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Community and Q&A

Wood flooring

J C | Posted in Green Products and Materials on

What nontoxic materials do you suggest for (a) the typical felt paper that is laid between the plywood (Advantech) and hardwood to prevent squeaks and act as a moisture barrier; and (b) wood filler for defects or nail holes? Thank you!

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  1. Charlie Sullivan | | #1

    The traditional wood putty is sawdust mixed with glue or other binder such as shellac, linseed oil, beeswax, etc. Fine sawdust such as from a table saw will give a smoother result than coarser sawdust. There's usually plenty to be had at a construction site, although getting a clean batch might take some extra effort. Regular wood glue is probably the easiest binder to use and is reasonably benign. There are surely some commercial mixes that are the same thing, but mixing yourself might be less work than researching what's in the commercial products.

    I don't know much about paper under floors, but I think the common options are pink rosin paper and black roofing felt. The roofing felt is asphalt coated which I'm pretty sure you'll want to avoid. I think there are some black felt products made specifically for floors, but I don't know what they are. There also also lots of options for thicker underlayments that add some sound damping or even impact absorption.

  2. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #2

    I've installed a lot of hardwood flooring, using both asphalt felt and ordinary rosin paper. I'm never had any odor complaints when I used asphalt felt, but I would probably select rosin paper if the floor had hydronic tubing.

    Any hardwood floor job requires a few fasteners that can't be hidden. I use a Forstner bit and a plug cutter to make hardwood plugs out of the same species of wood that I am installing. Install these plugs into prepared countersunk holes with a dab of glue. After sanding, these plugs are close to invisible. Even if you notice them, they look good.

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