Stair transition in a floating engineered hardwood installation?

Discussion in 'Hardwood and Laminates Q&A' started by smckannix, Nov 28, 2011.

  1. smckannix

    smckannix Member

    I have a tear-down remodel/addition in progress. I'm planning to use engineered wood flooring for the hallway, office and one bedroom, as shown in attached drawing. It is all on an above-grade concrete slab. The actual product is Artisan™: Terre Verte 9/16” Engineered Hardwood. The instructions for this floor (TerreVerteInstallation.pdf) say to leave a 9/16" expansion gap for both float or glue down. Seems like a lot for an engineered floor, but okay.

    There is a short stair leading from the entry to the 11" higher hallway and bedroom area. I can get stair nose and use planks to make the stairs, which must be glued/nailed. And the plank direction is lengthwise on the stair, obviously. At the start of the hallway floor we have a stairnose and presumably a plank or two (5" width flooring) as the top "tread" of the stair.

    Assuming I want to float the floor, I am worried about the transition from this point to the lengthwise "floating" section that runs down the hallway and on to the other rooms. I cannot leave an expansion gap there. I have to glue the T&G between widthwise "stair" boards and lengthwise "hall" boards, but will that be okay?

    The floor will only be able to "float" away from the stairs, down the hallway.

    And do I really need to leave double the recommended gap at the other end, in that case (as was suggested by somebody at simplefloors)? A 1 1/16" gap is going to be hard to cover up.

    Thanks for any thoughts/suggestions.

    Attached Files:

  2. Jeff Needham

    Jeff Needham Pro Member

    I would think, if this wood floor does not have a stairnose for this application, you should find one or have one made for this top step. One that can be glued solidly to the step, and that will overlap the floating wood floor, allowing the appropriate expansion. I think that would work and look much better than trying to put a t mold behind the step, as you would need to do otherwise.
  3. Steve Olson

    Steve Olson Hardwood/Laminate Guru Charter Member Senior Member

    Also, to add to what Jeff said, you can gain a 1/2" of expansion at the sheetrock. You can undercut it with an undercut saw or utility knife if you have to. You will want to run the wood to the midpoint of the expansion space on the edge over nosing, since its just as likely to move one way, as the other.
  4. smckannix

    smckannix Member

    Thanks for replies. I was hoping to avoid the overlap stairnose, since it seems like a tripping hazard, and what I don't need is for my 87 year old mom to trip and fall onto the stone floor of the entryway. But maybe that is the only solution.

    If we did glue down, do you think I could have a flush stairnose?
  5. Chris Mha

    Chris Mha Charter Member Senior Member

    Yes you can.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 29, 2011
  6. kwfloors

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

    You can have a flush stairnose with a floating floor, you'll have to make it or have it made to fit.
  7. smckannix

    smckannix Member

    For sure I can get or make the flush stairnose piece. The question I had was whether it would work to have the floating floor attached (t&g glued) to the flush stairnose piece that was glued down. My concern was that the floor would pull away from the stairnose when shrinking, and/or buckle when trying to expand against it.

    In the end, I think the answer for my layout is gluedown. Because I would also like to avoid thresholds at the doorways between my rooms, and it sounds like each room really needs to be an "island", in a float installation.
  8. FlooringGirl

    FlooringGirl Senior Member

    That does seem a lot, but if you're all right with it, then don't question it. If you find it odd, question it with manufacturer ...

    Maybe I'm misunderstanding, but if you are floating everything and only securing the stair, why can't you allow expansion under the transition? That's the purpose of them.


    P.S. Upon studying your point closer, please do glue it all. I won't ever sell a floating hardwood, anyway.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 1, 2011
  9. smckannix

    smckannix Member

    @FlooringGirl, thanks for taking an interest. The issue is that I want a smooth stairnose, not an overlap. I don't want a ridge at the stair. I've concluded that glueing the whole this is the answer.
  10. FlooringGirl

    FlooringGirl Senior Member

    There are such things as flush stairnoses.

  11. smckannix

    smckannix Member

    Thanks, yes. I plan to use flush stairnose. My original question was whether I could do so with a floating floor, just letting it float "away" from that point, but I've concluded that glueing is the way to go. Cheers.
  12. FlooringGirl

    FlooringGirl Senior Member

    Well, you can't really leave the required expansion gap there, with a flush nose. Again, I'd still recommend gluing, just because I've seen floating hardwood get a pinch somewhere and eventually the whole floor can buckle, especially on the narrower widths and thinner boards. It's more sensitive than laminate. Please be careful if you float, and perhaps direct your question to the manufacturer.

  13. kwfloors

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

    Good :):)
  14. FlooringGirl

    FlooringGirl Senior Member

    Sorry, when I responded, missed the part about deciding to glue. It's been a long, hard week.:blink: Please send us pics when you're done!

  15. broox

    broox New Member


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