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.
As a reoccurring theme in this article you will find that you often get what you pay for. Admittedly, the higher end price point products ($11+/sf) from more rare woods are not necessarily better quality but we find that up to that point quality improves with price. Our solid wood floors range in price from $4-9 per square foot and our engineered ranges from $7-15 per square foot. We will discuss applications below, but our point is that you need to have a realistic budget when shopping. Sometimes a nice alternative if you have your heart set on an expensive floor is to use less of it and put it just in key areas. Don`t do the whole house. Maybe just do the main high traffic areas and use a cheaper alternative in bedrooms.
One drawback is that this type of floor requires special hanger systems designed for the joists, to enable them to be hung from each other or against beams/bearing walls. Manufactured joists are becoming a popular flooring system, for they are relatively cheap, reduce labour time and provide adequate support. However, builders need to familiarize themselves with its installations, for poor installation can cause severe structural damage to the joists. A good example is a three point, center bearing joist, left with the top chord uncut, which can potentially fail or pull apart, over the center bearing point.
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