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Discussion Starter #1
I'm new to this forum so I'm sure if this is the right place to ask this question.

I've been doing hobby woodworking for the past fifty years and have built a number of projects. I've built boats, decks, cabinets and large treehouses - to name a few. I have not installed hardwood floors but I am about to!

I know from the days (many years ago) that I worked in a lumber yard that hardwood floor installers would put red rosin paper under the hardwood to limit squeaks. the dealer who I just ordered my flooring from wants to sell me some cushioned/vapor barrier underlayment that will cost me $450. The heavy red rosin paper will cost me $12. This install is going onto my living and dining room, which has a full basement underneath. I don't think moisture is an issue. I'm installing Austrailian cypress which is 3" wide. Anyone have any experience with using these thin underlayments for hardwood flooring who can tell me if I need to spend the extra $450?

Thanks!

Bob
 

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I like the one I put down under my 5" wide koa flooring. It's maybe 1/8 inch thick and definitely makes a difference in the sound walking across the floor compared to the paper. I didn't spend anywhere near $450 on it though, I think closer to $50. How big is the area you're trying to cover? (My room is approximately 240 square feet.) Sounds like your dealer is trying to sucker you.

(Home Depot sells the stuff for 25 cents per square foot, according to their website.)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Frank,

My room is 456 SF. The dealer's line was:" it sound-proofs, is anti-microbial, is a vapor barrier and it has a relatively high R value." I don't need a vapor barrier or a high R value based upon the location of the floor.

Can I ask where you bought your underlayment and the name of it?

Thanks!

Bob
 

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If it's a "floating" floor, I'd use the cushioned plastic underlay.

That's what I use, but everything in California sits on a concrete foundation...no basements to insulate one way or another. Condos here mostly require special even thicker padding (felt-like) for wood floors, to keep noises traveling between attached units to a minimum.
 

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The vapor barrier is an issue and not using the recommend product from the manufacture will Likely void any warranty the product has.
 

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I CAN'T imagine needing a vapor barrier on and over a wood sub floor, unless it is in a space with high humidity, and you have stated such is not the case. .

I doubt that you will have a warranty issue by NOT using their product. Read the instructions with the flooring if in doubt.

Go online to doityouself.com and ask the flooring people if you want more info.

Dale in Indy
 

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Bob,

I don't remember exactly which one I bought but here's a link to home depot where several are listed. The only thing I needed/wanted was the sound dampening, which definitely works.

http://www.homedepot.com/s/foam%20underlayment?NCNI-5

I believe I got something similar to the "Roberts serenity foam" product.

As for the "manufacturer recommended" there wasn't one for my flooring.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Is your flooring going to be nailed down? I'm not sure where you're located, but I would look into an underlay product called "Aquabar". It's a great membrane and is about $25 or so per 500 sf.
I'm installing, by nailing down, 3/4" X 3" Austrailian Cypress (solid wood - not laminate or engineered) over a flooring grade plywood sub-floor which sits on top of 2 X 12 joists over top of a full basement, which is finished and dry. I can't see why I'd need a vapor barrier.
 

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I'm installing, by nailing down, 3/4" X 3" Austrailian Cypress (solid wood - not laminate or engineered) over a flooring grade plywood sub-floor which sits on top of 2 X 12 joists over top of a full basement, which is finished and dry. I can't see why I'd need a vapor barrier.
:thumbsup:

I'm not going to say you need it, but for $25-$30, it can't hurt to have a little extra protection.

NWFA Installation Guidlines:http://tinytimbers.com/pdf/nwfa-install-guidelines.pdf
 

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Smith Brother said:
I CAN'T imagine needing a vapor barrier on and over a wood sub floor, unless it is in a space with high humidity, and you have stated such is not the case. . I doubt that you will have a warranty issue by NOT using their product. Read the instructions with the flooring if in doubt. Go online to doityouself.com and ask the flooring people if you want more info. Dale in Indy
I am third generation flooring installer with 25 years experience in the industry. Until it's sale in 2001 I owned and operated the largest comercial flooring company in Baton Rouge and the 3rd largest in Louisiana. Please feel free to disregard my advice as you wish, but I assure you with most of the floating flooring systems out there today a moisture barrier is necessary. Moisture barrier is a more appropriate term, because when installed correctly it actually protects to a degree from water that can intrude under a door, an overflowed dishwasher, over flowed toilet, etc. The OP has not stated the exact product that is being used. There are solid floating wood products, laminated hardwood products that have real wood for the core, laminated products that have mdf. These are vastly different products with different installation procedures. I would be very surprised if this is a floating floor that doesn't require some sort of barrier. I can also state that if the installation manual isn't followed to the letter you can forget about a warranty claim.

