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Seasonal Cabin Flooring4/7
Have an interesting situation where client needs information on what type of flooring to install in their seasonal fishing cabins. So it will get well below freezing in northeast Pennsylvania. The cabins are not heated. They’re preference is hardwood flooring 3/4” thick 3” to 4” wide.
Also in NE pa, Probably not far from each other. I would go with 4"SYP. Put it down in the summer its not going to expand come winter. Looks good,wears good and why put down expensive hardwood when its an unheated cabin??
The freezing isn't a problem. However if it isn't heated, the wood will probably aclimate to the same as Air-Dried, which will likely be around 12º MC.
If your thinking the freezing will have any effect, I would think that the ground under the house would need to freeze and stay frozen all winter. Which the answer is probably not. I have a cabin in S AR which is a lot warmer, and it is up on legs 8'. However when I go down in Winter, it is usually warmer due to solar gain, but not enough to lower the RH. The Pergo floor in the entry has swollen enough to cause the edges to bend upward.
Whatever wood choice you make, QS or edge grain will cut the seasonal change in half.
If there is a flooring mill in your area, you might get them to custom run some air-dried or 12% MC, which would take care of the chance of swelling.
I agree with the others on using air dried lumber. Additionally I see no problems with using hardwoods since that is what they want. Narrow strips in the 3" to 4" wide range will help prevent cupping.
One other point to consider is whether there is a sub-floor below or is the bottom of the floor going to be exposed to the air and ground moisture below the cabin. If it is exposed to that moisture then you might want to start with a higher than air dried moisture content. Better to have a little shrinkage than swelling.