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Author Topic: Wide plank flooring...how wide can I go?  (Read 4239 times)

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Offline lshobie

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Wide plank flooring...how wide can I go?
« on: December 26, 2015, 10:08:33 PM »
I just saved this pine from being turned into firewood, it's 38 inches at the butt, 50 feet long, the top blew off it 2 years ago and it died and remained standing for until a couple of weeks ago.  Some greying and pink spots in the wood and I'm fine with that.  Seems to be fairly dry with no gum to be found - not like cutting a fresh one thats for sure.

So I'm thinking of using some of this for flooring in my cabins.....how wide can I go?  Ive got access to a 24 inch planer and possibly a 30 inch cabinetry finish sander, my friend thinks at 30 inches there will be too much warping and cupping but Im thinking that it's well on its way to drying and another 4 -6 months outside in the stack and it should be good.  What's the widest planking youve seen on a floor?  any fastening recommendations? 

Cheers.

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Offline POSTON WIDEHEAD

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Re: Wide plank flooring...how wide can I go?
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2015, 10:41:06 PM »
That was a healthy tree.  :)

Personally I would not make my flooring over 6 inches wide. But thats just me.

Some other folks may give you better advice. Good post.  smiley_thumbsup
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Offline hopm

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Re: Wide plank flooring...how wide can I go?
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2015, 11:26:30 PM »
I would not be comfortable wider than 6".

Offline York Woodwright

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Re: Wide plank flooring...how wide can I go?
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2015, 11:57:30 PM »
The pine planking in our farmhouse, which was built before Canada became a country, measures up to 22 inches wide. The gaps between boards allow you to see what's happening on the other floor. If you don't mind a little cupping along with loss of privacy, you can go as wide as you want.  :)
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Offline Rando

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Re: Wide plank flooring...how wide can I go?
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2015, 06:15:43 AM »
A friend has some floors 2' or so. He put them down with screws so he could take them out and move the boards closer to get rid of the gaps.
Kind of makes you look twice when you first see them being that wide.

Offline johnnyllama

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Re: Wide plank flooring...how wide can I go?
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2015, 07:14:38 AM »
I installed 11" pine over radiant heat. I was told it wouldn't work, too much spliting and cupping. 18 years later it's still pretty flat, no splits or checks. BUT it moves every season a bit, with about 1/8" gaps, which I'm fine with, I wanted it to look old anyway and old farmhouse floors around here with true wide plank floors have big gaps. It depends on what look you want. 30" would be too much seasonal movement to not split in my opinion but 12-16" would be acceptable as long as you are willing to accept the joints and ocassional checks. I put mine down with cut 2 1/2" nails at every joist, 2 and 3 nails alternating joists.
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Offline fishfighter

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Re: Wide plank flooring...how wide can I go?
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2015, 07:30:11 AM »
I think if you saw them at 6/4, that extra would help out checking and cupping and I wouldn't go over 16" wide.

Offline woodman58

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Re: Wide plank flooring...how wide can I go?
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2015, 07:50:01 AM »
I install hardwood floors for a real job. Anything over 5" should be glued and nailed down. This is the recommendation from the National hardwood flooring Association. I have seen 3" wood cup in the right conditions. Good Luck.
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Offline snowshoveler

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Re: Wide plank flooring...how wide can I go?
« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2015, 07:52:53 AM »
8 or 10 years ago I had a friend saw me out some nice pine.
We got 22 and 24 inch boards out of it. 12 feet long
Very few if any knots in any of it.
It never buckled bowed or twisted.
Can't say if it shrank much because I still have it stored overhead in a building.
I did not take as good care of it as I should have but I must say I think the knots are what twists and warps the wider boards.
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Re: Wide plank flooring...how wide can I go?
« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2015, 08:11:45 AM »
I used  4", 6", 8", & 10" Pine in the Cabin Addition and 6" & 8" Ash in the Bedroom project.  All was T&G and surface nailed.  So far, no issues.
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Offline Ox

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Re: Wide plank flooring...how wide can I go?
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2015, 09:48:30 AM »
I grew up in an old house built in the 1830s or so.  There were several local sawmills run by cricks (creeks) in those days.  Wide, thick boards for flooring with large gaps.  Some are pushing the 24" mark awful hard.  Ironically, the widest boards aren't cupped but some of the narrower ones are.  I suppose it's likely because of the part of the tree they sawed them from.  In a cabin I'd go as wide as they mill out at and enjoy the rustic building practices.   :)
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Offline Jeff

