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+ Introduction

We are very happy to introduce our Hardwood Flooring Information and Installation Guidelines. Following our recommendations will greatly reduce your call backs, and lessen the number of unhappy customers.

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+ Chapter #1 Ordering

The square footage on your order is the target number we shoot for during production. This footage will likely change, as we put extra material on the production line to accommodate for pieces that don’t pass our strict quality control process. This extra material will not exceed your original order by more than 2%. Most competitors will suggest adding a waste factor of 10% instead of our normal 5%.

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+ Chapter #2 Relative Humidity

The square footage on your order is the target number we shoot for during production. This footage will likely change, as we put extra material on the production line to accommodate for pieces that don’t pass our strict quality control process. This extra material will not exceed your original order by more than 2%. Most competitors will suggest adding a waste factor of 10% instead of our normal 5%.

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+ Chapter #3 Wood Movement

Solid wood flooring will perform best when the interior environment is controlled to stay within a relative humidity range of 30% to 50% and a temperature range between 16 and 25 degrees Celsius. Engineered wood flooring will perform best when the interior environment is controlled to within a relative humidity range of 35% to 55% and a temperature range between 16 and 25 Celsius. Fortunately, that’s the same range most humans enjoy.

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+ Chapter #4 Jobsite Conditions

Do not deliver wood flooring to the jobsite or install wood flooring until these temperature and humidity conditions are achieved and the subfloor is within 2% of the wood flooring. Surface drainage should direct water away from the building. All concrete, masonry, plastering, drywall, texturing and painting must be completed. Note: 1. A newly constructed home may contain more than 1 gallon of water per square foot of home. A 2000 square foot home could have up to 2300 gallons of water; which will be absorbed by the wood flooring if not removed during the construction and newly occupied stages.

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+ Chapter #5 Acclimation

Having the wood flooring on the jobsite before these conditions are met will cause it to change dimensions, especially on the ends. If the humidity is higher than the recommended levels, the ends of the wood will absorb moisture first and will become wider. If the humidity levels are lower than the recommended levels, in solid wood the ends will lose moisture and shrink; for engineered flooring the top layer of wood will crack. In both of these cases problems are created unnecessarily.

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+ Chapter #6 Moisture Testing

Moisture meters and humidistats are the most critical tools of the trade. If your installer does not have either of these tools, they are obviously not aware of the very important relationship between wood and moisture. Continuing with an install constitutes acceptance of the jobsite conditions by the installer.

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+ Chapter #7 Subfloor Panel Products

If peaks and valleys in the subfloor exceed these tolerances, the high spots can be sanded down and low spots filled with extra underlayment. Not supplying a flat level surface; and installing a shiny smooth floor with natural light, turns into disaster with no repair options, other than a tear-out. The subfloor must be free from all dirt, especially drywall compound drips that prevent the wood flooring from laying flat on the subfloor. The hardwood flooring will only lie as uniformly as the subfloor. If there is movement or squeaks in the subfloor, refasten the subfloor to the joists in problem areas. Protruding fasteners are easily remedied by driving those fasteners deeper into the subfloor.

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+ Chapter #8 Concrete Subfloor
  • Subfloor Must Be Level Ensure the concrete slab is flat, with the tolerance being 3/16” over 10’.
  • If the slab is out of specification, consider grinding, floating or both.
  • Many high spots can be removed by grinding; depressions can be filled with approved patching compounds; and slabs can also be flattened using self-levelling concrete products.
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+ Chapter #9 Engineered Flooring Installation
  • Edge Glued Installation of Engineered Flooring (Floating with Pad)
  • Full Glue Down of Engineered Hardwood Flooring (with pad)

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+ Chapter #10 Solid Hardwood Flooring Installation
  • If boards are 5” & wider please follow Wide Plank Solid & Engineered Nail Down Installation (discussed in Chapter 10). Please view our video on Installing Wide Plank Flooring https://youtu.be/YUYGiaV-PlM.
  • Approved moisture vapour retarder, overlapped 3” must be used. The purpose of an underlayment is to minimize the transfer of moisture from the subfloor to the wood flooring. This is especially important in new home construction where the subfloor is higher in moisture than the wood flooring.
  • If using a pneumatic nailer/stapler, the air pressure must be set so the fastener does not drive in too deep and crack the tongue.

