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Author Topic: wide plank rough sawn flooring over radiant  (Read 3935 times)

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Offline MReinemann

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wide plank rough sawn flooring over radiant
« on: March 14, 2013, 12:12:11 PM »
Has anyone put wide plank hardwood floors in over radiant heat?  After its dry if course.  Thinking of milling some either red oak or maple and just face nail it down.  Thanks. 
Matt

Offline Jay C. White Cloud

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Re: wide plank rough sawn flooring over radiant
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2013, 12:34:50 PM »
Hey Matt,

I would lay it green and "float it," letting it dry in place.  You could even use live edge if your game for some joint work.  If you just use straight pieces, it is pretty easy, depending on you tooling.  You can cut the "toggle mortise" by hand, (very labor intensive) or use a jointing machine made for it.  If you are curious, look at the Korean style floor in my photo gallery, they are called Maru (전통 마루) in Korean, but there are forms of it all around the world. 

Remember the expression, "lock, stock and barrel?"  Some old floors are part of that expression and would be taken up when you moved, leaving only the sub floor ("dust boards").

If you want to see more examples, go to the "google" search page.  Hit the "images" search then copy and paste: 전통 마루 into the search, you will get many examples of it.  Give me a call if you want to talk details, I should be back at my number next week, or we can chat here... ;D ;)

Regards,

jay
"To posses an open mind, is to hold a key to many doors, and the ability to created doors where there were none before."

"When it is all said and done, they will have said they did it themselves."-teams response under a good leader.

Offline MReinemann

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Re: wide plank rough sawn flooring over radiant
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2013, 12:39:06 PM »
My concern is more about the floor cupping and twisting from the heat coming from underneath.  Been getting conflicting reports.  Those korean style floors look awesome, nice work.
-Matt

Offline Jay C. White Cloud

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Re: wide plank rough sawn flooring over radiant
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2013, 01:25:11 PM »
The tricks to this are really not too complicated if you've seen it done.  Now you and I both know that Red Oak can move around some and shrinks quite a bit, but I think this is still a doable approach.  Give me some more details of the space it will go in:

Size of room:

What is the pre-existing floor system or is this all new work?

Are the Oaks for this project in good shape or will there be lots of knots? (either is acceptable, but need to know for planning.)

You will have to invest in a tool for this that will lock it all together or do a lot of hand mortising.  Dowels can work, but don't do as good a job.

As for doing it over radiant heating, It has more to do with slowing the process of heating down.  Wood is a decent insulator, even hard wood. So the radiant heat wont work as fast and you will have to live with the "lag time." There will be seasonal changes in the wood, that is the other reason to "float" the floor, particularly if you are going for the wide stuff.  Some of my boards in floors I have done push 40".  The widest in my photo gallery are 32" or 34".  You also should really keep the wood in its "family orientation" the way the came off the log.  That mean a little more attention to detail.  "Bark" side should always go up, and "pith" side down; each fletch laying next to each other, and as the floor is slid together, the "toggles," keep things from bowing and "buckling".  I like the Maru pattern, of long boards, (these are actually beams) with short boards in between, but what do you want?
"To posses an open mind, is to hold a key to many doors, and the ability to created doors where there were none before."

"When it is all said and done, they will have said they did it themselves."-teams response under a good leader.

Offline MReinemann

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Re: wide plank rough sawn flooring over radiant
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2013, 04:14:00 PM »
Will be all new work.  It will actually be in a friend of mines chalet great room.  He may just do an engineered floor but i figured id through a post on here to pick peoples brains .

Offline Jay C. White Cloud

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Re: wide plank rough sawn flooring over radiant
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2013, 04:25:50 PM »
Let me know if you do want to use your own wood, I'll help where I can.

Regards,

jay
"To posses an open mind, is to hold a key to many doors, and the ability to created doors where there were none before."

"When it is all said and done, they will have said they did it themselves."-teams response under a good leader.

Offline woodworker9

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Re: wide plank rough sawn flooring over radiant
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2013, 05:30:40 PM »
With all due respect to everyone, you're talking about a bomb that is just waiting to explode.  If it's going to be an extremely rustic floor, where cupping, cracking, and warping won't bother him, then he'll love it.

Otherwise, I have seen these situations used and fail so often that it's not funny.  The radiant heat is going to heat and dry out the bottom side of the boards, creating uneven MC in them, which is going to cause them to move....especially red oak, which moves a lot.

An engineered floor is the way to go here.  That's what I put in after I pulled out the red oak floor that the previous owner put in over radiant heat on my first floor.  It was cupped so badly that as walked over it, it would squeak and drive me and my wife nuts!  I couldn't sneak in the house at 3:00 am after a late night poker game, either, because I'd wake everyone up.

