Installing 3/4" Engineered Hardwood Over Particle Board - Flooring - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 07-11-2009, 12:42 PM   #1
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Installing 3/4" Engineered Hardwood over Particle board

I want to replace my carpet floors with hardwood. Under the carpet is particle board over plywood. I have seen many references saying that you should NOT nail or staple hardwood flooring onto particle board. As an alternative to replacing the particle board with plywood, I have chosen to look at a floating hardwood floor solution. I wanted to install something that had the same look, thickness, and feel as ¾” hardwood. While searching for such options, I found the Bruce Westchester line of ¾” Engineered hardwood floors (Westchester) which supported “glue or staple or floating” installation methods.

To my surprise, the possible installer (from the store, a major regional retailer, I would buy the wood) recommends to staple it onto the particle board/plywood and NOT float it. This is because this line of engineered flooring is tongue and groove requiring glue to hold the planks together, and not click and lock like you see on most engineered and laminate floors, and he feels that glue will not keep the joints tight-fitting because of thickness and mass of these planks. I pointed out to him that the actual Bruce installation manual recommends not to nail or staple into particle board and does recommend floating.

So, my first question is – Should I listen to this installer ignoring Bruce installation instructions and most of the negative feedback on nailing/stapling hardwood on particle board, or find another installer?

My second question – Does anyone have any experience (especially floating it) with this new line of Bruce ¾” Engineered flooring?

My third question – can you recommend other ¾” thick engineered or solid floating floors? (ie Floor & Décor have a proprietary clipping system that allows you to float their ¾” solid hardwood)

Thanks for your time…


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Old 07-12-2009, 07:07 AM   #2
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I would not install anything over particle board. It is not really good as an underlayment.


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Old 07-12-2009, 11:25 AM   #3
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By particle board, do you mean osb, mdf, or advantech? How thick is it? You said you have plywood underneath? How thick is that? Nails and staples will not hold in softer underlayment like osb and mdf. If the surface is too rough it will not allow the flooring to be installed properly. If the "particle" board is not too thick, and the plywood underneath is 3/4 and the flooring staples are long enough it would work. However, you mentioning a big box store and their installer makes me think that this is not the case. Best to have a local flooring company come and give you a second opinion.
Josh Jaros Remodeling in The Woodlands, Texas
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Old 07-13-2009, 12:02 PM   #4
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Thanks for the feedback.

My undersatanding is particle board won't hold a nail. I'm not sure, but I think the PB is 3/4" over 3/4" plywood. A 2" nail at a 45degree angle will hardly penetrate into the plywood.

I do not see mfg markings on the particle board. It is white, looks like compressed sawdust, and various contractors over the years have called it Particle board. It has done a fine job as underlayment for carpets in our house over the last 25 years.

In my mind, I'm basically replacing the current floating floor (carpet) with an engineered floating floor. If it was structurally sound enough to function under carpet, I figured it could handle the engineered floating floor.

But there seems to be a large grey area about keeping the wood plank joints tight using glue, as opposed to the 'fold & lock' method. Problem is, the thicker engineered products (this is 3/4" thick) do not come in 'fold and lock'. And this is Bruce, not some no-name. I have written to them directly to confirm they warrant a glue-together floating installation over particle board.

The large regional retailer I referred to is a flooring company.
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Old 01-26-2011, 09:23 PM   #5
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Well first and foremost technically speeking the thickness of the wood is not what you feel when you step on it, it is really just a mind set. The difference is the accoustics of the floor. For instance a 5/16 would have more of a tapping sound versus a 3/4 but it also depends on how it is installed. If you float the hardwood its not going to feel like what most people are used to which is a nailed 3/4 wood. You could possibly save yourself some money going with a 1/2 engineered doing a full glue install and it will feel and sound great under your feet. One thing you will also find is your trim is usually set lower for carpet so going with something a little thinner may also work out in your favor by not having to raise your base. As far as the particle board goes taylor adhesives makes a sealer you can put down first before your adhesive that will help seal the floor as it is porous and can soak up your adhesive making it not stretch as far as you like.
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