As to the cost, most repeatable flooring dealers will make the same profit margin on the pad as the wood flooring. I have seen many a companies that have loud annoying tv commercials and huge advertising budgets price gouge on anything they can.

On another note, when comparing prices on flooring that you will install yourself, get a quote on all the materials you will need. I see many people call around and get prices on X flooring and compare it to X flooring at a big box store. then decided to buy it from the box store because it was cheaper per foot. A lot of the time the flooring material is cheaper but the adhesive or pad is a lot more expensive and actual cause the overall expense to be more.

I had great buying power but at times the big box stores would have the same product I could get for sale 15% cheaper than my cost. On the other hand I have seen adhesives 600% higher than my cost.
 

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10 ga Bob said:
I'm installing, by nailing down, 3/4" X 3" Austrailian Cypress (solid wood - not laminate or engineered) over a flooring grade plywood sub-floor which sits on top of 2 X 12 joists over top of a full basement, which is finished and dry. I can't see why I'd need a vapor barrier.
You will be perfectly ok with solid wood nailed down with no pad as you have described.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
You will be perfectly ok with solid wood nailed down with no pad as you have described.
Thank you! I appreciate having the objective opinion of a flooring professional.

I see that Home Depots on-line instructions for installing solid wood flooring over plywood calls for using 15# felt. Have you used 15# felt as an underlayment? I assume that felt would cut down on squeaks and give some cushion.

Bob
 

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Squeaks usually come from fasteners in the subfloor not being pulled up tight. In other words, the subfloor moves up and down as the fastener stays in place, squeaking as it rubs against the nail or screw. If the subfloor is glued down, there shouldn't be any problem with squeaks.

I've fixed more than a few, in old houses, with a wedge between the top of the joist, and the subfloor board.

Over plywood subflooring, I always put the flooring nails into the joists. Snap lines in a room on top of the paper before you lay out the flooring.
 

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10 ga Bob said:
Thank you! I appreciate having the objective opinion of a flooring professional. I see that Home Depots on-line instructions for installing solid wood flooring over plywood calls for using 15# felt. Have you used 15# felt as an underlayment? I assume that felt would cut down on squeaks and give some cushion. Bob

In south Louisiana felt paper is put down below the subfloor on all concrete slabs. This is used as a moisture barrier again not for squeaks.


Tom King said:
Squeaks usually come from fasteners in the subfloor not being pulled up tight. In other words, the subfloor moves up and down as the fastener stays in place, squeaking as it rubs against the nail or screw. If the subfloor is glued down, there shouldn't be any problem with squeaks. I've fixed more than a few, in old houses, with a wedge between the top of the joist, and the subfloor board. Over plywood subflooring, I always put the flooring nails into the joists. Snap lines in a room on top of the paper before you lay out the flooring.
Exactly correct


If you do end up with any boards that are actually loose from the subfloor you can fix it with trim screws and wood putty.

The times I have found squeaky floors in this situation have all been from not leaving enough expansion space at the walls. Floor expands pushes against the toe plates and bows enough to pull nails up enough for the floor to squeak.
 

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I am a wood flooring contractor. I would recommend using the aquabar product at a minimum. I have used a product that is green, and has recycled tire rubber in it as a sound barrier. It could be used instead of aquabar if you would like to have less noise heard from the basement. I have used it twice and it does seem to do a pretty good job on noise. It can be a little problematic to deal with sometimes. I don't remember the price but it was up there.
 

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I don't want to start another thread, so I hope no one minds if I piggy back on this one.

Has the price of prefinished hardwood flooring increased substantially in the past 10 years? I'm having sticker shock right now. In 2004 I bought around 180 sq ft of Bruce Dundee strip (CB211) from Hosking Harwood online, and later that year another 280 sq ft of the same product from Internetfloors.com . I don't have the exact price per carton but based on coverage it looks like the cost has doubled since 2004, no matter where I shop.

Does this sound right to those in the know?
 

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Short answer, yes.


Not just flooring though. 10 years ago a sheet of single side prefinished 3/4 birch ply cost me $23.00 a sheet. Latest order was $40.00 plus
 
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