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Old 11-06-2015, 06:41 PM   #1
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Floating vs Glued Hardwood Install?


I've got two quotes here from hardwood flooring companies to install an engineered hardwood floor on the bottom floor of my condo. The base is concrete.

Now, one of these companies quoted me about $5,560 for a glue installation, and the other place quoted about $6,300 for a floating installation. Same hardwood floor product.

I hadn't realized there was a difference. I showed the glue quote to the floating guys, and they said they weren't sure the glue place was estimating enough glue, and if they didn't use enough glue, there'd be issues. I've read over the pros and cons of both approaches. My biggest concern is that a floating install won't feel solid. I'm going to go the floating place's showroom where they have both types installed and see which ones feels better under foot. Apparently if there's moisture issues, then a glue install will have problems. I have no idea how to tell if there's moisture on my concrete slab. I live in northern California.

Opinions?

Thanks,
Doug.
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Old 11-06-2015, 07:19 PM   #2
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The argument of , "not enough glue" is asinine. This was just a counter argument of why you should hire them.
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Old 11-06-2015, 08:56 PM   #3
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Ask for specific name of the adhesive they plan to use on the glue down. Then read the manufacturer's instructions on both the glue and the flooring. If you follow manufacturer's instructions, you are pretty safe.

You should have given the other guys more time to think of a good reply. "Not sure if the estimated enough glue" is pretty lame. It says something about their professionalism.

Last edited by SPS-1; 11-06-2015 at 08:58 PM.
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Old 11-06-2015, 10:09 PM   #4
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I'd rather have the floating floor.

We have strand bamboo over concrete in our basement. The float actually helps with expansion and contraction and it feels great to walk on. It floats on a recycled fabric felt underlay.

I also doubled up on vapor barrier, 6 mil plastic below and the underlay has plastic. I taped all seams with a 3M product specifically intended for plastic sheeting. This product isn't recommended for concrete or below grade floors due to moisture susceptibility. With the additional barrier it works for us, except when the fish tank leaked. Fortunately all dried and returned good enough.

The thought of pulling up 900 sq ft of glued planks and scraping glue to fix or replace doesn't paint a good picture.

I suggest a search on gym floors. Our boys' dance teacher invited a troop to perform for the elementary school. Before accepting, they tested the floor to insure the bounce complied with needs. That's when I learned about the tech under basketball courts. That concrete doesn't move and unlike carpet or flooring over sub-floor and joists, your knees absorb all. That made floating floor over underlay and easy choice for us.

Had to do again, I'd likely consider a vinyl product we used in a laundry utility room. The "planks" adhere to each other using pre-glued tabs and float over an underlay. Styles come in a wood or stone appearance. Installed correctly, the surface is water tight. We purchased the product through one of the two big box home stores.

Hope this helps.
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Old 11-07-2015, 07:56 AM   #5
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I have a floating floor and never think twice about it.. after installing mine I see no reason why you would want to go through all the trouble to glue it down..
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Old 11-07-2015, 08:34 AM   #6
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if its floating you can easily install it yourself... this is the diychatroom after all...
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Old 11-07-2015, 11:08 AM   #7
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Were I you, I would paint the concrete with thoroseal, let it dry Thoroughly (Pun Intended) then install 1/4 inch fanfold EXPS insulation. I would then install the floor in floating configuration. You need to divorce the wood from the concrete, as they have a very different rate of expansion and contraction, and you do not want to walk on a cold concrete floor. The high density Extruded Polystyrene insulation will serve as a thermal Barrier, and it does not absorb water or moisture. (Do not confuse extruded polystyrene with expanded, the white bead board) it will be light blue (Dow) Pink (OC) or green (Amoco)

Good Luck!
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Old 11-07-2015, 03:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgarstang View Post
Apparently if there's moisture issues, then a glue install will have problems. I have no idea how to tell if there's moisture on my concrete slab. I live in northern California.

Opinions?

Thanks,
Doug.

get some 10 mil plastic, cut out some 3 - 3 foot x 3 foot sheets
tape them down with good duct tape in 3 random places on your floor ( have one close to an outside wall ), after 24 to 48 hours, there ideally be no moisture underneath the plastic. Depending on when the house was built, sometime there is an existing vapor barrier under the slab, so you will not have issue. Also a general walk of the slab floor should reveal no calcium or mineral deposits, which would be a tip off of moisture working it's way up through the slab. Some flooring installers epoxy coat the floor, then glue down the floor , with the epoxy acting as the vapor barrier.

As for the glue, the best tend to be Urethane based, and those that clean up with mineral spirits, not water. I never trust those new "green" glues, they simply do not have the grab power of as good Urethane ( ex: Bostick's Best ). The Urethane glues, when dry, are flexible and not hard like the old oil based non VOC complaint glues. This allows them to move a little to avoid bucking in the floor, and they have a tenacious bond. Of course the installed should always allow for expansion around the perimeter of the room before adding base shoe to cover the gap.
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Old 11-07-2015, 04:34 PM   #9
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I went into the showroom today. The floating felt cheap and nasty underfoot. Glued it will be I think.
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Old 11-07-2015, 05:16 PM   #10
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Do I need padding if I am getting the floor glued?
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Old 11-07-2015, 08:23 PM   #11
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You can put down a piece of glass and tape it around the edges or caulk it. If no condensation appears in 48 hours, you should be OK. How the floor feels underfoot has to deal with how solid the substrate is. I would personally never glue a wood floor directly to concrete, as it would be hell if I had to remove it, and I have already aired my position of uneven thermal movement due to temperature change. I installed mine floating over exps fanfold, and I love it, but it is your floor.
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Old 11-07-2015, 09:32 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgarstang View Post
Do I need padding if I am getting the floor glued?

no, glue downs are direct to floor.
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Old 11-07-2015, 10:35 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgarstang View Post
I went into the showroom today. The floating felt cheap and nasty underfoot. Glued it will be I think.
From a practical factor as discussed above, I have to agree with most all the comments advising you to float it....,BUT... in my son's home we floated his SOG new additions.... and he felt the same as you do.... we just glued down the old home as he felt the same as you do.

I agree from an asthetic feel consideration, there is a heck of a difference.

And as advised above, the urethanes are the best.... and note the price difference in the grades of glue... I would defently use the best glue if there is any consideration of moisture. Several hundred more dollars in glue is worth the best considering your investment.

Not really the topic... just curious, how much flooring are you putting down... those bids for install seem pretty healthy,

Best
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Old 11-11-2015, 02:19 AM   #14
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Go with the floating but do your homework, don't just trust what two competing contractors say. Choose the product you want and go by the manufacturer's installation instructions on concrete basement floor. You will likely need some form of vapor barrier and if recommended, go with padding under.
You need to know exactly how it "Should Be Done" (per manufacturer's instructions) before you even talk to an installer. If they don't plan on installing it exactly like the manufacturer instructions dictate then find someone else that knows how to install that product. Do your due diligence so your covered. Believe me, you'll sleep better.

CW

p.s. Better yet, do the above then just install it yourself (as someone has already suggested) so you know it's done right and save the $5000+ for your kids college fund.
If it were me I wouldn't show one contractor another contractors quote, there are a ton of reasons not to do that. (Think of it in terms of showing your cards to someone else at the poker table ... not a good idea, lol).
And I agree, the "not enough glue" is just a distraction (you should know what type of glue should be used and how much it will take for your sq ft ... then be sure they use that much).

Last edited by CoyWolf; 11-11-2015 at 02:33 AM. Reason: p.s.
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