Category RENOVATION 3

CARPETING STAIRS

If possible, use a single strip of carpet on stairs, eliminating seams. Stair padding can be many pieces because it will be covered by carpet. For the best-looking job, carpet pile on treads should slant toward you as you ascend the stairs. On ris­ers, the pile should, therefore, point down. If you use several pieces of carpet on the stairs, for durability and appearance, carpet seams should always meet in riser-tread joints.

Estimating and ordering. First, determine the width of the runner. On closed stairs (which have walls on both sides), carpeting usually runs from wall to wall. On open stairs (with balusters on one or both sides), carpeting should run to the base of the balusters. In either case, each side of the car­pet should be tucked under 1J4 in. to hide the cut edge and prevent its unraveling. Thus measure the width of the stairs and add 2/2 in. to that width. So if your stairs are 36 in. wide, you’ll be able to cut only three runners from each 12-ft. width of carpeting, allowing for tuck-unders and waste.

To determine the overall length of the stair runner, measure from the edge of the tread nos­ing to the riser, and from there up the riser to the nosing of the step above. Add 1 in. to this meas­urement to accommodate the padding over the step and multiply this by the number of steps. Add 6 in. to that total for adjustments at the top and bottom of the stairs.

That’s a formula for straight-run stairs. If yours have bends and turns, create a paper tem­plate for each step that turns. Each template should cover a tread and the riser below. As noted above, add 1 in. for the distance the padding sticks out around the nosing. However, some old hands at laying carpet feel that stairs should be covered only with continuous pieces, with extra carpet tucked behind riser sections.

Installing carpet on stairs. Nail tackless strips on the stair risers and stair treads so that tack points on risers point down, and those on the treads point in, toward the risers. The tackless strip on each tread should be about 3з8 in. away from the riser, so there’s a gap to tuck the carpet into. The tackless strip on each riser should be about 1 in. above the tread. Tackless strips should be 2h in. shorter than the width of carpet with tucked-under edges. That is, each edge is 1% in. wide and does not attach to the tackless strip.

So the strips must stop short by that amount. Instead, tucked-under edges of carpet will be tacked with a 134-in. tack on each side, driven into the riser-tread joint.

Padding pieces are as wide as the tackless strips are long. Butt the padding to the edge of the strips. To keep the pad from being seen from the open side of a stairway, cut the riser portion of the padding at an angle, as shown below left. Staple the padding every 3 in. to 4 in. To tuck the carpet edges, snap chalklines on the backing,

134 in. from the edges. Use an awl (not a utility knife) to score lightly along the lines, fold the edges under, and then weight them down for a few minutes to establish a slight crease.

Secure the bottom of the stair runner first, overlapping the carpet about 34 in. onto the floor; push the carpet into the tackless strip at the base of the first riser. (The tackless strip on the first riser should be!4 in. above the floor.) Press the carpet onto the strip points with a stair tool. Tack the bottom of the rolled edges onto the riser with a 134-in. tack at each end. Then pack the extra end of the carpet into the ^-in. gap between the tack­less strip and the floor.

To cover the first step, stretch the carpet with a knee-kicker, starting at the center of the tread. As you push the knee-kicker, use a stair tool to tamp the carpet into the riser-tread joint. Work out from the center of the step, until the carpet is attached to tackless strips along the entire joint. At the end of each side, secure the tucked-under edge with a single 1 ^-in. tack. Continue up the stairs, using the knee-kicker and stair tool. If the width of the carpet varies (sometimes a tucked – under hem slips), insert an awl point in the hem and jimmy the tool to move the hem in or out.

[1] For additional quick-diagnostic charts like this one, see House Check: Finding and Fixing Common House Problems by Michael Litchfield with Roger Robinson (Taunton Press).

