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 Post subject: entire engineered floor problems
PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2016 8:26 pm 
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Thanks you in advance for reading about my issue. Any advice is greatly appreciated. I am looking for steps I should take to investigate my problem and pinpoint the source of my problem so when I repair, it doesn't happen again. I by know means am trying to shovel blame elsewhere, but if its found to be a manufacturing defect, how to proceed so my company does not front the repair bill.

I am a project manager with a remodeling company. We recently(3 months ago) installed a hickory engineered 3 1/4" plank floor(5/8" thikcness) supplied by mountain lumber company over a Uponor radiant heat system. The floor was acclimated in the conditioned house for more than a week(maybe ten days) and i think I remember taking the rh of the wood before install at around 6 or 7%. The floor heat was not turned on at the point of install. Mountain lumber company has given me literature guaranteeing there product over radiant flooring.

My problem is now cupping and delamination over the entire floor I installed. We glued using bona floor glue where possible, care taken to not contact glue to the pipes. And normal 1 1/2" floor nails. I installed the entire first floor of the house with the wood over the radiant, and every room has anywhere from 5 to 20 cupping or delaminating boards. And the problems continue to get worse. If I sit in the quiet house, I can hear pops and crackles every once in a while as the floor moves.

To my dismay, my plumber is an idiot and didn't balance the radiant right, so I looked at the temperatures of the water running through the pipes, and they vary from 80 degrees up to 110 degrees. The thermostat has never been set higher than 75 degrees for the house. And the temperature of the flooring itself never reaches more than the temperature of the room. One or two of the rooms are a couple degrees lower than the rest of the 1st story due to improper balancing, and yet the floor is still delaminating like the rest. I can't imagine the problems with the wood is due to the heat being unbalanced, but I would be happy to be proved wrong. Will engineered flooring delaminate in temperatures within these ranges?

I have not taken the rh in the house, but both the homeowners and I have not noticed extremely dry or extremely humid conditions at any point. I plan on doing that.

Please let me know what direction I should head to investigate this problem, I am only interested in a resolution, whether its at the cost of the lumber company or my own. Thank you again for your time.


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 Post subject: Re: entire engineered floor problems
PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2016 10:27 pm 
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Do you have some left over materials to test the moisture content of the surface and backing? Since the backing may not be so sensitive to moisture swings as plain sawn material it could cause stress that could deform or possibly delaminate. Hickory has more movement with change of moisture content than oak.
I believe that the flooring should be only 80 degrees or less at the surface when the heat is on. Turning the heat off may allow the flooring to return to a more normal surface.
Remember with radiant heating you aren't trying to heat the room up,just a warm floor.


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 Post subject: Re: entire engineered floor problems
PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2016 11:29 am 
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I will get a sample and test the moisture content. Thank you. The temperatures I stated for the radiant(80-110) are only the water temperatures exiting the manifold. All temperatures on return water coming back are less than 80 degrees, and the floor is comfortable enough to walk on barefoot, no hot spots.

Can water temperatures running through radiant from 80-110 degrees deform wood this much that has been guaranteed for radiant? If its my fault from my dumb plumber not balancing properly, I will take the blaim. I just can't imagine the wood will deform that much from those temperature changes. One board has lost its entire surface, came off completely. And more happenening everyday. If I turn the heat off, the wood won't correct itself. I think its too far at this point.


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 Post subject: Re: entire engineered floor problems
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 9:53 pm 
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Did the plumber gradually bring the temperature up over a week? This would allow the veneer to acclimate slowly. Too much stress can cause havoc where the two different materials meet. Ordering quarter-sawn face would reduce the expansion/shrinkage stress.
Sometimes the manufacturer will suggest guidelines for the introduction of the heat.


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 Post subject: Re: entire engineered floor problems
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2017 2:21 pm 
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I agree with Pete. Slow application of radiant heat, over 1-2 weeks to allow the moisture content in the material to even out. It sounds like the radiant heat was never turned on or tested/balanced prior to the flooring install. NWFA recommends radiant heat be turned on 7-10 days prior to install to ensure proper functionality. Then OFF during install, and slowly raised to normal operating over 1-2 weeks post install.

Delamination happens often not because an extreme high or low temp is reached, but that change takes place too quickly. All climate changes to wood should be done gradually.

It would also help to know if your material had plywood or some other backing like birch. Some engineered backing is better than others for radiant heat. In my experience plywood has less movement overall.


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