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LottaLiving.com • Where the hardwood meets the aluminum window frame . . .
Page 1 of 1

Where the hardwood meets the aluminum window frame . . .

Posted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 8:25 am
by jakabedy
We currently have carpet in our LR and DR and the plan is to pull it up and put in a bamboo floating floor (couldn't convince DH to go with cork). The house was designed originally for the areas to be carpeted. Now we're starting to think about the intricacies of the work.

What type of trim would be used up against the aluminum frames of the floor-to-ceiling windows? The carpet (we haven't pulled it up yet) is probably on a tack strip that has been nailed into the slab. The carpet is flush against the window frames with no extra trim of any kind -- it is a clean look. The expansion space for the new bamboo floor would abut the windows (and on the living room end, the sliders and hearth).

Am I just to put a quarter-round there? Would that look -- for lack of a more technical term -- "goofy?" Would our quest to class up the joint lead us into a tacky result? Do I need to just be looking for some really fab new carpet? Do I need to begin a (possibly fruitless) quest for matching ca. 1977 pavers and just cover the whole space with them? Do I just buy a steam cleaner and keep working with what I have?

I would love to see any photos any of you may have of a similar installations. I don't have a good photo of the area at issue, but the photos below provide some orientation.

Image
Image

**NOTE: I know many will say "polish the slab!" But that just isn't going to work for us. The center of the large room has original pavers about 1/2" thick, which we want to keep, and these carpeted areas abut that "paver plateau." We would have to float another layer of concrete to even it out, it would probably look like we just ran out of pavers, and we really don't want the concrete anyway.

Posted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 8:35 am
by SDR
If you run the bamboo flooring so that the boards are perpendicular to the glass wall, you should need little to zero expansion gap there; wood expands across the grain, not along it. The gaps would be along the side walls, and those you can cover in the usual way.

Of course, if this will be a floating floor, there may need to be something along that glass wall that holds the floor captive from rising. If so, this might be a minimal metal channel that would be fastened to the floor; you would tuck the flooring into it as you install.

Check this with the manufacturer, but that's sound counsel, I believe. Hope it helps. . .

SDR

Posted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 8:46 am
by jakabedy
SDR -

A good thought. But the same windows are on the front of the house, also (that can't be seen in the photos). The dining room's four walls are: windows, windows, wall, paver abutment. The living room has: windows, sliders/hearth, wall, paver abutment.

But running it the other way would make for less length for the expansion gap -- 13' vs. 21'

Posted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 8:59 am
by SDR
Actually, a square C-channel, laid on its side, could provide adequate expansion gap within it to solve the problem in a neat way, I think. Various configurations of anodized aluminum are available at home centers, and a metal place would have raw aluminum that could be sanded to a uniform appearance.

SDR

Posted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 9:11 am
by jakabedy
Let me make sure I'm picturing this right. Do you mean a C-channel that would have a "mouth" wide enough for the thickness of the floor to slide in and out? And I'm thinking the right initial fit would be for the channel to be deep enough for the plank to just fit inside of it, leaving the rest of the space for expansion?

I like that. Though, it's suddenly not looking as DIY as it was last night. :?

Posted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 9:21 am
by SDR
Exactly. You got it.

The channel could be drilled and screwed to the bottom member of the window system (also aluminum ?) with sheet-metal screws -- aluminum drills and cuts quite easily. The top edge of the channel could be aligned perfectly with the window frame, any joints carefully centered on vertical window mullions. Easy -- you can do this. New sharp drills, and a sharp hacksaw blade chosen for aluminum (it tends to clog if the teeth are too fine, but you don't want coarse teeth either). A belt sander smooths the cut ends easily; if you make neat square cuts, though, a file or sanding block is all you need.

SDR

Posted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 9:33 am
by egads
There is a strip made for abutting doors. It's usually thicker than the flooring and has an edge that goes over the top. All the edging and seams are what I don't like about floating floors. The manufacturers have a one size fits all recommendation about expansion gaps required. Probably based on the worst case climate. I can't stand using quarter round around the edges. Wood flooring should have base shoe molding. Similar but not as thick. It will be necessary to remove all the existing base molding to install flooring correctly.

So do tell what you DH does not like about cork? My first impression is that it would not be durable. However, after doing the tour of Crestwood Hills houses this fall and seeing 50 year old cork floors, I can tell you is is not true. My entire house is VCT because it's what I could afford at the time. But the cushion of cork would be quite welcome about now. In any case, because of the 1/2" thickness, you would probably be installing cork as a click fit system anyway. So it would bring up the same issues as a floating wood floor. What I don't like about all these alternatives, is the clickity, clackity sound they make when you walk on them. So I guess I vote for cleaning the carpet (if less than ten years old) or replacing it.

Posted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 11:19 am
by jakabedy
Re DH's anti-cork stance, I don't think he can explain it himself. He just doesn't like it, or doesn't get it, or just really likes wood, or some combination of the three. Maybe he thinks it will never look/be clean (very much like the carpet that is there now) or won't wear well.

