Do It Yourself Flooring 2018-01-11T23:06:42+00:00

DO IT YOURSELF

For the Do-It-Yourselfer’s look no further than ESL Hardwood Floors for the best equipped flooring supply house in Idaho’s Treasure Valley. Our friendly and knowledgeable sales staff can help you get the job done right. We have a large selection of in stock flooring available, all purchased factory direct to save you money. We have installation tools available for rent and sale. We also have the accessories you need to complete your job from start to finish, i.e., stair treads, risers, vents, mouldings and cleaning supplies. We have everything you need to Do-It-Yourself.

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HOW TO LIBRARY

INSTALL SOLID HARDWOOD FLOORING

The following instructions apply to strip flooring laid on plywood-on-slab, on screeds, and plywood or board subfloors.

 (NOTE: Flooring “SHORTS” – 1 1/4′ or 2′ bundles of flooring strips are “Strip Flooring” and should be installed as such.)

NOFMA does not recommend gluing Shorts directly to a slab.

With plywood or board subfloors, start by re-nailing any loose areas and sweeping the subfloor clean. Mark location of joists on perimeter walls so that starting runs and finishing runs, which require face nailing, can be nailed into joists. Then cover subfloor with a good grade of 15 lb. asphalt felt/building paper, lapped 2″-4″ along the edge seams. This helps keep out dust, retards moisture movement from below, and helps prevent squeaks in dry seasons.

Direction of finish flooring. Direction of finish flooring should be at right angles to the joists as shown in Fig. 4. This is generally the longest dimension of the room or building and gives best appearance.

Begin flooring installation along the longest continuous wall parallel to the flooring direction of most rooms. (i.e. Down a  long hallway wall.) Work from there into the room. Use a slip-tongue to reverse direction and complete the rooms. Glue and blind nail the slip tongue. At any change of direction, always provide tongue and groove engagement either with a slip tongue, or factory edge or end.

Starting to lay the floor. Location and straight alignment of the first course is important. Place a mark 3/4″ plus the width of flooring (3″ for 2 1/4″ flooring) on the end wall near a corner of starting wall. (Figure 5.) Place similar mark at opposite corner and insert nails into each mark. Pull string line between nails. Nail the first strip with its leading edge on this line.

The gap between that strip and the wall is needed for expansion space and will be hidden by the shoe mold (Fig. 1).

If you’re working with screeds on slab make the same measurements and stretch a line between nails. Remove line after you get the starter board in place.

Lay the first strip along the starting string line, tongue out, and  drive 6d or 8d flooring nails or casing nails (galvanized or screw shank hold best) 1″ from the grooved edge. Nails should be driven into the top surface of strips and counter sunk (face nailing). Position nails over supporting joists, and near ends of strips or into each screed crossed. Keep the starter strip aligned with the string line. (Pre-drilling nail holes will prevent splits.) Also, blind nail starting strip through the tongue according to nailing schedule.

Rack the floor. Lay out seven or eight rows of flooring end to end in a staggered pattern with end joints at least 6″ apart. Find or cut pieces to fit within 1/2″ of the end wall. Watch your pattern for even distribution of long and short pieces and to avoid clusters of short boards (Fig. 6).

Nailing the floor.

With plywood on slab construction the face nails should be cut to slightly less than 1 1/2″. After the starter run fit each run of successive strips snug, groove-to-tongue. Blind nail through the tongue along the length of the strip according to  the schedule shown in the nailing schedule table. Countersink all nails. After the second or third run is in place you can change from a hammer to a floor nailing machine which drives nails mechanically or pneumatically, and does not require additional countersinking. Various floor nailing machines use either a barbed cleat or staples, fed into the machine in clips. The nailing machine drives fasteners through the tongue of the flooring at the proper angle.

When using the floor nailing machine to fasten 3/4″ thick strip or plank flooring to plywood laid on a slab, be sure to use a 1 1/2″ cleat, not the usual 2″ cleat which may come out the back of the plywood and prevent nails from countersinking properly and tearing the vapor retarder. In all other applications the 2″ cleat is preferred.

Continue installing across the room, ending up on the far wall with the same 3/4″ expansion space as on the beginning  wall. It may be necessary to rip a strip to fit. Avoid nailing into a subfloor joint. Position flooring strips so that they do not meet over subfloor joints. Blind nail by hand where the nailing machine can not be used. Face nail the last runs when unable to blind nail by hand. With 2 1/4″ strip face-nailing is required the last 2 or 3 runs and in a ripped piece of a strip  if one has been used. Use an offset pry bar or lever device to tighten these last face nailed runs all at once before face-nailing.

Nailing to screeds. When nailing direct to screeds (no solid subfloor), nail at all screed intersections and to both screeds where a strip passes over a lapped screed joint. Since flooring ends are tongue and grooved, all end joints do not need to  meet over screeds but end joints of adjacent rows should not break over the same void between screeds.

Some boards may not be straight. A large screwdriver, sharpened pry bar, or wedges can force such boards into position or pull two or three runs together.

Shoe molding. Nail this to the baseboard, not the flooring, after the entire floor is in place.

*ALWAYS FOLLOW MANUFACTURERS’ DIRECTIONS 

SAND SOLID HARDWOOD FLOORING

PREPARING THE FLOOR FOR SANDING
Sweep the floor clean immediately before sanding. Inspect the floor carefully – tighten any loose boards by face nailing with flooring cleats or 6d to 8d flooring nails, preferably into joists, look for any protruding nail heads or nails not driven down below the wood’s surface, pull them out or  counter-sink them with a nail set and replace any damaged or defective flooring boards (sanding exposed nails can produce sparks creating a fire hazard in the sander dust bag).SANDING A NEW STRIP OR PLANK FLOOR
Load the drum sander with a coarse grit to medium grit sandpaper . Place the machine along the right hand wall , with about two- thirds of the length of the floor in front of you. Start the motor with the drum raised off the floor, walk  slowly forward at an even pace and ease the drum to the floor. As you near the wall at the end of the pass, gradually raise the drum off the floor. Practice before turning on the machine.Cover the same path you made on the forward cut by pulling  the machine backward and easing the drum to the floor as you begin the backward pass.When you reach your original starting point ease the drum from the floor. Move the machine to the left side approximately three to four inches. Then repeat the forward and backward passes and move to the left after completing each set of passes. You will only sand a 3″ to 4″ wide strip of un-sanded area with each set of passes. When the  two-thirds area of the room is sanded, turn the machine in the opposite direction and sand the remaining third in the same manner. Be sure the sanding passes made in the one-third area overlap the first passes by two to three feet. This blends the two areas together.After completing the first sanding operation, or “cut”, with the drum sander, use the edger to sand along the baseboards,  up to corners, in closets, and other areas the drum sander did not reach. With new flooring, which is relatively smooth, use the next grit sandpaper that will be used on the drum sander. With old flooring it may be necessary to use the same grit paper as the first drum cut to remove old finish or level abused areas.If a medium grit cleans and sands the floor completely, use it for the first cuts. If extra passes are required to clean and  level the strips go to a more coarse grit paper. The first cut with drum sander and edger should produce a level, completely sanded floor (with corners and obstructions to be scraped later). All following sanding procedures merely remove the sanding scratches produced by the first cut.When using the edger move in an easy quarter-circle pattern at end walls overlapping into the drum sanded area 4″-6″, and following the direction of the grain, to some extent. (See Figure 5.) Do not try to make the edger cut more aggressively by putting extra pressure to the front. This merely makes ridges and grooves which are hard to remove. Along walls parallel to flooring direction, move back and forth with the  direction of the flooring, also overlapping into the drum sanded area. The edger typically cleans a 1″ to 2″ strip on each pass.After drum sanding the floor with a coarse grit sandpaper, repeat drum sanding with a medium grit sandpaper. For the edger, use fine grit sandpaper. If coarse was used on the first cut use medium grit and follow with fine grit on the edger.  Complete the sanding operation using the fine grit sandpaper on the drum sander.Generally, filling of nail holes, blemishes, cracks, etc., should be done before the fine sanding cut. Use a commercially  prepared wood flooring filler. Some fillers may need coloring or may not take a bleaching operation; check with the supplier or manufacturer.Also, it may be necessary to trowel fill the entire floor,  particularly an old floor, due to the extent of cracks between strips. Multiple character marks found in #1 and #2 COMMON Grades which are fillable grades may also require trowel filling. Trowel filling should be done before the medium or final sanding cuts. Let the filler dry thoroughly before proceeding with the sanding. (Overnight is best.)When drum sanding and edging are completed proceed to hand scrape and then hand sand corners and around doors and  other cased openings. Also hand sand the perimeter edges. Use the same grit as the last cut. Using a sanding block or electric oscillating sander can facilitate the hand sanding process. If staining the floor a dark color, the electric oscillator may leave egg shaped marks which will show in the stain. Hand sand these out or do not use the oscillator.When using a hand scraper apply even pressure, scraping in the direction of the grain. Avoid gouging the wood with the scraper. A brick with a piece of old blanket glued around it makes a good sanding block. Sand about 6″ into drum sanded area. Always sand and scrape in the direction of the grain along the length of boards.Using a sanding disc (one grit finer) or screen disc (same grit as fine cut) on the buffer over the entire floor can also  improve blending of edged and drum sanded areas. Move buffing machine back and forth with the direction of flooring boards.If the floor is to be stained a light to medium color, the fine sanding cut with 80 grit sandpaper leaves the wood fibers open and enables more stain to penetrate, producing a deeper shade and more uniform appearance. An option is to screen  with an 80 grit after the fine sanding cut, particularly if the fine cut was 100 grit. Use of the buffer and screen increase the risk that circular scratches will show if a dark stain is applied.Three sanding cuts followed by screening or discing is the recommended procedure and will provide a uniform surface for most all standard finishes. Two cuts followed by the screening or discing operation may be sufficient but may produce a  more coarse surface and is considered a minimal sanding procedure.SANDING PARQUET, BLOCK AND SIMILAR PATTERNED FLOORING – Use the drum sander and edger for two sanding cuts. With the first cut do not sand  directly across or with the pattern but always on an angle. Start the first sanding cut diagonal to the grain using a medium grit sandpaper. Then use fine grit sandpaper for the second cut on the opposite diagonal. Use the buffer and screen or disc to make a final fine cut with the room’s longest dimension. (See Figure 7.) (A coarse first cut is usually not necessary.)REFINISHING AN EXISTING FLOOR – Most oak flooring is 3/4″ thick and can be sanded and refinished a number of times. Thinner solid oak floors – 1/2″ or 3/8″ thicknesses – should be refinished with caution because repeated landings can wear down the groove edge, causing breakage or wear through to reveal nails. With laminated flooring, professional sanding is recommended.To determine the floor thickness remove a floor heating register or the shoe mold and baseboard so that an edge of the  flooring can be measured.When refinishing floors, remove as little of the surface as is absolutely necessary. This is particularly true with veneered and thinner floors. On square edge strip flooring that is face-nailed, all nails must be driven slightly below the surface of the wood to permit sanding.The following instructions apply to standard 3/4″ strip, plank and block floors and, with the cautions just mentioned, to  the thinner materials.Sanding. It may be necessary to use a very coarse “open coat” paper to remove the old finish. The heat and abrasion of the sanding operation make the old finish gummy and may quickly clog normal sanding paper. First try regular paper (particularly on a diagonal). If 90% of the finish is removed and the floor is generally flattened, coarser grits are not  necessary.  When you get down to new wood use the same procedures and grits as previously described under “Sanding a New Strip or Plank Floor”. If the old floor has been painted several times it may be necessary to use paint remover to uncover the wood surface.The number of sanding passes required for “Refinishing” will be largely determined by the condition of the old floor and  the thickness of the finish being removed. If the surface is in very good shape, with only light scratches and few dents, and has no build-up of old finish and wax, one pass with the disc sander and fine paper may be sufficient. Be sure all the old finish is removed.If the floor has been abused, scarred or dished, use as many cuts as are necessary to get a smooth, unblemished surface. If  badly scarred and abused boards have not been repaired, it may be advisable to leave some blemishes in the floor or too much sanding may be required.With a floor that is in fair condition, make the first cut at a 45°± angle to the flooring direction with medium grit paper to level the floor and remove 90% of the finish. Then follow the instructions given for sanding a new floor on  the succeeding cuts. Use the same grit paper as was used on the 45° cut for the first cut parallel to the flooring strips.

