Engineered wood floor(Kahrs) installation and transition

Discussion in 'Hardwood and Laminates Q&A' started by xt-seattle, Aug 9, 2018.

  1. xt-seattle

    xt-seattle Member

    I plan to replace carpet with engineered hardwood floor for the entire 2nd floor except for bathrooms.
    I have a couple of options
    - My first option is engineered hardwood floor, the brand I am looking at is Kahrs, I have heard great things about them, seems to be quality product. They have some 1 strip wide plank product in color/species I really like, plus I can do floating install myself so the cost would be around $7/sqft, which is great for the quality. The biggest problem is the room transition, It looks like I will have to use the T-moulding at each room door openings. I hate them. I really want an one piece floor through out the entire floor. I'd also try to avoid glue-down installation as I believe it would ruin the subfloor.

    - Second option is to staple/nail down engineered floor/prefinished solid wood that can be nailed/stapled. Some Kahrs floors can be stapled, and another brand I found was Mohawk. We prefer engineered wood floors as they have more color selections in wide (5"+) planks.

    So here are my questions
    - Looking at the floor plan, is it possible to install in one piece without transition using any method(nail/staple/glue), or transition is necessary in my case regardless? I am worried the expansion force from 1, 5 will push 2 into a slight 'S' shape.

    - Is it possible to do a 'hybrid' install - glue/staple around door opening and floating elsewhere? or 2 different methods require different underlayment?

    - Given the situation, what's the best option for me in your opinion?

    Some more information:
    - The house is in PNW (Seattle)
    - Subfloor is OSB plywood.
    - Largest room (master bed) is about 18x17
    - No plan to move in next 10 years.
    - Prefer 5"+ plank
    - Prefer not to have transitions at door opening.
    - I am a homeowner, a few years back I installed(nail-down) prefinished solid wood floor for my previous house. It turned out nicely but I was so sick of the repetitive work with those 3 1/2 wide planks. So if it's not floating install with click-lock, likely I will have to find a pro to do it which will significantly blow up the cost and I might have to go with cheaper material to keep it within budget.



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  2. Mark Brown

    Mark Brown On The Surface Flooring I Support TFP

    Looking at your floor plan, i would strongly recommend not installing a floating floor without transitions. Why not just put a cheap underlayment down and glue it all. Sure it is a cost addition, but if you aren't leaving any time soon, it is a small price to pay for peace of mind. My personal preference if for gluing all engineered flooring although i do not get my way as often as i like. If you can install a floating floor, you can install a glued down one too.

    Stapling flooring in specific locations is a bad call when floating the rest of an install because it causes pinch points and well.... that is the whole point of transitions, it eliminates them.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. xt-seattle

    xt-seattle Member

    Thank you Mark!
    I try to avoid glue-down installation because from I learnt from online articles, it's very difficult to remove.
    Would staple-down achieve the same result (no transition pieces)?
    What's the pros and cons staple-down compared to glue-down other than the difficult to remove part?

  4. Mark Brown

    Mark Brown On The Surface Flooring I Support TFP

    Stpale down would work just dandy. I haven't worked with that particular product however it looks feisable according to the install instructions. We staple down the vast majority of engineered floors we encounter and it is not typically problematic. I'm just a little of the old school and have a hard time trusting a plywood core and tongue to hold as well as solid wood for cleats. It's a personal problem however and there is a whole industry that would largely disagree with me ;)
  5. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    Yeah, as you mentioned in your first post, it kinda ruins a good subfloor. But you eliminate that problem by installing "a cheap underlayment," as @Mark Brown mentioned. When it's time to remove the flooring, you remove it and the cheap underlayment at the same time. Subfloor saved.

    I also preferred gluing engineered down for the same reason Mark said, sometimes you just can't depend on mechanical fasteners not destroying (or at least weakening) the tongues of the wood you nail/staple/cleat into.
  6. Steve Olson

    Steve Olson Hardwood/Laminate Guru Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    Here's my take. I've installed thousands of feet, of the Kahr's and Boen longstrip floors, and never, did I ever, break it at the door ways. In my area I found it to be a very stable product. But, these floors were glued together at the tongue and groove. If the newer version is a locking joint, then, I'd go with the above advice.
  7. kwfloors

    kwfloors Fuzz on the brain Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    Kahrs is a good product. Also Castle combe by US floors is another one we do a lot of. If you have the expansion everywhere there should be no problem doing with no transitions in doors and such. They make the floor look fake.
    Castle Combe Hardwood | USFloors
  8. xt-seattle

    xt-seattle Member

    Thanks all for your advice
    @Steve Olson The particular product I am looking at is Kahrs Garden Walnut (5" one strip, Unity Collection, Woodloc joint) and Kahrs Walnut Montreal (8" 3-strip, American Natural colllection, Woodloc 5S joint). both can be stapled down.

    @kwfloors I assume by "no problem doing with no transitions ..."you meant using staple/glue-down, not floating right? I will check out the product you mentioned.

    @Jim McClain I am totally confused :( I thought the purpose of glue or nail/staple is to create a very strong bond between planks and subfloor, force them to expand or contract at roughly the same ratio, and then the tiny difference are distributed across all planks with the space between them. Wouldn't a flexible(relatively) underlayment in between defeat the purpose if they are easy to remove?

    Thanks again!

  9. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    Sorry for the confusion. @Mark Brown and I were both referring to cheap PLYWOOD underlayment, not foam or any kind of matting that some manufacturers offer for floating floors. A layer of 3/8" AC plywood would be fine for a glue-down engineered hardwood. Stamped underlayment quality would be even better, but it's not as cheap. Underlayment is typically stapled down, which makes it (relatively) easy to remove too.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  10. xt-seattle

    xt-seattle Member

    Got it, thanks!
  11. xt-seattle

    xt-seattle Member

    Also would love to get some advice on where to start the first row of boards. the joists go up down on the floor plan above.
    I am thinking to go from the upper end of master bedroom(1) and go down from there to hallway(2), then to the 2 bedrooms(5, 6). and reverse to 3, 4.
  12. kwfloors

    kwfloors Fuzz on the brain Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    Floating is what we do mostly. I would start at the stairway if there is a flushnose stairnose for that. Otherwise start at the top or bottom of your picture.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. xt-seattle

    xt-seattle Member

    @kwfloors - can't seem to find any information on install Kahrs woodloc (not woodloc 5S) planks reversed/backward. Do you have experience with that? Thanks!
  14. kwfloors

    kwfloors Fuzz on the brain Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    I have done a lot of Kahrs through the years. I have run into reversing directions before but I haven't had any issue locking backwards. Usually that happens in smaller areas when you layout knowing that some would have to go that way installed. I do like a flush nose stair nose over a lipped stair nose.

    How to install wood flooring – DIY | Kährs US
  15. xt-seattle

    xt-seattle Member

    I was looking at the profile of the plank (woodloc, not woodloc 5S). they are not tongue and grove which I can use a spine piece to lock groves of 2 plank. I have no idea how to lock them backwards.
  16. kwfloors

    kwfloors Fuzz on the brain Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

  17. xt-seattle

    xt-seattle Member

    That doesn't seem to work for staple down installation, right?
  18. kwfloors

    kwfloors Fuzz on the brain Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    Right, it just locks and floats over a good pad.

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