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Thread: expansion gap for floating floor

  1. #1
    DIY Member econguy's Avatar
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    Default expansion gap for floating floor

    Hi

    I'm installing a floating bamboo floor, made from engineered wood. It's going in a rectangular room that already has baseboard heat along two walls that form a right angle.

    Flooring instructions say to leave a 1/2" expansion gap all around, which I did. However, I had to hammer the first board in each row so it wold slide under the baseboard heat. By the time I got half the room done, I noticed that all the hammering had moved the first rows, so there's basically no expansion gap under the heat, and nearly 1" on the other side.

    I'll cover up the big gap with base and shoe moulding. But is the lopsided gap a problem, or will it still allow for expansion? This is one of those things where I know it isn't "ideal" since it doesn't follow the instructions, but don't know if it'll be adequate in a real-world scenario. Also, floor has a 10' run, and it's pretty humid where I am (so hopefully, the floor is at or near full expansion)

    Thanks
    Will

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Default

    It will be quite heavy, and friction is against you, but you might be able to move the entire floor.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default expansion

    When expansion takes place against the short side it may happen slow enough, and with enough force, to move the entire floor as long as nothing, such as a heavy table, is trapping it. In any case, you are probably at a point where there is nothing you can do about it, and have to just hope that expansion does not buckle the floor.

  4. #4
    DIY Member econguy's Avatar
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    Default

    JadNashua and HJ - thanks for the replies.

    I'm gonna remove the planks that I've installed so far (they click-together with a milled locking mechanism; hoping I can get them out w/o too much damage), and try to re-install them with the proper gap. With all the $$$ the flooring costs, it's worth a day or so of my time to try and correct.

    I'm just not sure how...first time around, I tried stacking boxes of flooring on the newly laid planks, but all the hammering still moved 'em. I was thinking about screwing down the entire first row, and the first board in every subsequent row - just to hold them in place. Then, once the floor's in, remove the screws and plug with wood filler. Thoughts? In any case, this wasn't quite as simple as the instructions made it out to be

    Thanks
    Will

  5. #5
    In the Trades brownizs's Avatar
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    When you install the floor, you should use a spacer against the wall when starting, and do not remove until finished. Only way to fix, is pull the floor, and get to the point where you can move it over. Otherwise, start tearing up.

  6. #6
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    I layed about 500 sq ft of an engineered interlocking wood floor, and did it on the diagonal rather than "normal" left-right across the room, and getting in the last board on each run was tough since it was on the diagonal. Moving the entire floor was possible, but tough. Most of the instructions I've read said to put spacer blocks against the wall so when you bang the bits together, it can't close that gap. Then, before you put on the moulding, you take them out. You could use strips of 1/2" plywood, or anything that is thick enough.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  7. #7
    DIY Member econguy's Avatar
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    The baseboard heat actually helps to hold the floor down. I wasn't able to use spacers underneath it since I wouldn't be able to remove them after the floor was in.

    JadNashua - I tried hammering a beater block to shift the whole floor over, but it's just too heavy. I'll take the suggestion and just remove as much as I need to to set things right.

    Thanks
    Will

  8. #8
    DIY Member B2CHR's Avatar
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    Default

    Just did a kitchen/living room floor over the 4th. I used a scrap of the flooring to use as a spacer. little over 1/4". If you leave 1/2" it will be close for the shoemold to cover. If you use full 3/4" round it won't be a problem.

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