Author Topic: DIY replace carpet with Wood  (Read 3806 times)

attackgnome

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DIY replace carpet with Wood
« on: November 15, 2016, 08:20:48 AM »
Hi fellow DIY'ers.

A bit of background, I recently purchased a house with carpet in high traffic areas as well as the dining area. Since I'm going to go ahead and replace the flooring in these areas, I figured I would just go ahead and do the whole house at once.

So I'm planning to replace ~1,000 sq ft of carpet with 2 1/4", 3/4" thick wood flooring.

I would overlay the wood flooring on top of a vapor barrier followed by 7/16" OSB, which sits on top of the concrete slab.

All this would be secured by 2" wood flooring cleats. In the interest of saving time, I would rent the compressor and pneumatic stapler. (I don't think I would be doing this often enough to defray the cost of buying the tools)

Anyone see any pitfalls or problems with the proposed install?

Thanks for your feedback.

paddedhat

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Re: DIY replace carpet with Wood
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2016, 08:35:21 AM »
Well the biggest issue is that 7/16 OSB isn't a suitable substrate for a nailed hardwood floor installation. It isn't thick enough, and the cleats, or staples will actually pass through the OSB and end up deflecting off the concrete, creating a real mess.  There is plenty of info. found with a google search, and many ways to create an acceptable nailing surface over a concrete floor.  If moisture is not an issue, I would install a proper vapor barrier, then attach 3/4" plywood to the floor with Tapcons.  Given the considerable amount of labor and material cost for this type of install, plywood is a far superior choice over OSB, and will have little impact on the total project budget.

attackgnome

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Re: DIY replace carpet with Wood
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2016, 08:49:41 AM »
Well the biggest issue is that 7/16 OSB isn't a suitable substrate for a nailed hardwood floor installation. It isn't thick enough, and the cleats, or staples will actually pass through the OSB and end up deflecting off the concrete, creating a real mess.  There is plenty of info. found with a google search, and many ways to create an acceptable nailing surface over a concrete floor.  If moisture is not an issue, I would install a proper vapor barrier, then attach 3/4" plywood to the floor with Tapcons.  Given the considerable amount of labor and material cost for this type of install, plywood is a far superior choice over OSB, and will have little impact on the total project budget.

I'm really surprised that 1/16" and material choice (plywood vs. OSB) make that significant of an impact.

Thanks, I appreciate it.

Fishindude

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Re: DIY replace carpet with Wood
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2016, 08:58:30 AM »
Good advice by Paddlehat.

Spork

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Re: DIY replace carpet with Wood
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2016, 08:58:40 AM »
As to the rent vs buy part...

I don't know about you, but a nice compressor is a hugely useful tool for me.... either one that has a great pump or one that has a large enough tank to handle the fact it doesn't have a great pump.  As for the stapler (cleats are also an excellent method here)...  You can buy really inexpensive floor nailers on Amazon or at Harbor Freight.  I wouldn't want to use these long term, but for a one-off job, they're pretty excellent.  When I did my floors, I bought an inexpensive nailer from Amazon.  I was under no rush to finish every room RIGHT NOW.  When the job was done, it was sold in a garage sale for about half what I paid for it.  I suspect this was cheaper (and was definitely more convenient) than a tool rental.

Also note:  the difference between 7/16 and 3/4 is 5/16.  That's pretty significant.

attackgnome

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Re: DIY replace carpet with Wood
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2016, 09:03:58 AM »

Also note:  the difference between 7/16 and 3/4 is 5/16.  That's pretty significant.

That's a pretty solid math error on my part. Thanks for the advice on the rent vs. buy conodrum.

J_Stache

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Re: DIY replace carpet with Wood
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2016, 09:06:16 AM »
Two install options:
Option 1 (the preferred option):  Test slab moisture to ensure concrete doesn't have too much moisture.  Get engineered hardwood (note, this is different than laminate/Pergo) and glue it down.  Use a non-urethane floor glue (much easier to clean up).  No need to use  a vapor barrier (again, this option only works when moisture is not high in the slab).

Option 2: Lay down vapor barrier.  Lay down two layers of 3/4" ply in opposite directions and then nail or staple the hardwood to the plywood.  This option works for basements, but is tougher for the main level of a house since it will raise your floor height well above the doors and create another issue.

Option 3:  Tile.  There is some really nice tile out there that looks like wood (e.g. https://www.tileshop.com/category/tile/floor+tile+material/faux+wood.do)

pbkmaine

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Re: DIY replace carpet with Wood
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2016, 09:10:30 AM »
The wood-look tile, when installed in a herringbone pattern, looks great.

letired

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Re: DIY replace carpet with Wood
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2016, 09:14:46 AM »
I recently did a similar project in my house, just under 1000 sq ft. I used a click-together product from Cali Bamboo, and did a floating installation over a cork underlay (the cork adds juuuust enough give to not make me feel the hardness of the concrete). To warranty the flooring, Cali requires a painted on moisture barrier that ended up pretty easy to do (assuming you have at least one person to help). The whole thing is ~1 year old at this point, and I'm very happy with it! I probably could have gone with a different moisture barrier solution, but I'm satisfied with my choice. I DIY'd the whole thing, along with some help from my friends.

