To Bevel or Not to Bevel!

On A Factory Finished Wood Floor That Is…

Here is an article by Andrew St. James, Goodwin’s Technical Consultant:

After years of observing the performance of factory finished wood floors the micro-bevel has emerged as the standard side profile for prefinished flooring. Some building owners prefer the look of square edge flooring, but it is more difficult to achieve good results with square edge prefinished wood floor.

Installation of a square edge factory finished floor demands better jobsite conditions in addition to more skill and care in the installation process. If a square edge is raised slightly higher than the adjacent board not only is there a visual problem, the potential for later damage is increased. Here are some suggestions to help improve your outcome if you choose a square edge factory finished floor:

  • The subfloor must be precisely flat to assure alignment of adjacent boards. This requires more care to achieve variation less than 3/16” out in 10 feet or 1/8” in a 6-foot radius that is normally allowed.
  • Nailing must be precise and with even pressure to avoid exposed square edges. The elastic nature of wood allows deflection if some boards are pulled down too much (or too little) when nailing. When nails are not set evenly the result can be similar to that seen with subfloor irregularities.
  • Minor seasonal cupping caused by the growth ring structure is normal in solid wood.  Boards change size and shape slightly. This slight movement is more noticeable in a square edge factory finished product.

Goodwin’s micro-bevel starts at twenty thousandths of an inch and is less after sanding and finishing. The tongue and groove help maintain alignment of the board ends. This stabilizing effect combined with the better strength properties of the end grain of the boards minimizes the need to bevel the ends.

Please send us your feedback on this short summary of Pros and Cons on To Bevel or Not To Bevel!

Beveled Edge

Goodwin’s Antique Longleaf Stained Brown Micro Beveled Edge

Goodwin’s Antique Longleaf Stained Brown Micro Beveled Edge

Pros

  • Can be very slight
  • Minimizes noticeability of misalignment
  • Normal subfloor variance within industry standards is allowed

Cons

  • Concern of dust in the groove
  • Slight line visible between boards

Square Edge

  • Suitable for an onsite finish
  • Matches existing historic flooring
  • Avoids a slight line between boards
  • Subfloor requires more care to make precisely flat
  • More skill needed to nail precisely, with even pressure
  • Any over / under increases the potential for finish failure
  • Slight movement from seasonal changes is more noticeable