solid oak floor on pine floorboards - expansion question

11 May 2015
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United Kingdom
Dear all,

Thinking of using secret nailing to attach solid oak floor to pine floorboards. The boards are in good condition and very flat, so I'm thinking of using only wax back paper as the underlay.

My question is about expansion: obviously you allow gaps round the outside of the new floor (I plan to remove the skirting and then replace: hate beading).

But if I lay the new oak floor perpendicular to the existing boards, and if the oak floor is nailed to the floorboards, is there never a potential problem with these two wooden floors expanding differentially... and won't this be more of a problem with a secret-nailed floor than with a floating floor stuck together with glue?

OTOH I would've thought a nailed floor would tend to be more stable and sturdier than a glued one... this is one reason why I'd like to use nailing...
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For the best results you really need to 9mm ply the floor, then secret nail into that, do not use an underlay.

An engineered floor will be more stable and just as hard wearing as well as cheaper and easier to install, the main difference would be less resonance with a solid floor due to it being fixed to the subfloor, having said that, there are some engineered floors that can also be secret nailed now too.
The differential movement between the two surfaces should not be a problem under normal conditions, this assumes existing floorboards are not tight against each other as would be normal for softwood boards.

I would still be concerned about the flatness of the floor and the quality of the finish.

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