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Re: Wide plank flooring...how wide can I go?
« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2015, 10:06:41 AM »
Here is a topic you might find interesting on a visit to a place where the floor boards were up to 22" wide.

http://www.forestryforum.com/board/index.php/topic,1321.0.html
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Offline Dave Shepard

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Re: Wide plank flooring...how wide can I go?
« Reply #12 on: December 27, 2015, 11:11:14 AM »
It's white pine, go as wide as you can. If a wide board cups in drying, cut it in half, and it will still be wide. :D That log hasn't dried much.
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Offline Rando

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Re: Wide plank flooring...how wide can I go?
« Reply #13 on: December 27, 2015, 03:51:07 PM »
Saw my friend today. He said his are 30" and 32" and they do have seasonal gaps but he did not mention any cupping or splitting.

Offline Tree Dan

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Re: Wide plank flooring...how wide can I go?
« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2015, 08:48:08 PM »
I would mill them all 8" x 4/4.
The floor will look great.
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Online ljohnsaw

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Re: Wide plank flooring...how wide can I go?
« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2015, 08:55:34 PM »
I plan on just using 8/4 x 8" T&G - no sub floor.
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Offline Joey Grimes

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Re: Wide plank flooring...how wide can I go?
« Reply #16 on: December 27, 2015, 09:40:44 PM »
A old rule of thumb I've heard was increase 1 inch in thickness for every 12 inch in width.
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Offline beenthere

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Re: Wide plank flooring...how wide can I go?
« Reply #17 on: December 27, 2015, 09:45:33 PM »
Joey
Not sure where or why that rule of thumb would apply to flooring board widths, but maybe someone knows.

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Offline Ox

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Re: Wide plank flooring...how wide can I go?
« Reply #18 on: December 29, 2015, 08:50:34 AM »
Here is a topic you might find interesting on a visit to a place where the floor boards were up to 22" wide.

http://www.forestryforum.com/board/index.php/topic,1321.0.html

Even in the pictures, which as you said rarely do things justice, that's a really nice floor.  I love the looks of natural wood buildings with different species all mixed together for contrast.  Warms the soul somehow.
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Offline JBlain

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Re: Wide plank flooring...how wide can I go?
« Reply #19 on: December 29, 2015, 11:09:08 AM »
I think the width maximum has as much or maybe more to do with the growth rate and stress of the tree as anything.  My wife and I own an old ice house, now a 2 unit apartment building, that used to be along a canal that is all beam and post with brick in between for insulation.  It is a tank of a place.  The floors in the attic are 12-20+ inch wide and show no cupping with only cut nails holding them down.  I got a close look at the growth rings and I estimate 1 to 1.5 inches of diameter growth per 10 years.  Very tight and slow grown = stability imo.  I don't know the age of the pine you cut but I would factor that into my calculations. 
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Offline Jim_Wahl

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Re: Wide plank flooring...how wide can I go?
« Reply #20 on: December 29, 2015, 12:07:19 PM »
I think you will find that the moisture content has not changed much, if at all since it was alive, even if the sap has "set".
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Offline Peder McElroy

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Re: Wide plank flooring...how wide can I go?
« Reply #21 on: December 29, 2015, 04:57:00 PM »
I have 14 inch #2 pine for the last 20 years and all is good.

Offline Greyhound

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Re: Wide plank flooring...how wide can I go?
« Reply #22 on: December 29, 2015, 07:37:41 PM »
Cool logs.  That will be a fun project.  We did our floors from some old red oak, up to 28" diameter and 8-12 ft long.  We chose random width 6", 4" and 3" wide planks to maximize the yield.  It came out great.  However, I have seen some wider softwood floors.  As above, the wider you go, the more gaps and cupping you will have to deal with.  That's your call.  From my experience, I will offer this advice. Fine a custom millwork shop and have them mill the rough lumber into T&G planks.  It's very inexpensive and they have the right machinery to do it faster and more accurately than you can do.  It is money well spent.  FWIW, I used Horstcraft Millworks in Richfield, PA.  They did a great job.




Offline kensfarm

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Re: Wide plank flooring...how wide can I go?
« Reply #23 on: December 29, 2015, 10:20:10 PM »
How far apart is the beam spacing..  I spaced barn floor beams 24inch.. 6/4 would be thick enough for 24inch beams.. plus your doing T&G.  I'm using 6-12 inch widths.. no T&G.. mounted w/ predrilled, countersunk lag bolts w/ washers.  Beams & boards are both white oak.  It was 48 spaced w/ sticks and tin on it before.. you really had to watch your step.. but good enough for square bails. 

