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First time Laminate Install - Gaps appearing



"First time Laminate Install - Gaps appearing," in the Hardwood and Laminates Q&A forum, begins: "Hi, I am installing a new laminate floor and I am having issues with gaps that keep re-opening in the ..."

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Old January 11, 2010, 12:24 AM   #1
Tarbash
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First time Laminate Install - Gaps appearing


Hi,

I am installing a new laminate floor and I am having issues with gaps that keep re-opening in the rows I have already installed. I have an off cut piece of laminate against the wall being used as a temporary expansion spacer, so I started row 1 hard against that, in fact each subsequent row is also hard against that. As I have progressed about 10 boards along and about 5 board across I am noticing that gaps (short end) are re-opening in some of the boards I first installed. Then when I close the gap (rubber hammer and off cut) in say row 1, a gap will open in row 3 ?

The original boards are still hard against the expansion spacer so I am perplexed as to where this movement is.

I have tried placing weights on the boards as I go but that doesn't solve my problem ?

It is being installed on top of particle board, this is also both flat and level and without any slopes or height variations.

I am not using an underlay, is underlay absolutely necessary ? does it also provide friction during installation ? I didn't bother as it is a holiday house, moisture is not a concern, neither is a noise barrier.

I have always installed hardwood flooring (not engineered), so obviously glueing and secret nailing doesn't allow for these movements.


Any suggestions welcomed.

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Old January 11, 2010, 01:17 AM   #2
Jim McClain
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Re: First time Laminate Install - Gaps appearing


For the best advice, you need to provide the manufacturer and style name of the product. This will allow research into the installation instructions and other particulars, as well as entice pros that have experience with the product to share that experience with you.

You also said moisture is not a concern. Is that not a concern for you, or not a concern for the product? I can tell you that moisture content, temperature and humidity is very much a concern for laminate and hardwood floors.

So, since I don't know if you got your hands on an old laminate product that requires adhesive to hold it together, or a click/snap/fold together product that has had the tongue and groove system damaged, I can't offer any advice. Are you following the instructions supplied with the material? Does it have an attached underlayment? If not, it should have a separate underlayment. That may not be associated with the gaps, but it will likely cause problems down the road.

"Holiday house" means nothing to a flooring professional. Actually, it could mean more than your every-day house because that tells us you may not be providing proper ventilation and temperature control to the environment when you aren't there. This is important to your floor, so it will be important to a real flooring professional.

R'gards,

Jim

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Old January 11, 2010, 01:28 AM   #3
Tarbash
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Re: First time Laminate Install - Gaps appearing


Hi,

This is a brand new installation. So brand new product, not previously used. No nails, no glue just click lock.

It was aclimated in the packaging, in the various rooms for installation for 48 hours per the manufacturers instruction.

It is called Laminae.

The comment about moisture not being a problem was related to the sub floor, it is a material called red-tongue, which is a waterproofed particle board, rated for exterior use, yet is installed inside the house, so it is in itself a effective moisture barrier, hence the lack of requirement for moisture barrier + sound barrier using an underlay.

Hope that clarifies

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Old January 11, 2010, 06:31 AM   #4
Jim McClain
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Re: First time Laminate Install - Gaps appearing


Tarbash, you're gonna have to help us out a little more. I'm sure the packages give more detail about the manufacturer than you supplied. I tried Googling "laminae" and couldn't come up with much satisfaction. If it's a misspelling of the word "laminate" then we're still up a creek without a paddle. Manufacturer name? Style or color name? Made in China?

And about red-tongue particleboard (Particleboard Flooring - Flooring - Gunnersens) this is apparently an Australian product that most of us US based flooring pros won't be familiar with (we do have some Aussies and Kiwis though). However, the website is pretty clear that the product isn't waterproof. It even says it's only good for exposure for up to 3 months. It might be better than any American particleboard I am familiar with, but it still isn't a remedy for any moisture conditions you might have in the home.

But the click lock installation method has me concerned. Does it click and lock, or did you inadvertently damage the mechanism and it now won't stay locked together? Maybe it was defective? Did you examine the tongue and groove of the product? Can you post any pictures? And without more info on the manufacturer, we can't find the installation instructions or other info online.

Maybe some of our other pros can help out here.

Jim

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Old January 11, 2010, 08:25 AM   #5
Barry Carlton
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Re: First time Laminate Install - Gaps appearing


Are you installing full rows? ie are you clicking the ends together to form a full row, and then clicking the entire row into place? If not this could be your problem.

