Nailing down wood floors is the most common installation method. The process involves nailing the flooring directly to a wood subfloor. Typically, the flooring is blind nailed through the tongue so the nails are not visible after installation. This method works for solid & engineered floors, but only for wood subfloors. Nailing schedules are critical to ensure quality installations. The National Wood Association Guidelines recommends fasteners be space 8 to 10 inches for solid flooring & 4 to 8 inches for engineered flooring. Using fewer fasteners could result in cracks or squeaks, while using more could result in split tongues.
The glue down method involves using adhesive to adhere the flooring to the subfloor. Adhesives work by creating a bond between the subfloor & the wood flooring through a chemical reaction process. While all adhesives work by changing chemically from a viscose liquid to a solid, they differ in the carrying agents or catalysts that activate them.
There are three types of wood flooring adhesives available today. They include water Based, solvent-based & moisture-curing. Because each type has different application, performance & VOC regulations.
Using this method, the flooring is neither nailed nor glued to the subfloor but floated above it. The flooring, usually engineered, is glued or clipped to itself, tongue to groove, & at end joints. This gives the floor stability without actually fastening it to the subfloor. This installation method is ideal over existing floors such as laminates, which can be difficult to remove.
Before beginning a floating installation, the installer must make sure the subfloor is dry & level any high or low spots. A moisture barrier underlayment will decrease any hollow sounding areas that could occur. The underlayment must wrap up the wall to completely encapsulate the flooring. Then, when the last board is installed the excess underlayment or padding can get trimmed off.
Note: For the best installation results, always read and follow the manufacturers’ recommendation.
Glossary of wood flooring terms:
Following is a partial list of terms associated with hardwood flooring that a retail salesperson or installer may come across and should have complete understanding.
ACRYLIC: The generic name for wood-plastic composites utilizing wood impregnated with acrylic monomers and polymerized within the wood cells by gamma irradiation. Some versions are cured by heat radiation.
AIR DRIED: wood that is dried by exposure to air in a yard or shed without artificial heat.
ALUMINUM OXIDE: Refers to one of the most durable finishes for wood flooring. It can only be factory-applied. This finish is highly abrasion resistant but slightly clouds the wood’s color and grain.
BOW: The distortion of lumber in which there is a deviation in a direction perpendicular to the flat face-from a straight line from end to end of the piece.
BURL: A swirl or twist of the grain of the wood that usually occurs near a knot but.
CARB: The California Air Resources Board a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency also the term used for the regulation passed by the board that puts highly restrictive limits on formaldehyde emissions in wood. It took effect Jan.1 and consists of two main phases that will be implemented through July 1, 2012.
COMPRESSION SET: Caused when wood absorbs excess moisture and expands so much that the cells along the edges of adjoining pieces in the floor are crushed. This causes them to lose resiliency and creates cracks when the floor returns to its normal moisture content.
CROWNING: A convex or crowned condition is the appearance of individual boards where the center of the board higher than the edges.
CUPPING: A concave or dished appearance of the individual board with the edges raised above the center.
DE-LAMINATION: The separation of layers in an engineered board through failure within the adhesive or at the bond between adhesive and wood.
DIMENSIONAL STABILITY: The ability to maintain the original intended
dimension little or no expansion and contraction when influenced by humidity swings.
Some species are more dimensionally stable than others. In addition, engineered flooring products are substantially more stable than their solid counterparts.