FINISH SOLID HARDWOOD FLOORING

PREPARATIONS FOR FINISHING
IMPORTANT: Allow ample time with the sanding procedure to apply the first coat of stain or other finish the same day that sanding is completed. This  prevents a raised grain condition which creates a rough surface.
When machine and hand sanding are completed sweep and vacuum the floor. Wipe up and/or vacuum all dust on windows, sills, doors, door frames, and baseboards.Inspect the floor carefully. Spot-fill missed cracks and nail holes with a commercial flooring filler, applied sparingly with a putty knife. When dry, hand sand with fine sandpaper, same  grit as final sanding.

IMPORTANT: Check with finish manufacturer or supplier to make sure fillers are compatible with finish materials.

For future re-finishing, it is essential to know the brand names and color of the stain and other finishing products used, or if the floors were prefinished at the flooring manufacturing plant.

FINISHING
Immediately after sanding is completed the finishing process should begin.
This process involves applying a protective coating and a color, if desired, to the flooring. Finishing produces a uniformly enhanced surface and seals the wood to make it less absorbent to moisture and foreign materials.

GENERAL TYPES OF FINISH MATERIALS
IMPORTANT: Read entire label before applying finish and use only  compatible products. Compatibility questions between different materials should be referred to the finish manufacturers. 

Always follow ALL of the manufacturer’s safety precautions, especially for skin contact, ventilation, breathing apparatus, fire hazards and disposal. 

Penetrating Seal. This sealer soaks into the wood pores and hardens to seal the floor. It wears only as the wood wears, will not chip or scratch and is generally maintained by thin applications of wax. After years of wear the floor can usually be restored without sanding by cleaning it and applying  another coat of sealer or a special reconditioning product. Worn areas can usually be refinished without showing lap marks when new finish is applied over the old. A penetrating sealer may also contain stain which colors the wood while sealing it.

Stain or stain sealer combination. Staining is the first step in the finishing process if other than a natural finish is desired.  The oil stain with a penetrating sealer in combination is generally easiest to apply and accomplishes two things, coloring and sealing, in one application. Stain only (without sealers) requires more care with the application in order to avoid uneven coloration and lap marks. A stain only generally requires 8 hours or less to dry (Read directions). The combination products (stain and sealer) require at least overnight or up to 48+ hours to dry in stagnant, damp, or humid conditions.

Fast-drying sealers and stains. These products should be used only by a person who is accustomed to handling and applying them. The mechanic should be able to complete the job within the allotted drying time to avoid lap marks or a splotchy appearance.

With a sealer/wax system, most manufacturers recommend two coats of a penetrating sealer, then wax. A reconditioning  product is generally available for use when traffic or other conditions cause discoloration or wear of the finish. These reconditioning products restore the floor to its original appearance without the need for sanding.

With a surface finished system, one coat of sealer generally followed by two coats of the surface application produce satisfactory results. FOLLOW THE MANUFACTURER’S DIRECTIONS.

Application:Stain or penetrating sealer can be applied by hand wiping with rags, by brushing, or with a lambs wool  applicator. Start application in one corner along one edge of the room and move with the direction of the flooring. Use a paint brush to apply to flooring at wall lines. “Cut in” about 2″ or 3″ from walls to avoid smearing moldings. Apply liberally with rags along the length of the starting wall in a strip you can reach across.

When using an applicator apply a heavy streak of material along the grain; leave about one foot of space from the  wall-side application. Go to where this stripe was started. Do not re-dip; use the excess material to fill in the empty space, wiping across the grain. Maintain a uniformly stained area to a particular line or run of boards across the room.

Distribute material evenly, do not leave puddles or a heavy excess on the surface. Wiping up the excess can follow  almost immediately after the applier moves away from the corner area. The length of time the stain is allowed to remain on the floor, to some extent, will determine the degree of color tone. Use clean rags and wipe up the excess material left on the surface of the flooring. Repeat the application and wiping process, working parallel to the stained area across the room. Be sure to overlap by one strip into previously stained area and wipe the overlap well or else an area that appears  darker (a lap mark) can result.

NOTE: Do not allow stain/penetrating sealer to dry before wiping. DO NOT allow water drops, sweat, or bare hands and knees, etc. to come in contact with the unstained and stained areas or discoloration and imprints will result.

After completing the first coat allow to dry overnight or longer, as necessary. Use a #1 steel wool pad or white or brown  fiber buffing pad on a floor buffer and buff the floor. Clean, vacuum, and dust residue. &  If only stain was used, apply sealer as the next step.

If the SEALER / WAX SYSTEM is the final finish, apply a second coat of sealer and allow to dry. Neutral color should be used if no additional colorant is required. After drying, if rough to the touch, this second coat should also be buffed  with #1 steel wool or a fiber pad, and the floors cleaned of residue. Paste wax or liquid buffing wax is then applied and buffed to a satin sheen with the buffing machine. To apply a thin coat of paste wax place a walnut size glob of wax in an old cotton athletic sock. Heat from the hand will melt the wax as the pad is rubbed over the floor; let dry before buffing.

SURFACE FINISHES – These finishes remain on the surface of the floor and form a protective coating.

Polyurethane, “Swedish Finish”, Moisture Cured Urethane, and Water Based Urethanes to name a few are blends of  synthetic resins, plasticizers, and other film-forming ingredients. All are durable, moisture resistant finishes. These finishes are generally available in high-gloss, semi-gloss, satin and matte except moisture cured urethane. Any one of them is a good choice for a kitchen where there is exposure to water splashing or spills.

Oil Modified Polyurethane is generally the most common surface finish. It is durable and moisture-resistant, and generally  the easiest to apply. This type finish tends to amber slightly as it ages.

Water based finishes (Urethane and/or Acrylic combinations) These are clear, durable, non-yellowing and are non-flammable at time of application. They generally have advantages similar to Oil Modified Urethanes without the odor of mineral spirits, and they dry much faster.

Moisture Cure urethanes are harder and more moisture resistant than the other surface finishes and are generally available  only in gloss. They cure by absorbing minute quantities of moisture from the air, which causes them to dry and harden. Relative humidity is critical to the curing process. Follow manufacturer’s directions. These finishes are extremely difficult to apply properly and are best left to the professional.

“Swedish Finishes” (Acid Cure Urethanes) are also durable finishes, generally harder than polyurethanes. They are clear,  fast drying and resist yellowing. Type of undercoat, working time, number of coats, and other factors are all critical and make application difficult. These finishes should be applied ONLY by the highly skilled.

If a SURFACE FINISH is to be applied (i.e. Polyurethane,  Water Based Urethane, etc.) after the application of stain and sealer, be sure the floors are completely dry. Follow by buffing the sealed floor with #1 steel wool, a buffing pad or a fine screen and completely vacuum up residue.

NOTE: If water based urethane is to be applied NEVER use steel wool. Steel fibers rust on contact with water and will discolor the finish. Use an abrasive nylon screen or fiber buffing pad (white or brown).

Oil Modified Polyurethane APPLICATION. Follow manufacturer’s instructions and safety recommendations. Turn off open flames (don’t forget pilot lights) and shut off AC/heating units, if recommended. Stir material well but avoid bubbles. Pour into clean paint tray or bucket. Apply to flooring with brush or lambs wool applicator. Start application  along one edge of the room with the direction of the flooring. Cut in at the wall with a paint brush. Apply Polyurethane along the length of the starting wall in a strip you can easily reach across.

Brushing. Fill 1/3 of brush with finish, dab off excess drip, apply a liberal amount with smooth even strokes along the grain. Watch out for splattering. Do not over- brush which will introduce bubbles. Work from where finish has not been  applied into the area that is still wet, feathering out the lapped areas.

Applicator. Fill applicator with finish, dab off excess drip, and apply across the strip direction in short strokes, working toward previously wet area. Straighten cross strokes with a single gliding stroke along strip direction, feathering into previously applied wet area and lifting the applicator up.

Apply finish in parallel strips across the room. Always maintain a “wet” edge. Don’t retouch missed areas (holidays) if  finish has begun to skim over. The next coat will fill these areas. Allow to dry overnight.

When dry walk over the floor, especially perimeter exterior walls and feel corners. If the finish sounds or feels tacky it is not dry. WAIT FOR IT TO DRY: Buff the completely dry finish with #2 steel wool pad or a used 120 grit screen, or hand sand with 120 to 150 grit sandpaper.

NOTE: If finish does not powder when buffing, additional drying time is recommended. Tacky finish can knot  up and accumulate on the buffing wool, screen, or sandpaper and scratch the finish.

Merely dull all the finish. Don’t forget to hand sand or steel wool corners and edges. Too much buffing removes finish material to the extent the sealer/stain is exposed or removed.

Vacuum up all dust. Tack floors with a lint-free towel (wrapped around a bristle broom) and slightly dampened with  water or 100 % mineral spirits. Let floor dry completely.

Apply second coat. A third coat may be desired for increased protection and durability. Buff between coats to dull the surface.

Water Based Urethane APPLICATION. Follow manufacturer’s instructions. Turn off AC or Heating units, if recommended. Pay particular attention to coverage figures, open time, and when-to-buff instructions. Use catalyst, if  required, stir in and let stand if recommended. Pour finish into non-metal tray or bucket. Apply to flooring with brush recommended for water based materials, paint pad, or manufacturer supplied applicator.

Most water based materials are applied by pouring a “small river” along the starting wall near the “cut in” area. The  applicator “plows” this material along the direction of flooring the length of the room with excess directed toward unfinished area. As finish material is used, re-pour the “small river” and continue application. Open doors or use fans to exhaust moisture laden air when finish films over and is dust free to facilitate curing. Some manufacturers recommend buffing the rough raised grain after the first coat. Some recommend application of a second coat in 3-5 hours without  buffing. Follow buffing directions and use fiber pads or screens. A third coat is generally recommended. Application of more than two coats in one day is generally not advised.

NOTE: Do not over-work material. Keep renewing the small river of material and be sure to maintain a wet edge in order to avoid gaps and excessive foaming.

WHITE FLOORS
BLEACHING
. Bleaching is generally used to lighten the natural coloration and subdue the darker characteristics of flooring. Bleaching is generally followed with an application of a white or pastel stain. Application of these products should be done by the professional. Before using a bleach be sure the flooring is clean and free from oils, grease, and old finish that might repel the bleach and give an uneven effect. Use only bleaches specified for wood flooring and follow  application and drying directions carefully. Some products need neutralizing after application. Extra time is required to complete the bleaching process and allow complete drying.

It’s a good idea to make a test area in an inconspicuous place, since the length of time the bleach remains on the floor and the amount used will affect the degree of color removal. Also, bleaching White Oak can result in a greenish coloration.

The bleaching process should be done only once.

A white stain may be applied before the surface finish. Check that all products are compatible with the stain and/or sealer used and that a non-ambering surface finish is used. The final sanding cut with an 80 grit paper is advised with white stains. This promotes absorption of the larger coloring particles of the stain into the flooring. Be sure the excess  stain is wiped from the surface. Follow by buffing when stain is dry. Stain residue on the surface of flooring can interfere with adhesion of the final finish.

NOTE: Seasonal cracks, surface discolorations, and dirt are VERY noticeable and may be objectionable in a white floor.

RECONDITIONING
You should first determine what type of finish is on the floor so appropriate materials can be used.

To determine if a floor was originally finished with a penetrating seal, scratch the surface with a coin or other sharp-edge object in a corner or some other inconspicuous space. If the finish does not flake off, a penetrating seal was probably used and a reconditioning product can be applied to restore its original beauty. TEST AN AREA.

If the finish flakes in the corner, a surface finish was probably applied to the flooring. Next check for wax. Wax interferes  with intracoat adhesion so recoating over wax is not recommended. Attempt to smudge the surface in the same corner with your finger. If a smudge is evident, wax is probably present and complete re-sanding and finishing is indicated.

