110 Years of FPL: Fancy Flooring of the ’50s

In celebration of 110 years of research at the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL), we are revisiting blog posts that detail some of our most interesting historic people, places, and projects. Enjoy!

In the 1950s, FPL researchers were challenged with how to use waste wood as flooring.

During the wood flooring manufacturing process, many of the cut pieces were too short to be used as conventional flooring, so researchers demonstrated ways of combining short pieces of wood into designs that could be installed in decorative ways, just like tiles.

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Video Series: Wood Floor Systems in Residential Construction

In cooperation with the Forest Products Laboratory, the National Association of Home Builders Research Center has developed a series of instructional videos to improve the quality of residential wood flooring systems.

Following recommended construction practices can minimize or prevent common performance issues in wood flooring systems.

Following recommended construction practices can minimize or prevent common performance issues in wood flooring systems. (Photo credit: www.flicker.com/photos/coaa Lura Lauer)

The videos focus on common performance issues and recommend construction practices that will minimize problems or prevent them from occurring. Noise, deflection, and uneven installations are common issues that occur when installing wood flooring systems.

There are five videos in the series:

Wood Floor System Overview – Wood floor systems include wood framing, subfloor panels, and various floor covering types – such as carpeting, hardwood, resilient, and tile.

Minimizing Subfloor Construction Issues – Good subfloor construction depends on material selection and attention to critical details. During this video, key installation practices are identified to minimize common problems in subfloor construction.

Floor Covering Installation Tips – There are many floor coverings to choose from and virtually all can be installed on wood subfloors. Following manufacturer instructions is important when installing any floor covering product. In this video, key installation tips help meet industry standards and minimize common errors.

Preventing Floor Noises: Subfloor Fasteners – A common source of floor noise is poorly installed fasteners. “Shiners” are nails or screws that miss the floor joist when installing the subfloor panel to the joist. These may result in a loose panel and noise. Adhesive alone will not be enough to secure the subfloor to the joist, even when applied correctly. Mechanical fasteners provide the holding strength.

Preventing Floor Noises: Ductwork – Another common source of floor noise is poorly installed ductwork in the floor joist. The noise occurs because there is no clearance between the ductwork and the routed opening in the floor joist. Contact between the two surfaces can create noise.