Flooring and Carpeting Hardwood flooring on underfloor heating, john michaels, oak flooring

Flooring and Carpeting Hardwood flooring on underfloor heating, john michaels, oak flooring

Flooring and Carpeting /Hardwood flooring on underfloor heating

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Expert: John Michaels — 6/25/2008

Question

QUESTION: Hi, pretty soon im going to be installing oak flooring throughout a new build with underfloor heating. i have looked at different methods, i.e. a floating floor, or laying wbp plywood first as a base to tack the oak to.

The simplest and easiest method ive found is to simply glue the oak to the screed using a specialist glue, and making sure that the screed is thoroughly dried out — what do you think? is this method suitable?

i realise i would have to acclimatise the oak to the room for a couple of weeks first

ANSWER: Hi Rhodri;You mention, ‘throughout a new build’. Is this a commercial installation or in a home? What room or rooms will get the flooring? Is this solid hardwood or engineered hardwood? Are you the installer or the owner of the home or office? Please get back to me with that information so I can give you some correct information.

QUESTION: Hi, thanks for the response. Its my girlfriends parents home, im going to be installing the wood. Most of the house is engineered oak, with a couple of small rooms in solid chestnut hardwood. All the bathrooms and kitchen are getting tiled.

I assume that as long as the timber is well acclimatised and the screed has low moisture, i should be fine?

Flooring and Carpeting Hardwood flooring on underfloor heating, john michaels, oak flooring

Thanks

Answer

Hi, again, Rhodri;First let your girlfriend’s parents know what they intend to have on their floors. Wood, engineered or solid, comes from trees. It will act like a tree. It will expand, contract, dent, scratch, change colors, etc. It is full of thousands of tiny cells that carry moisture and help the tree grow. During manufacturing, the wood is dried to an acceptable level, however those cells are still there, just waiting to absorb moisture, which can make the boards distort, permanently. That is why you cannot maintain wood with water. Installing it in a kitchen or other area which is prone to spills, and dents & scratches from sharp objects being dropped, may not be prudent. Certain types of foot wear, such as high heels, usually cannot be worn when walking on the wood, absorbent walk-off mats should be used, and constantly maintained at all entries to the home to keep out harmful soils such as garage type, concrete dust, gravel dust, asphalt, etc. from being tracked into the home, proper furniture leg protectors must be used and changed when they begin to show wear and imbed with gritty soils, etc. Hard surfaced flooring, no matter what the current rage, is non-absorbent. The harmful soils such as air polutants and allergents rest on their surfaces and become airborne with normal foot traffic and normal home air currents, so the human lung then becomes the trap and filter for those harmful things. Depending upon the local enviornment and home population, hard surfaced floors may have to be maintained on a daily basis. Remember, the true cost of a floor covering is product, installation, and maintenance over its useful life.

Carpet and area rugs over proper pads, are one of the healthiest floor coverings one can have. They have a pile that traps, filters, and holds those harmful soils until they are properly vacuumed away, and, on occassion, properly professionally cleaned away. Have your girlfriend’s parents visit the website of The Carpet & Rug Institute, carpet-rug.org, to obtain proper health information, and information on vacuums, spot cleaning agents, and professional cleaning methods they have tested and certified as being truly ‘green’ products. Of all floor covering manufacturers, the carpet industry has lead the way in producing truly ‘green’ products. ALL floor covering manufacturers have made great strides in producing ‘green’ products, however the carpet industry has lead the way. Carpet costs less as a product, less to install, and less to maintain over its useful life. To have a home that appears to be scheduled for all hard surfaced flooring, may present problems. Wood will change colors, over time, and within the same cutting, there are chances of having major color variances that can be seen on solid hardwood, immediately. Your girlfriend’s parents may want to consider using area rugs over proper rug pads, in key areas. As the flooring ages, on occassion, the furniture and area rugs should be moved around, changing traffic patterns, so color changes from soils, traffic, harmful UV sunlight, will be evenly dispersed.

Now, back to the wood. Engineered hardwood usually cannot be refinished, so scratches and dents, etc. cannot be sanded away as solid hardwood can. Engineered hardwood is usually made up of a wood backing, topped with a core that contains recycled wood products, topped with a thin piece of wood that is stained for color, topped with a polyurethane type protective layer. Solid hardwood is all wood topped with a polyurethane type protective layer. Since various engineered hardwood and solid hardwood manufacturers have different installation specifications, BEFORE any purchase is made, obtain the manufacturer’s installation specifications and thoroughly read them. They will list acceptable underlayments, especially over radiant heating, proper acclimation time needed and how to have the wood stored and placed, during acclimation, proper perimeter expansion space that must be allowed between the edges of the perimeter boards and the walls, proper installation methods, etc. The list goes on and on so get those specifications and thoroughly read them. Then, BEFORE anything is purchased, obtain the manufacturer’s maintenance manual. It will detail proper cleaning agents and techniques that must be used, information I indicated above about keeping harmful soils out of the home, etc. It will also list the responsibilities of the customer to keep any warranties and guarantees in effect. Please do NOT shop for the wood in one of those large home supply stores or over the internet. Go to a local, reputable floor covering dealer who can supply proper product, including proper installation adhesives and tools and installation, along with warranties on product and installation. If you do the installation yourself and are not an experienced hardwood floor installer, take some kind of a course before you do the job. Today’s adhesives and other installation supplies are ‘green’ products. For example, adhesives are available in water based formulas instead of solvent based formulas, so they will react differently and need different installation procedures. Obtain the installation specifications from the manufacturers of those products BEFORE you purchase so you will know how to properly use them. Wood flooring must be kept within certain humidity and temperature ranges all the time, including before, during, and after the installation. The installation specifications will list those ranges, so any radiant heating must be kept at a level to keep the wood withing those ranges. We seen cases where that type of heating has caused the wood to dry out excessively, causing distortions and cracking that are permanent. We do not sell, install, or maintain any type of floor covering. We are floor covering inspectors. We are called upon to inspect all types of floor coverings when residential and commercial consumers register complaints before, during, and after an installation such as the hardwood floor is gapping, cracking, cupping, or crowning, the ceramic tile is cracking, the vinyl floor is yellowing, the carpet has a line, etc. We have over 800 inspectors scattered throughout our vast geographic coverage area which is every city and town in all 50 States and in all the Provinces of Canada. We get a great overview of consumer complaints related to product, installation, and maintenance. The information I have given you is from our experience over the years. Just make sure you and your girlfriend’s parents know the products they wish to purchase and how they will normally react. If you have any other questions, please feel free to get back to me.


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