With Surface Finishes which have not been waxed you can recondition by re-coating if the finish has not been worn away to expose bare wood.

To re-coat finishes first remove furniture, etc. Next clean floors with a non-residue cleaner designed for polyurethane on  wood floors or non-aromatic 100% mineral spirits. Dull the finish surface with steel wool, a sanding screen or paper as required by the type of finish used for re-coating (See appropriate finish section above) Apply a compatible finish using appropriate application techniques as described in finishing.

CAUTION – Adhesion between coats of surface finishes is affected by wax, grease, and some maintenance products, as  well as some types of stains, bleaches or sealers. One brand or type of finish may not be compatible with another. Check with manufacturer for compatibility. Make a test in a closet or some other inconspicuous place to be sure the finish will adhere and dry properly. This is particularly important when refinishing an old floor since some of the old finish may have penetrated the wood below the level to which it is sanded.

OTHER FINISHES
VARNISH AND SHELLAC
– These products were commonly used as floor finishes before today’s modern formulations were introduced. However, they are rarely used today, and generally are not considered as durable as the modern finishes. Shellac is not recommended for use as a floor finish since it shows water spots readily. NITRO-CELLULOSE LACQUERS are hard and brittle and scratch easily (very flammable when applied).

STENCILING – Decorative borders or overall floor patterns can be applied to hardwood floors with the use of stencils. However, this job should be done by a professional finisher familiar with these procedures.

INSTALL ENGINEERED HARDWOOD FLOORING – STAPLE OR GLUE

Installer/Owner Responsibility
Beautiful hardwood floors are a product of nature and therefore, not perfect. Our wood floors are manufactured in accordance with accepted industry standards, which permit a defect tolerance not to exceed 5%. The defects may be of a manufacturing or natural type.

  • The installer assumes all responsibility for final inspection of product quality. This inspection of all flooring should be done before installation. Carefully examine flooring for color, finish and quality before installing it. If material is not acceptable, do not install it and contact the seller immediately.
  • Prior to installation of any hardwood-flooring product, the installer must determine that the job-site environment and the sub-surfaces involved meet or exceed all applicable standards and recommendations of the construction and materials industries. These instructions recommend that the construction and subfloor be dry, stiff and flat. The manufacturer declines any responsibility for job failure resulting from or associated with sub-surface or job-site environment deficiencies.
  • Prior to installation, the installer/owner has final inspection responsibility as to grade, manufacture and factory finish. The installer must use reasonable selectivity and hold out or cut off pieces with defects, whatever the cause.
  • Use of stain, filler or putty stick for defect correction during installation should be accepted as normal procedure.
  • When flooring is ordered, 5% must be added to the actual square footage needed for cutting and grading allowance.
  • Should an individual piece be doubtful as to grade, manufacture or factory finish, the installer should not use the piece.
  • Use of appropriate products for correcting subfloor voids should be accepted as a normal industry practice.

Tools & Accessories Needed

  • Broom
  • Electric power saw
  • Recommended Adhesive & Adhesive Remover
  • Chalk line & chalk
  • 3M 2090 Blue Mask Tape
  • Recommended Trowel
  • Tape Measure
  • Moisture meter (wood, concrete or both)
  • Recommended Hardwood Flooring Cleaner
  • Hand saw
  • Hammer

Pre-Installation Procedures
Job Site Inspection:

  • The building should be closed in with all outside doors and windows in place. All concrete, masonry, framing members, drywall, paint and other “wet” work should be thoroughly dry.
  • The wall coverings should be in place and the painting completed except for the final coat on the base molding. When possible, delay installation of base molding until flooring installation is complete.
  • Exterior grading should be complete with surface drainage directing water away from the building. All gutters and downspouts should be in place.
  • Floating floors may be installed on, above or below grade level. Do not install in full bathrooms.
  • Basements and crawl spaces must be dry and well ventilated.
  • Crawl space must be a minimum of 24″ (600 mm) from the ground to underside of joists. A ground cover of 6-8 mil black polyethylene film is essential as a vapor barrier with joints lapped six inches and taped. The crawl space should have perimeter venting equal to a minimum of 1.5% of the crawl space square footage. These vents should be properly located to foster cross ventilation.
  • Subfloor must be checked for moisture content using the appropriate testing method.
  • Permanent air conditioning and heating systems should be in place and operational. The installation site should have a consistent room temperature of 60-75° F and humidity of 35-55% for 14 days prior, during and until occupied, to allow for proper acclimation

Storage & Handling:
Handle and unload with care. Store in a dry place being sure to provide at least a four-inch air space under cartons, which are stored upon “on-grade” concrete floors. Flooring should not be delivered until the building has been closed in with windows and doors in place and until cement work, plastering and all other “wet” work is completed and dry. Concrete should be at least 60 days old. Floating floors should be stored in the environment in which it is expected to perform. Air conditioning/heating systems should be in place and in operation at least 14 days prior, during and after installation of the flooring. Do not open the packages until you are ready to install. Humidity may cause the tongue to swell on opened packages making installation difficult. Check adhesive label for storage limitations.

Installation Methods
Staple-Down Installations

  • All 5/8″ or 9/16″ thick products may be installed with a Stanley-Bostitch LHF Stapler or the Senco SLS20HF regardless of width or number of plies with appropriate adapters or adjustments.
  • 5/8″ or 9/16″ thick products may require an adapter. Contact your distributor/retailer for specific requirements.
  • Make sure to properly adjust the nail/staple/cleat gun for proper product thickness.
  • Use minimum 2″ glue-coated fasteners recommended by the fastener manufacturer.

INSTALLATION USING PNEUMATIC MACHINES NOTE: MINOR SQUEAKING OF FLOORS IS NOT ABNORMAL DUE TO STRUCTURAL MOVEMENT CAUSED BY CHANGES IN ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS. FOLLOWING THESE INSTRUCTIONS CAN MINIMIZE THESE FACTORS BUT OFFER NO GUARANTEE THAT THE FLOOR WILL NOT SQUEAK.

General information for stapled/nailed applications:
Improper pressure settings and failure to use proper adapters can cause severe damage to the flooring. The correct adapter and air pressure setting will properly set the staple in the nail pocket. Low air pressures may fail to properly set the staple and damage adjoining boards. Air pressures set too high may cause damage to the tongue, preventing installation of adjoining boards and cause blisters on the face of the flooring. Make certain that the compressor has a regulator in-line with the air hose for proper adjustment. Set pressure at 70 PSI to begin with and adjust until proper staple setting occurs. USE A STAPLER DESIGNED FOR THE THICKNESS OF THE PRODUCT BEING INSTALLED. Any water damaged, swollen or delaminated subflooring materials will not hold staples and must be repaired or replaced.

GLUE-DOWN INSTALLATION

  • Use recommended trowel to get required spread rate and ridging height.
  • Use recommended adhesive.

SUBFLOOR REQUIREMENTS
SUBFLOORS MUST BE:

  • CLEAN – Scrape, broom clean, and smooth. Free of wax, paint, oil, sealers, adhesives, curing agents and other debris.
  • LEVEL/FLAT – Within 3/16″ in 10′ and/or 1/8″ in 6′. Sand high areas or joints. If the floor is to be glued down, fill low areas (no more than 1/8″ at a time) with a cementitous leveling compound or milk additive latex patch of 3,000-PSI minimum compressive strength. Follow the instructions of the leveling compound manufacturer. Leveling compounds must be tested for moisture to ensure they are properly cured and within the manufacturer’s specified requirements for proper installation. When stapling the floor down, flatten low spots with layers of 15# builders felt, plywood or shims.
  • STRUCTURALLY SOUND – Nail or screw any loose areas that squeak. Replace any water-damaged, swollen or delaminated subflooring or underlayments. Avoid subfloor with excessive vertical movement unless they have been properly stiffened prior to the installation of the wood flooring.
  • DRY – Check moisture content of the subfloor with a reliable moisture meter.

RECOMMENDED SUBFLOOR SURFACES
STAPLE-DOWN OR GLUE-DOWN:

  • PREFERRED: 3/4″ (19 mm) CDX grade plywood 3/4″ (23/32″) OSB PS2 rated underlayment MINIMUM: 5/8″ CDX grade plywood
  • Existing solid wood flooring
  • Vinyl, resilient tile, cork flooring
  • 3/4″ chip, waferboard, particleboard

GLUE-DOWN ONLY:

  • Concrete slabs
  • Acoustic concrete
  • Ceramic, terrazzo, slate and marble
  • Metal
  • Cork (Acoustic)

CONCRETE SLABS
Glue-Down
Engineered flooring can be glued directly to concrete. Do not use a concrete sealer nor install over one. Surface preparation using mechanical methods such as sanding or scouring with open coat paper or a titanium disk is preferred. The concrete must be of high compressive strength. All concrete subfloors should be tested for moisture content. Visual checks are not reliable. Acceptable test methods for subfloor moisture content include: NOTE: Test several areas, especially near exterior walls and walls containing plumbing.

  • A 3% Phenolphthalein in Anhydrous alcohol solution. Chip the concrete at least ¼” deep (do not apply directly to the concrete surface) and apply several drops of the solution to the chipped area. If any color change occurs, further testing is required.
  • Calcium Chloride test. The maximum moisture transfer must not exceed 3 lbs./1000 square feet with this test.

A “DRY” SLAB, AS DEFINED BY THESE TESTS CAN BE WET AT OTHER TIMES OF THE YEAR. THESE TESTS DO NOT GUARANTEE A DRY SLAB. ALL CONCRETE SLABS SHOULD HAVE A MINIMUM OF 6 MIL POLY FILM MOISTURE BARRIER BETWEEN THE GROUND AND THE CONCRETE.

Moisture Barrier System: If moisture is present, inexpensive sheet vinyl or “slip-sheet” (PVC) may be installed. Use a premium grade, alkaline resistant adhesive and a full spread application system to properly bond the vinyl to the subfloor. Follow the sheet vinyl manufacturer instructions for installation procedures. A patch test may be required as an adhesion test. Install several small areas (3′ x 3′) and allow the vinyl to set for 72 hours. Remove the vinyl; if the backing remains attached to the concrete, the subfloor should be acceptable for sheet vinyl installation. If you have any questions regarding installation or the handling of moisture problems, please contact the distributor/retailer from whom the goods were purchased.

Staple/Nail-Down
Install a suitable moisture barrier followed by a plywood subfloor with a minimum thickness of ½”. The panel must be properly attached to the subfloor using a minimum of one fastener per square foot and more if necessary. Use pneumatic or powder actuated fasteners. Do not hand nail the subfloor with concrete nails.

ACOUSTIC CONCRETE

Glue-Down Only
Acoustic concrete normally contains large quantities of gypsum that may inhibit the adhesive’s capability to properly bond. Acoustic concrete must be primed with the concrete manufacturers recommended primer/surface hardener.

WOOD SUBFLOORS & WOOD STRUCTURAL PANEL SUBFLOORS

Plywood: Must be APA grade rated sheathing or CDX minimum. Oriented Strand Board (OSB): Must be PS2 rated installed sealed side down. Particleboard: Must be a minimum 40-LB density, stamped underlayment grade and ¾” thick.

Staple/Nail-Down or Glue-Down
Make sure existing floor or subfloor is dry and well nailed or screwed down every 6″ along each joist to avoid squeaking or popping before the floor is installed. The wood subfloor must not exceed 13% moisture content. Measure moisture content of both subfloor and wood flooring to determine proper moisture content with a reliable wood moisture meter. The difference between the moisture content of the wood subfloor and the wood flooring must not exceed 4%.

Optimum performance of hardwood floor covering products occurs when there is no horizontal or vertical movement of the subfloor. The MINIMUM subfloor recommendations described above are for 16″ O/C joist spacing. The thicker, PREFERRED subfloor recommendations described above will allow 19.2″ joist spacing if the joist manufacturer’s recommended span is not exceeded. Spacing in excess of 19.2″ O/C may not offer optimum results. Install flooring perpendicular to the floor joists when possible. Installations should not be made parallel to the floor joists or on joist spacing that exceeds 19.2″ O/C unless the subfloor has been properly stiffened. Stiffening may require the addition of a second layer of subflooring material to bring the overall thickness to at least 1-1/8″.

