Frequently Asked Questions

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What is engineered flooring?

Engineered flooring is made up of hardwood, plywood or HDF core topped with several layers of aluminum oxide that adds stability and durability. This flooring type comes ready-made for easy do-it-yourself installation. It can be installed in areas where hardwood flooring can’t be, for example, basement or below grade where moisture conditions do not exist.  Engineered flooring is also great for areas that are subject to minimal humidity fluctuations.

How is engineered flooring made?

It is made up of several layers of hardwood, plywood or HDF core that is stacked and glued together under high temperature and pressure.  It is then coated with several layers of aluminum oxide to maximize the life of the finish.

How does engineered flooring withstand wear and defects?

Engineered flooring is tested on the Janka hardness rating scale. The procedure measures the force needed to lodge a .444-inch steel ball into the wood species to a depth of half the ball’s diameter. The harder the species of wood is, the higher the rating will be and less wear and defects will be present.

Should I inspect my flooring?

Yes, ALL material should be carefully inspected BEFORE installation, as wood is a natural product containing variations in color, tone and graining.  Some variation in color is to be expected in a natural wood floor. It is the installer’s responsibility to check over and give a final inspection of the product prior to installation.  Most manufacturers do not cover materials with visible defects once they are installed under warranty.

Where can I install my engineered flooring?

Engineered flooring can be installed over most subfloors, and are engineered to be dimensionally stable, making them suitable for installation over all grade levels.  Some exceptions are areas that are wet (such as bathrooms or laundries) and any areas external to the house where it may be exposed to the elements.

Can I install over wood subfloors?

Yes, wood sub-floors need to be well nailed or secured with screws. Nails should be ring shanks and screws need to be counter sunk. The wood sub-floor needs to be structurally sound and dry. It should not exceed 14% moisture prior to installation. If the sub-floor is single layer, less than 3/4” thick, add a single cross layer for strength and stability (minimum 5/16” thick for a total 1” thickness). This is to reduce the possibility of squeaking.

Wood sub-floors must be free of paint, oil, existing adhesive, wax, grease, dirt and urethane, varnish etc. Underlayment grade OSB (not the wax side) is also suitable sub-floors.

Can I install over concrete?

Yes, engineered can be installed over concrete.  New concrete slabs require a minimum of 60 days curing time before covering them with a wood floor. Concrete sub-floors must be dry, smooth (level with 3/16” in a 10 foot. Radius 1/8” in 6”) and free of structural defects. Hand scrape or sand with a 20-grit #3-1/2 open face paper to remove loose, flaky concrete. Grind high spots in concrete and fill low spots with a Portland based leveling compound (min. 3,000 p.s.i.). Concrete must be free of paint, oil, exiting adhesives, wax grease, dirt and curing compounds. These may be removed chemically or mechanically, but do not use solvent-based strippers under any circumstances. The use of residual solvents can prohibit the satisfactory bond of flooring adhesives. It is important to ensure a proper bond between the adhesives and the concrete, and planks or strips. To ensure a long lasting bond, make sure that the perimeter of the foundation has adequate drainage and vapor barrier.

Can I install over particle board?

Particle board is not an acceptable sub-floor for staple or nail down installation but can be used as a sub-floor in glue-down installations. When installing over existing wood flooring, install at right angles to the existing floor.

Can I install over terrazzo or tile?

Terrazzo, tile and any other hard surfaces that are dry, structurally sound and level, are suitable as a subfloor for installing engineered flooring. The surface must be sound, tight and free of paint, oil, existing adhesives, wax, grease and dirt.  Terrazzo and ceramic tile must be abraded to assure adhesion.

Can I install over radiant heat?

Yes you can install engineered flooring over radiant heat floors.  Before installing, turn off heat and wait until the floor has reached room temperature.  After installing the floor, return the heat to the previous setting.

Caution: The slab surface must never exceed 85˚F in temperature.

Should I check for moisture?

On and below-grade applications are susceptible to moisture and should be tested for moisture prior to installation in several locations within the installation area.  Acceptable conditions for above, on, and below-grade applications are:

  • Less than 3lbs/100 sq. ft./24 hours on calcium chloride test.
  • Less than a reading of 5.0 on a Trames Concrete Moisture barrier (moisture meter).

    How much flooring is wasted during installation?

    There will be approximately 7 to 10% of wasted flooring unused during an average installation. There are several reasons for the waste such as, wrong cuts, planks damaged during installation or errors. For these reasons, please make sure you add 10% of flooring to your total area when purchasing your laminate.

    What tools do I need?

    You will need the following: broom or vacuum, 3M blue tape, tape measure, utility knife, hammer, pry bar, chalk line, hand saw or jig saw, nylon/plastic tapping block, hardwood flooring cleaner, miter saw, moisture meter, eye protection, straight edge.

    Extra tools needed for glue down include: Recommended flooring adhesive, 3/16” x ¼” x ½” x 5/16” trowel.

    Extra tools needed for staple down include: Bostitch Floor Runner (S3297-LHFZ) using 1” Bostitch staple (S1397) (or equivalent equipment recommended by your flooring retailer) or Power Nailer – 50C nailer using 1 1/2” power cleats (use the 3/8” or 1/2” adapter as appropriate) (or equivalent equipment recommended by your flooring retailer), compressor, inline regulator.

    Caution: Improper use of a power nailer can mark the surface of the flooring

    How can I install my flooring?

    Engineered wood can be installed using nails, staples or glue. You can also install you floor as a floating floor. See our installation section for more information.

    What is a floating floor installation?

    A floating floor is a fast and convenient way of installing engineered flooring without the use of nails – not fixed to the subfloor. Foam underlay should be put down on the subfloor first. Then attach panels as you normally would adding glue along the tongue and grooved edges of each panel. Once installed, the engineered floor will expand and contract as an entire unit, minimizing cracks and squeaking. For more information, please contact the distributor for more information.

    Can an engineered floor be refinished?

    Most engineered surfaces do not need to be refinished. If refinishing or sanding is desired, it should only be finished by a professional installer. Refinishing depends on the thickness of the veneer, for example, if your floor has a 2mm layer of veneer, you can typically sand it 1-2 times.

    How do I repair minor scratches and nicks?

    You can use color fill or floor repair paste to repair minor scratches or nicks.

    What should I do if a plank is damaged?

    Any damaged planks should be repaired by a professional installer.



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