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Livin the dream...
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
From what I understand, using a spline and starting in the center of a large room can be good cut down on expansion/contraction. Can anyone explain the science behind this to me?

I have a friend who is building a new home and having a full 3/4" x 6" wide white oak hardwood floor installed. I told him that that floor would really scare me and told him that on my own 1/2 engineered floor I started from the center to cut back on the floor movement but couldn't explain why this technique helps....

I have heard starting in the center will cut you expansion in half. Is it because it forces to the wood to move in opposite directions?
 

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It probably has a lot to do with the angle of the fasteners. Movement is more likely to go in the wood lift direction, than in the hook in (tighter to floor) direction. Like you said, starting in center reduces the run in half.
Joe
 

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Correct. Wood will move toward the fastener. Why? It physically can't go the other way.

Nail (or staple) a board to the floor and then beat on it from the front and see if it moves. Granted, it will move a tiny bit, but it will bottom out on the fastener and then it's done. Now knock the back of the board one time and it will fly off the floor.

Science!!
 

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Livin the dream...
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Correct. Wood will move toward the fastener. Why? It physically can't go the other way.

Nail (or staple) a board to the floor and then beat on it from the front and see if it moves. Granted, it will move a tint bit, but it will bottom out on the fastener and then it's done. Now knock the back of the board one time and it will fly off the floor.

Science!!
Thanks Coffer. I was hoping you'd chime in. That makes perfect sense.

Now tell me this. Is my buddy nuts for putting in a 3/4" thick, 6" wide, solid white oak floor? That is a lot of wood to keep under control. Especially in a large area???
 

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White's not that bad a mover. If it's in an environment that stays pretty stable, you can do pretty much anything you want. The main thing I do is make sure I double up on staples. I've argued with some resident geniuses here about it, but it really does work.
 

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BTW: He really should do R&Q. In 6 inch product, done dark, I think it's still the best looking floor in the world. Sexy even. There's nothing like it, visually. It's also a hell of a lot more stable.
 

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It drives me crazy when a bunch of people chime in with the same answer to someones question so I wont. Coffer nailed it. Hes right. See what I did there? Arent I clever? Get it? "nailed it"
 

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Paul
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I'm in agreement with our other resident a-hole lol. Not sure why white is more stable just have always been learnt that forever. Your theory is as good as any I could come up with.
 

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I'm in agreement with our other resident a-hole lol. Not sure why white is more stable just have always been learnt that forever. Your theory is as good as any I could come up with.
Its not the white oak thats more stable, the rift and quartered cut of the lumber is more stable.
 

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Paul
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Its not the white oak thats more stable, the rift and quartered cut of the lumber is more stable.
I've always been told white was more stable. Never had a reason to check one way or another.
 

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White is more stable because it is almost always quarter or rift sawn to highlight the ray fleck. Quarter sawn lumber is more stable than flat sawn.
 

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Livin the dream...
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
White is more stable because it is almost always quarter or rift sawn to highlight the ray fleck. Quarter sawn lumber is more stable than flat sawn.
Yeah, anyone who has worked with wood for very long knows that a quartersawn board is completely different than plain sawn.
 

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Thanks, guys, for calling me an *******.

White IS more stable. It doesn't move as much as red. I maintain that it's because of what makes white oak white. It's the silica in the vessels. That white stuff.

R&Q anything is more stable, but R&Q red looks like nothing special. White, however, is like little Picassos all over the floor. The medullary features in quartersawn white oak are prettier than most of the people I see after I leave home in the morning. Certainly more interesting. Fiddlebacks in maple are interesting, but maple is an ugly floor compared to white oak.
 

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BTW: When white oak is used for flooring, it's run through just like everything else. I've nailed plenty of white and I've nailed plenty of red. Quartersawn stuff is rare when you're humping in #1 Common.

They just lay the boards out as they come across the line. They don't go chop down a quartersawn tree. They just lay it out piece by piece. Same with fiddleback maple.
 

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If you've ever sliced off a sliver of red, you can see right through it. That's open space. Room for movement. The vessels in white are full. I wonder if that's why they grow straight while red oaks are all gnarly. Shoulda been a botanist I guess.
 
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