[2] Using stack clamps, support the stack above and below the cuts. Mark and cut the stack. 2. Slide no-hub couplings onto cut stack ends (you may need to roll the neoprene sleeves on first). Insert a no-hub fitting. 3. Slide couplings over fitting ends. 4. Tighten. 5. Connect the branch drain to the no-hub fitting.

STRETCHING CARPET

Once the carpet seams have cooled, stretch and attach the carpet to the tackless strips around the perimeter of the room, using the knee-kicker, power stretcher, and stair tool. Actually, if you must join carpet seams, you already will have used the knee-kicker to draw the carpet edges taut so the glued seam will be a straight.

Typically, stretching begins in a corner, using a knee-kicker. Place the knee-kicker about 1 in. from the wall and rap the cushion of the tool

That’s pretty much it. Once the second corner is attached, alternate using the knee-kicker and the power stretcher, somewhat as shown in "A Carpet-Stretching Sequence,” below. There’s no one always-best sequence. Keep an eye on what the carpet is doing, and use the tool that seems right. Seen from above, your carpet-stretching movements would resemble something between a tennis match and icing a cake. Back and forth, fine tuning as you go.

TRIMMING CARPET

Once the carpet is secured to the tackless strips and the transition pieces in the doorways, use an edge trimmer to remove the excess; trimmers also tuck the edge of the carpet to a degree. After trimming the edge, go around the perimeter with a hammer and a stair tool, tamping the carpet between the tackless strips and the wall, or under the baseboard trim. It’s important that the trim­mer’s blade be sharp, so change razors whenever the tool drags, rather than cuts.

quickly with your knee. When done properly, this maneuver carries the carpet forward and onto the points of the tackless strips. Then use the stair tool to pack the carpet into the small gap between the strips and the wall, also to securely lodge the carpet on the tack point. Knee-kicking takes a little practice. But, as more of the carpet is attached, and there is some tension on it, the task becomes easier. As you work along an edge of the carpet, rest your hand on the section just attached. The extra weight will prevent the section from being dislodged by successive knee-kicks.

After securing a corner 2 ft. to 3 ft along each wall, assemble the power stretcher to stretch the carpet to an adjacent corner across the room. To do this, place the tail end of the power stretcher on a 2×4 block resting along a baseboard of the corner you just attached; the 2×4 prevents the tail end of the stretcher from damaging the finish wall. Unlike the knee-kicker, which rebounds, the stretcher has a lever that extends the tool and holds it there until the lever is released. Before you engage the stretcher’s lever, place the stretcher head 5 in. or 6 in. from the wall you’re pushing the carpet toward. Once you push down on the lever, the stretcher head should move the carpet about 2 in. forward, leaving you plenty of room to use the stair tool and secure the carpet to the tackless strip.

I A Carpet-Stretching Sequence

POSITIONING THE CARPET

Carpet is heavy. So get help rolling it up and car­rying it. Unroll it in the room where you’ll install it. If you measured and cut properly, the edges of the carpet should curl up about 3 in. at the base of the walls. To adjust the carpet slightly once you’ve unrolled it, lift a corner about waist high. Then, as you stand with one foot on the carpet and one behind it, raise the foot that was on the carpet and, with the side of that foot, kick the carpet sharply. Note: By using the side of your foot, rather than your heel or toe, you’ll be less likely to stretch or tear the carpet.

Many installers don’t cut fill pieces of carpet till they’ve positioned the drop piece and meas­ured from the drop piece to the wall. This allows them to double-check the size of the fill piece(s) needed. As with finish carpentry, "measure twice, cut once” is good advice, especially if the walls aren’t parallel. Once you’ve cut the fill pieces and positioned them next to the edge of the drop piece, go around the perimeter of the floor and loosely notch the carpet where it butts against door jambs and corners, so the carpet will lie flat—but don’t trim the carpet edges yet. First you need to join the carpet sections, using hot – melt seam tape.

HOT-MELT SEAMS

Join carpet seams before stretching and trim­ming the carpet. Correctly installed, hot-melt seams are strong enough to withstand stretching without separating.

