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Mistakes To Avoid When Installing Engineered Wood Flooring

Engineered wood flooring is a product that is fast growing in popularity, with its high price-value point attracting consumers, and its installation flexibility making it a no-nonsense flooring for both contractors and installers. With this in mind, we conducted a review of mistakes that manufacturers of engineered hardwood installation tools, flooring adhesives, and moisture meters suggests one should avoid when installing. We then closed by narrowed down our research to the best ways to lay out this type of floor. Here is a summary of our findings.

Engineered Wood Flooring

Selecting the wrong adhesive

Wood Gregory, President of AAT (Advanced Adhesive Technology), tells that the biggest mistake contractors and installers are making is failing to prep the subfloor. He said, “On must check that the subfloor is safe from moisture and that it is indeed dry. Engineered floors, although they are usually stable, are adversely affected by moisture. He continued and said, “Another common mistake we witness is failure to make the subfloor perfectly flat. This gives rise to claims that the engineered wood floor is not well bonded. To be specific, it results in hollow spots through which the engineered flooring pops up as it is trafficked on.” “Most of these call backs could be eliminated if the substrate is made appropriately flat before installation.” He concluded.

On the same point, Darche Dave, the adhesives marketing manager for Bona sales, says that moisture issues can be more severe with engineered wood flooring than with solid timber. He says, “A solid that absorbs a lot of moisture but rarely quite lays it back down can still be refinished and sanded. Based on the thickness of its lamella, an engineered wood floor may deform so much that conventional sanding might end up removing an entire layer, resulting in a complete tear out and need for replacement.”

Failing to Glue

Dave tells that failure to glue the floor has a lot of negative effects. He said, “Even when it could be nailed, floated or stapled, gluing hardwood flooring has some advantaged including lowering IIC rating from footfalls and all other noises. However, some adhesives can create problems since they can create a type of pre-finished surface during installation. Dave said, “Most manufacturers are addressing this concern by designing products that allow advanced formulations. Further, I believe several manufacturers are designing engineered wood flooring that allow increased application capability, in both structural and visual perspectives.”

Installing on Wet Slabs

According to Bostik Hardwood product manager, Kurtz Eric, failing to test for moisture level and installing on wet slabs results in a range of problems such as crowning, cracking, buckling, cupping, and end-lifting. He said, “When installing engineered hardwood floors as a floating floor is a famous option, “the biggest problem with floating floors is separations triggered by contraction and expansion of the wood due to variation in humidity levels. Separation can also be caused by the louder “hollow” sound when the woods are not tightly adhered to the subfloor, resulting in many installers seeking out sound-dampening under layments.” “It is also hard to achieve floating installations if the engineered wood flooring is longer and wider. As planks widen, most installers require nailing or gluing of the flooring. He added. Scot Larry, Vice President of Field technical service, tells that all wooden flooring, no matter how good it is installed, is prone to moisture fluctuations. He advises, “Every subfloor should be tested and cleaned for moisture vapor transmission before installation. The reading should be recorded for future references if problems arise.”

Engineered Wood Flooring

Poor Substrate Preparation

Whenever exposed to moisture conditions, “Engineered wood flooring expands and contracts vertically via the length of the plank, this can result in end lifting at points where planks meet. It can also elevate the grain of the wood causing cracking of veneers. A phenomenon called face checking.” He warns that poor substrate preparation is a sin. He says, “Sub-floors preparation is always vital for any installation. However, longer and wider planks call for even more attention to substrate detail. The substrate has to be flattened and fully smoothed to the recommended limitations of the manufacturer.”

Wrong Method of Installation

The marketing manager for Titebond (Franklin International), Mark Lamano, advises that due to the cross ply construction of engineered flooring, signs of moisture damage in products may appear different from those in solid hardwoods. “Staining, end-lifting, face checking and delamination can all be attributed to moisture levels that are above the manufacturers allowed limits.” He added that although engineered flooring is meant to be installed on more substrates in many ways than solid hardwood floors, there still exist a few limitations. He states, “It’s wrong to think that all engineered products can be installed in infinitely any way possible. Some types of engineered wood flooring can be installed in some applications. Others cannot; based on the product features. Some engineered flooring can be stapled, glued or nailed. Others cannot.

Using Adhesive that Contain Water

Foffredo Ron, H.B Fuller Construction product senior manager, posted that installers working with engineered hardwood floors should use adhesives that contain no water. He quoted modified silicone adhesive and moisture-cure urethane as best choices. He said that to avoid problems when installing engineered wood flooring on cement substrate, “deflections or voids should be filled with cementitious patch of self-leveling underlayment. An improperly prepared substrate can result in installation failures.“ He concluded.

Biondo Sam, Senior technical services consultant, and national presenter, said engineered wood flooring reacts differently than solid hardwood flooring when exposed to moisture. “This is because engineered hardwood has grains that run in multiple directions; expansion due to presence of moisture goes in multiple directions as opposed to primarily lengthwise for solid hardwoods.’

“Thus, understanding acclimation is vital to installing engineered wood flooring.” He said. “For example, here in Singapore, a product may arrive with 6%-7% moisture content, but it needs to be acclimated to 8-9 percent prior to installation to avoid swelling due to forced expansion. Well, these are some of the things dealers in hardwood flooring products says you should be aware. Do you have more mistakes that you feel installers need to know to deliver a better job? Feel free to share your views with us by adding your comments in the box below. You are also welcome to share this post via social media. We love interacting with our readers.

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