All underlayment panels should be spaced 1/8″ apart to insure adequate expansion space. This can be achieved by using a circular saw set at the depth of the underlayment and cutting around the perimeter of the panel. T&G panels normally have built in expansion; DO NOT cut around the perimeter of T&G panels. Do not install over existing glue-down wood floors. Do not install over nailed floors that exceed 3-¼” in width. Wide width floors must be overlaid with plywood. When installing over existing wood floors parallel with the flooring, it may be necessary to install an additional ¼” layer of plywood to stabilize the flooring or install the wood floor at right angles. Applicable standards and recommendations of the construction and materials industries must be met or exceeded.

RESILIENT TILE, RESILIENT SHEET VINYL & CORK FLOORING

Staple-Down
Make sure the vinyl or tile is full spread adhesive and well bonded to the subfloor. Do not install over more than one layer, which does not exceed 1/8″ in thickness over suitable subfloor. If vinyl or tiles are loose, crumbled, or in poor condition, install an underlayment directly over the sheet vinyl (linoleum) or vinyl tiles.

CAUTION: Some older type tiles become brittle with age. Ascertain that the staple will penetrate these materials and that breakage does not occur. Remove if necessary.

Glue-Down
If the tiles or sheet goods are well bonded, clean the surface thoroughly with a good quality household detergent. De-gloss flooring as necessary to create a good adhesive bond using an abrasive pad. If vinyl appears to have a coating of wax or other maintenance materials, it must be removed with the appropriate floor stripper. Allow ample drying time. (Note: Do not sand any resilient products for they may contain asbestos fibers, which may be harmful.) Do not install over floors that exceed two layers. Cork floors must have all sealers and surface treatments removed before installation begins.

CERAMIC, TERRAZZO, SLATE & MARBLE

Glue-Down Only
All grout joints and broken corners that exceed 3/16″ must be filled with a cementitous leveling compound mixed with Latex additive. The surface should be cleaned and abraded to create a good bonding surface for the adhesive. Loose tiles must be re-adhered to the subfloor or filled as above. Remove all sealers and surface treatments.

CORK (ACOUSTIC)

Glue-Down Only
Engineered flooring can be glued directly over full-spread, permanently bonded acoustic cork. The cork should have a density of no less than 11.4 lb./cubic foot and no more than 13 lb./cubic foot. The cork, in general, should be pure cork combined with a polyurethane binder. Cork thickness is to be no more than ¼” (6 mm). Install cork in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations.

SUBFLOORS WITH RADIANT HEAT

  • System must be operational and heated for at least 7 days prior to beginning installation.
  • Turn off heat and let subfloor cool down to room temperature 3-4 hours prior to starting the job.
  • Radiant heated floors must be temperature controlled or engineered for the R-rating of the floor-covering product installed upon them. BEFORE installation begins, ascertain that the system is designed and controlled for wood flooring. Failure to do so may cause excessive heat damage and shrinkage. Install floor per the application instructions (staple or glue-down).
  • CAUTION: Refer to radiant heat system manufacturer’s precautions for nail down installation. Beware of stapling through radiant tubing or mesh.
  • After installation, turn system back on immediately to its normal room temperature setting. The subfloor surface must not exceed 85° F throughout the life of the floor.

DOORWAY AND WALL PREPARATION

Undercut door casings. Remove any existing base, shoe mold or doorway thresholds. These items can be replaced after installation. All door casings should be notched out or undercut to avoid difficult scribe cuts.

GENERAL INSTALLATION TIPS

  • Floor should be installed from several cartons at the same time to ensure good color and shade mixture.
  • Be attentive to staggering the ends of boards in adjacent rows at least 6″ when possible. This will help ensure a more favorable overall appearance of the floor.

STEP 1: ESTABLISH A STARTING POINT

  • Installation parallel to the longest wall is recommended for best visual effects, however, the floor should be installed perpendicular to the flooring joists unless subfloor has been reinforced to reduce subfloor sagging. Find appropriate subfloor from “Subfloor Type” section in this instruction manual
  • Add 3/8″ to the widest width of the product being installed to allow for ¼” expansion and the width of the tongue. For random and alternate width products, use the widest plank for the first row.
  • When possible, always begin layout or installation from an outside wall, as these are normally the straightest.
  • In at least two places 12″-16″ from the corner, measure out equal distance from the starting wall.

STAPLE/NAIL-DOWN INSTALLATION

NOTE: Installation of a 6-mil poly vapor barrier between the subfloor and the wood flooring can reduce expansion and contraction of flooring.

STEP 2: INSTALLING FIRST & SECOND ROWS

  • Use the longest, straightest boards available for the first two rows. Align tongue of first row on chalk line. The groove should be facing the starting wall. Pre-drill ½” from back (groove) edge, 1-2″ from each end, and at 6″ intervals when possible. Fasten using 4 or 6d finishing nails. Countersink the nails.
  • Pre-drill and blind-nail at a 45° angle through the tongue of the first row every 3-4″ and 1-2″ from the ends. Countersink nails to ensure flush engagement of groove with the following row(s). Continue blind nailing using this method with following rows until stapler can be used.
  • End-joints of adjacent rows should be staggered a minimum of 6″ when possible to ensure a more favorable overall appearance.
  • Beginning rows may be blind nailed where clearance allows using a pneumatic brad nailer with 1.5″ brads.

STEP 3: INSTALLING THE FLOOR

  • Always use the recommended stapler for the specific product being installed (see “Installation Applications”). Use minimum 1.5″ glue-coated fasteners recommended by the fasteners manufacturer spaced at 3-4″ intervals and 1-2″ from the ends.
  • Set compressor at 70 PSI. If tongue damage occurs, lower air pressure.
  • The last 1-2 rows will need to be face-nailed where clearance does not permit blind nailing with stapler or brad nailer. Pre-drill and face-nail on the tongue side following the nailing pattern used for the first row.

GLUE-DOWN INSTALLATION

NOTE: When installing UNFINISHED engineered flooring, allow a minimum of 72 hours adhesive curing time before applying seals, stains and finishes to unfinished flooring. Test the moisture content of the wood in accordance with the stain/finish manufacturer’s recommendations.

  • Maximum Adhesive Working Times
  • Urethane Adhesive – 60 minutes (Always read container label before proceeding)
  • Polymeric Resin Adhesive – 90 minutes (Always read container label before proceeding)
  • Open times and curing times of ALL adhesives vary dependant upon subfloor porosity, air movement, humidity and room temperature. Urethane adhesive has a shortened work time in high humidity environments whereas polymeric resin adhesive working time will be lengthened. In areas of low humidity, open time will be longer with urethanes and shorter with polymeric resins. Adjust the amount of adhesive spread accordingly. The adhesive should not be applied if subfloor or room temperature is below 65° F (20° C).
  • Spread sufficient amounts of recommended adhesive with the recommended trowel in an area that can be covered in 60-90 minutes. Polymeric resin adhesives should be rolled every two hours and at the end of the day. If a urethane adhesive is to be rolled, do not do so until the adhesive has cured for two hours.

NOTE: Avoid installing from the surface of the flooring. If necessary distribute weight using a kneeler board.

STEP 2: SPREAD THE ADHESIVE

  • Hold trowel at a minimum 45° angle firmly against the subfloor to obtain a 50-60 sq. ft. per gallon spread rate. The trowel will leave ridges of adhesive and very little adhesive between the ridges. This will allow you to still see the chalk lines between the ridges and provide the recommended spread rate. If the adhesive skins over and fails to transfer, remove and spread new adhesive to achieve proper bonding to the subfloor. WORKING TIME WILL VARY DEPENDING ON JOB SITE CONDITIONS.

During the installation occasionally remove a piece of flooring from the subfloor and inspect the back for proper adhesive transfer. Adequate adhesive transfer is necessary to ensure sufficient holding strength.

  • For additional application instructions, follow the recommendations on the adhesive container.
  • When not in use, keep the adhesive container tightly closed to prevent thickening. Thickening will cause difficulty in spreading the adhesive.
  • Proper ventilation within the room must be provided. An electric fan is helpful.
  • If the floor is to be covered, use a breathable material such as cardboard. Do not cover with plastic.

NOTE: Clean adhesive from the surface of the floor frequently using the recommended adhesive cleaner. Do not use blue tape before adhesive is removed. Use clean towel, changed frequently to prevent haze and adhesive residue.

STEP 3: INSTALLATION OF FLOORING

  • Use the longest, straightest boards available for the first two rows. The first row of planks should be installed with the edge of the groove lined up on the chalk line. The tongue should be facing the starting wall. The first row must be aligned and seated in the adhesive as all additional rows will be pushed back to this original row.
  • When installing 5-ply products or products wider than 3″, apply a bead of PVA wood glue to all of the end grooves prior to installing into the adhesive.
  • When installing pieces, engage the end-joint first as close to side (long) tongue and groove as possible and then slide together tightly to engage side (long) joint tongue and groove. To avoid adhesive bleed-through and memory pullback, avoid sliding pieces through the adhesive as much as possible when placing them in position.
  • Check for a tight fit between all edges and ends of each plank. End-joints of adjacent rows should be staggered 6″ when possible to ensure a more favorable overall appearance.
  • If necessary, nail a sacrificial row with 2″ nails on the dry side of your chalk line to help hold the first row in place.
  • It may be necessary to align product with a cut-off piece of scrap.
  • To eliminate minor shifting or gapping of product during installation, use 3M 2090 Blue Mask Tape to hold the planks together. After installation is complete, remove all the 3M 2090 Blue Mask Tape from surface of newly installed flooring. Do not let tape remain on flooring longer than 24 hours. Avoid use of masking tape, which leaves an adhesive residue.
  • Be sure not to spread adhesive too far ahead of your work area.
  • Complete the installation using this same technique for the remainder of the floor.
  • Avoid heavy foot traffic on the flooring for at least 24 hours. Lift the furniture or fixtures back into place after 24 hours.

INSTALLERS – Advise Your Customer of the Following

SEASONS: Heating and Non-Heating
Recognizing that wood floor dimensions will be slightly affected by varying levels of humidity within your building, care should be taken to control humidity levels within the 35-55% range. To protect your investment and to assure that your floors provide lasting satisfaction, we have provided our recommendations below.

  • Heating Season (Dry) – A humidifier is recommended to prevent excessive shrinkage in wood floors due to low humidity levels. Wood stoves and electric heat tend to create very dry conditions.
  • Non-Heating Season (Humid, Wet) – Proper humidity levels can be maintained by use of an air conditioner, dehumidifier, or by turning on your heating system periodically during the summer months. Avoid excessive exposure to water from tracking during periods of inclement weather. Do not obstruct in any way the expansion joint around the perimeter of your floor.

Floor Repair
Minor damage can be repaired with a Touch-Up Kit or Acrylic Filler. Major damage will require board replacement, which can be done by a professional floor installer.

ALL Installations
STEP 4: Completing the Job

  • Clean floor with the appropriate Cleaner. (See adhesive container for specific information)
  • Re-install any transition pieces that may be needed, such as Reducer Strips, T-moldings, or Thresholds. The products are available pre-finished to blend with your flooring. (See moldings below)
  • Re-install all base and/or quarter round moldings. Nail moldings into the wall, not the floor. Inspect the floor, filling all minor gaps with the appropriate blended filler.
  • If the floor is to be covered, use a breathable material such as cardboard. Do not cover with plastic.
  • Leave warranty and floor care information with the owner. Advise them of the product name and code number of the flooring they purchased.
  • To prevent surface damage avoid rolling heavy appliances and furniture on the floor. Use plywood, hardboard or appliance lifts if necessary.