A note on the position of the moisture barrier. The geniuses who had my house before me didn't do any moisture barrier and just put the subfloor directly on what was left of the mastic from the old parquet floor. When I ripped everything up, it all had various levels of mold. Don't do what they did, protect everything from moisture!

paddedhat

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Re: DIY replace carpet with Wood
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2016, 09:56:33 AM »

I'm really surprised that 1/16" and material choice (plywood vs. OSB) make that significant of an impact.

Thanks, I appreciate it.

Well the math has already been addressed. As for nailed installations over OSB, it's interesting. Way back when I used to work for a custom stair and millwork facility, we sold a lot of hardwood. At that time, the industry was firm that OSB was not a suitable substrate for nailed installations. The problem was that this was leading to a lot of lost sales, as the homebuilding industry was rapidly switching to OSB subfloor, and plywood was being largely phased out, in that application. The flooring trade group then did testing and magically discovered that OSB wasn't really all that bad, and pretty well suited for use under nailed hardwood.  It doesn't take a microscope to read between the lines on that decision. Now OSB has improved since then, and I wouldn't hesitate to install a nailed floor over it, if that's what is in place already, but if you are DIYing it, the extra few bucks a sheet for the real stuff is hardly a deal breaker.

MMM98

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Re: DIY replace carpet with Wood
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2016, 08:42:06 AM »
I have installed over 1,00 sq. ft. of 3/4" hardwood, here are my insights:

As noted already buy (not rent) a nailer and compressor.  Harbor freight offers a flooring nailers for 100.00 or so that does the job, they also sell a (noisy) Teflon (oil less) pancake compressor that will work.  Sell the tools once you are done at 50% loss and still come out ahead.

My second pointer is to buy American made flooring spikes, most of what is sold is Chinese and it is thinner and prone to jamming the nail gun,  Third pointer: buy the nicest knee pads that you can find.

hoosier

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Re: DIY replace carpet with Wood
« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2016, 12:18:14 PM »
I have installed over 1,00 sq. ft. of 3/4" hardwood, here are my insights:

As noted already buy (not rent) a nailer and compressor.  Harbor freight offers a flooring nailers for 100.00 or so that does the job, they also sell a (noisy) Teflon (oil less) pancake compressor that will work.  Sell the tools once you are done at 50% loss and still come out ahead.

My second pointer is to buy American made flooring spikes, most of what is sold is Chinese and it is thinner and prone to jamming the nail gun,  Third pointer: buy the nicest knee pads that you can find.

All good advice here.  I don't like HF power tools, but the flooring nailer is pretty not bad.  If you use good cleats they rarely jam.  Good knee pads are a must.

Don't waste money on pull bars, etc, but a couple heavy shanked flat head screwdrivers are going to be necessary to hold the boards in place sometimes.  Just pound the tip into the subfloor and use that as a fulcrum to pry the board into position.  This will be important along walls where you can't get a good hammer swing/strike.  You're also not going to be able to use the cleat nailer along walls you are approaching...a regular nail gun saves a lot of time here.

attackgnome

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Re: DIY replace carpet with Wood
« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2016, 02:57:28 PM »
Again, thank you all for your advice and suggestions.

I'm sure this is going to save me a lot of hassle, frustration, and wasted money.

attackgnome

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Re: DIY replace carpet with Wood
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2016, 01:25:02 PM »
 
Two install options:
Option 1 (the preferred option):  Test slab moisture to ensure concrete doesn't have too much moisture.  Get engineered hardwood (note, this is different than laminate/Pergo) and glue it down.  Use a non-urethane floor glue (much easier to clean up).  No need to use  a vapor barrier (again, this option only works when moisture is not high in the slab).

Option 2: Lay down vapor barrier.  Lay down two layers of 3/4" ply in opposite directions and then nail or staple the hardwood to the plywood.  This option works for basements, but is tougher for the main level of a house since it will raise your floor height well above the doors and create another issue.

Option 3:  Tile.  There is some really nice tile out there that looks like wood (e.g. https://www.tileshop.com/category/tile/floor+tile+material/faux+wood.do)

After mulling over the options, I think Option 1 is going to be the way to go. I have ordered the calcium chloride tests and will proceed to test several locations on the slab in accordance with the install instructions for the material I am looking to install.

If I understand correctly, if moisture does turn out to be a problem, then a potential solution is to lay a moisture barrier then proceed with a floating installation for the engineered hardwood.

Fishindude

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Re: DIY replace carpet with Wood
« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2020, 07:47:32 AM »
Since your floor is concrete, I'd go with tile, much easier and will probably save money.

BudgetSlasher

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Re: DIY replace carpet with Wood
« Reply #15 on: February 14, 2020, 03:06:45 PM »
On the rent vs own decision, I would like to offer my opinion (spoiler:buy).

A pancake air compressor bundle and perfectly functional flooring nailer can be had new for under 400 total. Used would likely be less.

