With reclaimed material waste factor is a huge variable. How much effort does the manufacturer take to give you a 100% usable product? Poorly milled with very little defecting and culling done on a solid wood floor that costs $6/sf and has a 15% waste factor actually costs more than a similar product that is milled better costing $7/sf with a 2% waste factor. That extra wastes costs more in shipping and labor to defect. This is one of the hardest things to demonstrate to a customer that the face value costs doesn`t necessarily represent the actual raw material cost unless one is truly comparing identical quality and specified products.
Most commonly installed are interlocking sheathing panels. This type of sheathing is generally 5/8" thick, and manufactured as either plywood or aspenite (commonly referred to as "chipboard") in 4` x 8` sheets. The sheets come with the long edges designed to interlock with a tongue on one edge, and a grove on the opposing edge. They are installed by simply pushing or pounding the sheets together, and nailing or screwing them to the joist work, in the same manner as raw sheathing. It is often the cheapest to install.
This shrinking action pulls the floor together, adding strength to the overall system. The advantages of this type of sub-floor are its strength and durability. One important note, homeowners are often disturbed by the small 1/4" wide gaps, generally left between the individual planks after the wood dries out. Although disturbing to see during construction, upon completion, the spaces are not noticeable, and really have no impact on the sub-floor components at all. Strip floors are designed to be interlocking, through lapping or spacing of joints.
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