I think I ruined him several years ago by bringing him into my world of wonderful 1920s homes with hardwood throughout. After three of those we are now in this MCM home. I think he just misses the wood! But, like you said, we've got the level issue with the pavers, regardless. Even if I could sell him on the cork, it would probably have to be floating cork.

The bamboo we found is thicker than some I've seen (7/16", I think), so I was hoping it might do away with some of the "clickety-clack" issues of thinner floating floors. We may just buy a box and click it together somewhere and walk on it for a while and see what we think.

Posted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 12:38 pm
by SDR
Egads's comments seem to indicate that my suggestions could work. But I have to agree also that either cork or carpet might be preferable.

A consideration is the acoustic difference between a hard floor and carpet; the room will sound a lot "brighter" when the carpet has been replaced with wood (especially) or cork. This may or may not be desirable.

SDR

Posted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 1:05 pm
by scowsa
Another way to come at this problem is ask yourself whether the wood floor needs to be "floating."
Here is an example of the blurb on Engineered Wood Floors (EWF):

Q. What&s the advantage of using an Engineered wood floor over the other types such as a Floating engineered floor or a Solid nail down floor?

A. Most engineered wood floors are recommended to be glued down, but some brands can also be stapled to a wood subfloor. They can also be installed over most (flat) ceramic tile, concrete slabs, vinyl flooring, providing these floorings are secured well to the subfloor and that any surface wax or glaze is completely removed and the surface is roughened up so as to provide adhesion for the glue.

Taken from this site, which even sells a bamboo EWF

Posted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 7:24 pm
by egads
The thing about flooring is the transitions. Because you like and are keeping the pavers, I would select flooring based on what you can but up against that as clean as possible. No tripping. If the floating install method requires some strip there that is not completely level with the pavers, I personally would not do it. Gluing down a floor can solve most of that. However, here in California and probably Alabama, cheap sheet vinyl is usually put down first to act as a moisture barrier. So you get to pay for two floors. And don't forget, you need rugs on top of anything you put down.

Posted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 8:34 am
by johnnyapollo

Posted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 8:37 am
by SDR

Posted: Sun Mar 09, 2008 8:12 am
by redneckmodern
i wouldn't think that bamboo would "go" with the pavers, which seem to have a more "rustic" vibe (for lack of a better word)... perhaps a wool wall-to-wall carpet which will wear well, look great and feel wonderful under foot... and not necessitate a major project... plus, the soft to hard transition is a nice contrast. we thought about replacing the carpet in our with a hard surface,but simply too many things had to be altered/jimmied to get it to work (baseboards, transitions, etc.) and opted to keep the carpet, but upgrade from crappy white berber to a .

Posted: Sun Mar 09, 2008 11:25 am
by SDR
I like that.

Maybe someone could produce a carpet that echoes the camel-colored (?) checkerboard-with-diagonals) classic fiber rugs discussed recently elsewhere. . . ?

SDR

Posted: Sun Mar 09, 2008 4:28 pm
by jakabedy
Thanks, all.

Redneck - we do struggle somewhat with the rustic nature of the house (we call it "organic." :wink: ). It's not a place that could handle red lacquer Snaidero cabinets, but, thankfully, we don't want any of those. Anything that is done has to blend with the pavers and the various woods -- the beams, ceiling and paneling are all different.

DH is still gung ho on the bamboo, but I have cooled to it. We did peel back a corner of the carpet and found a bit of a surprise. The slab has been coated with a thick layer of some sort of epoxy, or other space-age polymer. The carpet pad then sits on that. So the slab with mystery sealant layer is flush with the top of the pavers.

I think we're going to look at some carpets, and maybe even at cork (he might like it if carpet is the other option). I think the sound-muffling that carpet and cork would offer would also be helpful in the large space.

However, I think the carpet may be the winner financially, since a fab Seeburg 1954 100R jukebox may be about to make an entrance into the house. . .

Posted: Mon Mar 10, 2008 2:24 pm
by rockland
we considered something like this at one time...wall to wall sisal.
(this is just a random google search)
http://www.sisalcarpet.com/everydaysisal.php
...even they talk about humid climates and practically talk you out of most of
their flooring!

all our flooring is 45 years old. even the very good quality wool
in the hall and bedrooms. Not ready to rip it out yet but we are looking
at options.
if you are heart-set on bamboo, your eyes will cross at all the various
qualities and options. it can be really great. some is a disaster in humid
climates. check the 'search'. i saw discussions somewhere.

i have to give cork a plug. our entry is 45 yrs old and gorgeous.

Posted: Mon Mar 10, 2008 2:52 pm
by rockland
where the living room meets the cork entry.
and the wood along the sliders.
Image
Image

not a great help because this is vintage, but it does show how the cork
tends to fade in a lovely random pattern over time.

Posted: Mon Mar 10, 2008 3:30 pm
by SDR
I believe that cork often started out with a random variation in color. The 'thirties high school library I knew well looked like that.


I spy with my little eye a dogleg in that photo. . .!