Use the knee-kicker to draw the seam edges together. After lining up the carpet sections, roll back one section slightly and slip a piece of hot-melt seam tape under the carpet edge so that the tape will run exactly down the middle of the seam. The tape’s adhesive-coated side should face
up. Plug in the seam iron, and let it heat up. Once it’s hot, place the iron on top of the seam tape at the start of the seam and let the carpet flop down on both sides, covering all but the handle of the iron. Most irons take about 30 seconds to heat the tape at a given point.

Once the adhesive has melted, move the iron farther along the tape. Then use a seam roller to embed the carpet backing in the melted adhesive. This operation isn’t difficult, but you must make sure that carpet edges butt together over the tape, rather than overlap each other. (Back-cutting the

carpets edges slightly with the row runner helps.) If it’s a cut-pile carpet, use a smooth roller to press the carpet backing into the seam tape; if it’s loop-pile carpet, use a star roller. After you roll a section of seam, weight it down as shown in the bottom right photo on p. 511. Continue along the seam—in roughly 12-in. increments—till the whole seam is bonded. Allow the adhesive to cool for 20 minutes to 30 minutes before stretching the carpet.

ROUGH-CUTTING CARPET

When rough-cutting carpet, it’s helpful if you can unroll it completely. If you don’t have enough room to do so indoors, unroll it on a clean, dry sidewalk or driveway. Sweep the area well before­hand, and make sure there are no oil stains on the ground.

Cut the carpet to the overall room dimensions on your sketch—plus the extra you included for seams and trimming along walls. At this stage, don’t cut out carpet jogs, such as along cabinets and around doorways, because you’ll cut those later, when the carpet is spread out in the floor you’re carpeting. Important: Before making any cuts, note the direction of the carpet pile, espe­cially if you have more than one piece of carpet­ing to cut.

I Carpet Transitions

 Edge tucked with stair tool Wood flooring Tackless strip

Tape the edge of the padding to keep it from riding up onto the tackless strips when stretching the carpet.

Transfer the room dimensions to the carpet. Use a felt-tip marker on the edge of the carpet to indicate the cut-line across its width, or use a utility knife to notch the carpet’s edges at each end of the proposed cut.

In general, cut loop-pile carpet from its pile side (its face), and cut cut-pile carpet from its backing side. To cut carpet with cut pile, flop the edge of the carpet over so its backing is up, and snap a chalkline between the two notches you made in the carpet’s edges. Cut along the chalk­line with a utility knife or a double-edged floor-

 3. Before hot-taping carpet seams, help the carpet lie flat by notching carpet edges where they abut doorways, cabinets, and so on.

ing knife, using a long metal straightedge to guide the blade. If the carpet is loop pile, cut it with the carpet facing up: Locate a pile row near the cut-line and run the blade of a large flat screwdriver between them, to separate the rows. Then push a row runner, as shown in the bottom photo on p. 509, steadily down the row to cut through the backing. The carpet pile will guide the cut.

Padding, which is usually 6 ft. wide, should run perpendicular to the carpet to prevent padding and carpet seams from lining up. If the padding has a slippery side, face it up so carpet can slide over it as you position it. Once you’ve rough-cut the padding, carefully position the pieces so they butt to each other. Do not overlap padding sec­tions, which could create a raised welt under the carpet; likewise, padding should not overlap tack­less strips. Trim the padding so it butts to the edge of the strips. Then use duct tape, or some­thing as strong, to tape the padding seams together so they can’t drift.

