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Thread: How to deal with column for flooring

  1. #1
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    Default How to deal with column for flooring

    Well I am well along in my hardwood flooring project in the sense that the upstairs portion and the stair landings are done. I am now getting started on the main floor. Our dining room has 2 entrances with arched tops but one of them has a pair of columns. I'm pretty sure the column is hollow and made of pine. It has a square MDF base and circular MDF cap at the top. I provided links (hopefully they work) to a couple of photos.

    I need help in dealing with the column as the flooring (3/4) will not pass under the base. Looking at it from the side I can see that it was shimmed up with wedges and nailed into place. Not certain how the top end is secured. For all I know it could have be screwed from above before the drywall went on. It's not clear if the column is structural in nature but as it is pine I can't see that it is acting as much more than a stud.

    I was wondering if the column could be safely removed and once removed I could deal with the base and cap ie make them thinner a bit, which would effectively shorten the column and allow the flooring to pass under. I would aim for a snug fit, and any little gap which isn't little enough could get the caulking treatment.

    Anyone ever run into this situation doing flooring?

    Overall shot


    Close-up of base

  2. #2
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    Default Re: How to deal with column for flooring

    Sounds like a lot of work to essentially hide a flooring joint. I suspect that getting the column in and out without damaging it and requiring significant repair might be rather difficult if not impossible. I assume you want to run the floor under the column for esthetics only? Could you not
    1) router the floor boards that will abutt the column so that they go under by 1/4" or 2) perhaps cut a rabbet into the bottom plates although I guess that will be difficult on the side that is against the wall.
    3) Alternatively just butt the floor up to the edge of the column plate and hide the joint with a small piece of quarter round.
    4) Cut the existing bottom plate cove off square, butt flooring up to edge of the modified column plate and then add a piece of quarter round to get back to the original bottom plate profile.

    Just some thoughts!
    Doug

  3. #3
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    Default Re: How to deal with column for flooring

    Tough go to make that look good withour removing the column. It doesn't look structural so you could remove it and shorten the column. It is better to support it anyway to be on the safe side. I wouldn't worry about damaging the top and bottom where it is nailed as they can be easily replaced.
    Last edited by Backflush; 08-23-2008 at 06:44 PM.

  4. #4
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    Steve

    Default Re: How to deal with column for flooring

    Bluntly put - do not touch the column; do not think of removing & replacing it. Rhetorically speaking, do you feel that every time there is an obstacle in the open it gets R&R'd? One would not R&R small counters/islands, bars, etc. Lay up toward it as though it where not there then miter or cut straight edges right up to/against it, allowing for expansion. Some small trim would probably be in order and you would need to top nail some ends that otherwise are edge nailed.

    Simple small, truly removable, items can be R&R's but this is not in that classification. It appears in the photo that your flooring will lie even with the bottom of the ogee.

    Re your comment, you are guaranteed that it is at least nailed with a couple of nails from above, or worse.

    Thank you for the excellent photos. Have you looked at some of the flooring books on this?
    http://forum.canadianwoodworking.com/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=12450&dateline=127309  6828 Wood Wreck - Structural framing specialist.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: How to deal with column for flooring

    I too would not remove the post. There's a pretty big potential can of worms in there

    You can goto a tool rental place and rent what's called a 'jamb saw'. It's basically a circular saw laid on it side, with an adjustment to cut to various heights. Used mostly by the pros to cut door jambs after they are installed, hence the name.

    If you use a sharp blade, you should be able to cut the bottom of the white plate in your picture, and tuck the flooring in under your saw cut.

    Follow this link to an example of a jamb saw: http://www.tools4flooring.com/crain-...fec73c85034c71
    Last edited by Kiely; 08-23-2008 at 08:06 PM. Reason: add link

  6. #6
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    Default Re: How to deal with column for flooring

    I was thinking along the same lines as Kiely. Treat it the same as a door jamb. If you dont want to rent a jamb saw, you could always use a flush cut saw and cut about 1/4 deep into the column and then chisel off the bottom piece. Lay the hardwood just under the column, and run a small bead of clear caulk.

    A biscuit joiner can also be used in place of a flush cut saw, but is more difficult to sue.

    Max

  7. #7
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    Default Re: How to deal with column for flooring

    Hmmmmm... you guys are giving some ideas.

    I have a jamb saw, though a handsaw version, not the power version. Hadn't thought of thinking of the column base as a jamb. The way I see it, I could either 1) use the jamb saw using scrap flooring as a spacer to locate the jamb saw in elevation, as I have for the jambs) or 2) cut off the roundover which would result in a plain square base, then add a small quarter round molding to cover the gap.

    I like #1 as it is probably the easiest overall except that on one side of the column, there isn't enough space for the saw to pass through. D'oh! I may have no choice but to do #2.

    Removing the column is an absolute last resort thing which I don't want to get into... I can see it leading to a) having to get new columns, and b) an unexpected framing, drywalling and painting project!

