Flooring Facts 101
Benefits of Wood Floors
No other flooring offers the warmth, beauty, and value of wood. Wood flooring enhances the decor of any room, and provides timeless beauty that will increase in value throughout the years. In fact, in a national survey of real estate agents, 90 percent said that houses with wood flooring sell faster and for higher prices than houses without wood floors. That's money in your pocket!
Ease of Maintenance
Maintenance of today's wood floors is easy! New technology in stains and finishes call for regular cleaning that takes little more than sweeping and/or vacuuming, with occasional use of a professional wood floor cleaning product. You will want to use a cleaning product recommended by your flooring manufacturer, installer, or other wood flooring professional. This will ensure that you use the proper cleaner for your type of flooring and finish.
Wood floors are ecologically friendly. Since it is a natural resource, wood is both renewable and recyclable. Many of yesteryears old wood ships , warehouses, barns, and other structures often find a second life in wood flooring. And, because wood does not collect dust and other allergens, many leading health associations agree that wood floors are the perfect choice for a healthy home.
Todays wood floors are affordable. Over time, wood floors maintain their value. When other flooring options are looking tired and worn out, wood floors will still look beautiful and timeless.
Wood floors have come a long way in the past few years. Today, there are more styles, colors and species of wood flooring available than ever before. Whether you are looking for traditional Oak, rustic Pine, exotic Wenge or trendy Bamboo, you are sure to find a color and style to fit your decor.
The information found herein is designed to be a helpful guide and is not meant to be all inclusive or to take the place of your installer. For cement glue downs, it is highly recommended to consult with a professional flooring installer for their advice as they could best see all the issues that may pertain with your specific installation.
Wood, Cork, & Laminate floorings will need to acclimate in the installation area from 3 to 7 days. The room should be conditioned to between 65 and 85 degrees F and 35-55% relative humidity. Maintain these levels. If it is a new construction, HVAC system should be functional and wet trades complete prior to installation. Reschedule wood installation until corrections are made. Poor acclimation can result in excessive board squeaking, gaps and is not manufacturer related.
Possibly the largest reason for floor or adhesive failure. Check moisture content in hardwood, it should be around 6-9% not to exceed 12-14%. Continue the acclimation process until these conditions are met. Be sure to record all moisture measurements. Concrete slab not to exceed 4% (meter Testing required) Excessive moisture can result in board edge cupping and is not manufacturer related.
Keep in mind that wood is a natural product so no two floor boards will be identical. Variations in appearance (grain, color, etc.), are completely normal. Many exotic floors will develop a richer, darker color (patina) as they age. This will develop evenly if you shift rugs and furniture and should be complete within approximately 6 to 8 months. Color change in wood is not manufacturer related.
1. The installer is the final quality inspector.
Defective boards "scrap" should be set aside or relocated to hidden places (such as a closet) by the installer. If a board has an unacceptable defect (hole, split, crack, etc.) the installer should cut it out or set it aside.
i. On average, 5% of any wood floor purchased from any manufacturer may need to be set aside. Some species like Australian Cypress may have a larger expected scrap ratio due to the characteristics of the species. Replace these boards using the added 5 to 10% of material ordered for the job.
ii. If you have a higher than average scrap rate and are unable to complete your installation, take samples to the store nearest you.
iii. The use of stain, touch-up pen or filler stick for correction during installation is accepted as normal procedure.
iv. Generally, a minimum of 5% must be added to the actual square footage needed as allowance for cutting waste for domestic woods and 8-10% for exotics.
2. "Racking Out" the floor or laying out each piece allows the installer to visually inspect the flooring for imperfections that can be cut out or adjustments made before installing.
3. "Repairs" - Always keep a partial box from your initial installation for any future repairs or board replacement.
4. "Touch-up markers" or color filler sticks used for correcting nicks or chips during and after pre-finished wood installation is a normal procedure.
We recommend the selection of one of the more stable species for glue-down applications. Stability is a term that refers to how resistant an installed wood floor is to changes in temperature and humidity. Engineered floors are preferred for cement installations. With good planning many solids will also work.
