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Home » Installation » Glueing plank oak

Unfinished, prefinished, subfloor prep, etc.
12/31/2011 8:28:31 AM

Jeff
Jeff
Posts: 307
I bid a job yesterday and am thinking of trying something new for me. It is 1400ft of solid #1 red oak 6", on two floors of the home but the majority is over a basement. We're in Iowa so tempature and humidity will vary A LOT over the year. My supplier asked if I was going to glue it. I don't install much flooring that wide to be honest so I have a question.

If I glue it even just on the joist I will not be able to put vapor barrier, I am asking for trouble?

Thanks, Jeff
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1/5/2012 3:54:10 PM

jfcwood
jfcwood
Posts: 195
I'm in Florida so my situation is completely different from yours but I can't imagine that 6" oak would be any more stable in Iowa. I prefer to glue any solid hardwood plank over 4" wide, in addition to nailing. The wood should be stickered and stored inside on-site until it's properly acclimated .
You could use a barrier like Proflex 40 over the subfloor. I have used various urethane glues but I like using Stauff WFR930 because it is less messy, has better grab and open time is more forgving. I don't know if it's compatible with the Proflex because we're generally going directly over plywood that has a vapor/moisture barrier between it and the concrete subfloor.
You likely won't stop the wood from shrinking and showing cracks but at least you might minimize cupping.

I'd say you are asking for trouble so you better educate yourself so you educate your customer and make sure he/she has reasonable expectations.
edited by jfcwood on 1/5/2012
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1/5/2012 5:52:09 PM

TDMAC
TDMAC
Posts: 1323
It would seem very prudent to use the great multi ply products from Owens, Real wood, Graf Bros that have a super 8mm or thicker solid sawn or slice face wear layer.
The stability factor would eliminate most worries and the unfinished products are not that much higher cost than solid wood products.
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1/6/2012 3:38:10 PM

jfcwood
jfcwood
Posts: 195
Funny, I was thinking the same thing. We're doing a job now where one room didn't have enough recess for subfloor and floor so we installed an engineered 5/8" x 5" R&Q WO. Other than the solid feel underfoot there's no difference.
Do you have your number wrong? I think Owens has a 4.5mm or 4.7mm surface.
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1/6/2012 5:48:38 PM

TDMAC
TDMAC
Posts: 1323
Yeah , wrong numbers. 4.5mm is about right! I don't understand your 'solid feeling underfoot' comment. 5/8" vs 3/4" ? I wouldn't know the difference if I weren't told. The grain being the same and Ply vs solid nailed over a sub floor has never felt different to me; Maybe psychological?? smilesmile
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1/11/2012 3:15:28 PM

jfcwood
jfcwood
Posts: 195
An incomplete explanation on my part. I'm doing a job where three areas had enough recess to use solid wood over plywood while the fourth area did not. The floor over nailed over plywood seems to have more give but it could be strictly psychological or due to the different sound.
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1/16/2012 4:59:57 PM

order1450
order1450
Posts: 3
I would like some information on the Proflex 40 . Does it take the place of 15# or 30# felt ?
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1/17/2012 12:03:05 PM

jfcwood
jfcwood
Posts: 195
To my understanding, felt paper was mainly used in older houses for insulation. At least that's the case here in older houses with diagonal board subfloors. It's not much of a moisture barrier.
Proflex 40 CISM is billed as a crack suppression underlayment. http://proflex.us/cism.html
We've been using it as a moisture/vapor barrier. My concern with the application specified above would be that if the 6" plank is subjected to humidity extremes it might cause it to cup and pull the membrane off the subfloor. I don't see it as likely but despite all my years in this trade I still see unique occurences that my experience doesn't help me predict.
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1/19/2012 8:43:53 AM

Joe Clarke
Joe Clarke
Posts: 27
Jeff,
Bottom line--you are out on your own if you glue a 6" solid plank 3/4 product without also nailing, unless the manufacturer has written instructions detailing their recommended glue only procedure. The NOFMA recommended procedure limits the width to 5" and applies only to NOFMA certified product. During my 35+ years in the business, I have never seen a manufacturer with written instructions for only gluing solid wide plank flooring. For wide plank products proper acclimation (prior to installing the flooring planks tight together) to a moisture content approximating the yearly seasonal average is critical. The flooring will NOT acclimate to the correct moisture content by simply placing it in the home during the heating season. Typically, the longer the wood stays in the heating environment- the lower the moisture content will become and the wood usually will NOT be at the average yearly seasonal norm. In my experience, I have found that backsealing the properly acclimated product proir to installation helps tremendously in keeping the wood at a more uniform yearly average moisture content. I would NEVER glue any solid product to any on grade slab without a PROPER moisture barrier (unless the manufacturer has specifically given written instructions, such as certain Bruce brand thin products). Many of my inspections are performed on improperly acclimated wide plank flooring installed during the heating season. The installer needs to have a good working knowledge of the local area expected seasonal EMC% to be consistantly successful with solid wide plank flooring. Hope you find this information hepful.