SDR

Posted: Mon Mar 10, 2008 4:15 pm
by rockland
(we had a thunderous storm, so 'bob the dog' followed me everywhere)

The original previous owners said the cork was uniform initially. We found a half box in their storage
and they are dark chocolate and even. Darker than any of the ones in the entry. They tend to age quickly and fade.
It is a gradation left to right/caddy corner, no rhyme or reason. As random as nothing could be predicted.
I can pick out an original case study cork floor in a heartbeat. it's lovely.

one thing to consider is the hard surfaces meeting flush. we have never tripped over the hard-to-carpet.
but our wood-to-terrazzo tile is flush but odd. never noticed really but like that it is flush.
that carpet is crazy olive color. (solid wood flooring under but i like the soundproofing)
Image
Image

Posted: Mon Mar 10, 2008 4:28 pm
by SDR
I think you can get either solid or variegated -- in cork or in cork-look vinyl tiles (last time I looked). But the solid is classy. . .

SDR

So we've put the cork in one room . . .

Posted: Sun Sep 07, 2008 7:14 pm
by jakabedy
I wanted to come back with an update to let you know what we decided and how it went. We decided we wanted to give the cork a shot, but in glue-down rather than the planks. We picked the least-utilized, most easily ignored bedroom for our experiment, just in case things went terribly wrong.

So, with 1' x 2' tiles and a very large can of glue, we went to work. It took us all day yesterday, and we are sore today. There are a few gaps that we still have to deal with, and we need to put on a coat or two of poly and do shoe mold, but it turned out pretty well. A floor shop's quote for floating floor in this room was about $1,500. We spent somewhere between $250 and $300.

Now we just have to decide if we have the strength and the courage to do the rest of the joint. . .

Image

Posted: Sun Sep 07, 2008 7:25 pm
by SDR
Nice. I like the pattern; I hadn't realized that 1 x 2 tiles were available. It takes a moment to realize those aren't 12" squares. . .



Keep us posted -- thanks for the update. I love your house.


SDR

Posted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 2:07 am
by johnnyapollo

Posted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 12:08 pm
by jakabedy
Thanks for the nice comments. I'm such a victim of analysis paralysis it is nothing short of a miracle when I can finally bring myself to green light something. This is the first change of any import we have made to the place in the year we have been here. Of course we also had a landscape designer out this weekend, and I can't wait to see what becomes of that.

John -

We looked at the floating products, but opted for the glue-down for continuity purposes. I wanted a seamless transition from bedroom to hall to the next bedroom, and into the closets. With the floating product, transition strips are necessary at openings, and I just didn't think I could get the look I wanted. This way, we'll only have to truly transition at the pavers. And if I can find a way to actually "shave" the tiles down a bit, we might avoid a strip there, as well.

I'm also going to see if I can find a certain roll-on adhesive for the next room, as it will be less intensive to work than the trowel-down. I just had trouble sourcing it locally and went with what was available for this first room.

Posted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 2:11 pm
by johnnyapollo
I like what you've done and far prefer "real" flooring (I call the floating stuff "fake" flooring, but more as a joke because so much of it is that fake-print melamine stuff) that's glued or nailed - I like the way it feels and it seems more honest to me. However I do understand the desire for an inexpensive, quick to apply floor. If one shops around a bit one can find a good looking floating system that very closely approximates the look of "real" flooring - I posted the info above just for reference, as I know some don't have th budget for the "real" stuff. What I don't like are the really cheap floors that remind me too much of a vinyl kitchen floor, only it looks sorta like wood. In your case I applaud your material choice and hope you didn't take my post in a negative light.

Are you coming in for the 2008 DOCOMOMO tour? It starts October 1st with the actual home tour on Saturday the 4th:
http://www.docomomoga.org/

-- Best, John

Posted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 6:22 pm
by jakabedy
I didn't take it negatively -- no worries. I thought that maybe others might find themselves where we were and I wanted to give them a head start on the process.

I've kept the Ga. Docomomo site bookmarked and looked at it just the other day, but the link didn't work right. I'm psyched that the tour date is approaching. I just got DH's commitment, so we plan to be there. We boxed ourselves in on time last time, and I don't want that to happen again. I might even try to talk him into the Friday panel discussion and a weekend in ATL. For us, that would qualify as a vacation!

Posted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 6:36 pm
by egads
I hate the clickty clack of floating floors. They sound fake even when they are not. Pergo is the worst for the reasons johnnyapollo mentions (fake look) I have one thing that will get you off the hook with me for using them: Dogs.

Posted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 7:16 pm
by Carlos Araujo
I installed cork in my living & dining rooms, stairs, entrance and hallway. It's 1X3 prefinished interlocking floating system from simplefloor.com. Did it myself with the help of my father-in-law's wood shop and know-how. Retired aeronautical engineers can be very precise. The stairs were trickier since I put on an oak nosing and was glued down. It looks and feels beautiful, especially barefoot. So far it's standing up great to the wear from my dogs and 7 year old son.