We finally decided on Luxe Vinyl Plank floating floor by Armstrong. I would prefer to have the flooring place do the install but my husband insists on doing it himself. If it was only 1 room with 4 straightforward walls I wouldn't mind him doing it, but we're doing the entire first floor of the house - living/dining, hallway and into the bedroom. Possibly the kitchen too - when we get to that point we're going to do a dry layout into the kitchen to see if we like it or not. Anyway, I had some questions that the installation directions don't directly address for our situation.
1) We are to leave a 1/8" gap around the whole perimeter of the floor to allow for expansion/movement since this is a floating floor. Baseboard/molding would then typically cover that gap. But what about when one of your walls includes a french door that leads to the exterior?
2) Also regarding the 1/8" gap, what about when one of your walls includes a fieldstone fireplace?
3) And lastly regarding the gap - what about when one of the vertical surfaces is a kitchen island that does not have molding around the base?
4) The instructions say that OSB sub-flooring is NOT an approved sub-floor for this flooring. However when I looked it up online, I found other vinyl plank brands that say OSB is an approved sub-floor. Why would it not be, and what to do about it? Why would one brand say it's not okay, but another brand of the same exact style of flooring say it is alright??
5) If we decide not to do the kitchen in this flooring, how do I do the transition between the existing sheet linoleum and the vinyl plank? I know there's T-molding for that, but one of the sides has a curved transition, not straight. Is there flexible T-molding that you can curve on the floor?
Thanks in advance for any help for this flooring newbie!
1.) You must leave a ⅛" gap all around. Where the material meets a vertical surface like a threshold or tub/shower, you should fill the gap with 100% silicone and then cover that with a trim piece, like quarter-round. This is what I did at my front door:
2.) You should undercut the stone with a jamb saw similar to this: Crain Super Saw (Jamb Saw 800-61/2 5300rpm) | eBay You can also get blades for it on ebay for cutting stone. Resell it when you are finished. Your only other option would be to make a very precise pattern, transfer it to the flooring material so it conforms to every nook and cranny of the stone, fill the gap with colored silicone. That will not look as good or be as easy to do as undercutting the stone.
3.) I put quarter-round on my cabinets and pedestal eating counter. I painted mine, but you can get prefinished or stain-to-suit base. You could also remove the toekick plate and reinstall after the flooring.
4.) I never installed this product before, but have installed similar products. I looked at the installation instructions online and found no mention of OSB.
Although a layer of quarter-inch ply on top would be nice, I don't see why OSB would be prohibited, unless it is falling apart or has swollen edges at the seams.
5.) You can use curved transitions that were made for other products. Your local flooring supply house should have a vinyl insert product in various colors. Some call it "snap-track." Do not attach anything to the new flooring that will impede its expansion and contraction. In other words, don't nail anything through the planks and don't install cabinets on top of it.
I hope that answers some of your questions. Let us know if you need more help.
Hi Jim - I appreciate the info - thank you! I emailed Armstrong about the OSB and this is what they said:
"We don't recommend installing any of our vinyl plank products directly over OSB. You would have to add a minimum ¼” approved underlayment first. Please go here to review our approved underlayments: Underlayments. OSB is manufactured as a subfloor only - not as an underlayment. The majority of our resilient materials must be installed directly over an approved underlayment for stability purposes. If our vinyl plank were to be installed without the appropriate underlayment, there's a good chance you could run into issues related to excessive movement from the bottom up."
I'm not sure exactly what that means..."excessive movement from the bottom up"? I'll probably have to call them and talk to someone.
My husband is not too happy about this - the salesman at the flooring store (not a big box but a specialty flooring store) never said squat about sub-floor/underlayment requirements, OSB, etc. We don't want to make this a bigger job than it needs to be, or that we were led to believe it would be. If we have to put down 1/4" luaun plywood. then that'll make the floors in the areas we're not putting the planks down on noticeably lower (bathroom, entry and possibly kitchen). <sigh>
I've seen other brands of vinyl plank systems that say OSB is an approved sub-floor, so I'm not sure why Armstrong so strongly discourages it? I've also seen where people said they just coated the OSB with a lacquer or a leveling compound and then installed their vinyl planks.
