- Q.We build a lot of
reproduction Colonial homes and have problems with wide pine
flooring shrinking, warping, and splitting. What is the best
way to control this?
A. There is only one way to control shrinking
—use dry lumber. You should use a moisture meter to make sure
that the flooring has no more than 11% moisture content. In
order to get this, it may have to be ordered special from the
drying kiln, or you can sticker and air-dry the flooring for
several months before use. It used to be common practice to
store flooring in the house at least 60 days before it was
installed to allow the wood to come into equilibrium with the
To prevent splitting, wide flooring should have
tongue-and-groove or half-lapped edges. Toenail the board at
the tongue (or bottom lap) and then drive a screw about 1 1/2
inches from the groove (or overlapping edge) along the joists.
Predrill an oversized pilot for the screw (see illustration).
The pilot hole should be several sizes larger than the screw
shank to allow the wood to move on the screw without splitting.
The counterbored screw hole is then plugged for appearance.