Help… I’m Moving to the Beach and I Want Wood Floors!

Sustainable Old Florida Wood Flooring

Somewhere along the way, a myth generated about wood floors not being suitable for beach homes.  Beachgoers, let me put your minds to ease.  Yes, you can have wood floors at the beach!

You see, once wood is properly installed and finished, it takes on and gives off moisture slowly over time. It becomes a seasonal event. So, it’s fine to open the doors at night and keep them closed with the AC on during the day.

The style, width and your expectations of your floor all affect your grade, installation and finish choice. You will need to keep beach sand off the floor.  This is a fairly simple task if you use mats and rugs at the doors and sweep with a good dust mop as needed. Choose your floor finish with the maintenance you want to do, or not do, in mind. Goodwin Company’s article, Which Finish Should You Use on Reclaimed Wood, has some excellent tips and guidelines to help you determine which finish will work best for you. Feel free to e-mail or call and we will be happy to send a copy to you.

The most important aspects of any wood floor installation include:

  • Ensuring the site is at the proper moisture content and acclimating the wood to the same average moisture content as you expect on average year round.
  • Using enough fasteners for a nail down application (it’s often more than you think; e.g., nail every 4” for a 7” wide floor) or using the quality elastomeric wood floor glue for a glue down application. Of course you’ll want to use proper wood floor vapor retarders for any installation method.

There is much to know, including site-specific concerns. Two more problem prevention tips we often find useful include:

  • Start the installation in the middle and nail toward one wall when installing wide wood. Glue a piece of spline in the groove of the board in the middle, then nail toward the other wall. Because each board is held down mostly on the tongue side with the nails, or flooring cleats, this technique cuts your shrink/swell in half.
  • If you have moisture intrusion concerns, or perhaps build up of moisture in the building if it won’t be occupied part of the year, consider back sealing each board with inexpensive polyurethane. This seals both sides of the boards and balances their ability to take on and give off moisture reducing the potential for cupping.

Refer to Goodwin Company’s Manufacturer’s Guidelines and the National Wood Flooring Association specifications. Your flooring professional can also give you guidance. Choose a professional with a good history who understands the local conditions. See our earlier blogs on how to choose a flooring professional.

Feel free to call Goodwin Company to learn more about how we can assist you in achieving a beautiful, durable wood floor that withstands the test of time for your beach home or office!