We installed 5 in hardwood through our master bedroom (and closets), living room, kitchen, and dining room (it is probably a slight bit more than you are talking about, but I have don't have those measurements handy) some time back; there were 3 of us (myself, my wife, and my FIL) and it took us the better part of 3 weekends to complete. Granted we started around 9:30 AM, ended around 5 PM, and had a sit down lunch every day.

Still it kept three of us busy the whole time. One person would open boxes, sort the board by length, layout the flooring (in terms of patterns in the boards and joint spacing), and mark/cut those boards that needed to be trimmed; the second would fit the boards into in the flooring; and the third would come along behind the second and nail the flooring in. If the second or third person got too far ahead or caught up they would help the first. (note: we redid all the trim work at a later date so this time does not include installing shoe molding).

All in all it took 3 of us 6 days over three weekends. Home depot rents the kind of air compressor we used for $23/day, a flooring nailer for $39/day, and a nail gun for face nailing at $19/day. That would have been a total of (23+39+19)*6= 486. Of course if you can do it quicker or at the cheaper weekly rate your cost will be less.

For us buying the tools was actually cheaper than renting them. Plus it eliminated 6 trips to the hardware store (to pick up and return the tools every weekend). I also find the portable air compressor to be a very handy tool for a variety of reasons. We also anticipate removing additional carpet and installing hardwood again in the future.

TLDR: For us in the way we work and our future plans buying tools made sense over renting.

intellectsucks

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Re: DIY replace carpet with Wood
« Reply #16 on: February 16, 2020, 08:13:54 PM »
Well the biggest issue is that 7/16 OSB isn't a suitable substrate for a nailed hardwood floor installation. It isn't thick enough, and the cleats, or staples will actually pass through the OSB and end up deflecting off the concrete, creating a real mess.  There is plenty of info. found with a google search, and many ways to create an acceptable nailing surface over a concrete floor.  If moisture is not an issue, I would install a proper vapor barrier, then attach 3/4" plywood to the floor with Tapcons.  Given the considerable amount of labor and material cost for this type of install, plywood is a far superior choice over OSB, and will have little impact on the total project budget.

It's been a hell of a week and my reading comprehension isn't where it should be so please forgive me. Are you suggesting to rip up existing osb and replace with 3/4 ply or are you saying to put 3/4 ply on top of existing osb? If the latter couldn't he get away with putting down 1/2" or 3/8" ply over the osb to keep the new floor from being drastically higher than the old one?

BudgetSlasher

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Re: DIY replace carpet with Wood
« Reply #17 on: February 17, 2020, 07:58:25 AM »
Well the biggest issue is that 7/16 OSB isn't a suitable substrate for a nailed hardwood floor installation. It isn't thick enough, and the cleats, or staples will actually pass through the OSB and end up deflecting off the concrete, creating a real mess.  There is plenty of info. found with a google search, and many ways to create an acceptable nailing surface over a concrete floor.  If moisture is not an issue, I would install a proper vapor barrier, then attach 3/4" plywood to the floor with Tapcons.  Given the considerable amount of labor and material cost for this type of install, plywood is a far superior choice over OSB, and will have little impact on the total project budget.

It's been a hell of a week and my reading comprehension isn't where it should be so please forgive me. Are you suggesting to rip up existing osb and replace with 3/4 ply or are you saying to put 3/4 ply on top of existing osb? If the latter couldn't he get away with putting down 1/2" or 3/8" ply over the osb to keep the new floor from being drastically higher than the old one?

My hardwood is on a less-than-ideal sandwich of 7/16 OSB over 3/4 particle board (don't ask) over 5/8 plywood and the flooring nails sink into all three layer. So in the real world, yes you can lay and stack the subfloor.

In an ideal world I would say a single layer of the proper thickness is the best option. I took from the OP that we would lay down OSB, meaning that he had not year done so. In which case, I would avoid a sandwich.

In a basement, or anywhere else were water could be an issue, I would choose plywood over OSB. In my experience it tends to handle getting damp occasionally better than OSB; it seems to swell less and restain strength, so long as it can dry.

Regarding the 2" fasteners: Assuming a flooring nailer is at 45 degree angle (I think it is) a 2" fastener will be driven 1.414" below the face of whatever it is being driven into; in this case it is the tongue of hardwood flooring. On my flooring the top of the tongue was 2/3rds of the way up 3/4 flooring (2/4" or 1/2"). You would need .914" of subfloor to sink a nail without hitting the concrete below. You will need a shorter fastener or a thick subfloor. (number will change if the angle is not 45 degrees)

I haven't done hardwood flooring in over a concrete slab before (for me that would be the basement). So I have no practical experience with how to configure the subfloor. If I were to install in my basement, I would do a vapor barrier (6-mil ploy) lay down p/t 2x4 sleepers on top of it, fill between the sleepers with rigid foam insulation, put 2 layers 3/4 ply over that setup, and use an engineered flooring. (But, I am looking at below grade and while the basement is dry it is always a concern). That setup may not be necessary of even ideal for a slab on grade construction in a warmer climate.