If there’s a plywood subfloor, staple the padding every 6 in. around the perimeter of the

You may wonder why strips with dozens of tack points sticking up are called tackless. In the old days, carpet installers had to hem (fold over) and tack down carpet edges every inch or so, which took thousands of tacks. When someone finally realized that it would be much quicker to hook carpeting onto strips containing slanted, inverted tacks, a generation of installers gave thanks. By and large, the strips did away with edge tacking, hence the name tackless strips.

floor, and every 12 in. in the field, using 18-in. staples. If the substrate is concrete, sprinkle a latex-based carpet adhesive such as Parabond® M-4259 Solv-Free around the perimeter of the room and spread it out with a notched trowel; it’s not necessary to adhere the entire padding. Finally, because concrete is slippery, tape the padding edges so they can’t ride up onto tackless strips.

Wall-to-Wall Carpeting

Basically, there are two types of wall-to-wall car­peting. Conventional carpeting is laid over a sep­arate rubber or foam padding and must be stretched and attached to tackless strips around the perimeter of the room. Cushion-backed car­peting, which has foam bonded to its backing, doesn’t need to be stretched—it’s usually glued down—so it’s generally easier to install. However, it must be destroyed to remove it. Consequently, better-quality carpeting is almost always conven­tional, and that’s the focus here.

Carpeting doesn’t ask much of subflooring, which can be slightly irregular as long as it is dry, solid, and adequately sized (58-in. plywood is typical). Carpeting can be installed over existing wood, tile, resilient flooring, or concrete floors; but check the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding subgrade installations, acceptable gaps in the substrate, padding thickness and type, and so on. Don’t scrimp on padding; buy the densest foam or heaviest rubber padding you can.

CARPETING TOOLS

You can rent most of the specialized tools. To install conventional carpeting you’ll need the following:

► A power stretcher stretches carpeting taut across a room, so it can be secured to tackless strips along opposite walls. Cross­room stretching eliminates sags in the middle of a room. You simply add and adjust stretcher sections to extend the tool.

► A knee-kicker is used in tandem with the power stretcher to lift the carpet edges onto strips, to stretch the carpet in a closet, or to draw the seams closer together before you hot-glue them.

► The stair tool drives carpeting into the spaces between tackless strips and walls and between stair risers and treads.

► A seam iron heats the hot-melt carpet seam tape that joins the carpet sections.

► The row runner, or row-running knife, cuts between the rows of loop-pile carpeting. Many installers use a large, flat-bladed screwdriver to separate the rows first.

► An edge trimmer trims the carpet edges so they can be tucked behind tackless strips; under baseboards; or under transition pieces such as metal carpet doors, which are used in doorways or where dissimilar flooring materials meet.

► Seam rollers can be either star wheeled (spiked) or smooth; they press the carpet edges onto the hot-melt seam tape to ensure a strong bond. Use a smooth roller for cut-pile carpets and a star roller for loop-pile carpets.

► Miscellaneous tools include a utility knife with extra blades, aviation snips to cut tackless strips, a hammer, a stapler if you’re applying padding over plywood, a notched trowel if you’re installing padding over concrete, heavy shears, a chalkline, a tape measure, and a metal straightedge to guide utility-knife cuts.

ESTIMATING CARPET

Carpeting comes on factory rolls whose standard width is 12 ft.; a handful of carpet manufacturers offer widths of 13 ft. 6 in. or 15-ft. Plan on cover­ing most of the room with a large piece of carpet 12 ft. wide, then covering the remaining spaces with smaller pieces joined to the large piece with hot-melt seam tape. Professional installers call the full-width piece of carpet the drop; the smaller pieces are called the fill. Joining carpet seams is time consuming so choose a layout that mini­mizes seams.

Start by measuring the room’s width and length at several points; then make a sketch of the room on a piece of graph paper. A 14 in. to 1 ft. scale is a good size to work with. On the sketch, include closets, alcoves, base cabinets, floor registers or radiators, stairs, doorways, and so on. Also note the location of doors and windows, particularly the main entrance into the room. Carpet pile should slant toward the main entrance, so that a person entering the room looks into the carpet pile.

