Ask An Architect
Q I have three questions regarding flooring. First, I plan to put a wood floor over a concrete slab and want ``spring'' in it for dancing. What do you recommend to underlay the wood to minimize the thickness? Second, I have a second-story room with a subfloor and now want to install new vinyl flooring. However, I do not want to transmit the noise of walking on the floor to the guest room below. Can you suggest a sound-deadener material? And third, I have a considerable area of outside wood decking which is in continual need of repainting. Can you suggest a more permanent finish? Gordon M. Kull
In the order of your questions, here goes:
1. If the dancing is done with soft-sole shoes, such as tennis shoes, I recommend a synthetic sports surface made of dense rubber sheet goods, such as one made by Robbins Inc., PO Box 44238, Cincinnati, Ohio 45244. The company also makes maple gym floors.
A wood-floor system consists of three-quarter-inch boards (or five-eighths-inch plywood) nailed to 11/2-inch (2-by-4s laid flat), pressure-treated wood sleepers set in mastic. Leave space around the edge of the wood floor for expansion caused by moisture.
2. The problem here is to eliminate noise transmission between the floors. It can only be done by separation. You can either overlay the existing subfloor with a five-eighths-inch soundboard (Cel-O-Tex makes such a product) and place one-half-inch plywood over it and then the vinyl covering, or suspend a new gypsum-board ceiling on acoustical channels in the room below.
3. Exterior decking always presents a problem because it is subject to constant moisture, sun, and traffic.
First, you'll have to remove the old paint and sand down to natural wood.
The best solution I have found is to use an Olympic, Cuprinol, or other good semitransparent penetrating stain. The pigment retards the ultraviolet deterioration while the preservative keeps the wood from rotting.
I recommend a light color because dirt and dust are light. You will still have to repaint the decking every couple of years, especially in high-traffic areas, but it won't be a very laborious job. To the real estate editor:
I noticed a letter in the March 8 issue asking if anyone knows of a way to prevent woodpeckers from pecking and drilling holes in a house. I hit upon a little idea that has defeated the persistent fellows most successfully.
My house is two stories, shingled, but I think the method can work on any kind of house.
I took a nine-inch aluminum pie pan, such as frozen dessert pies come in, punched a hole near the rim of the pan, inserted ordinary twine one or two yards in length through the hole, and then suspended the plate from a small nail driven under a windowsill.
I have managed to suspend a plate elsewhere by using a stepladder and nail in the area near where a woodpecker has been working. The plate twirls and swivels in a gentle breeze, clatters in a wind, and on good days reflects the light or brilliant sun. It works like a wonder. It's not necessary to leave a plate hanging for more than a day or two.