Installation tips - Installing Knotty Alder flooring , Casings, and Crown"

1. Choose the right product

2. Order it on time

3. Install it properly

4. Maintain it for life

5. Installing door/window casings and crowns

 1.  Choose the right product.   With all the various wood flooring or wood-look 
 products on the market, it is no wonder the average buyer is confused.  Nearly everyone
 claims their product is the best, their product is the easiest to install and their
 finish lasts the longest.  The questions to ask yourself... What are my expectations for
 a wood floor?  What is my lifestyle?  Do I want a contemporary look, or do I want a more formal
 look?  If you choose natural wood floors you need to consider a number of factors.  Maintenance
 is minimal.  Cleaning is easy, requiring nothing more than a vacuuming and swabbing with a
 wood floor applicator and cleaner.  All natural wood floors will wear.  The surface finish
 will scratch no matter which finish you choose.  Animals in the home will wear the surface
 even faster.  If you choose a satin or semi-gloss coating, the scratches eventually are not
 noticeable as your floor develops it's own patina.  Should your floor require a new finish, you
 can buff it with a 200 grit screen and apply a new coating. 

     What about the so called water borne finishes?  There are many finishes on the market
 that purport to be environmentally friendly in that they are water borne finishes with low voc's
 (volatile organic compounds). If you choose these finishes have them professionally installed.
 Water borne finishes designed for the weekender are one part finishes.  They are not particularly 
 durable.  Professional water borne finishes are two part and require special application tech-

2.  Order Flooring on time.

     Building a new home?  Order your flooring on the day the sheet rockers arrive.  Have it delivered
 to the job site after you are finished painting, the home is enclosed, and the heating system is in
 operation.  These rules apply for natural wood floors and do not necessarily apply to engineered products 
 containing no wood.

3.  Allow Flooring to acclimate.

     When your natural wood arrives, check it's moisture content.  You can usually rent or 
 borrow a moisture meter that will give moisture content in percent by volume.  6%?  It can 
 not get any dryer. 8 to 10%?  If you live in a wet moist climate this is perfectly fine.  
 If you live in the arid west,  you need to dry it further.  If you don't live in Florida and its
 12% and more?  You probably ought to send it back.  If you dry flooring that is too wet to begin with, you
 will get differential shrinkage, making your installation process very difficult.  1/8 inch 
 difference in widths is possible.  Do not, under any circumstances, install your flooring 
 directly from it's wrapped bundle.  Open all bundles and nest the flooring on the floor in 
 the approximate position you wish to install it. If necessary sticker it to allow moisture and temperature 

     Check the moisture content of your sub floor.  It must be within 2 percent of 
 moisture content of the wood flooring to be installed.  It should be at the moisture 
 content your subfloor will be after the heating system has been in operation. 

     In a general sense, never rush the installation if a natural wood floor, be it 
 alder, oak, maple, or pine.  If you install a wood floor, before the subfloor or flooring 
 material is ready, you risk having extensive and unsightly shrinkage at a later time.  Or 
 worse yet, your floor may swell resulting in boards popping up and becoming loose .

4.  Install it properly.

     Use a vapor barrier underlayment if you feel it is necessary.  Actually though, it is 
 better to solve moisture problems, before relying on a vapor barrier to keep your floor dry.
 This means ventilating the crawl space or applying a water proof barrier to keep water out. 
 Lay out your floor to parallel the longest dimension of a room.  It is usually better if the 
 boards are nailed at right angles to the flooring joists.  However, if your subfloor is flat
 and a minimum of 3/4 inch thick, you can install flooring in any direction and get good 
 results.  You can change direction or install borders if you like, but your finishing job 
 will be a little more difficult because of cross grain scratching.

    If your floor is not flat and is wavy, repair it first.  Flooring does not 
 bridge low spots very well.  You could very well end up with squeaking problems and a 
 spongy feel when you walk over it.  There are many ways to flatten a floor.  There are 
 pourable fillers.  They work but they are costly.  You can shim up the low spots if you 
 have access underneath the floor.  It is even possible to hammer up the sub floor to make
 it level. Then nail or screw new supporting members along the original joists.

