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Thread: RE: OT . . . Engineered wood floor

  1. #1
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    Default RE: OT . . . Engineered wood floor

    I've purchased an engineered wood floor (plywood with wood veneer) for my living room . . . due to the fact that I needed a thin wood vs. thicker wood floor and I got a good deal at "Mah-dens."

    My question for anyone in the know . . . the manufacturer doesn't recommend installing this on particle board . . . well nailing it or stapling it . . . which of course is what my 1970s vintage house has for a subfloor. I would rather not rip up the particle board and replace it . . . and simply throwing a layer of plywood on top of this floor will not work due to short ceiling heights and a tall grandfather clock.

    So here's the gist of my question . . . or maybe it's questions . . . so far all I can tell is that particle board is not recommended subfloor material due to possible concerns with its holding power for nails and the possibility of swelling due to moisture. To my knowledge this floor has been down since the house was built in the mid-1970s and it shows no sign of swelling and ripping out the carpet tacks and staples was a bugger . . . which makes me wonder if the particle board might be OK to staple the engineered floor . . . or would I be better off gluing it down (I could go the floating floor route, but most floating floors I have seen have a cheap feel to them as they don't feel very "solid".)

    Any suggestions? Staple 'er down and don't worry about it? Glue down? Float 'er and be safe?
    "Courage is not the absence of fear, but the realization that there is something more important than fear."

    "Death is only one of many ways to die."

  2. #2
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    glue em, then nail em, then weld em down.


    (does this mean were gunna have a "tear up jakes floor party" ???)
    Once the game is over, the king and the pawn go back in the same box.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hiram357 View Post
    glue em, then nail em, then weld em down.


    (does this mean were gunna have a "tear up jakes floor party" ???)
    Don't cha remember . . . we already tore up the old carpeting and carpet pad. It's still sitting on the front lawn . . . I keep hoping someone will come along and decide that they really need an old mint green carpet for their house.
    "Courage is not the absence of fear, but the realization that there is something more important than fear."

    "Death is only one of many ways to die."

  4. #4
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    Jake you probably don't have particle board in the sense the manufacturers of your engineer floor are talking. What I would assume they are worried about is the stuff you find in house trailers. Spill a glass of water on it and it swells to a foot thick. I would think you have some form of loose strand board if it's your sub floor. Is it tongue and groove jointed, can you see strands of wood or is it more like sawdust? Particle board when dry is hard as a rock and will crumble into sawdust if you can get at an edge with a hammer. Nails when pulled out of particle board usually tear out a chuck of material with the nail.

    What you could do is run a garden hose on the floor for a hour or so and see what happens.

    My son Paul and I have been installing quite a few of the so called floating floors and so far they are all doing great. Easy to do, hold up well to traffic, come in a variety of patterns, can't beat it.

    As far as your floor is concerned, try driving a nail that is to be use with the engineered flooring into your sub floor, see how it holds. If it holds ok and the floor hasn't swelled since 1970, then I would say go ahead and install it.

  5. #5
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    I sell lumber and hardwood flooring. You couldn't have done hardwood any thinner than 5/8", and even at 5/8" you risk snapping the groove. Most floors are 3/4". Liquid Nails is perfect for gluing down flooring, but let me run this question past my boss in the morning. After he scoffs and laughs at me for mentioning engineered flooring, I'll make him answer me, and get back to you. Usually, installers will glue and blind nail them on the tongue. I take it there is no radiant heat underneath? No pipes to worry about?

    With wood, you want the substrate and the floorboards to be no more than 10% different in moisture content, if the back of the engineered floor is wood too (even plywood) let them acclimate in the room first, which by now is probably already done. The key to gluing is the substrate has to be CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN! Don't let any glue come up between, and don't let dust and debris get into the glue, or underneath.

    At the risk of sounding like an ad, this is good info. If you go to our website, there are links to a lot of information about woods, and wood products, like the National Hardwood Flooring Association, etc, and there is probably something in there about engineered woods.
    www.kellogghardwoods.com is where I work.

    Planet (from CT)

  6. #6
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    Thumbs up Vic's right

    The manufacturer will not recommend particle board for 2 reasons. First there are many variations of the product out there and 2, particle board is NOT a stable material suitable for wood flooring of any type. Even laminate, engineered, and real hardwood strip flooring. It will be up to you to examine the subfloor to see if YOU think it will be suitable. Once you lay the flooring do not go back to the manufacturer for a warranty. Looking at where you bought it, you already know you will be getting a warranty anyways. DO NOT GLUE IT DOWN!! EVER!! Not in a older house such as yours. Trust me on this one. Try to staple it and see if they hold. Your older house is going to be moving during the seasons, ( no not to Florida for the winter), and that movement in the floors would buckle the flooring if you glue it down. And that would destroy all of your hard work. At least if you nail it you might get a few pops but after snagging your socks on them just simply re-set them. The only approved subflooring would be a BC grade plywood, at least 4 layers, or 5/8" thick. Lay the plywood down with the voids toward the joists so the top layer is smooth. Or as we say......Clean, flat and level. And do not forget to acclamate the flooring in the room you will be installing it in for at least 72 hours before installing it.