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+ Chapter #11 Wide Plank Installation

Nail down installation of wide plank solid and wide plank engineered flooring requires additional bonding to the subfloor to prevent movement and squeaks. This is done by introducing glue to the nailing process. The installation method recommended is not a full glue down, but only a bead of glue across the width of the board. This is recommended on all wide plank solid and engineered floors 5” and wider, installed on a plywood or OSB subfloor.

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+ Chapter #12 Radiant Heat

There are 4 types of radiant heating systems (steam radiators, hydronic (water), hot water baseboards and low voltage electric). If you are choosing our engineered hardwood floor it is very important that your heating contractor understand the maximum surface temperature of the flooring cannot exceed 25 degrees Celsius. Most species are not recommended over radiant heat. Our engineered hardwood is designed not to dry cup or delaminate. Dry cupping is when the solid wood layer shrinks when over-dried, forcing the substrate to follow. Ours will remain generally flat when dried but surface cracks in the wood layer appear as the top layer shrinks.

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+ Chapter #13 Exotic Wood Flooring

Exotic species are very beautiful; however they are very different than our domestic species in look, and require more care and patience when installing. Be sure to wear a dust mask and safety glasses when cutting pieces to avoid contact with dust, also wear gloves to prevent slivers as they are difficult to get out and will cause your hand to swell.

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+ Chapter #14 Heat Recovery Ventilators

Heat Recovery Ventilation or HRV’s were introduced to the housing industry as new homes started being built with energy efficiency in mind. Being built very tight with no leakage, an air exchange system was needed to bring fresh air into the home. Previous building practices allowed fresh air into the homes through cracks and spaces making them more expensive to heat and cool, but allowed the new home moisture to escape much quicker.

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+ Chapter #15 Realities of Hardwood Flooring

Following our installation guidelines, quickly removing the excess moisture in the new home, and keeping the long term relative humidity as close to 40% as possible, will greatly reduce your chance of call-backs. However some customers have unreal expectations.

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+ Chapter #16 Problems, Causes, and Cures

Problem: Cupping

Cause: Flooring absorbing excessive moisture on underside, causing expansion with raised edges. / Not leaving enough expansion space around perimeter. / Flooring has nowhere to go but up. / Cupping is very common in newly built homes. / Develops gradually and cause boards to crack and split. / Finishing the ceiling in basement traps moisture, which is absorbed by hardwood floor; prolonging the time flooring will remain cupped.

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+ Chapter #17 Replacing a Board

Step 1

Ensure bottom of circular saw does not have any rough spots or “burrs” because that may cause damage to adjacent boards. If the bottom of the circular saw is rough, attach painters tape to protect the flooring.

Step 2

Set saw blade to the proper depth for the thickness of your hardwood floor. This would be ¾” for all Gaylord Hardwood Flooring products.

Step 3

Cut a line ½” to 1” from the edge of the board along the entire length of the board.

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+ Summary

Statistics taken from the NWFA (National Wood Flooring Association) show that 78% of hardwood flooring problems are in newly built homes; of which, 95% are moisture related. Due to the rising cost of heating and cooling, building practices have changed. Vapour retarders, ostensibly made to prevent warm or cool air loss, may seal in the new home’s moisture. Thanks to these vapour retarders, the moisture will take far too long to leave the newly constructed home. Hundreds of gallons of water used in concrete, masonry, mortar, plaster, drywall compound, studs, joists, paint, and many other building components evaporate into the home’s interior. This moisture will cause the floor to expand soon after installation. At time of installation the conditions may have been ideal but this hidden excess moisture will quickly be absorbed by the subfloor and hardwood flooring causing it to cup and crack.

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