Moldings

  • Reducer Strip: a teardrop shaped molding. Used around fireplaces, doorways, as a room divider, or as a transition between Parquet and adjacent floor coverings that are thinner. Fasten down with adhesive or double-faced tape.
  • Threshold: a molding undercut for use against sliding door tracks, fireplaces, carpet, ceramic tile, or existing thresholds to allow for expansion space and to provide a smooth transition in height difference. Fasten to subfloor with adhesive and/or nails through the heel. Predrill nail holes to prevent splitting. Always leave expansion beneath the undercut.
  • Stair Nosing: a molding undercut for use as a stair landings trim, elevated floor perimeters, and stair steps. Fasten down firmly with adhesive and nails or screws. Predrill nail holes to prevent splitting.
  • Quarter Round: a molding used to cover expansion space next to baseboards, case goods, and stair steps. Predrill and nail to the vertical surface, not into the floor.
  • Combination Base and Shoe: a molding used when a base is desired. Used to cover expansion space between the floor and the wall. Predrill and nail into the wall, not the floor.
  • T-Molding: a molding used as a transition piece from one flooring to another or to gain expansion spaces. Fasten at the heel in the center of the molding. Leave expansion beneath the undercut on both sides.

INSTALL ENGINEERED HARDWOOD FLOORING – FLOAT OR GLUE

5/8 ” & 9/16″ Engineered Floors
For Floating or Glue-Down Installations

Installer/Owner Responsibility
Beautiful hardwood floors are a product of nature and therefore, not perfect. Our wood floors are manufactured in accordance with accepted industry standards, which permit a defect tolerance not to exceed 5%. The defects may be of a manufacturing or natural type.

  • The installer assumes all responsibility for final inspection of product quality. This inspection of all flooring should be done before installation. Carefully examine flooring for color, finish and quality before installing it. If material is not acceptable, do not install it and contact the seller immediately.
  • Prior to installation of any hardwood-flooring product, the installer must determine that the job-site environment and the sub-surfaces involved meet or exceed all applicable standards and recommendations of the construction and materials industries. These instructions recommend that the construction and subfloor be dry, stiff and flat. The manufacturer declines any responsibility for job failure resulting from or associated with sub-surface or job-site environment deficiencies.
  • Prior to installation, the installer/owner has final inspection responsibility as to grade, manufacture and factory finish. The installer must use reasonable selectivity and hold out or cut off pieces with defects, whatever the cause.
  • Use of stain, filler or putty stick for defect correction during installation should be accepted as normal procedure.
  • When flooring is ordered, 5% must be added to the actual square footage needed for cutting and grading allowance.
  • Should an individual piece be doubtful as to grade, manufacture or factory finish, the installer should not use the piece.
  • Use of appropriate products for correcting subfloor voids should be accepted as a normal industry practice.

Tools & Accessories Needed

  • Broom
  • Tape Measure
  • Chalk line & chalk
  • Hand saw or jamb saw
  • Electric power saw
  • Moisture meter (wood, concrete or both)
  • Square
  • Installation bar
  • Tapping Block (floating)
  • 3M 2090 Blue Mask Tape
  • Acrylic Filler
  • Hammer
  • Standard Glue Down Adhesives (Determined by the jobsite conditions, subfloor, etc.) and Adhesive Cleaner
  • Finished hardwood flooring cleaner
  • Recommended trowel
  • Safety glasses
  • 8-penny nails
  • Wedges
  • Tapping Block (glue-down)

Pre-Installation Procedures
Job Site Inspection:

  • The building should be closed in with all outside doors and windows in place. All concrete, masonry, framing members, drywall, paint and other “wet” work should be thoroughly dry.
  • The wall coverings should be in place and the painting completed except for the final coat on the base molding. When possible, delay installation of base molding until flooring installation is complete.
  • Exterior grading should be complete with surface drainage directing water away from the building. All gutters and downspouts should be in place.
  • Floating floors may be installed on, above or below grade level. Do not install in full bathrooms.
  • Basements and crawl spaces must be dry and well ventilated.
  • Crawl space must be a minimum of 24″ (600 mm) from the ground to underside of joists. A ground cover of 6-8 mil black polyethylene film is essential as a vapor barrier with joints lapped six inches and taped. The crawl space should have perimeter venting equal to a minimum of 1.5% of the crawl space square footage. These vents should be properly located to foster cross ventilation.
  • Subfloor must be checked for moisture content using the appropriate testing method.
  • Permanent air conditioning and heating systems should be in place and operational. The installation site should have a consistent room temperature of 60-75° F and humidity of 35-55% for 14 days prior, during and until occupied, to allow for proper acclimation

Storage & Handling:
Handle and unload with care. Store in a dry place being sure to provide at least a four-inch air space under cartons, which are stored upon “on-grade” concrete floors. Flooring should not be delivered until the building has been closed in with windows and doors in place and until cement work, plastering and all other “wet” work is completed and dry. Concrete should be at least 60 days old. Floating floors should be stored in the environment in which it is expected to perform. Air conditioning/heating systems should be in place and in operation at least 14 days prior, during and after installation of the flooring. Do not open the packages until you are ready to install. Humidity may cause the tongue to swell on opened packages making installation difficult. Check adhesive label for storage limitations.

Installation Methods
Floating:

  • Use floating floor underlayment appropriate for jobsite conditions.
  • Use joint adhesive appropriate for jobsite conditions.

Glue-Down Installation

  • Use recommended trowel to get required spread rate and ridging height.
  • Use joint adhesive appropriate for jobsite conditions.

Subfloor Requirements
Subfloor Guidelines:

  • CLEAN – Scrape, broom clean, and smooth. Free of wax, paint, oil, sealers, adhesives, curing agents and other debris.
  • LEVEL/FLAT – Within 3/16″ in 10′ and/or 1/8″ in 6′. Sand high areas or joints. If the floor is to be glued down, fill low areas (no more than 1/8″ at a time) with a cementitous leveling compound or milk additive latex patch of 3,000-PSI minimum compressive strength. Follow the instructions of the leveling compound manufacturer. Leveling compounds must be tested for moisture to ensure they are properly cured and within the manufacturer’s specified requirements for proper installation.
  • STRUCTURALLY SOUND – Nail or screw any loose areas that squeak. Replace any water-damaged, swollen or delaminated subflooring or underlayment. Avoid subfloor with excessive vertical movement unless they have been properly stiffened prior to the installation of the wood flooring.
  • DRY – Check moisture content of the subfloor with a reliable moisture meter.

Recommended Subfloor Surfaces

  • PREFERRED: ¾” (19 mm) CDX grade plywood ¾” (23/32″) OSB PS2 rated underlayment MINIMUM: 5/8″ CDX grade plywood
  • Existing solid wood flooring
  • Vinyl, resilient tile, cork flooring
  • Concrete slabs
  • ¾” chip, waferboard, particleboard
  • Radiant heated subfloors
  • Acoustic concrete
  • Ceramic, terrazzo, slate and marble
  • Metal
  • Cork (Acoustic)

Concrete Slabs
Floating floors can be glued directly to concrete or floated over them. In glue-down applications, do not use a concrete sealer nor install over one. Surface preparation using mechanical methods such as sanding or scouring with open coat paper or a titanium disk is preferred. The concrete must be of high compressive strength. All concrete subfloors should be tested for moisture content. Visual checks are not reliable. Acceptable test methods for subfloor moisture content include: NOTE: Test several areas, especially near exterior walls and walls containing plumbing.

  • A 3% Phenolphthalein in Anhydrous alcohol solution. Chip the concrete at least ¼” deep (do not apply directly to the concrete surface) and apply several drops of the solution to the chipped area. If any color change occurs, further testing is required.
  • Calcium Chloride test. The maximum moisture transfer must not exceed 3 lbs./1000 square feet with this test.
  • Moisture readings should not exceed 4.5 on the upper scale.

A “DRY” SLAB, AS DEFINED BY THESE TESTS CAN BE WET AT OTHER TIMES OF THE YEAR. THESE TESTS DO NOT GUARANTEE A DRY SLAB. ALL CONCRETE SLABS SHOULD HAVE A MINIMUM OF 6 MIL POLY FILM VAPOR BARRIER BETWEEN THE GROUND AND THE CONCRETE.

Vapor Barrier System: If moisture is present, inexpensive sheet vinyl or “slip-sheet” (PVC) may be installed. Use a premium grade, alkaline resistant adhesive and a full spread application system to properly bond the vinyl to the subfloor. Follow the sheet vinyl manufacturer instructions for installation procedures. A patch test may be required as an adhesion test. Install several small areas (3′ x 3′) and allow the vinyl to set for 72 hours. Remove the vinyl; if the backing remains attached to the concrete, the subfloor should be acceptable for sheet vinyl installation. If you have any questions regarding installation or the handling of moisture problems, please contact the distributor/retailer from whom the goods were purchased.

Acoustic Concrete
Acoustic concrete normally contains large quantities of gypsum that may inhibit the adhesive’s capability to properly bond. For glue-down applications, acoustic concrete must be primed with the concrete manufacturers recommended primer/surface hardener.

Wood Subfloors & Wood Structural Panel Subfloors
Plywood: Must be APA grade rated sheathing or CDX minimum. Oriented Strand Board (OSB): Must be PS2 rated installed sealed side down. Particleboard must be a minimum 40-LB density, stamped underlayment grade and ¾” thick.

Make sure existing floor or subfloor is dry and well nailed or screwed down every 6″ along each joist to avoid squeaking or popping before the floor is installed. The wood subfloor must not exceed 13% moisture content. Measure moisture content of both subfloor and wood flooring to determine proper moisture content with a reliable wood moisture meter. The difference between the moisture content of the wood subfloor and the wood flooring must not exceed 4%.

Optimum performance of hardwood floor covering products occurs when there is no horizontal or vertical movement of the subfloor. The MINIMUM subfloor recommendations described above for 16″ O/C joist spacing. The thicker, PREFERRED subfloor recommendations described above will allow 19.2″ O/C joist spacing if the joist manufacturer’s recommended span is not exceeded. Spacing in excess of 19.2″ O/C does not offer optimum results. Install flooring perpendicular to the floor joists when possible. Installations should not be made parallel to the floor joists or on joist spacing that exceeds 19.2″ O/C unless the subfloor has been properly stiffened. Stiffening may require the addition of a second layer of subflooring material to bring the overall thickness to at least 1-1/8″.

All underlayment panels should be spaced 1/8″ apart to insure adequate expansion space. This can be achieved by using a circular saw set at the depth of the underlayment and cutting around the perimeter of the panel. T&G panels normally have built in expansion; DO NOT cut around the perimeter of T&G panels. Do not install over existing glue-down wood floors. Do not install over nailed floors that exceed 3-¼” in width. Wide width floors must be overlaid with plywood. When installing over existing wood floors parallel with the flooring, it may be necessary to install an additional ¼” layer of plywood to stabilize the flooring or install the wood floor at right angles. Applicable standards and recommendations of the construction and materials industries must be met or exceeded.

Resilient Tile, Resilient Sheet Vinyl & Cork Flooring
If the tiles or sheet goods are well bonded, the flooring can be glued directly to the surface. Clean the surface thoroughly with a good quality household detergent. De-gloss flooring as necessary to create a good adhesive bond using an abrasive pad. If vinyl appears to have a coating of wax or other maintenance materials, it must be removed with the appropriate floor stripper. Allow ample drying time. (Note: Do not sand any resilient products for they may contain asbestos fibers, which may be harmful.) Do not direct glue to floors that exceed two layers; install as a floating system only under these circumstances. Cork floors must have all sealers and surface treatments removed before installation begins if a direct glue-down application is preferred.

Ceramic, Terrazzo, Slate & Marble
All grout joints and broken corners that exceed 1″ must be filled with a cementitous leveling compound mixed with Latex additive of a glue-down application is preferred. The surface should be cleaned and abraded to create a good bonding surface for the adhesive. Loose tiles must be re-adhered to the subfloor or filled as above for both glue-down and floated applications.

Cork (Acoustic)
Floating floors can be glued or floated directly over full-spread, permanently bonded acoustic cork. The cork should have a density of no less than 11.4 lb./cubic foot and no more than 13 lb./cubic foot. The cork, in general, should be pure cork combined with a polyurethane binder. Cork thickness is to be no more than ¼” (6 mm). Install cork in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations. DO NOT use cushion underlayment when floating over these surfaces.