Adhesives and Moisture Barriers
When installing 3/8" solid flooring use Bostiks Best Urethane adhesive 1 BBA and their #8 trowel. When installing engineered floor, use Bostiks EFA and their #8 or #9 trowel. When concrete moisture levels are above 5% and/or the slab was poured prior to the 1970s, a moisture vapor protector such as Bostiks MVP applied with their #9 trowel must be used with the adhesive to prevent any potential moisture from being absorbed by the floor. Many solid wood (Shorts) may be appropriate for glue-down as recommended by the adhesive manufacturer. Be sure to have on hand the recommended urethane adhesive remover. Cured adhesive is very difficult to remove from the surface of the floor and may cloud or etch the finish causing permanent damage! Mineral spirits may used to remove wet adhesive.
For the best possible warranty, avoid compatibility issues. Do not mismatch adhesive and moisture barriers. Use products from the same adhesive family. Manufactures do not offer warranties for other manufactures products.
Concrete Moisture testing NOFMA procedures
There are several methods to test the slab for high moisture. Moisture testing only confirms current levels that are currently present and does not forecast future levels.
What is the acceptable moisture limits in concrete before installation of wood flooring?
a. Calcium Chloride test - 2 test kits per 1000ft. Test center of floor and exterior wall areas. If the concrete tests higher than 3 lbs, the slab is not acceptable and the glue may not bond well.
b. Phenolphthalein KIT - Chip the concrete and apply 3 or more drops of the solution to the test area.
If the color changes to pink or red, the presence of moisture is indicated. Test several areas especially near exterior walls and walls containing plumbing. Moisture content must not exceed 3% as read on the upper scale of this meter.
c. Tramex concrete Moisture Meter - used to determine whether the moisture in the concrete is acceptable, ready to begin installation. Moisture not to exceed 4.5% (Surface type meters will only measure moisture at the top 1 inch of the slab.) New slabs typically must cure for 90 days prior to installation.
d. Plastic sheeting and Duct tape method - This test only establishes the presence of moisture. Meters establish the true levels. Duct tape a 18 inch square piece of 6mm clear sheet plastic on the concrete floor. Ensure that the plastic is airtight then set a table lamp next to it. If after 24-48 hours droplets of water exist between the plastic and cement, a moisture barrier will be required. As a precaution, We recommend using a moisture vapor barrier whether or not moisture is present due to potential changing conditions. For more information, go to www.NOFMA.org.
a. Determine if concrete sealers have been applied and remove by scarifying the surface as recommended by the adhesive manufacturers instructions. Urethane flooring adhesives will not adhere to concrete sealers.
Engineered wood is the floor of choice for direct glue-downs. A few adhesive manufacturers are willing to warrant 3/4" solid wood for these installations. Those that do require the use of shorts or board length sizes under 48" (such as our Va Millworks).
However, 5/16, 3/8, 1/2 and 5/8 solid flooring may be glued to cement but can be a more difficult installation when compared to engineered. The longer solid boards can be twisted or bowed right out of the box. While this may not be an issue when nailing, these can present problems when gluing down. When working with solid wood it is advisable not to remove the plastic binding straps holding the boards secure until ready to install. Thus ensuring straighter boards. Do not lay out more boards that can be installed the day of installation. Culling or selecting out these boards can produce greater than normal waste that should be accounted for when ordering. Boards with slight bows can be cut in half then used. For these reasons we recommend the use of professional flooring installers for solid wood glue-down installations.
Due to the rigidity of solid wood, these require a flat surface (deflection not to exceed 3/16 in 10ft). Floor flatness issues can be corrected by filling low areas with cement patch and grinding down high spots. Blue painters tape (#2080) can be used to help keep surrounding boards grouped together while the adhesive cures. Some installers use straps in an effort to tighten up their glue-down installations. Caution is needed. Be aware that over-strapping can produce board lifting, peaking, board-edge crushing, or glue-bond failure. We also recommend using a 75lb roller to ensure adhesive transfer and evenness of the board edges.