver it.
If you want wood/bamboo floors you kinda have to
accept their builtin characteristics.

basilisk



  #10  
Old February 17th 10, 05:39 PM posted to alt.home.repair,misc.consumers.house,rec.woodworking,alt.building.construction
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 4,938
Default Best wood floors in dry climate?

On Feb 17, 9:08*am, Swingman wrote:
On 2/17/2010 8:59 AM, ransley wrote:

On Feb 17, 8:33 am, *wrote:
With regard to moisture meters ... once again, bamboo is not wood, and
moisture meters are calibrated to use on WOOD, and furthermore, specific
species of wood.

Moisture meters measure % of moisture they are not only "calibrated to
wood" The one I use Delmhorst, has scales on the screen to use it for
concrete plaster or wood.


You're shooting yourself in the foot, Bubba ... show me were it is
calibrated for GRASS!



--www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 10/22/08
KarlC@ (the obvious)


Wake up, any PRO will know a higher than normal moisture content by
experiance, you need a chart for grass , get one. Moisture meters
check % of moisture for just about any material that absorbes it, I
will bet anything one wasnt used on the bamboo, and it wasnt even
attempted to be aclimatised.
 




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