Subfloors with Radiant Heat

  • System must be operational and heated for at least 7 days prior to beginning installation.
  • Turn off heat and let subfloor cool down to room temperature 3-4 hours prior to starting the job.
  • Radiant heated floors must be temperature controlled or engineered for the R-rating of the floor-covering product installed upon them. BEFORE installation begins, ascertain that the system is designed and controlled for wood flooring. Failure to do so may cause excessive heat damage, shrinkage and delamination.
  • After installation, turn system back on immediately to its normal room temperature setting. The subfloor surface must not exceed 85° F throughout the life of the floor.

Doorway & Wall Preparation
Undercut door casings. Remove any existing base, shoe mold or doorway thresholds. These items can be replaced after installation. All door casings should be notched out or undercut to avoid difficult scribe cuts.

Installation Tips

  • Floor should be installed from several cartons at the same time to ensure good color and shade mixture.
  • Be attentive to staggering the ends of boards in adjacent rows at least 16″ when possible. This will help ensure a more favorable overall appearance of the floor.
  • DO install from closed/sealed cartons. DO NOT remove materials from their sealed container prior to installation.
  • DO tighten panels by tapping against the recommended tapping block with a hammer. DO NOT tighten panels by striking directly with the tapping block or a hammer.
  • DO glue all joints with appropriate sealer for the jobsite conditions when using a floating system. The glue MUST be applied to the top of the tongue, DO NOT apply adhesive in the groove.
  • DO use a starter board that is adequately fastened to a straight starting line.
  • DO use Comfort Guard underlayment on all floating floors over subfloors that require it.
  • DO NOT use short tapping blocks that can damage the edge. Do Not use lightweight wooden tapping blocks. Do Not use grooved tapping blocks.
  • DO NOT use laminate straps to tighten the flooring panels.

STEP 1: Establish a Starting Point

  • Installation parallel to the longest wall is recommended for best visual effects, however, the floor should be installed perpendicular to the flooring joists unless subfloor has been reinforced to reduce subfloor sagging. Find appropriate subfloor from “Subfloor Type” section in this instruction manual.
  • When possible, always begin layout or installation from an outside wall, as these are normally the straightest.
  • Pre-plan the floor by counting the number of planks (in width) that it will take to complete the floor. Avoid finishing out with a rip narrower than 2″. Plan to start the first row with a partial board, ripping it to the necessary width to avoid a narrow rip on the final wall.
  • In at least two places 12″-16″ from the corner, measure out equal distance from the starting wall and snap a chalk line. The chalk should be of a bright color so that it is visible through the underlayment or adhesive. If a partial, ripped board is required (as above) it can be installed after the balance of the flooring has been completed. Adjust the starting line to allow for the width of the board plus ½” for expansion. Ascertain that the wall is straight. If it is not, scribe the first row to allow for irregularities.
  • Install a starter board on the inside edge of the chalk line aligned to create a straight edge to work against. Attach the starter board to the subfloor using nails appropriate to the subflooring materials. When installing using the floating system install the cushion underlayment BEFORE installing the starter strip.

Floating Floor Installation
STEP 2: Installing the Underlayment

  • Roll the underlayment in the same direction that the wood flooring is to be installed.
  • Extend the underlayment a few inches up the wall. Excess will be trimmed off prior to installing trim or moldings.
  • Firmly bond the sheets together to cover the entire floor. The floating floor underlayment already has double-sided tape for ease of taping the precut overlapping seams.
  • Always allow ½” expansion around all vertical objects.

STEP 3: Installing the Floor

  • Select your first board; apply a continuous 1/8″ glue bead to the top of the tongue on “the end of the board.” Do not apply glue to the side-tongue at this time.
  • Lay the first board with the grooves facing the edge of the starter board and the left wall of the room. (Always leave expansion space).
  • Complete the first row. Cut the last board allowing for ½” clearance between the wall and the floor. (Use the remaining end of the cut board as a starter board for any row after row three). Use an installation bar to pull the last board into place. Install wedges into the gap and tighten.
  • If any glue gets on the surface of the flooring, wipe off immediately with a damp cloth.
  • Start the second row by applying a bead of adhesive along the top side of the tongue of row one.
  • Cut a board in half for the first board of the second row. Avoid installation of any boards shorter than 24″ in the first four rows, which may reduce the strength of the floor.
  • In the remaining rows, stagger joints at least 16″ apart. When installing boards together, use a tapping block against the tongue, not the groove. Apply a bead of adhesive to the tongue on the end and side. Tap the boards into place by tapping with a hammer on the tapping block. DO NOT tap directly on the boards with the hammer. Install the rest of the floor. Be sure all joints are tight. Use spacers on the long and butt walls. Use an installation bar to tighten the joints from the ends. Remove excess adhesive with a damp towel.
  • The final row of boards, in most installations, will need to be ripped lengthwise to fit. The cut has to compensate for uneven walls and the expansion clearance or gap necessary between the wall and the flooring. First lay up the last row, face-up over the top of the last row permanently installed. Now using a stub of a board and a pencil, scribe the proper guide lines and cut.
  • Use an installation bar to pull in the last row and install wedges.
  • Remove the starter board and install the final row using the installation bar as above.
  • Allow the completed floor to rest undisturbed (no foot traffic) for a minimum of 8 hours before removing the wedges.
  • Before leaving the job site, check the floor under proper lighting for any trace of glue on the surface. Use Adhesive Cleaner to remove stubborn glue. Install molding the following day. Refer to the floor care and maintenance section for maintaining your wood flooring.

Glue Down Method
STEP 1: Preparation

  • Maximum Adhesive Working Times
  • Urethane Adhesive – 60 minutes (Always read container label before proceeding)
  • Polymeric Resin Adhesive – 90 minutes (Always read container label before proceeding)
  • Open times and curing times of ALL adhesives vary dependant upon subfloor porosity, air movement, humidity and room temperature. Urethane adhesives have a shortened work time in high humidity environments whereas polymeric resin adhesive working time will be lengthened. In areas of low humidity, open time will be longer with urethanes and shorter with polymeric resins. Adjust the amount of adhesive spread accordingly. The adhesive should not be applied if subfloor or room temperature is below 65° F (20° C).
  • Spread sufficient amounts of adhesive with the recommended trowel in an area that can be covered in 60-90 minutes. Polymeric resin adhesives should be rolled every two hours and at the end of the day. If a urethane adhesive is to be rolled, do not do so until the adhesive has cured for two hours.

NOTE: Avoid installing from the surface of the flooring. If necessary distribute weight using a kneeler board. Always refer to specific adhesive instructions on the adhesive label. Comfort Guard underlayment will not be used in this application.

STEP 2: Spreading the Adhesive

  • Hold trowel at a minimum 45° angle firmly against the subfloor to obtain a 50-60 sq. ft. per gallon spread rate. The trowel will leave ridges of adhesive and very little adhesive between the ridges. This will allow you to still see the chalk lines between the ridges and provide the recommended spread rate. If the adhesive skins over and fails to transfer, remove and spread new adhesive to achieve proper bonding to the subfloor. WORKING TIME WILL VARY DEPENDING ON JOB SITE CONDITIONS.
  • During the installation occasionally remove a piece of flooring from the subfloor and inspect the back for proper adhesive transfer. Adequate adhesive transfer is necessary to ensure sufficient holding strength.
  • For additional application instructions, follow the recommendations on the adhesive container.
  • When not in use, keep the adhesive container tightly closed to prevent thickening. Thickening will cause difficulty in spreading the adhesive.
  • Proper ventilation within the room must be provided. An electric fan is helpful.
  • If the floor is to be covered, use a breathable material such as cardboard. Do not cover with plastic.

NOTE: Clean adhesive from the surface of the floor frequently using the recommended adhesive cleaner. Do not use blue tape before adhesive is removed. Use a clean towel, changed frequently to prevent haze and adhesive residue.

STEP 3: Installation of Flooring

  • Use the straightest boards available for the first two rows. The first row of planks should be installed with the edge of the groove lined up against the starter board. The tongue should be facing the starting wall. The first row must be aligned and seated in the adhesive as all additional rows will be pushed back to this original row.
  • Apply a bead of adhesive to all of the end tongues prior to installing into the adhesive. Gluing of the edges is not necessary in glue-down applications.
  • Use wedges against the starting wall to prevent movement. Tighten or loosen as necessary to allow for variations in the wall, always keeping planks aligned with the chalk line.
  • Avoid working from the surface of the newly installed floor to prevent scooting. Use a kneeler board if necessary to distribute weight.
  • When installing planks, engage the end-joint first as close to the side (long) tongue and groove as possible and then slide together tightly to engage side (long) joint tongue and groove. To avoid adhesive bleed-through and memory pull-back, avoid sliding pieces through the adhesive as much as possible when placing them in position.
  • Check for a tight fit between all edges and ends of each plank. End-joints of adjacent rows should be staggered 16″ when possible to ensure a more favorable overall appearance.
  • Use a glue-down tapping block and a hammer to tighten all joints.
  • To eliminate minor shifting or gapping of product during installation, use 3M 2090 Blue Mask Tape to hold the planks together. After installation is complete, remove all the 3M 2090 Blue Mask Tape from surface of newly installed flooring. Do not let tape remain on flooring longer than 24 hours. Avoid use of masking tape, which leaves an adhesive residue.
  • Be sure not to spread adhesive too far ahead of your work area.
  • Complete the installation using this same technique for the remainder of the floor.
  • Remove the starter board and install the final row as above.
  • Avoid heavy foot traffic on the flooring for at least 24 hours. Lift the furniture or fixtures back into place after 24 hours.

INSTALLERS – Advise Your Customer of the Following

SEASONS: Heating and Non-Heating
Recognizing that wood floor dimensions will be slightly affected by varying levels of humidity within your building, care should be taken to control humidity levels within the 35-55% range. To protect your investment and to assure that your floors provide lasting satisfaction, we have provided our recommendations below.

  • Heating Season (Dry) – A humidifier is recommended to prevent excessive shrinkage in wood floors due to low humidity levels. Wood stoves and electric heat tend to create very dry conditions.
  • Non-Heating Season (Humid, Wet) – Proper humidity levels can be maintained by use of an air conditioner, dehumidifier, or by turning on your heating system periodically during the summer months. Avoid excessive exposure to water from tracking during periods of inclement weather. Do not obstruct in any way the expansion joint around the perimeter of your floor.

Floor Repair
Minor damage can be repaired with a Touch-Up Kit or Acrylic Filler. Major damage will require board replacement, which can be done by a professional floor installer.

ALL Installations
STEP 4: Completing the Job

  • Clean floor with the appropriate Cleaner. (See adhesive container for specific information)
  • Re-install any transition pieces that may be needed, such as Reducer Strips, T-moldings, or Thresholds. The products are available pre-finished to blend with your flooring. (See moldings below)
  • Re-install all base and/or quarter round moldings. Nail moldings into the wall, not the floor. Inspect the floor, filling all minor gaps with the appropriate blended filler.
  • If the floor is to be covered, use a breathable material such as cardboard. Do not cover with plastic.
  • Leave warranty and floor care information with the owner. Advise them of the product name and code number of the flooring they purchased.
  • To prevent surface damage avoid rolling heavy appliances and furniture on the floor. Use plywood, hardboard or appliance lifts if necessary.

Moldings

  • Reducer Strip: a teardrop shaped molding. Used around fireplaces, doorways, as a room divider, or as a transition between Parquet and adjacent floor coverings that are thinner. Fasten down with adhesive or double-faced tape.
  • Threshold: a molding undercut for use against sliding door tracks, fireplaces, carpet, ceramic tile, or existing thresholds to allow for expansion space and to provide a smooth transition in height difference. Fasten to subfloor with adhesive and/or nails through the heel. Predrill nail holes to prevent splitting. Always leave expansion beneath the undercut.
  • Stair Nosing: a molding undercut for use as a stair landings trim, elevated floor perimeters, and stair steps. Fasten down firmly with adhesive and nails or screws. Predrill nail holes to prevent splitting.
  • Quarter Round: a molding used to cover expansion space next to baseboards, case goods, and stair steps. Predrill and nail to the vertical surface, not into the floor.
  • Combination Base and Shoe: a molding used when a base is desired. Used to cover expansion space between the floor and the wall. Predrill and nail into the wall, not the floor.
  • T-Molding: a molding used as a transition piece from one flooring to another or to gain expansion spaces. Fasten at the heel in the center of the molding. Leave expansion beneath the undercut on both sides.

