Guidance please. Where to start, expansion gaps.

Discussion in 'Solid and Engineered Hardwood Q&A' started by Dollo, Jan 9, 2020.

  1. Dollo

    Dollo Member

    I am going to float engineered wood over concrete on the first floor of our house. I will use 6 mil plastic under 1/4 inch cork under the 3/4 inch wood. I will glue all sides, leave the expansion gaps at walls and all "fixed" locations.

    I am attaching a diagram of the floor. The shaded parts will not be done.

    I will run lengthwise from to back of the house. The longest stretch is 53 feet, from front door to rear exit. the widest is 39 feet from family room to far side of kitchen.

    My questions:

    Where should I start? I do not really want to start in the middle of the floor, but can if that offers great enough advantages.

    Must I put in expansion gaps here and there throughout the floor? I can see putting them in doorways, but do I need to put them anywhere else?

    Any other thoughts or guidance you can offer would be much appreciated.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 9, 2020
  2. 3/4” engineered? That’s thick. What do manufacturers recommendations say? Usually something to the afffect of any vertical obstruction must have (?) expansion space.
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  3. Daris Mulkin

    Daris Mulkin The One and Only Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    Where did you see engineered.


  4. I’m not sure how we’re tricked, anytime I see 3/4” it’s always a solid but it’s in the first sentence. I like how everyone picks up on different parts. Even how Barry picked up on premium tape on another thread and didn’t occur to me it possibly wasn’t Koolglide premium.

    I’ve not floated hardwood with gluing joints but, staying straight should be one priority and figured out the method ahead of time.
  5. kwfloors

    kwfloors Fuzz on the brain Charter Member Senior Member

    I would start on the right wall, dining room side. Less reverse install starting on that side but glue together is easier to go backwards.
  6. Dollo

    Dollo Member

    I will put an expansion space at any vertical object, do I need them mid floor anywhere?
    I was thinking to start right wall as well, thank you.
    What does “glue together is easier to do backward” mean?

    how is best to keep straight?
  7. kwfloors

    kwfloors Fuzz on the brain Charter Member Senior Member

    Your basically glueing them backwards as to glueing the groove and putting it in, you have the groove already on the floor.
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  8. Dollo

    Dollo Member

    Yeah, that would be easier, thank you.

    Is there any reason I should start a line right down the middle of the longest run? Would that help keep things straight somehow? Then I could work in both directions and not even need splines.

    When you say start on the right side, would you start in the dining room on the right side and work your way across the room then out into the foyer and so on?
  9. There is no gaps in flooring midway, if acclimated properly doesn’t need it. Only time I see this is when hardwood is finished in place. I’ve seen it on basketball courts and the gaps remained at 24” intervals showing black lines of Urethane.

    The length run front to back I would set about 2 ft wide of plank, tape together, then weigh it down with boxes of flooring, let it set, then you can push boards into this set flooring the next day without movement.

    Strike some offset lines square(parallel) off of already set hardwood into the living room, then put fill block for the expansion along wall which the laying plank can be forced into the groove Having something (wall) to push against.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2020
  10. Chris 45

    Chris 45 Director of P.R. on some deserted island. I Support TFP

    53’ is a long run. Being off just a little bit will really magnify itself over that amount of distance. You need to establish a center line and fasten some 1/4 scab boards to the floor along that line. This will give you something to push against while you are racking up your starting rows.
  11. Dollo

    Dollo Member

    Excellent guidance, thank you both. I will shop pics along the way and likely ask more questions. If you think of anything further I would appreciate it.
  12. The cork, I’ve not floated it before, is that acceptable practice? Why cork?

    It would be good to review manufacturers install instructions to scrutinize their recommendations.

    I just printed 8 pages of a Gypsum self leveler to familiarize and to call tech dept of the project and any concerns I have. I Jot things down as I think on my phone notes.
  13. kwfloors

    kwfloors Fuzz on the brain Charter Member Senior Member

    I start with 3 or 4 rows, glue them up and clamp them with clamps to dry. Then keep going, not too hard to shim the edge to keep things straight. Just be sure to have expansion space all around the floor, no t moldings.
  14. Incognito

    Incognito No more Mr. Nice Guy! I Support TFP Senior Member

    SNAP A CHALK LINE down that longest run in the home. Where you start just need to be squared up to that line. So it doesn't matter where in the home you start so long as you keep true to that line as you go. With a floating floor you can correct for shifting with the shims you're using to firm up the connected boards as you tap them together. Just don't get to far across the room towards your established reference line without double checking to make sure that as you've tapped the boards together you didn't get to far out of whack.
  15. Dollo

    Dollo Member

    So much info from everyone, all helpful, thank you. I think I understand it all, but may be back to bug you for clarification if I run into one. Thank you again.
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