Carpet seams and edges must be trimmed, so

factor that into your estimate. Add 3 in. for seamed edges, and allow 6 in. extra for each car­pet edge that runs along a wall. Stair carpet pile

An ideal layout minimizes waste and seams, positions seams away from traffic, and orients carpet pile so that someone entering through the main entrance looks into the pile. Carpet comes in 12 ft.-wide rolls (also called bolts), so 41 RF (running feet) of carpet would allow enough extra for trimming edges in this 16 ft. by 25 ft. room.

nail the strips or to stretch carpeting behind or under such obstacles. To anchor carpet edges in doorways, you can use a metal carpet bar, which has angled barbs like a tackless strip, as shown in "Carpet Transitions,” on the facing page. Or you can install a hardwood threshold to provide a clean edge to butt the carpet to, after first anchoring it to a tackless strip, or folding the car­pet under about 1 in. and nailing down that hem.

Some flooring materials are adhered only along the edges (perimeter bond), whereas others are completely glued down (full-spread adhesion). Flooring secured by full-spread adhesion is less likely to migrate or stretch and hence is more durable. Follow the installation instructions that come with your flooring. Be sure your supplier provides the manufacturer’s instructions on adhesion and seaming methods that may be unique to your resilient flooring.

Full-spread adhesion. After the resilient floor­ing is final-trimmed in place, it is typically lapped back halfway, exposing roughly half the area underneath. Using a square-notched trowel, spread a compatible adhesive on about half the floor. Unroll the lapped portion down into the adhesive, and immediately use a 100-lb. roller on the material to spread the adhesive and drive out bubbles. Roll across the material’s width first, then along its length. Next to the walls, use a

hand seam-roller to seat the material in the adhe­sive. Repeat the process with the second half of the sheet. If you get adhesive on the face of the flooring, clean it off at once, using a cleaner recommended by the manufacturer. (Most glues clean up with water.)

Seaming edges. If one sheet of flooring doesn’t cover the entire floor, you’ll have at least one seam edge. Here, be sure to follow the manufac­turer’s instructions on seam spacing and adhesive applications between individual sections, called drops. For example, manufacturers indicate how far back from the edges to apply adhesive and whether the seams should be butted together or overlapped and double-cut through both layers.

Although manufacturers tell you to butt vinyl seams tightly, you’ll need to leave a hairline gap between the sections of Marmoleum, which con­tracts along its length and expands across its width. Also, linoleums tend to expand slightly because of the moisture in the adhesive.

CUTTING AND FITTING RESILIENT SHEETS

To transfer the outline of the room to the resilient flooring, place a blade of the framing square on the scribed line and run a utility knife along the outside edge of the blade, as shown in the photo on the facing page. The mark made by the utility knife—112 in. beyond the scribed line—represents the cut-line you’ll make in the resilient flooring. But the utility knife should score the flooring
only about one-third deep. After you’ve scored with the utility knife, use a hooked knife to cut all the way through, with the scored line guiding the hooked knife. Hold the hooked knife at a slight angle, so it undercuts the edge. At some point, you’ll also trim off the flooring’s factory edge, which protects the material in transit.

Once you’ve cut the outline, remove the paper template and loosely roll the flooring with its back facing out. Carry it to the room to test its fit. If you need to retrim the flooring to make it fit exactly, you’re in good company. Professional installers always assume they’ll trim because no template measurement is ever 100 percent accu-

rate. When you’re satisfied with the flooring’s fit and final position, use a pencil to draw set marks on the underlayment, so you’ll know exactly where the sheet edge should be when you lap the sheet (roll it back on itself) to apply adhesive.

CREATING A TEMPLATE

Bring resilient flooring sheets onto the job site at least 24 hours before working with it, so it has time to acclimate to room temperatures (at least 68°F) Resilient materials are more pliable when they have warmed and less likely to crimp or crease. As you roll and unroll resilient sheets, be careful not to crimp the material, which could crease its surface and be visible forever after.