INSTALL SOLID HARDWOOD FLOORING – STAPLE OR GLUE

 Nail-Down & Glue-Down Installation

INSTALLER/OWNER RESPONSIBILITY

Beautiful hardwood floors are a product of nature and therefore, not perfect. Our wood floors are manufactured in accordance with accepted industry standards, which permit a defect tolerance not to exceed 5%. The defects may be of a manufacturing or natural type

  • The installer assumes all responsibility for final inspection of product quality. This inspection of all flooring should be done before installation. Carefully examine flooring for color, finish and quality before installing it. If material is not acceptable, do not install it and contact the seller immediately.
  • Prior to installation of any hardwood-flooring product, the installer must determine that the job-site environment and the sub-surfaces involved meet or exceed all applicable standards and recommendations of the construction and materials industries. These instructions recommend that the construction and subfloor be dry, stiff and flat. The manufacturer declines any responsibility for job failure resulting from or associated with sub-surface or job-site environment deficiencies.
  • Prior to installation, the installer/owner has final inspection responsibility as to grade, manufacture and factory finish. The installer must use reasonable selectivity and hold out or cut off pieces with defects, whatever the cause.
  • Use of stain, filler or putty stick for defect correction during installation should be accepted as normal procedure.
  • When flooring is ordered, 5% must be added to the actual square footage needed for cutting and grading allowance.
  • Should an individual piece be doubtful as to grade, manufacture or factory finish, the installer should not use the piece.

Tools & Accessories Needed

  • Broom
  • Tape Measure
  • Hand saw
  • Hammer
  • Table saw, jig saw, or circular saw
  • Chalk line & chalk
  • Recommended Hardwood Flooring Cleaner
  • Moisture meter (wood, concrete or both)

Additional Tools & Accessories Needed for Nail-Down Installations
NOTE: It is extremely important to use the proper adapters as well as nails or cleats. Improper fasteners, machines and air pressure can cause severe damage. The manufacturer of this flooring product is not responsible for damage caused by use of improper tools or misuse.

  • Pneumatic Brad-Nailer with 2″ brads OR Drill with 1/16″ drill bit 4-6d screw-shank nails & nail set
  • Duct tape
  • Vapor barrier
  • Stapling machine
  • 2″ (minimum) glue coated nails/cleats

Additional Tools & Accessories Needed for Nail-Down Installations

  • Recommended Adhesive
  • Adhesive Cleaner
  • Trowel

PRE-INSTALLATION PROCEDURES

Job Site Inspection

  • The building should be closed in with all outside doors and windows in place. All concrete, masonry, framing members, drywall, paint and other “wet” work should be thoroughly dry.
  • The wall coverings should be in place and the painting completed except for the final coat on the base molding. When possible, delay installation of base molding until flooring installation is complete.
  • Exterior grading should be complete with surface drainage directing water away from the building. All gutters and downspouts should be in place.
  • Solid Floors can only be installed on or above grade level. Do not install in full bathrooms.
  • Basements and crawl spaces must be dry and well ventilated.
  • Crawl space must be a minimum of 24″ (600 mm) from the ground to underside of joists. A ground cover of 6-8 mil black polyethylene film is essential as a vapor barrier with joints lapped six inches and taped. The crawl space should have perimeter venting equal to a minimum of 1.5% of the crawl space square footage. These vents should be properly located to foster cross ventilation.
  • Subfloor must be checked for moisture content using the appropriate testing method.
  • Permanent air conditioning and heating systems should be in place and operational. The installation site should have a consistent room temperature of 60-75-degree F and humidity of 35-55% for 14 days prior, during and until occupied, to allow for proper acclimation.

STORAGE AND HANDLING

Solid Floors should be stored in the environment in which they are expected to perform. Deliver the materials to an environmentally controlled site. Materials should be allowed to acclimate for as long as necessary to meet minimum installation requirements for moisture content. Handle and unload with care. Store in a dry place being sure to provide at least a four-inch air space under cartons, which are stored upon “on-grade” concrete floors. Flooring should not be delivered until the building has been closed in with windows and doors in place and until cement work, plastering and all other “wet” work is completed and dry. Concrete should be at least 60 days old. Air conditioning/heating systems should be in place and in operation at least 14 days prior, during and after installation of the flooring.

INSTALLATION APPLICATIONS

NOTE: MINOR SQUEAKING OF MECHANICALLY FASTENED FLOORS IS NOT ABNORMAL DUE TO STRUCTURAL MOVEMENT CAUSED BY CHANGES IN ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS. FOLLOWING THESE INSTRUCTIONS CAN MINIMIZE THESE FACTORS, BUT OFFER NO GUARANTEE THAT THE FLOOR WILL NOT SQUEAK.

General Information for Nailed Applications
Improper pressure settings and failure to use proper adapters can cause severe damage to the flooring. The correct fastening machine and air pressure setting will properly set the nail in the nail pocket.

Low air pressures may fail to properly set the nail and damage adjoining boards. Air pressures set too high may cause damage to the tongue, preventing installation of adjoining boards and cause blisters on the face of the flooring. Make certain that the compressor has a regulator in-line with the air hose for proper adjustment. Set pressure at 70 PSI to begin with and adjust until proper nail setting occurs. USE A NAILER DESIGNED FOR THE THICKNESS OF THE PRODUCT BEING INSTALLED.. Any water damaged, swollen or delaminated subflooring materials will not hold nails and must be repaired or replaced.

SUBFLOOR REQUIREMENTS

SUBFLOORS MUST BE:

  • CLEAN – Scrape, broom clean, and smooth. Free of wax, paint, oil or debris.
  • LEVEL/FLAT – Within 3/16″ in 10′ and/or 1/8″ in 6′. Sand high areas or joints. Low spots can be flattened using shims or layers of builders felt between the wood and the subfloor during installation.
  • STRUCTURALLY SOUND – Nail or screw any loose areas that squeak. Replace any water-damaged, swollen or delaminated subflooring or underlayments, as they are unable to properly hold fasteners. Avoid subfloor with excessive vertical movement unless they have been properly stiffened prior to the installation of the wood flooring.
  • DRY – Check moisture content of subfloor. Moisture content of wood subfloor must not exceed 13% on a wood moisture meter, or read more than a 4% difference (3% for plank) than moisture level of product being installed.

Recommended Subfloor Surfaces
NAIL-DOWN OR GLUE-DOWN:

  • Preferred: 3/4″ (19 mm) CDX grade plywood, 3/4″ (23/32″) OSB PS2 rated underlayment
  • Minimum: 5/8″ CDX grade plywood
  • Existing solid wood flooring
  • Vinyl, resilient tile, cork flooring
  • 3/4″ chip, waferboard, particleboard

GLUE-DOWN ONLY:

  • Concrete slabs
  • Acoustic concrete
  • Ceramic, terrazzo, slate and marble
  • Metal
  • Cork (Acoustic)

CONCRETE SLABS

Glue-Down
Floors can be glued directly to concrete using recommended adhesive. Do not use a concrete sealer nor install over one. Surface preparation using mechanical methods such as sanding or scouring with open coat paper or a titanium disk is preferred. The concrete must be of high compressive strength. All concrete subfloors should be tested for moisture content. Visual checks are not reliable. Acceptable test methods for subfloor moisture content include: NOTE: Test several areas, especially near exterior walls and walls containing plumbing.

  • A 3% Phenolphthalein in Anhydrous alcohol solution. Chip the concrete at least 1/4″ deep (do not apply directly to the concrete surface) and apply several drops of the solution to the chipped area. If any color change occurs, further testing is required.
  • Calcium Chloride test. The maximum moisture transfer must not exceed 3 lbs./1000 square feet with this test.

A “DRY” SLAB, AS DEFINED BY THESE TESTS CAN BE WET AT OTHER TIMES OF THE YEAR. THESE TESTS DO NOT GUARANTEE A DRY SLAB. ALL CONCRETE SLABS SHOULD HAVE A MINIMUM OF 6 MIL POLY FILM MOISTURE BARRIER BETWEEN THE GROUND AND THE CONCRETE.

Moisture Barrier System
If moisture is present, inexpensive sheet vinyl or “slip-sheet” (PVC) may be installed. Use a premium grade, alkaline resistant adhesive and a full spread application system to properly bond the vinyl to the subfloor. Follow the sheet vinyl manufacturer instructions for installation procedures. A patch test may be required as an adhesion test. Install several small areas (3′ x 3′) and allow the vinyl to set for 72 hours. Remove the vinyl; if the backing remains attached to the concrete, the subfloor should be acceptable for sheet vinyl installation. If you have any questions regarding installation or the handling of moisture problems, please contact the distributor/retailer from whom the goods were purchased.

ACOUSTIC CONCRETE

Glue-Down Only
Acoustic concrete normally contains large quantities of gypsum that may inhibit the adhesive’s capability to properly bond. Acoustic concrete must be primed with the concrete manufacturers recommended primer/surface hardener. The concrete must have a minimum compressive strength of 2500 PSI.

WOOD/CONCRETE SUBFLOOR SYSTEMS

Bonded
Install a suitable vapor barrier followed by a plywood subfloor with a minimum thickness of 3/4″. Allow 1/2″ expansion space around all vertical objects and 1/8″ between all flooring panels. The panel must be properly attached to the subfloor using a minimum of one fastener per square foot and more if necessary. Use pneumatic or powder actuated fasteners. Do not hand nail the subfloor with concrete nails. Install a vapor barrier with joints lapped 6″ and begin installation of flooring using 1 1/2″ fasteners.

Floating
Install a suitable vapor barrier followed by a plywood subfloor with a minimum of 3/8″. Allow 1/2″ expansion space around all vertical objects and 1/8″ between all flooring panels. Install a second layer of 3/8″ plywood at a right angle to the previous panels, offsetting the joints 2′. Staple together with staples that will not penetrate the first layer of subfloor with a crown width of 3/8″ or more. Install a vapor barrier with joints lapped 6″ and begin installation of flooring.

WOOD SUBFLOORS & WOOD STRUCTURAL PANEL SUBFLOORS

Plywood: Must be APA CDX grade or better.
Oriented Strand Board (OSB): Must be PS2 rated installed sealed side down.
Particleboard: Must be a minimum 40-LB density, stamped underlayment grade and 3/4″ thick.

Do Not install over pressed wood or fiber board.

Nail-Down or Glue-Down

Make sure existing floor or subfloor is dry and well nailed or screwed down every 6″ along each joist to avoid squeaking or popping before the floor is installed. Measure moisture content of both subfloor and wood flooring to determine proper moisture content with a reliable wood moisture meter. The wood subfloor must not exceed 13% moisture content as measured with a reliable wood moisture meter. The difference between the moisture content of the wood subfloor and the wood flooring must not exceed 4%.

Optimum performance of hardwood floor covering products occurs when there is no horizontal or vertical movement of the subfloor. The MINIMUM subfloor recommendations described above are for 16″ O/C joist spacing. The thicker, PREFERRED subfloor recommendations described above will allow 19.2″ joist spacing if the joist manufacturer’s recommended span is not exceeded. Spacing in excess of 19.2″ O/C may not offer optimum results. Install flooring perpendicular to the floor joists when possible. Installations should not be made parallel to the floor joists or on joist spacing that exceeds 19.2″ O/C unless the subfloor has been properly stiffened. Stiffening may require the addition of a second layer of subflooring material to bring the overall thickness to at least 1 1/8″.

All underlayment panels should be spaced 1/8″ apart to insure adequate expansion space. This can be achieved by using a circular saw set at the depth of the underlayment and cutting around the perimeter of the panel. T&G panels normally have built in expansion; DO NOT cut around the perimeter of T&G panels. Do not install over existing glue-down wood floors. Do not install over nailed floors that exceed 3 1/4″ in width. Wide width floors must be overlaid with plywood. When installing over existing wood floors parallel with the flooring, it may be necessary to install an additional 1/4″ layer of plywood to stabilize the flooring or install the wood floor at right angles. Applicable standards and recommendations of the construction and materials industries must be met or exceeded.