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Old January 11, 2010, 05:00 PM   #6
3rdFloorDesign
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Re: First time Laminate Install - Gaps appearing


Barry is right. I usually put a whole row together, butt end to butt end, and then click the entire row in place, you need two guys for this, but it goes really quick this way. I will get 4 or 5 rows set up and then click them in.

This way you can get all the end joint tight first.

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Old January 11, 2010, 10:27 PM   #7
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Re: First time Laminate Install - Gaps appearing


3rdfloordesign said View Post
Barry is right. I usually put a whole row together, butt end to butt end, and then click the entire row in place, you need two guys for this, but it goes really quick this way. I will get 4 or 5 rows set up and then click them in.

This way you can get all the end joint tight first.
2 guys? Why?

b

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Old January 11, 2010, 10:37 PM   #8
3rdFloorDesign
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Re: First time Laminate Install - Gaps appearing


Well, you could do it with one, but with two it is easier.

One guy on each end of the row, we both lift the row at the same time and click it in. It goes really quick.

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Old January 12, 2010, 01:59 AM   #9
Tarbash
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Re: First time Laminate Install - Gaps appearing


Hi Jim,

As mentioned this is a new install, so all the boards are in good condition, they are definately locking in place on both the long and short end. I have checked the tongue and groove and thay appear to be fine.

Unfortunately I cant get any pictures as I am back in Sydney and the house is 4 hours drive away.

From what I remember on the box the product is called Laminae, AC6 7mm. German design and yes (like so many things) made in China.

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Old January 12, 2010, 02:01 AM   #10
Tarbash
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Re: First time Laminate Install - Gaps appearing


Hi Barry,

How long a row do you recommend ?

The longest part of the house would be from one end of the hallway into a large room about 15 Metres (thats just under 50 feet)

I was doing 4 boards at a time.

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Old January 12, 2010, 02:05 AM   #11
Bill Watson
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Re: First time Laminate Install - Gaps appearing


Sounds like you could be using a tapping block or hammer on a click product.
Some click products will gap at the end joints due to the vibration caused by tapping too hard.

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Old January 12, 2010, 02:28 AM   #12
Tarbash
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Re: First time Laminate Install - Gaps appearing


Hi Bill,

When you click it into place it still has about a 1 or 2mm gap, so it is unavoidable to use a tapping block and rubber mallet to close this gap. I am not hitting it "really" hard, just one or two "gentle taps" closes the gap fine. The problem is more that the floor appears to be moving in other rows when I try to close this 1 or 2 mm gap in another row.

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Old January 12, 2010, 02:32 AM   #13
Jon Scanlan
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Re: First time Laminate Install - Gaps appearing


Jim McClain said View Post

And about red-tongue particleboard (Particleboard Flooring - Flooring - Gunnersens) this is apparently an Australian product that most of us US based flooring pros won't be familiar with (we do have some Aussies and Kiwis though). However, the website is pretty clear that the product isn't waterproof. It even says it's only good for exposure for up to 3 months. It might be better than any American particleboard I am familiar with, but it still isn't a remedy for any moisture conditions you might have in the home.



Jim
Jim I kinda checked out that site as well and I would have to agree with you about the waterproofenesss of this particleboard. To me any wood product, even if it has Sisilation under it, which has holes in it to let the water out, is going to allow water vapor from the ground to rise and go through the particle board which in no doubt would effect what was laid on top of it, especially if the house is locked up over summer. Rising damp.
And Sydney sends all their horrible weather over to us KIWIS

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Old January 12, 2010, 03:27 AM   #14
Bill Watson
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Re: First time Laminate Install - Gaps appearing


Another possible explanation could be that your layout is not absolutely straight and square.
How straight is your starting wall? Did you "scribe" your first row to any irregularity at the starting wall? The rows could be "teaking" a little as additional rows are added.

Some locking systems out there are not the greatest, and occasionally as a last resort, you may be forced to glue the joints. A slow process for sure, but often will cure the problem. A good quality wood or carpenters glue is fine.

Hope this helps and good luck with your project.

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Old January 12, 2010, 09:01 AM   #15
Barry Carlton
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Re: First time Laminate Install - Gaps appearing


Tarbash said View Post
Hi Barry,

How long a row do you recommend ?

The longest part of the house would be from one end of the hallway into a large room about 15 Metres (thats just under 50 feet)

I was doing 4 boards at a time.
The full row.
And as Bill said a little glue in the end joints will probably alleviate the problem. You only need a drop or two.

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