[Greenbuilding] Cheap flooring

RT archilogic at yahoo.ca
Wed Feb 20 11:21:42 PST 2013

On Wed, 20 Feb 2013 13:23:14 -0500, Benjamin Pratt  
<benjamin.g.pratt at gmail.com> wrote:

> The existing floor mostly maple and oak, is in bad shape, with a lot
> of holes and other damage. There is also a 1" or so level change where  
> there was a
> wall.

> two ideas

> first [ plywood ripped into strips to imitate planks]

>  I was trying to find a floor I saw in another store that seemed to be
> rough-sanded lumber, with no appearance of any finish at all.


The first link/idea reminded me of a student project ( in an elective  
course) requiring the students to design a wall of a given thickness that  
would yield a higher R-value than the one provided as a base example.

More than a few students came up with a scheme to rip plywood into strips  
resembling planks to imitate tongue & groove siding, an idea that was  
brought about by them having seen in the ASHRAE thermal properties charts  
that plywood had a slightly higher R-value than real wood plank siding.

The Prof dismissed the idea as a bad one then (back in the days before  
there was such notions as "embodied energy" or "off-gas emissions" etc.  
and I would venture that it's still a bad idea today, almost half a  
century later.

The image in the second link appears to be softwood plank flooring of the  
type that was commonly used as sub-flooring back in the days before people  
used plywood (and subsequently its cheaper cousin OSB ).

Back then, the people who could afford it would have hardwood finish  
flooring installed over it ... and the poorer folks who couldn't afford  
hardwood, might save up for a sheet of linoleum to lay over it, often  
covering only the central portion of the room, leaving the perimeter  
exposed as the plank subfloor, perhaps with a bit of paint over that  
perimeter area.

Without the linoleum, the plank flooring would be prone to splinters, crud  
accumulation in the joints, drafts and so on. Without a finish sealer, the  
rough surface would be prone to staining by spills, wet footwear etc and  
would be impossible to "clean". In order to apply any sort of a finish to  
seal it, the surface would need to be sanded or planed smooth or else  
excessive amounts of the sealer would be consumed and the roughness of the  
surface would be amplified.

Again, I would venture that these century-old characteristics would also  
hold true in the 21st C.

In old Japan where unsealed softwood floors in residences were not  
uncommon, the people did not wear street shoes inside.

However the planks were hand-planed smooth. They would only be damp-mopped  
using discarded bathwater, the body oils (and perhaps soap scum) providing  
a bit of a surface sealer. Over time the wood would acquire a polished  
patina from slippered foot traffic/damp mopping treatment.

Perhaps the "look" that you saw was a sandblasted finish, where the  
blasting removes the softer portions in between the harder grain pattern ?

But back to your maple & oak floor ? Can the holes be repaired with wooden  
plugs or patches if big holes ?
Excellent plug cutters might cost ~ $17 for one up to ~ $75 for a set (or  
less for cheaper quality ones).

The patching material could be from scrap pieces of similar species/age  
wood and cheap or free.

Patching larger areas would simply require the use of a table saw or  
router to cut accurately-sized pieces.


=== * ===
Rob Tom					AOD257
Kanata, Ontario, Canada

< A r c h i L o g i c  at  Y a h o o  dot  c a  >
(manually winnow the chaff from my edress if you hit "reply")

More information about the Greenbuilding mailing list