Fine-Fitting Solid-Plank Flooring
A long-lasting, good-looking floor starts with a smart layout and strong fastening.
Wood floors hold a special place in the history of home building. In the past, master craftsmen might labor on the same floor for years, meticulously cutting each intricate inlay or pattern by hand. Even the rough, hand-scraped planks that floored the homes of wealthier commoners were still the result of a painstaking process.
Historically, wide-plank wood floors were milled with square edges from whatever wood was available on the property, and they were nailed directly to the joists. By wide, I’m talking 14 in. wide, and as these planks expanded and contracted with seasonal changes, so did the drafty cracks between them.
The wood-flooring industry as we know it today was revolutionized just before the turn of the 20th century. In 1885, a new milling machine — called a side-matcher — made blind-nailing possible by creating the first kiln-dried tongue-and-groove boards. In 1898, the end-matcher appeared; until then,…