One Board at a Time

Joshua Crossman, owner of PTL Hardwood Floors, in Yelm, Washington, has learned a lot about wood floors since opening his business in 2004. Dedicated to continuing his education, learning new techniques, and providing customers with quality floors, Crossman was an excellent choice for this tricky installation.

Unfortunately, not uncommon to the trade, there was a time-consuming surprise waiting for Crossman and his team when they arrived on the job site. What they thought was going to be an easy tear-out, turned into an entire day of removing carpet and the particle board underneath that was glued and nailed down to the subfloor.

Photos courtesy of Joshua Crossman.

Once the subfloor was properly prepped and moisture testing took place to make sure the wood was acclimated, the team was ready to install the prefinished acacia.

“We used a combination of the jigsaw, table saw, and angle grinder to make the curves,” says Crossman. “We scribed around the board and finished it off with the angle grinder.”
Another element that made this installation tricky was the varying height of the tile. “To create a smooth transition between the tile and the wood, we had to shim up each board individually to match the height of the tile that coordinated with each board,” adds Crossman.

“Something unique about this job was the spiral staircase,” says Crossman. “We had to go around the staircase very tightly with the boards. Then we scribed them to match the hardware of the staircase to make it look as if it is coming out of the floor.”

3 thoughts

  1. A beautiful and artistic finish, guys. One question: what about expansion gaps @ ceramic and staircase iron? Is this a warranted install, being finished so marvelously snug?
    Again – beautiful job!

    1. That’s a very valid concern. I did not leave an expansion space along the tile based upon science and experience. The reason the NWFA guidelines state that we need expansion space is because wood expands when it takes on moisture and then it shrinks when it looses moisture. If a floor doesn’t take or loose moisture then its remains at equilibrium and doesn’t move at all. Then how much the wood expands or contracts is based upon the amount of moisture and the wood species as the coefficient of change varies with species.
      We live in a mild climate and we don’t have the humidity swings as other areas so our floors stay relatively stable, although we do have a lot of wet crawlspaces that need to be taken into account on an installation and those I will leave an expansion space.
      I’ve been doing hardwood floors in my area for nearly 20 years so I have a pretty good history of our climate and how wood responds. I took a calculated risk on installing this floor tight, based upon my experience, where this house was located, and the chances of a failure being pretty low.
      If something was to happen I would remedy the situation without hesitation because that’s how I conduct business. I’ve only had to fix two problems due to movement after installation in the 20 years I’ve been doing this, and both of those excessive movement was localized to one section of the floor.
      What really opened up my eyes to this was I saw a yacht floor fit perfectly tight to the millwork and it didn’t have any issues.
      The atheistic of a tight fit is more pleasing than having to use a transition strip or caulking. So if I can make a tight fit work to make my clients happy then I will go that route, but also I don’t cut tight in every situation as some floors I wouldn’t take that risk based upon the specific situation and factors in play.

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