    The best way to begin the nailing of a new floor is to chalk the center line 
 of the long dimension of the room.  Nail or screw down a temporary guide board.  It can be 
 any straight board.  Even a 1x2.  Nail the first course.  If you are installing very wide 
 boards ( over 5 inches) it is a good idea to apply a bead of wood flooring adhesive  on the 
 underneath side.

     Remove the guide board.  Insert a wood spline into the exposed groove.  Some-
 times you can buy spline material from your supplier.  Other times it is just as easy to saw 
 them yourself.  Now install the second course into the exposed spline. You now have two boards
 running the length of the room with the tongue side out.  You can now nail in both directions
 until you get near the wall.

     Be careful when you approach the wall.  It is easy to damage wall board sufaces.
 The last few boards will have to be hand nailed.  Nail through the tongue or face nail.
 Face nail marks are not usually noticeable if they are properly filled and placed.

     Nail your boards as tightly as you can.  It is normal to have a few crooked boards.
 It may be necessary to pry or wedge boards tight while they are being nailed.  A large
 screw driver works, as well as driving wood shims against a temporarily screwed down block of

     If your flooring ends at a doorway or opening to another room, it is best to install
 the board ends against a transition header, i.e. a board running at right angles to the
 installed flooring.  This header may be be tapered to adjust to different thicknesses between the
 wood flooring side and the other side, which may be carpet, tile, or concrete.

     Now that your flooring is installed it is time to finish it.  You can hire a pro-
 fessional to do this or you can do it yourself.  If you decide to finish it yourself, rent
 good quality equipment, learn how to properly operate the equipment, and follow an approved
 sanding schedule, that is, the proper order of sanding grits and surface preparation.
 Newly installed wood floors generally require sanding with 36 grit paper and followed by
 50 grit and 80 grit. Extremely hard woods like maple, hickory, or tropical woods may require
 a sanding with 120 grit.  Finish sand your floor with 120 grit, preferably with sanding 
 screens instead of sandpaper.  You can use a rotary buffer, a square vibrating buffer, or a 3 
 disk random orbit buffer.

     If your floor is well machined to close tolerances (it will be if you purchase your alder
 flooring from us) you may be able to eliminate sanding with a drum or belt sander.  Many of
 our customers report good results with only a finish sanding.  There are no fixed-in-stone rules
 here!  If possible, check out other flooring installations in your area to see what you would like to 
 your finished floor to look like.

 4.  Maintain it for life 
 There are really only two enemies of natural wood floors -- water and grit (dirt). If
 you must mop the floor because it is really dirty, than wring out as much water as possible from
 your mop head.  Clean up any water spills as soon as possible.  Use one of the many commercially
 available wood floor cleaners.  They do not leave water spots.

     Vacuum your floor often.  Take shoes off at the door if the soles are excessively
 dirty.  No finish known to mankind can resist the scratching action of dirt.  Even so called
 engineered floors and laminates can be damaged!

     Even if your natural wood floor is abused, you can still restore it to it's orig-
 inal beauty.  Most wood floors can be sanded several times without exposing the tongue and
 groove.  Enjoy your natural wood floor.  It's one of nature's most beautiful and renewable

5.  Installing door/window casings and crowns 
    Knotty Alder door/window casings and crowns are easy to install. You may find it pref-
 erable to pre-finish your moulding before installing it. It is more work to stain alder after it is
 place since stain is easily transferred to your wall board. Our casings are back-reliefed to make 
 them easier to install if the door/window casings either jut out slightly or hang-back slightly 
 from the wall board. If you cannot get your casings tight to wall,carefully mark and remove the
 excess sheet rock. Sometimes, only the outer paper need be removed. You can also compress the portion
 sticking out by gently tapping it in with a hammer.
      Crown mouldings are sometimes difficult to fit neatly into the corner of your room. They must fit
tight and cannot be caulked to cover up the cracks. On long runs,it may be best to fit the mitered 
corners first. Then carefully fit the pieces that lie between the corners.It helps to have a partner
when installing crown mouldings. Make sure splices match as closely as possible taking care to note
color,grain,and knots.

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