    Thanks for the suggestions guys.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: How to deal with column for flooring

    Problem is going to arise when you get to it as you work across the floor, There is where your WWing skills will need to come to play. You will need to be able to cope the flooring to fit the space around the column and under the plate. Although the flooring is tongue & groove you may want to cut off either the bottom of the groove or the tongue to be able to drop the piece into the gap. (This allows for close quarters rather room to lay down and slide over into the groove.)

    Another method might be to start at the column and work out each direction... (yes you can) Start by fitting the groove edge to the column bases and work across the room, then from the other side of the colum put the groove edge fitted against the colum and work the other direction, where the two grooves are butted against each other, you use a spline to replace the tongue (some Flooring manufacturers provide this but you can also cut your own) As I said your WWing skills will come to play and the results will be fine and no one will know how much trouble it caused. (but you will know)
    Bill "Hickory" Simpson

  9. #9
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    J.P.

    Default Re: How to deal with column for flooring

    Quote Originally Posted by Legacy View Post
    Hmmmmm... you guys are giving some ideas.

    I have a jamb saw, though a handsaw version, not the power version. Hadn't thought of thinking of the column base as a jamb. The way I see it, I could either 1) use the jamb saw using scrap flooring as a spacer to locate the jamb saw in elevation, as I have for the jambs) or 2) cut off the roundover which would result in a plain square base, then add a small quarter round molding to cover the gap.

    I like #1 as it is probably the easiest overall except that on one side of the column, there isn't enough space for the saw to pass through. D'oh! I may have no choice but to do #2.

    Removing the column is an absolute last resort thing which I don't want to get into... I can see it leading to a) having to get new columns, and b) an unexpected framing, drywalling and painting project!

    Thanks for the suggestions guys.
    Seems like you got the answers you need. Why don't you use the jamb saw on three sides and cut the round over off only on the side you can't access. A careful cut with a fine tooth saw and you could just fasten the off cut back in place afterward. Nobody will ever notice that small of a difference. Particularly since it's tucked into a tight place.

    It's very unlikely that those posts are structural. #1 it's far easier for the framer to frame it in the standard manner then to use the posts to carry the load. #2, you said it was shimmed with wedges. That alone says it's not load bearing.
    J.P. Rap Mount Hope Ont.
    Carpe Ductum (Seize The Tape)


    "In this world, you must be oh so smart, or oh so pleasant." Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. Elwood P. Dowd

  10. #10
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    Default Re: How to deal with column for flooring

    butt the flooring up around the column cover the expansion joint to shoe mold or quarterround. simple, cheap and effective.

  11. #11
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    Default See where the joint is

    Sand the base to see where the joint is. Cut all joints where the paint joins the base to column. Split the base off with a chisel. Put the flooring down and then put the base back on.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: How to deal with column for flooring

    Well I've decided to use an abbreviated version of what I mentioned before. I used the jamb saw on 3 sides but I won't touch the 4th side. Since that side is not highly visible, I'll just butt the floor board tight to the column, and the other end of the board will be under the quarter round. I've test fitted some scrap after cutting with the jamb saw and it looks alright so far.

    JP: I see what you mean about using the jamb saw on 3 sides and cut off the 4th side. I could then trim the height of the offcut to suit and put it back on but I am too lazy for that

    Bill: I've had to use that technique (start in middle, work in both directions) upstairs in all the rooms so far, as I have laid the flooring at 45 degrees. I had to put in some temporary blocks behind the board to keep it from moving when nailing it in. I haven't bought any splines, making them myself gave me an opportunity to use up all kinds of offcuts. The 45 degree was not originally planned for, but after removing the carpet, I discovered that the joists changed direction in the middle of the rooms.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: How to deal with column for flooring

    Quote Originally Posted by Legacy View Post
    JP: I see what you mean about using the jamb saw on 3 sides and cut off the 4th side. I could then trim the height of the offcut to suit and put it back on but I am too lazy for that
    Well I certainly understand lazy.
    Sound like you have a fine solution. I doubt the but joint will even be visible.
    J.P. Rap Mount Hope Ont.
    Carpe Ductum (Seize The Tape)


    "In this world, you must be oh so smart, or oh so pleasant." Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. Elwood P. Dowd

  14. #14
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    Default Re: How to deal with column for flooring

    I'm positive that the columns are just decorative as the header is probably just above the arch supported by 2x4's on either side of the columns , as per building code. Also, it's on a 45 degree angle in the middle of the room so it looks like a non-load bearing wall. Builders are also the cheapest people on Earth, so they would not spend an extra dollar to engineer pretty columns as structural supports. You could check by poking thin wire or nail along the top to see where you hit wood. Would have to patch and paint but at least the floor would look more professional if you could remove the column and put back after the floor is done. I highly recommend you ask a professional first just to be on the safe side.

  15. #15

    Default Re: How to deal with column for flooring

    Two words; FEIN MULTIMASTER. They are expensive but you will find yourself using it daily for years to come, perhaps you can rent one.

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