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Old 07-01-2015, 11:57 AM   #1
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Float or glue down engineered on plywood subfloor?


I'm planning to install engineered wood (3/8", "random length" x 4 3/4" wide) on 3/4" plywood subfloor in 2nd floor bedrooms and hallways. If I understand correctly, floating click-lock install is supposed to be easier but requires an underlayment/moisture barrier i.e. "Floor Muffler" plus T-Moldings in all doorways as well as an Overlap Reducer or similar transition from hallway to top stair tread, which would give me a little trip bump right at the top of the stairs and in all doorways. ;( That said, I don't believe I've ever walked on a floating engineered click-lock floor and I'm also concerned about the not real "feel" or potential that even leveling the subfloor can still result in a bouncy floating floor.

Would you float or glue down and why?
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Old 07-01-2015, 11:15 PM   #2
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I would consult the manufacturer of the flooring you are putting down and get their recommendations. They have a lot more experience than any of us do and can give you the pros and cons of any type of installation you are considering.
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Old 07-02-2015, 05:16 AM   #3
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Manufacturer offers instructions for both floating and glue down but doesn't recommend one over the other.
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Old 07-02-2015, 09:57 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a1481155 View Post
Manufacturer offers instructions for both floating and glue down but doesn't recommend one over the other.
What is the plywood going over? I am not sure about using a moisture barrier but I would see about a underlayment that they recommend. Call them.
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Old 07-03-2015, 11:45 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 7 VII 7
What is the plywood going over?
Quote:
Originally Posted by a1481155
...3/4" plywood subfloor in 2nd floor bedrooms and hallways.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 7 VII 7
I am not sure about using a moisture barrier but I would see about a underlayment that they recommend. Call them.
I am sure! This is not my concern...I have already spoken to manufacturer. If I float, I'm using "Floor Muffler"; if I glue down, I don't believe underlayment is used.
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Old 07-03-2015, 05:06 PM   #6
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I personally would do the float method, simply because if a fix is needed down the road it will be a lot easier to accomplish.
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Old 07-03-2015, 09:28 PM   #7
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I have done a grand total of one engineered wood floor, so I am hardly an expert, but I glued mine down. Owner of the flooring store recommended not floating it because it would be soft and possibly squeak when walked on.
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Old 07-04-2015, 12:22 PM   #8
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Half of your answer lies with your manufacturer. They offers general instructions for both floating and glue down options. However, float method is considered greatly as compared to the other. While it is easy to carry out, it saves your time. It is suggested to go for professional help before you proceed, else you may land up in a fix.
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Old 07-10-2015, 07:38 AM   #9
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I personally would do the float method, simply because if a fix is needed down the road it will be a lot easier to accomplish.
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I have done a grand total of one engineered wood floor, so I am hardly an expert, but I glued mine down. Owner of the flooring store recommended not floating it because it would be soft and possibly squeak when walked on.
Thanks, both excellent points! I'm turned off by the number of transitions the floating install requires i.e. in all doorways., etc. Anyone have thoughts on the following:


1) Notice no transitions in doorway from hall into master bedroom or closets. It's not my flooring but it is a floating click-lock install from same manufacturer, which also requires transition moldings in "all doorways, passageways or wall openings of 5' or less...as well as "floor spanning greater than 35 feet in length or width" and "floor areas interrupted by wall sections extending out of the wall, or floor areas which are not rectangular.".


2) How about stapling the floated flooring like this guy?:
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Old 08-21-2015, 01:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 7 VII 7 View Post
What is the plywood going over?
The 3/4" plywood subfloor is attached to the 1st floor ceiling joists, if that's what you mean.
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I am not sure about using a moisture barrier but I would see about a underlayment that they recommend. Call them.
I could be wrong but I believe moisture barriers are typically recommended for installs over concrete. Underlayment is a good question...For floating install, I already have the recommend underlayment "Floor Muffler Ultraseal", which is both a moisture barrier and underlayment. For glue-down install, no underlayment is required. However, a 3/8" - 1/2" layer of plywood "underlayment" attached to the sub-floor can be used to protect the sub-floor.

That being said, I have a staircase leading to the 2nd floor hallway, both of which have 3/8" parquet that will be removed. The plan is to install new 3/8" flooring in the hallway but NOT on the oak stair treads, but rather sand & refinish them, which will increase the rise by 3/8".

In the hallway, gluing down new 3/8" flooring on top of a 3/8" plywood underlayment, would increase the rise from the last stair tread to the top of new flooring stair nose, at the end of the hallway to 7 7/8". The rise below that will be 7 1/2" and the rest of the rises going down all appear to be 7 1/4" - 7/38".

Thoughts?
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Old 08-21-2015, 07:39 PM   #11
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I doubt the difference from 7 1/2" to 7 7/8" would be noticeable or a trip hazard.
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Old 08-28-2015, 02:46 AM   #12
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I'd go for the Floating because Floating a floor is easier to install than a glue down. There are less harmful fumes to breath when floating a floor. It has more give and so the plywood subfloor can have more small dips compared to a glue down engineered floor..

Last edited by marks.fletchers; 08-28-2015 at 02:48 AM.
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Old 09-04-2015, 09:24 AM   #13
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Thanks!
After consulting several local pro installers, although not ideal, it appears glue-down installation to the plywood sub floor without installing a plywood underlayment is the way to go, therefore no height difference issues.

Somethings I've learned...
If I didn't mind ALL of the required transitions at EVERY doorway AND in between the L-shaped hallway AND if I didn't have the staircase to deal with, I'd go with the easier, less expensive floating installation.

To me, all of the required transitions are bad enough but the deal breaker is the required "overlap stair nose" at the top of the staircase, which appears to create a trip hazard going down the stairs.

It appears, if I want my flooring, especially from the hallway to the top stair nose to be flush, my only option is a glue-down installation not floating.

Thoughts?
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Old 09-08-2015, 09:05 AM   #14
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if you watch both videos, seems like they nailed down for both. There's a suggestion that the floor was hard to nail at ~ 1:16-1:20 mark in the first one.

I"m in the same boat and considering just nailing it down with a cleat despite the manufacture suggestions.
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Old 09-10-2015, 04:23 PM   #15
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Thanks!
If you re-watch it...again, I believe he was saying "the toughest part he said was the quarter round, which was solid bamboo...which they put up against the oak...very hard wood and hard to nail through...". He continues at 1:21 - 1:40 "...this is just a click-lock, it's a floating floor...better to me, it will expand...if it's nailed down or glued down, you're gonna have problems with it warping and this way it's free to move...".

I'm NOT floating this floor and nailing is not an option offered by the flooring manufacturer. The only other option is full spread glue-down. FWIW, The Floor Muffler Ultraseal underlayment that I bought for the floating offers a "double glue-down" option. However, Floor Muffler's web site says it "Provides superior moisture protection. Exceeds industry standards by over 700% (.3 lbs./1000 ft²/24 hours).".

However, in an article at NWFA it says "Don't install an impermeable moisture barrier over a wood subfloor. This could trap moisture in the subfloor, possibly causing rot and leading to health and structural problems." (http://www.hardwoodfloorsmag.com/ins...rlayments.html).

A couple questions:
1) Is Floor Muffler Ultraseal (I have call into them, waiting for reply) considered an impermeable moisture barrier that should not be installed over a plywood subfloor?

2) What are the benefits of a "double glue-down" install for engineered?
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