RESILIENT TILE, RESILIENT SHEET VINYL & CORK FLOORING
Nail-Down: Make sure the vinyl or tile is full spread adhesive and well bonded to the subfloor. Do not install over more than one layer, which does not exceed 1/8″ in thickness over suitable subfloor. If vinyl or tiles are loose, crumbled, or in poor condition, install an underlayment directly over the sheet vinyl (linoleum) or vinyl tiles. CAUTION: Some older type tiles become brittle with age. Ascertain that the nail will penetrate these materials and that breakage does not occur. Remove if necessary.

Glue-Down: If the tiles or sheet goods are well bonded, clean the surface thoroughly with a good quality household detergent. De-gloss flooring as necessary to create a good adhesive bond using an abrasive pad. If vinyl appears to have a coating of wax or other maintenance materials, it must be removed with the appropriate floor stripper. Allow ample drying time. (Note: Do not sand any resilient products for they may contain asbestos fibers, which may be harmful.) Do not install over floors that exceed two layers. Cork floors must have all sealers and surface treatments removed before installation begins.

CORK (ACOUSTIC)
Glue-Down Only: Solid  flooring can be glued directly over full-spread, permanently bonded acoustic cork. The cork should have a density of no less than 11.4 lb./cubic foot and no more than 13 lb./cubic foot. The cork, in general, should be pure cork combined with a polyurethane binder. Cork thickness is to be no more than 1/4″ (6 mm). Install cork in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations.

CERAMIC, TERRAZZO, SLATE & MARBLE
Glue-Down Only: All grout joints and broken corners that exceed 3/16″ must be filled with a cementitous leveling compound mixed with Latex additive. The surface should be cleaned and abraded to create a good bonding surface for the adhesive. Loose tiles must be re-adhered to the subfloor or filled as above. Remove all sealers and surface treatments.

DOORWAY AND WALL PREPARATION
Undercut door casings. Remove any existing base, shoe mold or doorway thresholds. These items can be replaced after installation. All door casings should be notched out or undercut to avoid difficult scribe cuts.

GENERAL INSTALLATION TIPS

  • Floor should be installed from several cartons at the same time to ensure good color and shade mixture.
  • Be attentive to staggering the ends of boards at least 6″, when possible, in adjacent rows. This will help ensure a more favorable overall appearance of the floor.
  • Installation parallel to the longest wall is recommended for best visual effects, however, the floor should be installed perpendicular to the flooring joists unless subfloor has been reinforced to reduce subfloor sagging. Find appropriate subfloor from “Subfloor Type” section in this instruction manual.
  • Large spans in areas of high humidity may require the addition of internal or field expansion. This can be accomplished by using spacers, such as small washers, every 10-20 rows inserted above the tongue and removed after several adjoining rows have been nailed or glued. Installation parallel to the longest wall is recommended for best visual effects, however, the floor should be installed perpendicular to the flooring joists unless subfloor has been reinforced to reduce subfloor sagging. Find appropriate subfloor from “Subfloor Type” section in this instruction manual.

STEP 1: ESTABLISH A STARTING POINT: ALL INSTALLATIONS
In at least two places, measure out equal distance from the starting wall and 12″ – 18″ from the corners and 3 1/8″ from the wall. Mark these points and snap a chalk line.

STEP 2: INSTALLING THE VAPOR BARRIER: NAIL-DOWN INSTALLATION
CAUTION: This Vapor barrier Moisture Guard may be slippery and unstable when walked on prior to the installation of the flooring. Use extreme care during installation.

  • Roll out the materials in the same direction as the flooring will be installed allowing the vapor barrier to extend 3″- 4″ up the walls.
  • Position the vapor barrier so that the chalk lines can be seen through these materials.
  • Staple or tape at the corners to hold the vapor barrier in position. Overlap vapor barrier 6″ at all joints and apply duct tape to seal the seams. The first piece of Vapor barrier will be secured when the first row of flooring is installed.

STEP 3: INSTALLING FIRST ROWS: NAIL-DOWN INSTALLATION

  • Roll out the materials in the same direction as the flooring will be installed allowing the Vapor barrier to extend 3″- 4″ up the walls.
  • Use the longest, straightest boards available for the first two rows.
  • Align tongue of first row on chalk line. The groove should be facing the starting wall.
  • Use a pneumatic brad nailer to face-nail the groove side 1/2″from the edge at 6″ intervals and 1″ – 2″ from each end then at a 45-degree angle down through the nailing “pocket” on top of the tongue OR pre-drill the nail holes 1/2″ from back (groove) edge, 1 – 2″ from each end, and at 6″ intervals. Pre-drill at the same intervals at a 45-degree angle down through the nailing “pocket” on top of the tongue. Face-nail the groove side where pre-drilled. When complete, blind-nail at a 45-degree angle through the tongue of the first row. Fasten using 4 or 6d nails. Countersink nails to ensure flush engagement of groove. Avoid bruising the wood by using a nail set to countersink the nails. Continue blind nailing using this method with following rows until nailer can be used.

End-joints of adjacent rows should be staggered a minimum of 6″ to ensure a more favorable overall appearance.

STEP 4: INSTALLING THE FLOOR: NAIL-DOWN INSTALLATION

  • Using on of the approved nail guns, set the compressor as previously recommended.
  • Fasten a sacrificial board to the floor. Check for surface damage, air pressure setting, tongue damage, etc. before proceeding. Make all adjustments and corrections before installation begins. Once proper adjustments have been made, remove and destroy the board.
  • Begin installation with several rows at a time, fastening each board with at least two fasteners, 3 – 4″ apart and 1 – 2″ from the ends (to avoid splitting). Tighten boards as necessary to reduce gaps before fastening.
  • End-joints of adjacent rows should be staggered 6″ when possible to ensure a more favorable overall appearance. Install the floor from several cartons at the same time to get a more favorable overall appearance.
  • The last 1 – 2 rows will need to be face-nailed where clearance does not permit blind nailing with nail gun or brad nailer. Brad-nail or pre-drill and face-nail on the tongue side following the nailing pattern used for the first row.
  • Rip final row to fit and face-nail. If the final row is less than 1″ in width, it should first be edge-glued to the previous UNINSTALLED row and the two joined units should be face-nailed as one.

STEP 3: SPREAD THE ADHESIVE: GLUE-DOWN INSTALLATION

  • Use the recommended trowel to get required spread rate and ridging height.
  • Use recommended urethane adhesive.
  • The Equalizer adhesive should not be applied if subfloor or room temperature is below 65-degree F (20- degree C).
  • Spread sufficient amounts of the adhesive with a 3/16″ x 1/4″ x 1/2″ x 5/16″ trowel in an area that can be covered in 60 minutes. WORKING TIME WILL VARY DEPENDING ON JOB SITE CONDITIONS.
  • Hold trowel at a minimum 45 – degree angle firmly against the subfloor to obtain a 50-55 sq. ft. per gallon spread rate. The trowel will leave ridges of adhesive and very little adhesive between the ridges. The chalk line should remain visible through the adhesive ridges.

NOTE: Clean adhesive from the surface of the floor frequently. Do not use blue tape before adhesive is removed. Use clean towel, changed frequently to prevent haze and adhesive residue.

STEP 4: INSTALLING THE FLOOR: GLUE-DOWN INSTALLATION

  • Use the longest, straightest boards available for the first two rows. The first row should be installed with the edge of the groove lined up on the chalk line. The tongue should be facing the starting wall. The first row must be aligned and seated in the adhesive, as all additional rows will be pushed back to this original row.
  • When installing pieces, engage the end-joint first as close to side (long) tongue and groove as possible and then slide together tightly to engage side (long) joint tongue and groove. To avoid adhesive bleedthrough and memory pullback, avoid sliding pieces through the adhesive as much as possible when placing them in position.
  • Check for a tight fit between all edges and ends of each plank. End-joints of adjacent rows should be staggered 6″ when possible to ensure a more favorable overall appearance.
  • If necessary, nail a sacrificial row with 2″ nails on the dry side of your chalk line to help hold the first row in place.
  • It may be necessary to align product with a cut-off piece of scrap.
  • To eliminate minor shifting or gapping of product during installation, use 3M 2090 Blue Mask Tape to hold the planks together. All recommended urethane adhesive should be cleaned from the surface BEFORE applying tape. Cured adhesive is VERY difficult to remove. After installation is complete, remove all the 3M 2090 Blue Mask Tape from surface of newly installed flooring. Do not let tape remain on flooring longer than 24 hours. Avoid use of masking tape, which leaves an adhesive residue.
  • Be sure not to spread adhesive too far ahead of your work area.
  • If the adhesive skins over and fails to transfer, remove and spread new adhesive to achieve proper bonding to the subfloor. Occasionally lift a board and check for adhesive transfer. Adequate adhesive transfer is necessary to ensure sufficient holding strength.
  • For additional application instructions, follow the recommendations on the adhesive container. When not in use, keep the adhesive container tightly closed to prevent thickening. Thickening will cause difficulty in spreading the adhesive. Proper ventilation within the room must be provided.
  • If the floor is to be covered, use a breathable material such as cardboard. Do not cover with plastic.
  • Complete the installation using this same technique for the remainder of the floor, ripping the final boards to fit and allowing 3/4″ expansion space.

INSTALLERS – Advise Your Customer of the Following

SEASONS: Heating and Non-Heating
Recognizing that wood floor dimensions will be slightly affected by varying levels of humidity within your building, care should be taken to control humidity levels within the 35-55% range. To protect your investment and to assure that your floors provide lasting satisfaction, we have provided our recommendations below.

  • Heating Season (Dry) – A humidifier is recommended to prevent excessive shrinkage in wood floors due to low humidity levels. Wood stoves and electric heat tend to create very dry conditions.
  • Non-Heating Season (Humid, Wet) – Proper humidity levels can be maintained by use of an air conditioner, dehumidifier, or by turning on your heating system periodically during the summer months. Avoid excessive exposure to water from tracking during periods of inclement weather. Do not obstruct in any way the expansion joint around the perimeter of your floor.

Floor Repair
Minor damage can be repaired with a touch-up kit or filler. Major damage will require board replacement, which can be done by a professional floor installer.

All Installations
STEP 5: Completing the Job

  • Clean floor with the Adhesive Cleaner. Complete clean up with a thorough cleaning using no-wax cleaner.
  • Re-install any transition pieces that may be needed, such as Reducer Strips, T-moldings, or Thresholds. These products are available pre-finished to blend with your flooring.
  • Re-install all base and/or quarter round moldings. Nail moldings into the wall, not the floor.
  • Leave warranty and floor care information with the owner. Advise them of the product name and code number of the flooring they purchased.
  • Do not cover the floor while the floor is still moveable. Do not cover with a non-breathable material such as plastic.
  • To prevent surface damage avoid rolling heavy appliances and furniture on the floor. Use plywood, hardboard or appliance lifts if necessary

Moldings

  • Reducer Strip: a teardrop shaped molding. Used around fireplaces, doorways, as a room divider, or as a transition between Parquet and adjacent floor coverings that are less thick. Fasten down with adhesive or double-faced tape.
  • Threshold: a molding undercut for use against sliding door tracks, fireplaces, carpet, ceramic tile, or existing thresholds to allow for expansion space and to provide a smooth transition in height difference. Fasten to subfloor with adhesive and/or nails through the heel. Predrill nail holes to prevent splitting. Always leave expansion beneath the undercut.
  • Stair Nosing: a molding undercut for use as a stair landings trim, elevated floor perimeters, and stair steps. Fasten down firmly with adhesive and nails or screws. Predrill nail holes to prevent splitting.
  • Quarter Round: a molding used to cover expansion space next to baseboards, case goods, and stair steps. Predrill and nail to the vertical surface, not into the floor.
  • Combination Base and Shoe: a molding used when a base is desired. Used to cover expansion space between the floor and the wall. Predrill and nail into the wall, not the floor.
  • T-Molding: a molding used as a transition piece from one flooring to another or to gain expansion spaces. Fasten at the heel in the center of the molding. Leave expansion beneath the undercut on both sides.

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