Installing Solid Hardwood Floors Over Particleboard

 
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Old 12-17-2004, 07:09 AM   #1
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Installing Solid Hardwood Floors Over Particleboard


What are some of the problems that have been experienced or seen when solid hardwood floors have been installed over particleboard? I understand that particleboard is not recommended as a subfloor for solid hardwood floors. I also had one contractor state that he installs solid hardwood over particleboard routinely and it's not a problem. So I'm not sure what to do.

We plan to do the installation and obviously would preferred to save the time and expense of replacing the particleboard for approximately 1400 square feet. But if the risk is high for headaches down the road, we'll do what we need to.

Thanks!
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Old 12-17-2004, 07:16 AM   #2
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Re: Installing Solid Hardwood Floors Over Particleboard


I'm assuming by partical board you mean OSB. Do it all the time. If your really conserned have him use joint glue.

Bob

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Old 12-17-2004, 09:29 AM   #3
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Re: Installing Solid Hardwood Floors Over Particleboard


Thanks for the quick reply Glasshousebltr.

The subfloor is not OSB. In fact, if we have to, we will replace the particleboard with OSB (which I understand is an acceptable subfloor for hardwood floors) since it is generally less expensive that plywood.

The particleboard that we have looks kinda like oatmeal, consisting of tiny wood particles glued and pressed together in 4 x 8 sheets. It is my understanding that it is an inexpensive underlayment used to raise the height of carpet to a desired level. I

Of course I want to believe the one person who said it's not a problem to install hardwood over particleboard. What I would like to understand better is what problems I should expect down the road if we were to install it over the particle board.

Any experience with this?

Thanks

PS. Would using a staple gun (in lieu of a nail gun) resolve some of the problems inherent to the particle board or make the potential problems worse?

Last edited by dsmoser; 12-17-2004 at 09:35 AM. Reason: To add post script
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Old 12-17-2004, 05:12 PM   #4
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Re: Installing Solid Hardwood Floors Over Particleboard


Use a staple gun on only thinner solid woods.
Particle board does not hold a nail very well, and to my knowledge, OSB does not either.
You may be o.k. But I am certain that manufacturers would rather see plywood as an underlay if they come out for an inspection for loose or squeaking boards.
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Old 12-17-2004, 05:49 PM   #5
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Re: Installing Solid Hardwood Floors Over Particleboard


Check with the hardwood manufacturer for their specs and follow their recommendations. We've always used OSB &/or plywood for our sub-floors. Particle board is real scarey if there's any moisture arround. Swells like an insect bite.
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Old 12-23-2004, 02:56 PM   #6
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Re: Installing Solid Hardwood Floors Over Particleboard


I pulled up 1100 feet of carpet and lano to find a partical board subfloor. I told the customer that this stuff was no good to hold down the Mirage prefinish that was stacked up in boxes in her condo for the past week.

(When I originally looked at the floor I wasn't allowed to touch the carpet b/c the previous owner was still there and they hadn't closed yet)

The lady didn't want to fork over the $$$ for me to lay 1/2" ply on the PB so she said to just do it.

By the end of the job I noticed the floor moving slightly (vertical play) in certain areas when we walked over it.

She had no clue but who hasn't had smiled and kept there mouth shut before?

I wouldn't want to be there in a few years, or months even.
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Old 12-23-2004, 04:42 PM   #7
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Re: Installing Solid Hardwood Floors Over Particleboard


I just hope you had her sign-off on something in regard to not laying plywood, if plywood underlayment was a requirement of the manufacturer for the warranty. She wouldn't be the first customer to develop amnesia once she starts having problems with the floor and seeks the path or least resistance to getting her floor fixed.
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Old 12-23-2004, 04:46 PM   #8
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Re: Installing Solid Hardwood Floors Over Particleboard


"additional charges may incur due to unforseen circumstances that arise during installation"

this wording on my contract covers my butt when the cpt is taken out.
I would refuse to do the work unless she signed off, and even then, you better hope your waiver is up to snuff.
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Old 12-23-2004, 05:42 PM   #9
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Re: Installing Solid Hardwood Floors Over Particleboard


Quote:
Originally Posted by Florcraft
I would refuse to do the work unless she signed off, and even then, you better hope your waiver is up to snuff.
I'd refuse period. Placing otherwise good work on a surface that's not fit to accept it is a losing proposition all the way around - no matter what you get signed. Believe me, no judge is going to let 'the expert' off the hook when things turn bad; with or without a signed waiver.
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Old 12-23-2004, 07:09 PM   #10
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Re: Installing Solid Hardwood Floors Over Particleboard


Good point.
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Old 12-23-2004, 08:08 PM   #11
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Re: Installing Solid Hardwood Floors Over Particleboard


Quote:
Originally Posted by PipeGuy
I'd refuse period. Placing otherwise good work on a surface that's not fit to accept it is a losing proposition all the way around - no matter what you get signed. Believe me, no judge is going to let 'the expert' off the hook when things turn bad; with or without a signed waiver.
While I would like to subscribe to those ethics,in the real world,or at least New England,if I refused every job that couldnt be done totally to specs,I would have alot of time off. I make my retailer aware of the circumstances and rely on him to cover my ass when the floor fails.Hasnt screwed me yet .