There are several ways to transfer a room’s dimensions to resilient flooring sheets, but none so accurate as creating a template, especially if there are refrigerator alcoves or base cabinets to work around. Create the template with 15-lb. felt paper, which is inexpensive and, being stiffer than rosin paper, is not likely to tear as you trans­fer the room’s outline to the resilient flooring. Using a utility knife, rough-cut pieces of the paper so they approach within 1 in. of all walls, cabinet bases and the like. Beyond that, don’t agonize about fitting the paper too accurately. That is, the paper doesn’t need to butt against walls and cabinets because the scribing tools will span small gaps between the edge of the paper and the perimeter of the room. If the jaws of the scribing tool are 1 ‘A in. wide, they will scribe a guideline onto the paper that is uniformly 112 in. away from the base of walls, cabinets, etc.

As you roll out individual pieces of paper, overlap their edges about 2 in. and use duct tape to join them. Once you’ve covered the floor with felt paper, use a utility knife to cut small (2-in. by

5- in.) boat-shaped holes in the paper every 3 ft. to 4 ft., as shown in the top right photo on p. 504.

As you cut each boat-shaped hole, cover it with duct tape, which adheres through the holes to the subfloor. This will keep the paper from moving as you scribe the perimeter of the room.

Many installers use a scribing tool or a com­pass set at about 112 in. to trace the shape of the
room and cabinets onto the paper to create a template that they will later transfer. But the installer shown on the following pages preferred a small framing square and a pin scribe. The 112-in. width of a framing square’s blades (legs) ensured a uniform scribing distance, and the square fit easily under the cabinet toekicks. Holding one edge of the square flush to the wall, he ran the point of the pin scribe along the other edge— scribing a light line in the felt paper 1 ‘A in. away from the wall. Because the square’s blades are straight, along curved surfaces he moved the square often, making a number of scribe marks to indicate the arc of the curve.

It’s okay to use several sections of felt paper if a room is large or unusually complex. In this case, be fastidious about marking section edges so you can reassemble and tape them to the resilient sheeting before transcribing the room outline. On a room of any size, you’ll probably need to use several sheets of resilient flooring as well. (Sheet widths vary from 6 ft. to 12 ft.) Important: When you’re done scribing, gently lift the template—but leave the duct tape stuck to the paper. Loosely roll up the template and carry it to the room where the resilient sheet has lain unrolled on the floor, face up, to warm and flat­ten. Line up template edges to trimmed flooring edges. Then carefully unroll the template so it lies flat atop the resilient material (Step 4). Press down the “boats” so the duct tape sticks to the resilient flooring, anchoring the template.

Wood Flooring over Concrete

Before purchasing wood flooring for installation over concrete slabs or in sub­grade areas, check the flooring warranty to see if subgrade installations are allowed. If so, be sure to correct excess moisture conditions beforehand. In general, engi­neered wood is a better choice than solid-wood flooring in such locations because engineered wood’s cross-ply construction is more dimensionally stable. And thanks to impregnated acrylics and other factory finishes, it’s also more water resistant.

Solid-wood flooring is typically installed by first covering the concrete slab with a 6-mil polyethylene vapor barrier, spacing 2×4 sleepers on-face every 12 in. to 16 in. over the plastic, and then using power-actuated fasteners to attach the sleepers to the slab. Although it’s possible to nail 3/4-in. T&G flooring directly to sleepers, it is likely to deflect. Most flooring manufacturers specify a 3/4-in. plywood subfloor, with panels run perpendicular to the 2x4s, a %-in. gap between panel edges, and a V2-in. expansion space around the perimeter of the subfloor.

Engineered wood and plastic-laminated flooring can be nailed or stapled to wood subflooring, glued directly to a slab, or "floated" over it. Floating systems typically call for the planks to be glued or attached to each other, rather than to the subfloor or slab. Many systems feature proprietary underlayments that block moisture and cold and cushion the flooring so you feel less like you’re walking on concrete. Cosella-Dorken’s DELTA®-FL underlayment is a dimpled plastic membrane, and other systems employ foam or felt pads. Floating systems can be used over slabs with radiant heating, as well.