Joe
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1/19/2012 9:28:21 AM

johannes
johannes
Posts: 410
Jeff/Joe,

My take on installing wide plank flooring this time of the year (even when properly acclimated which means very dry if the RH in the space is not religously kept between 40-50 % is that it will expand in the summer and will develop edge crush and show "cupping", next as it shrinks the next heating season it will develop gaps which likely remain the next summer/humid season.
I believe that Jeff is already insinuating that in his reply! Acclimating now will only assure that the flooring will not expand excessively immediately after it is installed, the problems will develop next summer!

I feel the best time to install wide plank flooring is to install it when the jobside conditions are perfectly between both extremes, so the best time would be sometime in the late spring/early summer. Then use adhesive/nailing to install. "Back-priming" plank flooring certainly helps but don't get the sealer on the T&G, make sure to use a primer/sealer that is compatible with the adhesive that is used (check with the adhesive manufacturer, I would select a sealer that they recommend along with their adhesive regardles if that would be applied on concrete or wood and you can apply a coat on the subfloor to if you like). Remember that Polyurethane adhesive cures by moisture absorption so sealing the flooring and subfloor will retard the cure, allow for the extended cure time in that case.

If worried about lack of a "moisture barrier" simply seal the subfloor from below with a couple coats of OMU when it is at the driest point (shortly after the winter before the himidity rises again. The point is to reduce potential of moisture to get in from below.

Also, make it very clear that the homeowners need to make sure that the RH in the basement is controlled well at all times, this means running a large capacity dehumidifier in the summer (important because most homeowners do not run AC in a basement even when it is finished).

ps. QS or Rift is the preferred choice ofcourse and even consider a good quality engineerd if this is in a "very risky" environment. Present the options to them with an explanation why.

Johannes.
edited by johannes on 1/19/2012
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1/19/2012 9:55:06 AM

Stephen Perrera
Stephen Perrera
Posts: 1005
There's some great 3/4 and 5/8 engineered wide plank out there you can sand down as many times as solid, why risk it? I floated one over concrete with 6mil, floormuffler and only had a 3/8 inch gap due to customer crying about pullin his new base. Made it through the very humid summer with no problems at all. It did shrink a tad in June when it was very dry, so the client just upped the humidifier.
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1/19/2012 9:59:34 AM

Stephen Perrera
Stephen Perrera
Posts: 1005
Selva Lee Tucker wrote:
No huffing for me,
They said the color just started to disappear or fad shortly after installation, and yes Mr. Inspector Stephen, there is still some gloss, I wonder why that happen
Mr TouchDown! Are you saying that stuff is not to be used in a consumers home?
I don't take anything stronger than whiskey into a home or myself, at my age not much of that, if any.



I think TD needs to go back and look at the pics. I looked at a bamboo that did that once. They said the finish had UV protection in it. hmmmm
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1/20/2012 11:33:46 PM

Joe Clarke
Joe Clarke
Posts: 27
Johannas,

Our basic recommendations to Jeff are consistent one with the other. We successfully install wide plank flooring any time of year by acclimating the flooring, prior to the install, to moisture content that is near the local yearly seasonal average EMC%. In my area that EMC% is the mid spring to early summer or late fall to early winter EMC%. Different geographic (and community) locations may have a different yearly seasonal average EMC%. I do the thorough acclimation in a humidity controlled building, with lots of forced air circulation, at our shop location. I do not try to do it at a heated jobsite during the winter(cupping or edge lift in the summer). Likewise, I do not acclimate the flooring to a complete late summer MC%(gaps in winter).We make certain that the jobsite and installation method will not allow the flooring to be subjected to unusual amounts of moisture vapor.We then allow the jobsite to adjust to whatever the actual seasonal MC% is for the location. Plywood (this process works best with plywood subflooring) will move around only very small amounts from normal seasonal moisture change and movement if not subjected to abnormal moisture. We sometimes glue and nail and sometimes nail only depending on the width of the product being installed.

A couple of words of caution about the thick top layer engineered products. The words of caution are "dry cupping" and "face checking". If the product is installed into an environment where the EMC% will vary greatly from the manufactured EMC%, the thick top layer will try to move from the moisture change and the veneered bottom of the material will not shrink or swell an adequate amount, thus stress cracks in the top layer-or flex (dry cup) across the face of board. In my opinion the jobsite environment for many of these products may necessitate humidity contols more than a solid product in specific geographic locations. The solid product can be totally adjusted to its normal environment throughout the thickness of the product regardless of the value of the normal EMC%. Even if adjusted several percentage points from the manufactured MC%, the solid products will not be negatively impacted if originally properly kiln dried and manufactured. I also appreciate the engineered products, but they do have limitations as well.

Joe
edited by Joe Clarke on 1/20/2012
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