Published at Saturday, 02 February 2019. Kitchen Floors. By Gerda Andersen.
Not all species and cuts of wood will adapt well to a radiant retrofit. Most vulnerable are soft woods like pine and hickory, especially if they are flat-sawn. If you are installing new flooring over radiant, opt for strip flooring rather than plank, and allow plenty of time for the wood to acclimate to the setting. Installing wood flooring with a high percentage of residual moisture over radiant heat can lead to early failure. For best results, look for a radiant product that puts out heat at a low, gentle setting, such as a low-voltage membrane.
Once you’ve decided on your focal point, snap a chalk line down the center of the subfloor near that starting point. You willl use it to gauge whether the tiles are placed in alignment. It is also helpful to snap a second chalk line that crosses the first at right angles. This is where you will lay your first tile. If you have never laid a tile floor before, try out the pattern with unglued tiles laid over about a quarter or so of the floor. It will help you plan how to lay the tiles most efficiently, and estimate where cuts will be needed.
Wood floors are an old-house staple—but in the harsh environment of the kitchen, wood will splinter, flake, and warp when exposed repeatedly to water. That's why early Americans quickly learned to seal wood floors with whatever was available, from homemade paint to wax and tung oil. Similarly, Victorian homeowners jumped at the chance to install water-resistant materials like linoleum and mosaic tile as soon as they became widely available in the last quarter of the 19th century.
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