Resilient Flooring

Resilient flooring surfaces, such as vinyl and linoleum, bounce back from use and abuse that would gouge or crush harder, less flexible materials. However, vinyl and linoleum are rela­tively thin, so their durability depends on a sufloor that’s thick enough and an underlayment layer that’s smooth, stiff, and flat.

Resilient flooring is installed either as tiles or as sheets; both require underlayment. Tiles are generally easier to install—their layout is similar to that for ceramic floor tiles, as described in Chapter 16, but are poorly suited to high-moisture areas because of their many seams. Resilient sheets are better for kitchens and bathrooms, as suggested in the kitchen installation shown here.

Overlap paper seams at least 2 in. and tape together.

"Boats" cut out and covered with duct tape

15-lb.

building paper

<-

Alignment

notch

 LOW-MAINTENANCE

CHOOSING AN UNDERLAYMENT

Because resilient materials are thin—between /б in. and ъАб in. thick—they will telegraph sub­surface irregularities, such as board joints, holes, and flooring patterns. So underlayment materials must be uniformly flat (no holes or voids), smooth, stiff, and dimensionally stable. Few materials fit the bill. Note: It’s possible to adhere resilient flooring directly to concrete slabs, old resilient flooring, and wood flooring, but that often requires a lot of prep work to make such surfaces perfectly smooth. So in addition to creating a more durable, smoother resilient floor, underlayment speeds up its installation.

Plywood. Plywood is universally acceptable if it’s correctly installed and is exterior-grade APA – rated CDX underlayment. It will be stamped “underlayment” or "plugged crossbands.” Also, it should be at least ‘/a in. thick and have a fully sanded face (FSF)—not plugged and touch sanded (PTS). Type 1 lauan plywood, which has an exte­rior glue, is also specified by many resilient floor­ing makers; panels should be at least 14 in. thick. Three face-grades of lauan are acceptable as underlayment: BB, CC, and OVL. Type 2 lauan is not acceptable. APA Sturd-I-Floor® plywood is another option: It’s a structural plywood that serves both as subfloor and underlayment. Sturdi-I-Floor panels range from ‘132 in. to ”A in. thick; span distances and loads dictate the thickness.

Hardboard, particleboard, and OSB. Hard- board, a very dense fiberboard, is generally an acceptable underlayment for resilient flooring in dry locations, but it should not be used in kitchens and bathrooms because its joints tend to swell when they get wet. Particleboard also swells along its edges when it absorbs moisture. OSB underlayment panels are more stable, but surface roughness can telegraph through resilient floor­ing. In dry locations, most of these materials are acceptable underlayments, but check your floor­ing manufacturer’s recommendations to be safe. Those specs will also include nail lengths and spacing, as well as acceptable filler materials.

INSTALLING

UNDERLAYMENT PANELS

Follow panel and flooring manufacturer specifi­cations for the length and spacing of fasteners, and acceptable filler materials. In the installation shown here, the installer attached ІЗб-in. under­layment panels, using 113-in. staples spaced every 4 in. to 6 in. in the field and every 1 in. to 112 in. along the panels’ edges. Stagger underlayment joints so they don’t align with subfloor joints.

Before filling panel joints and irregularities with a patching compound, use a wide spackling knife or drywall-taping knife to scrape off splinters. If the blade clicks against a nail or staple, use a nail set to sink the fastener below the surface.

Most resilient flooring makers specify a port­land cement-based patching compound, which may contain a latex binder. If you use any under – layment other than hardboard, fill and level the panel joints and surface imperfections. But don’t fill nail holes because if nails work loose, they’ll raise the patching compound as well, creating a bump in the flooring. Apply one or two coats of compound, feathering it out along the edges of the seam. If you’re careful, you won’t need to sand the compound.