Pitch pine floor board refit - how long to climatise

5 Oct 2005
Reaction score
United Kingdom
I have a real dilemma - I posted a query recently regarding my Victorian floor boards which were on suspended joists but all has been removed due to damp, now due to be refitted on to concrete insulated floor with battens inset – I was asking if a nail gun would be best rather than the original style brads, but now realise the nail gun style brads are way too small (2mm heads). Basically, I've been told the shrinkage in the timber will rip through the heads and I'll be hammering down boards forever! This is 2 large reception rooms and a 12m hallway so a fair amount of timber.

So... to add to the situ, the heat has been off in the home for 18 months, plus a severe amount of plastering undertaken, mostly down to bare brick so a lot of moisture in the home. No boiler reconnected as yet so no heating system to warm the house (Northern Ireland, on the sea front to make things worse!!)

So my question is, now that I know I'm manually hammering the boards down with either brads or rink shank nails (can manually flatten the heads to make easier to centre punch into the timber so sander doesn't catch), how long do I need to leave the boards before I can lay them, and presumably I need to get the heat on or is just being inside ok (presume the latter is not an option)?

Any help gratefully appreciated.

Sponsored Links
The boards will only acclimatise if in their final environment for 4-6 weeks - ie a dry house with the normal humidity and heating patterns

In view of the plastering work and lack of heating, then if the finish of these boards is important, then you may be better off temporary fixing them and then realign/refix once the property has stabilised and the boards shrunk

Not really wanting to fit then refit, that will be loads of work, plus nail holes will be too close to the first fit??

I'm gonna get heating on and let them sit for 4 weeks. Do I have to stack them up in a pile of 2's with laths between or they ok sitting on the concrete floor where I currently have them all laid out?
I would get them off the floor, as much air around as possible.
Even after I bought kiln dried floor boards and installed they all shrank a few mm a few months on.
Sponsored Links
But can you then explain this:

The floor boards on the 1st and 2nd floors have not been removed. 'If' there was any expansion in the boards I'm relaying on the ground floor, then there would also be the same on the other floors, yet there were no gaps between them to start with, and there's certainly no sign of curling or lifting where they've tried to expand! Therefore, physics say surely they haven't expanded therefore won't contract??
I'm not sure if it was my eyes or your post (probably your post:cool: ), but I thought you were buying new boards, but it seems you are just refixing existing

In which case the boards will have contracted years ago, and then just changed slightly with the seasons.

As long as these are not still soaking wet, then then they will have adapted to the room humidity and [normally] there may be none to slight further contraction once fixed down. But you need to make sure that they are given some good tightening together when laid before nailing

If your new concrete floor is still damp, then you need to dry that out for a couple of months to prevent the evaporating moisture causing uneven shrinkage and possible cupping/twisting of the boards
Thx Woody, yes they're 110 year old! Concrete floor is dry and although all sprayed with wood worm treatment, that was 6 weeks ago. Makes sense that if it were new wood it's need to dry more so I think I'll go ahead and lay them straight down. Not sure how I can tighten them though - the joists/battens I'm fixing to are flush with the surface of the concrete so nothing to jack against... any suggestions??

DIYnot Local

Staff member

If you need to find a tradesperson to get your job done, please try our local search below, or if you are doing it yourself you can find suppliers local to you.

Select the supplier or trade you require, enter your location to begin your search.

Are you a trade or supplier? You can create your listing free at DIYnot Local