An engineered floor is designed to deal with radiant heat, unlike real wood.

Respectfully,

Jeff
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MS 441, MS 290, New Holland L185

Offline Jay C. White Cloud

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Re: wide plank rough sawn flooring over radiant
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2013, 07:14:42 PM »
Hi Jeff,

I would agree for the most part, that if you take store bought 3/4" red oak, you are going to have a real mess on your hands in short order, for the most part.  Most flooring is graded for aesthetics, not with traditional flooring techniques and methods in mind. Modern engineered lumber is the way to do it if you just want a wood floor, and no hassles in application or future challenges.  Bamboo being one of the best.

Now can you take and lay green wood floors, absolutely, I've done it plenty of times.  Can you lay the same floor over radiant heat, yes, but there is considerable planning and attention to detail, to accomplish it, particularly if they are wide planks.  Would I recommend that the average woodworker tackle a job like this...well it depends on there willingness to spend some time and/or money on tooling and jointing methods and monitory the floor as it goes through it "seasoning process."  If they are, the results can be beautiful and very unique.

Regards,

jay
"To posses an open mind, is to hold a key to many doors, and the ability to created doors where there were none before."

"When it is all said and done, they will have said they did it themselves."-teams response under a good leader.

Offline red oaks lumber

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Re: wide plank rough sawn flooring over radiant
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2013, 09:43:42 PM »
green wood shrinks leaving gaps, also cups. you can say what you want. i would advise against doing that.
 green oak in the kiln has a cycle time of 28-30 days. your saying that putting it down on in floor heat and things will be fine? not buying it jay
the experts think i do things wrong
 over 18 million b.f. processed and 7341 happy customers i disagree

Offline Jay C. White Cloud

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Re: wide plank rough sawn flooring over radiant
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2013, 09:59:46 PM »
That's o.k.,  :)  most of the folks that don't think it can be done, never attempted to learn how to do it, have never tried it,  and/or haven't traveled to places where it's been done for thousands of years, (like Korea and China over their Ondul and Kang under floor heaters.)  I have photos in my gallery of some recent work.

Now over a radiant floor, as I have already stated, is going to take more work, and consideration, but is doable, especially for the character of a wide plank vintage floor look.  I have refurbished old wide plank (12" to 18") vintage oak floors, checks, gaps and all, and when done they are stunning.
"To posses an open mind, is to hold a key to many doors, and the ability to created doors where there were none before."

"When it is all said and done, they will have said they did it themselves."-teams response under a good leader.

Offline Holmes

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Re: wide plank rough sawn flooring over radiant
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2013, 10:34:37 PM »
 Flat sawn boards are very difficult to keep stable and wide flat sawn is worse.  The closer to quarter sawn you can make your planks the better off you will be.  If Jay has a way to make the floors stable and you have the time to try it then go for it. Make the best quality boards you can for your project.   Humidification is very important for floor stability, and dehumidification in the warm months.
   The most shrinkage I get in my house from 12" wide pine boards is in the rooms with baseboard heating.   The 12" boards over the radiant heated areas actually shrink less.  This might be explained by new wood [ 10 years old] verses old wood 150 years old. Definitely see the difference in the growth rings.
Think like a farmer.

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Re: wide plank rough sawn flooring over radiant
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2013, 11:24:59 PM »
Hello Holmes,

You made some great comments on this, thank's...
Quote
Flat sawn boards are very difficult to keep stable and wide flat sawn is worse.
You got that right, especially in many of the Oaks!  Spline, toggle and grooving joints are a must.  You have to lock the wood into a horizontal, (or vertical for walls  ;D) plan but still allow for contraction and expansion.  Once the wood has "seasoned" or "matured" in place this movement will settle down quite a bit.
Quote
The closer to quarter sawn you can make your planks the better off you will be.
For the best quality, all wood joinery floors, this is the only kind of wood you use, and remember, flat sawn or quarter, bark side up only, for this traditional method.
Quote
Make the best quality boards you can for your project.
Yes Sir, that is what I would do.
Quote
Humidification is very important for floor stability, and dehumidification in the warm months.
Again, I couldn't agree more, especially with a traditional flooring method.  The use of waxes and oils really can aid this process by stabilizing the seasonal variations of taking on and loosing ambient moisture.
Quote
The 12" boards over the radiant heated areas actually shrink less.  This might be explained by new wood [ 10 years old] verses old wood 150 years old.
In your thinking, could you explain more about this, I agree, depending on the wood, saw pattern and species, but I would like to know more of your thoughts on this.

You made some keen observation about the potentials in this process, thank's again.

Regards,

jay
"To posses an open mind, is to hold a key to many doors, and the ability to created doors where there were none before."