When I first moved into my log cabin farm house.. the living room had no subfloor.. the flooring was T&G.  When you stepped on a 4inch board.. you could feel it bow down.. you didn't feel the flex on the wider boards.  So now I have a subfloor.. still haven't put the finished floor in yet..  I'm wanting to use wide boards.  I tested some adhesive on a bathroom wood floor.. hasn't budged.  I think I'll have to tear it up now to fix a broken water line(got frozen).. it only has hot water now.. but makes the throne toasty warm if you pre-flush.. kinda nice in the winter. 

Greyhound that is one beautiful floor you have. 

 

 

Offline lshobie

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Re: Wide plank flooring...how wide can I go?
« Reply #24 on: December 31, 2015, 11:18:48 AM »
That's some great info thanks guys!  I like the T and G idea and will do that.  We have enough that we can easily cut 5/4 or thinker if we need to.
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Re: Wide plank flooring...how wide can I go?
« Reply #25 on: December 31, 2015, 11:35:40 AM »
Do not overlook the sap, when those 12"+ come off and you start storing them they can bleed all over and pain in the tookis to clean up. 

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Offline kantuckid

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Re: Wide plank flooring...how wide can I go?
« Reply #26 on: January 01, 2016, 09:39:49 AM »
I've done several wide board floors and see no reason to saw that white pine more than a hvy 4/4 thickness. We walk on them all the time! If band milling to very close tolerance for my own use I'd do 1 1/16". I would saw the logs for quality grade, not just to see how wide each will go. It will move even if you screw it down! That's a reality of wood-somethings gotta give. I would never glue down a wide board floor made from solid wood-that goes against the logic of wood use and fact that wood moves. My subfloors are all wide white pine based on simple fact that at the time I built my home it was a wood species that had zero market in my area and still that way to a degree, thus it was cheapo choice and part of another deal I made with my sawyer back then too.
Statements above as to it's not dry-that's true. Maybe the log ends and if so that gains you nothing other than maybe a defect in the end of a board. It's an easy wood to air dry but expect resin and seal the floor accordingly. Only a kiln will kill powder post beetles or pull out the resin, not that I'd worry about it. A local mill sells white pine logs & house kits-they use borate on all of theirs.
Me being a woodworker, I'd saw the butt log for use in cabinetry of some kind, not flooring!!! The rest should yield lots of floor bds..
You said you saved it from becoming firewood-have to be pretty hard-up to burn white pine IMO given there's oak in your province.
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Re: Wide plank flooring...how wide can I go?
« Reply #27 on: January 01, 2016, 11:17:22 AM »
Fourteen years ago when i restored a 100 year old farm house i used 12 in wide syp.I used 1/2 in plywood on top of the old floor then nailed the pine with cut nails because i wanted that old look.It is not a fancy high end floor but nor is the house but it came out well.The wood was as dry as i could get it at the time.I wound up with not more than 1/16 gap and no cupping.Remember pine is soft so you can expect some dents and scuffs over time.
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Offline flatrock58

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Re: Wide plank flooring...how wide can I go?
« Reply #28 on: January 02, 2016, 10:19:21 AM »
Saw this floor on Facebook site Woodworking Enthusiasts.   Might be a little hard to duplicate!  They have a lot of amazing woodworking photos.




 
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Re: Wide plank flooring...how wide can I go?
« Reply #29 on: January 02, 2016, 01:41:29 PM »
 :o That is a bit over the top.  First time that I have ever seen "liquid" lumber.
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Re: Wide plank flooring...how wide can I go?
« Reply #30 on: January 13, 2016, 08:34:59 PM »
I installed 11" pine over radiant heat. I was told it wouldn't work, too much spliting and cupping. 18 years later it's still pretty flat, no splits or checks. BUT it moves every season a bit, with about 1/8" gaps, which I'm fine with, I wanted it to look old anyway and old farmhouse floors around here with true wide plank floors have big gaps. It depends on what look you want. 30" would be too much seasonal movement to not split in my opinion but 12-16" would be acceptable as long as you are willing to accept the joints and ocassional checks. I put mine down with cut 2 1/2" nails at every joist, 2 and 3 nails alternating joists.

Have you got any pictures of the floor? I'm thinking of the same setup for a house I plan to build in a couple years
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