    Hope this helps.
    Why not live life like it is your last day....instead of pretending to be a member of the Peter Pan Club and believing you will be around forever.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Team2hunt View Post
    The manufacturer will not recommend particle board for 2 reasons. First there are many variations of the product out there and 2, particle board is NOT a stable material suitable for wood flooring of any type. Even laminate, engineered, and real hardwood strip flooring. It will be up to you to examine the subfloor to see if YOU think it will be suitable. Once you lay the flooring do not go back to the manufacturer for a warranty. Looking at where you bought it, you already know you will be getting a warranty anyways. DO NOT GLUE IT DOWN!! EVER!! Not in a older house such as yours. Trust me on this one. Try to staple it and see if they hold. Your older house is going to be moving during the seasons, ( no not to Florida for the winter), and that movement in the floors would buckle the flooring if you glue it down. And that would destroy all of your hard work. At least if you nail it you might get a few pops but after snagging your socks on them just simply re-set them. The only approved subflooring would be a BC grade plywood, at least 4 layers, or 5/8" thick. Lay the plywood down with the voids toward the joists so the top layer is smooth. Or as we say......Clean, flat and level. And do not forget to acclamate the flooring in the room you will be installing it in for at least 72 hours before installing it.

    Hope this helps.
    I AGREE ALL THE WAY.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by vicbiker View Post
    Jake you probably don't have particle board in the sense the manufacturers of your engineer floor are talking. What I would assume they are worried about is the stuff you find in house trailers. Spill a glass of water on it and it swells to a foot thick.

    nope, that's the kinda stuff he has, and you can see the areas that have swelled from water damage.
    Once the game is over, the king and the pawn go back in the same box.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by vicbiker View Post
    Jake you probably don't have particle board in the sense the manufacturers of your engineer floor are talking. What I would assume they are worried about is the stuff you find in house trailers. Spill a glass of water on it and it swells to a foot thick. I would think you have some form of loose strand board if it's your sub floor. Is it tongue and groove jointed, can you see strands of wood or is it more like sawdust? Particle board when dry is hard as a rock and will crumble into sawdust if you can get at an edge with a hammer. Nails when pulled out of particle board usually tear out a chuck of material with the nail.

    What you could do is run a garden hose on the floor for a hour or so and see what happens.

    My son Paul and I have been installing quite a few of the so called floating floors and so far they are all doing great. Easy to do, hold up well to traffic, come in a variety of patterns, can't beat it.

    As far as your floor is concerned, try driving a nail that is to be use with the engineered flooring into your sub floor, see how it holds. If it holds ok and the floor hasn't swelled since 1970, then I would say go ahead and install it.
    Oh, it's particle board all right . . . and not OSB . . . the same stuff that after a fire swells up so bad that you would swear you're knock down drunk as you attempt to walk across the floor with its many dips and crests. The folks that had this house before me did everything on the cheap . . . and now I'm paying the price as I renovate it slowly and surely.

    Since this floor has been there since the mid-70s and has gone through numerous carpet shampooing and at least one leak due to a design flaw with the original house plans and there is no visible swelling (although there are watermarks indicating water was there at one time) I think I might just try your idea with the staples . . . try one section and see how it holds since the two issues I have heard with particle board is the potential for fastener failure and moisture issues. I might also run a layer of sealant over it before I put down the flooring.

    I figure worse comes to worse I could glue it (more money and I still wonder how this would be any different in terms of moisture issues and holding power) or go with floating . . . although most floating floors I have walked on feel like floating floors . . . they don't sound solid.
    "Courage is not the absence of fear, but the realization that there is something more important than fear."

    "Death is only one of many ways to die."

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Planet View Post
    I sell lumber and hardwood flooring. You couldn't have done hardwood any thinner than 5/8", and even at 5/8" you risk snapping the groove. Most floors are 3/4". Liquid Nails is perfect for gluing down flooring, but let me run this question past my boss in the morning. After he scoffs and laughs at me for mentioning engineered flooring, I'll make him answer me, and get back to you. Usually, installers will glue and blind nail them on the tongue. I take it there is no radiant heat underneath? No pipes to worry about?

    With wood, you want the substrate and the floorboards to be no more than 10% different in moisture content, if the back of the engineered floor is wood too (even plywood) let them acclimate in the room first, which by now is probably already done. The key to gluing is the substrate has to be CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN! Don't let any glue come up between, and don't let dust and debris get into the glue, or underneath.

    At the risk of sounding like an ad, this is good info. If you go to our website, there are links to a lot of information about woods, and wood products, like the National Hardwood Flooring Association, etc, and there is probably something in there about engineered woods.
    www.kellogghardwoods.com is where I work.

    Planet (from CT)
    Good stuff . . . thanks for the response.

    I don't have the product in front of me, but I would guess that it's 3/8-5/8 inches in depth . . . as I said, plywood with a thin veneer on top. The manufacturer's instructions specifically state it can be stapled, glued or floated . . . I would prefer stapling for the ease and solid feel that I am hoping to achieve with this flooring.

    If I go with Plan B and glue it down I would most likely follow the manufacturer's instructions and trowel the glue, lay down the flooring and roll the floor.

    There is no radiant heat underneath . . . baseboard heat and a woodstove in the room which provides radiant heat.

    Acclimated the wood . . . check . . . I knew to do that.

    Thanks again for the reply . . . I've got some out-laws down your way . . . how close to you, I'm not sure . . . mother-in-law lives in Ellington and my brother-in-law/sledding partner (currently he has three sleds stored at my house vs. my single sled) lives in Stafford Springs (home to some pretty good pizza by the way at the SS House of Pizza.)
    "Courage is not the absence of fear, but the realization that there is something more important than fear."

    "Death is only one of many ways to die."

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