"When it is all said and done, they will have said they did it themselves."-teams response under a good leader.

Offline red oaks lumber

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Re: wide plank rough sawn flooring over radiant
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2013, 08:12:31 AM »
please explain how a green oak floor put on heat will not shrink?
the experts think i do things wrong
 over 18 million b.f. processed and 7341 happy customers i disagree

Offline woodworker9

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Re: wide plank rough sawn flooring over radiant
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2013, 01:24:24 PM »
Jay

My background is that I've been a professional woodworker for over 25 years.  I've taught woodworking classes (traditional and hand tool use) for 10 years.  That being the case, I have never become closed-minded about learning something new. 

What you are saying is completely new concept to everything I've ever learned from vast personal experience regarding wood movement.  I have Hoadley's great book "Understanding Wood" and consider it a professional bible, of sorts. 

I cannot, for the likes of me, figure out how you could put wide plank green oak (white or red) down over a radiant heat system and get it to act properly in such a fashion as to not blow up inside the house due to being dried out faster on the down facing side vs. the show side.

Please enlighten me as to how you accomplish this so I can learn. I'd like to know your technique. That's why I come here.....to learn.

Thanks.

Jeff
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Offline beenthere

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Re: wide plank rough sawn flooring over radiant
« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2013, 01:54:56 PM »
Woodworker9
You are correct. IMO
Jay gets hung up in his world, which adds to the drama  ;D
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Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: wide plank rough sawn flooring over radiant
« Reply #15 on: March 16, 2013, 01:59:41 PM »
Jay

<<snip>>
I cannot, for the likes of me, figure out how you could put wide plank green oak (white or red) down over a radiant heat system and get it to act properly in such a fashion as to not blow up inside the house due to being dried out faster on the down facing side vs. the show side.

Please enlighten me as to how you accomplish this so I can learn. I'd like to know your technique. That's why I come here.....to learn.

Thanks.

Jeff

Jeff,

From an intuitive point of view, the heat is on the bottom of the boards, but I don't see how the bottom will dry faster - there is no air circulation.  If anything, I would expect the top to dry faster.

Red Oak Lumber,

Jay is not saying it won't shrink - you just need to plan for it.  Like a raised panel doors - the panels move a lot!

Jay,

Maybe semantics, but you state that flat-sawn or quarter-sawn, the bark should be up.  Isn't, by definition, quarter-sawn have the "bark" on the edge since the wood is cut radially?
John Sawicky

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Offline tyb525

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Re: wide plank rough sawn flooring over radiant
« Reply #16 on: March 16, 2013, 02:55:13 PM »
"Jay's World" would be a whole lot more than just him. It is amish and eastern traditions (among others) and their buildings are not "blowing up". Give him some credit, I'd venture to guess he has built more than one house using the methods he talks about. The American building "traditions" existing for the last 50 years or so are causing our houses to slowly disintegrate...

I would definitely consider Jay's advice. I've seen some of his work and other work done by the old methods...and they didn't succeed by pure luck only.

Jay isn't saying the floor won't move when it dries. It will. What he is saying is there are ways to allow for that movement without it "blowing up" so to speak.

Of course using green wood as if it were dry wood can lead to problems.
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Offline woodworker9

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Re: wide plank rough sawn flooring over radiant
« Reply #17 on: March 16, 2013, 08:09:00 PM »
To be clear.....

I'm not being negative or disrespectful at all to Jay or his methods.  I want to learn what they are , specifically.  That's why I am on the forum.....to learn.

Regards,

Jeff
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Offline Holmes

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Re: wide plank rough sawn flooring over radiant
« Reply #18 on: March 16, 2013, 10:09:52 PM »
Another item to look at is the type of radiant heating installation.  A system with constant circulation and modulating water temperature is less stressful on the floor than a system that slams the floor with 120 degree water then shuts off and lets it all cool down.  Your goal of wide flooring can be done but it is not all " just in the wood".
Think like a farmer.

Offline tyb525

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Re: wide plank rough sawn flooring over radiant
« Reply #19 on: March 17, 2013, 11:29:29 AM »
To speak to the original question, if the boards are dry, I don't think you'll have too much of a problem putting wider boards over radiant heat. IMO, the heat itself won't cause a lot of drying, but airflow+heat under the boards will cause that side to dry out.

I've seen pictures of wide plank flooring face screwed, with the screw holes plugged, and I think that is a better method than nailing (nails can work loose and squeak over time...). I think the screw holes are wallered out or something like that to allow for a little movement when the humidity changes. Not sure about that one though.

What Jay mentions is a great idea (a floating floor basically, held together by joints that can move) especially for green boards. But if the boards are dry, and the house doesn't undergo a big humidity change with the seasons, it might be more work than it's worth.
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