I just do the best I have with what I have,and probably over compensate when there is the money and time to do things right.

I have been on the other side of a lawsuite when just such an incident happened. With the testimony of the contractor, retail store,and myself,stating that the customer asked us to do it that way to save money,the judge ruled in our favor. Would I want to press my luck again,no,but like I said I like to work every day.

Edited to say,There is no way in hell I would put Mirage over particle board. That day I would have to suck it up and go fishing.
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Old 12-25-2004, 12:49 AM   #12
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Re: Installing Solid Hardwood Floors Over Particleboard


if you have a store backing you, then it's like a big brother.
if this is an independant job, then I am sure it would be alot different.
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Old 04-29-2008, 03:42 PM   #13
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Re: Installing Solid Hardwood Floors Over Particleboard


How do you feel about using 2" nails thru 3/4 flooring, 3/4 particleboard and into 1/2" plywood?
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Old 04-29-2008, 04:28 PM   #14
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Re: Installing Solid Hardwood Floors Over Particleboard


Quote:
Originally Posted by PipeGuy View Post
I'd refuse period. Placing otherwise good work on a surface that's not fit to accept it is a losing proposition all the way around - no matter what you get signed. Believe me, no judge is going to let 'the expert' off the hook when things turn bad; with or without a signed waiver.
thats true seen it on peoples court by the way the judge shes a good looking woman
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Old 04-29-2008, 05:17 PM   #15
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Re: Installing Solid Hardwood Floors Over Particleboard


Plain and simple answer is NO. Hardwood flooring that is fastened by any method, whether it be mechanical fasteners or glue should not go over particle board. A floating install is the only way to go over it, and I don't know of any 3/4" solid on the market that you can float. You guys can talk about it with the h.o., have disclaimers in your warranty and contracts, get them to sign off...whatever you like. It doesn't change the fact that you are considered by a judge to be the professional and are expected to install to industry standards and manufacturers specs. IF you KNOW pb should not be installed over (and now you do) and you refuse to do a substandard install then you will never have to worry about being sued for doing it wrong.

I never lost money on a job I didn't do.
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Old 04-30-2008, 07:14 AM   #16
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Re: Installing Solid Hardwood Floors Over Particleboard


Where do you guys find people utilizing PB? I have never seen it used yet in anything but furniture or shelving.
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Old 04-30-2008, 07:28 AM   #17
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Re: Installing Solid Hardwood Floors Over Particleboard


Quote:
Originally Posted by Cdat View Post
Where do you guys find people utilizing PB? I have never seen it used yet in anything but furniture or shelving.
Was a very popular carpet underlayment during the 70s & 80s. It was used to get carpet flush with 3/4" hardwood and tile installations. Most I have found were put down with ring shanks and is very easy to demo. I can't fathom why anybody would consider laying over it.
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Old 05-13-2008, 11:05 PM   #18
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Re: Installing Solid Hardwood Floors Over Particleboard


Current home that I'm working on is just 12 years old. Particle board throughout 1st level. This is popular of builders around here that use 2x10 for the foundation forms (footer and stack 2 for stem) to save money. They then reuse the 2x10 for the subfloor,leaving an ungodly eneven floor. So, they skim over with 1/2 to 5/8 pb to smooth it out. Carpet lays fine, and vinyl too. I'm about to redeck the floor with ply for the hardwood install.
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Old 05-14-2008, 09:42 PM   #19
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Re: Installing Solid Hardwood Floors Over Particleboard


Quote:
Originally Posted by PipeGuy View Post
I'd refuse period. Believe me, no judge is going to let 'the expert' off the hook when things turn bad; with or without a signed waiver.
Agreed here. Particle board is not an acceptable underlayerment under any type of floor from any manufacturer to my knowlwdge. In fact it is usually specifically forbidden by product name in many installation manuels.

It is not just a matter of whether or not the judge feels like letting the expert off or not. It is tested legal doctrine that you are responsible for anything that you do as a professional that a person in your position should know is not acceptable trade standards, no matter how many people tell you it is ok with them, and no matter how many letters saying so they give you.
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Old 05-23-2008, 11:32 PM   #20
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Re: Installing Solid Hardwood Floors Over Particleboard


I am in the process of installing 3/4'' Bruce prefinished planks from Lowes/Home Depot. I ripped out the carpet to see a 1/2'' particle board underlayment. So what's are some of the appropriate subfloors? MORE IMPORTANTLY, what's the minimum thickness for my application? If i stick to same 1/2'' underlayment, it's rubbing the door... Please advise. thanks

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