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 Post subject: New floor installation nightmare
PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2018 10:11 am 
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Hello everyone,

New to the forums, came on to get some advice. I just had an engineered hardwood floor removed from my house and installed with a new one. We are about 10 days out from glue-down being completed. A couple of facts:

1. The total floor space replaced was 1500 sq ft.
2. It was glued-down to concrete with Bostik Pro-Cure.
3. I was told that when the old floor was torn out, the concrete was terribly pitted and not smooth. They had to used a self-leveling resurfacer extensively, for some areas that were over 1/2" thick.
4. When they used the resurfacer, they often had to redo it. The average amount of time of drying of that the resurfacer had prior to them putting wood over it was about 24 hours.
5. They did not use a roller at all. Instead, they did a little bit of the floor each day and used ratchet straps to hold what they had done in place.
6. As far as I am aware, no moisture testing was done in advance.
7. Since the installation, my AC system has kept the humidity down below 55% (flooring says it shouldn't go above 60%)

The total installation (leveling, putting wood in) took approximately 9 solid days of work with 2 guys. I tried to avoid walking on it for a day or two after it was completed. However, after I started walking on it, I noticed a few creaks and cracking noises in the floor. Over the next few days, these worsened, to the point where I now have 2 areas where I can see the board dip when I step on it, 5 places where there is an audible "crack" when I step on the floor, and probably 30+ other spots where the floor creaks when you walk on it.

The foreman for the job has come and looked at it and agreed that the 2 spots where it moves need to be torn up. But he seems to believe that he can just "inject" all of the other spots. He has repeated multiple times that my subfloor concrete was "a mess" and that is why I am having these problems now. He has also hinted that on a glued-down floor, I should expect some creaking due to it raining outside a lot.

I am getting the feeling that this isn't true. At least from what I have read and talked to with others, my understanding is that a brand new glued down floor should be next to silent. Even if it was 1 or 2 areas, I think it would be fine; but there is not a single room in the house where they did the work that doesn't seem to have a problem with at least creaking, if not downright making cracking noises.

I guess what I am asking: am I crazy that it sounds like they just did not install the floor properly? I am getting the sense that this is messed up enough that it needs to all be pulled and redone (instead of injecting). Opinions?

Thanks for any advice!


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Amish made hardwood

 Post subject: Re: New floor installation nightmare
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 6:21 am 
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Location: Bonita Springs, Florida
I'd question the drying time. 1/2 inch thickness is quite a bit.

By chance are these dips where they finished for the day? Or location of the strap clamp ratchets? Good thing is they actually used them!! A lot of guys don't use them or try to make the job right.

I heard one lame excuse from an installer on why he doesn't use them..."time is money." No wonder why he went back up north to do nail down floors only.

Best to weigh those areas down shown in the pics at the link below thanks to Stephen in Tucson.

http://www.uptownfloors.com/tools/strap-clamps.htm

Quote:
brand new glued down floor should be next to silent


Yes.

Quote:
When they used the resurfacer, they often had to redo it


Explain a bit more.


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 Post subject: Re: New floor installation nightmare
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 6:40 am 
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Ken Fisher wrote:
Quote:
When they used the resurfacer, they often had to redo it


Explain a bit more.


On day 1, they used the resurfacer to level everything out. On day 2 (or 3), they noticed that it didn't come out level, so they had to put more over it. Then, after they started laying the wood, they found at least 2 spots where it still had not leveled out properly, so they had to use more resurfacer (and then put wood over it the next day).

Interesting that you ask about the transition areas where they stopped for the day. Although the entire floor has "creaks" throughout, most of the areas that are really bad and actually make a loud "crack" sound were in places where they stopped for the day and then restarted. The exception is the stuff they laid down on the last day...those are actually the worst areas.

I think today, I am going to discuss with the foreman that we should pull up the two worst areas and see what we are working with. I suspect it is either a. They didn't properly push the boards down (like with a roller), or b. The insufficient drying time caused a moisture problem and no glue adherence.


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 Post subject: Re: New floor installation nightmare
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 7:14 am 
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The thing with self levelling concrete is that just because you pour a patch and it 'self-levels' doesn't mean its FLAT to 1/8th over 10ft.

When you glue down a floor, it tends to take the shape of the subfloor. So you want FLAT, not necessarily LEVEL. As the old floor came up and brought chunks of the concrete with it, it created pits that would be filled with the self leveller, but to just pour in the the hole and smooth it over doesn't make for a flat surface. In fact, many times I've caught the concrete guys turning a low spot into a high spot because pouring the self leveller is usually done by eye and you can easily pour too much. Then you have to come back and grind down the high to make it FLAT over 10ft (in all directions).

Get yourself an 8-10ft long straightedge or a long piece of metal and check these creaking spots - since the floor takes the shape of the subfloor, you'll see the bar wobble over a high spot or a gap appear indicating a low spot.

That's my guess here from the sounds of it. Injection glue does work as a fix in some cases where you have boards over a low spot that the glue never fully adhered too; it may take a couple of injections to get it to fully stop moving. It would be worth a try before jumping to re+re the space.

FYI - you typically don't use a roller on the floorboards, you use the roller when gluing the cork or rubber underlayment down. A roller will damage the surface of the boards if used as you suggest. Most installers will use extra boxes of hardwood or buckets of glue or sand to weigh down areas as they go. The link from Ken with the straps+boxes of hardwood is a great way to do it.


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 Post subject: Re: New floor installation nightmare
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 7:21 am 
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WestonKris wrote:
FYI - you typically don't use a roller on the floorboards, you use the roller when gluing the cork or rubber underlayment down. A roller will damage the surface of the boards if used as you suggest. Most installers will use extra boxes of hardwood or buckets of glue or sand to weigh down areas as they go. The link from Ken with the straps+boxes of hardwood is a great way to do it.


Thanks for the info about the roller. Unfortunately, they only had 2 straps and didn't actually weigh down the edges at all. I am starting to get a picture of them not weighing it down as a reason the worst areas are what they are and then explaining the tons of minor creaks as related to not properly leveling the floor.

You mentioned the injection is worth a try. Two questions:

1. I went through and identified approximately 95 areas where the floor made a sound in the house (with a hollow spot under it when I tapped). Probably half of those would be noticeable to someone not living there, I think. Is that too many to inject?

2. Would injecting cause more headache when tearing the floor up, if it needed to be?

Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: New floor installation nightmare
PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:16 am 
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Knocking on the floor to identify hollow spots is a good indicator of how flat the subfloor was - if there are 95 spots over 1500 sqft then chances are good your subfloor was not flat. This is a case where doing spot repairs with self-leveller in an effort to save on the cost of materials can backfire - They should have done a skim coat across the whole space. You can patch and grind all day but at some point you have to cut your losses and just flood the space with self leveller. It sounds like that's what should have happened here.

Injection glue is horribly expensive since its a two part epoxy that needs a special gun - I wouldn't recommend injecting 95 spots (not to mention you have to drill holes to inject, which would leave your floor looking like swiss cheese). Talk to your installer/contractor about re+re the worst parts, maybe there's a compromise you can reach.


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