Do You Have OSB Subfloors?

You Can Install Hardwoods And Not Be Concerned About Moisture

The rise in building costs has forced many contractors back to the drawing boards looking for ways to cut costs and still keep new purchases for commercial and residential buildings affordable. In 2012 it has come to light that there is an increasing amount of homes and light commercial buildings which have installed oriented strand board or (OSB) subfloors. Why? Cost of course. These builders choose OSB because it typically costs less than plywood, it is free of knots and voids, and finally can be used interchangeably in typical flooring applications where the panels have the correct span rating. With respect to flooring installers, many questions have been asked by contractors across the nation about should we be concerned or should we not.

Since this OSB does provides a flat, solid base for any floor covering, and is known to aid in the creation of even, stable and long-lasting floor finishes, concerns about moisture have been raised and here at Keith Clay we believe your questions need to be address. For the purposes of this article, we will discuss moisture and OSB as it relates as a substrate. In keeping with other wood substrates, proper moisture management is essential for a quality installation-especially in regards to hardwood flooring, so generally speaking this would apply to any OSB subfloor.

If you know and have tested the moisture content of the OSB at the time you intend to install a wood floor; and you find that the moisture differential between the OSB and hardwood is too great at the time of installation, problems can arise. OSB that has absorbed moisture on the job site is known to shrink as it dries. This in turn can loosen around nails and staples that attach the hardwood flooring which will not be a positive benefit or time for the life of the floor. This can result in squeaks and pops when occupants walk across the finished floor, as well as the possibility of having hardwood flooring causing moisture to migrate into the hardwood and result in cupped flooring. If the hardwood flooring is installed with excess moisture, it can shrink and create gaps.

Keeping this in mind, managing moisture is one of the most important aspects of keeping your floor on the floor, in great condition, and providing proper maintenance to extend the life of your wood floors wherever they may be.

Here is a short list of things Keith Clay considers when helping to manage hardwood flooring over OSB substrate:

  • Proper balance to acclimate the flooring to the interior environment after the site is dried in both before and after occupancy. Usually 4-6 days)
  • Confirm that OSB is fully dry
  • Keep the National Wood Flooring's (NWFA) Installation Guidelines in tact
  • Instruct on wood species variances and tolerance recommended by manufacturers with regard to moisture. The NWFA recommends sampling the moisture in 40 individual boards for every 1,000 sq. ft. of flooring, and 12% moisture is a basic starting place for installation of most varieties of wood in today's markets. Engineered hardwood flooring may have additional requirements due to the strip width' and thickness' of the location. Around 4% is acceptable for solid strip flooring and less than 3 inches wide. 2% for wider width's is the normal recommendation.
  • Careful attention will mean you can have a beautiful finished floor which can be easily maintained
  • Adhere to Best Industry Standards as the normal business standard i. e. level floor, free of debris, subfloor panels properly attached to joists and any missing nails are the most common
  • Check with manufacturers on recommended vapor retarders for specific kinds of wood

If you have any further questions about your particular location, type of flooring to select, or OSB questions in any way, please contact us here to obtain more information. Achieving a quality hardwood floor over an OSB substrate is not difficult, but Keith Clay Floors does believe you can avoid the costs and hassles of callbacks by taking the time upfront to allow for proper hardwood acclimation and a dry subfloor.

In addition, careful attention to moisture management at time of installation, the building occupants will enjoy a quality floor for years to come. Call us today and speak with one of our qualified staff. World Class Craftsmanship. Reasonable Prices. Call us Today: 972-463-6604.

Keith Clay has been in business for almost 28 years serving Dallas, Frisco, Plano, Richardson and all Dallas Metroplex suburbs. We know wood floors and can answer any questions you may have. If you want the best job from a company of professionals, call us today. 972-463-6604. World Class Craftsmanship. Reasonable Prices.

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