I KNEW we should have just paid to have it installed by the pros! It'd be done in 2 days and done right (theoretically anyway). <sigh>
Unfortunately, Armstrong controls the warranty. If you want the floor to be covered by it, you have to abide by their rules. Quarter-inch plywood is easy enough to install.
You didn't say what materials were in the bath or entry, or how they and the kitchen were installed. If they were glued all over, the installer should have used an appropriate underlayment in those areas too. If loose-laid, an underlayment may or may not have been required.
You should not install any product in a manner that only makes it convenient if that is the wrong way to do it. Just because a floor appears to have held up okay when it was installed improperly, doesn't mean it is acceptable to continue to do improper installations.
All that said, had I been called to do such an installation, I would have read the instructions I first linked to and visited this page for further information: Wood Subfloors It does not mention Luxe Plank or other similar products, but Luxe is a "floating" floor that might fall into the "b" category of floors that were NOT fully adhered. I would have used my judgement of whether the OSB was suitable in this particular situation. That may be the wrong conclusion though. Armstrong isn't very clear on this specific product.
Transitions can be used to bridge the difference in height between most flooring though. And as for your husband doing it vs. a "pro," there are a lot of installers who call themselves pros, but may do no better than the average DIYer. Unless you are diligent in your selection of an installer (check references, look at previous work), you could end up with someone who might do the job faster, but certainly not better than your husband.
OSB is a SUBFLOOR not a underlayment. Think of the general condition of wood subloors used on the second story of a home. Pull up the carpet and you will see joint/height irregularities, surface irregularities etc. That is because SUBFLOORS are not intended for finish flooring other than carpet.
Luxe is a floating installation, but even so you could have telegraphing if installed over a uneven joint or bumpy part of the SUBFLOOR. It is just good practice to use 1/4 underlayment over wood subfloors to ensure a smooth, clean surface to install your finished flooring.
Confirmed yesterday that we DO have OSB as our subfloor. Okay - so we're off to get the 1/4" Luaun stuff. Do we butt the luaun up to the walls, or do we leave a perimeter gap? Do we screw it down to the OSB or just use nails or even staple gun? And I knew we stagger the luaun joints from where the OSB joints are. Do we need to seal/cover the joints of the luaun so they don't show thru the vinyl planks? How/with what?
Luaun is not the same as plywood. Use a good quality plywood, not luaun. Use a portland cement based patching compound to fill seams and other imperfections - it has to be very smooth or they will telegraph through, unless it is a floating floor.
I always stapled my plywood down, no screws. For quarter-inch, the staples have to be a close grid pattern - 2-4" along plywood seams, 4-6" in the field. Leave a small gap around vertical obstructions like walls, pipes, etc. and only butt panels lightly, staggering their end seams as in my diagram.
Personally as someone who has it in their own home, has installed it, sells it I wouldn't worry too much about putting it over particle board or OSB if it's flat.
I know it's not "suitable" for warranty purposes, however I don't see it failing, possibly telegraphing as others have said if it's not too flat.
Just my 2 cents
Okay - Armstrong posted this for me on their FB wall...apparently they do NOT recommend sealing the joints, just sanding them so they are level...
Armstrong suggests the panels be lightly butted and not filled or flashed, unless the manufacturer specifically recommends filling the joints.
It has been Armstrong’s experience that filling or flashing joints between panels with patch may increase the tunneling and/or ridging over these joints.
Differences in the thickness of wood panels should be corrected by sanding.
All wood product panels will change in size with changes in water content. Since panels received from the mill generally have very low moisture content compared to the interior of the building and the structural subfloor, allow the panels to condition to the job site per the panel manufacturers’ recommendations. This will minimize the chance of tunnels or ridges over the underlayment joints."
This runs against the grain of most installers even though it has been most underlayment manufacturers written stance for a very long time. It really is sensible insurance though as by not filling joints that do not need filling you are removing one level of potential failure.
I have been a proponent of sanding and not filling for well over a decade bur I really get shot down rapidly by other installers and retailers.