Solid Flooring Installation Instructions

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1 phone: Ludaire Solid Flooring Installation Instructions These Instructions and Guidelines are for the typical installation of ¾ Pre-finished Solid Hardwood Flooring manufactured by Ludaire. Ludaire provides these Instructions and Guidelines only as a guide. Actual conditions may vary and Ludaire is not responsible for any deviation from these recommendations between the end user and your flooring installation contractor. The equipment used for cutting the flooring is a standard power miter saw or equal using a new/sharp hardwood blade. The fastening systems are specialty floor staplers or floor nailers that use 1/2 crown hardwood flooring staples or flooring cleats. These are good guidelines when you are estimating, specifying, or considering specifying solid hardwood. These guidelines are important to insure that your customer s home is suitable for a quality installation and that you have some very good basic knowledge of job-site issues. The entire jobsite must be within industry standards for hardwood floor installation. Moisture and humidity conditions are particularly important. Solid hardwood plank flooring can be installed over the following general subfloor specifications: For 16 O.C., 5/8 or greater thickness CD plywood or 23/32 OSB Exposure 1 or greater thickness. For O.C., 3/4 CD plywood or 23/32 OSB Exposure 1 or greater thickness. For O.C., 7/8 CD plywood or 1 OSB Exposure 1 or greater thickness. Properly cured and level concrete slabs (special installation instructions are available). Lightweight concrete (special installation instructions are available). The subfloor MUST be kiln dried plywood or OSB and have a moisture content not greater than 12% and within 4% or less than the hardwood flooring being installed. There are risks if there is concealed subfloor damage or if there is an insufficient amount of solid subfloor to hold the fasteners. Any previous water damage to the existing sub-floor must be repaired. You must insure that the subfloor is properly anchored to the floor joists not less than 9 O.C. Subfloors must be flat. Check the subfloor for uneven areas. A subfloor cannot have a deflection of over 3/16 in 10. Any uneven areas that are not corrected or filled will result in squeaks, cracked planks, cracked tongues or cracks on the groove sides of planks. Review all transition areas with your customer and your installer. Wood to Tile,

2 Carpet to Wood, Wood to Wood areas will need special moldings purchased or milled to provide a durable and cosmetic transition between separate surfaces. Acclimation Carefully planned delivery time and material storage conditions are two of the most important steps in assuring that the job will be a quality installation. It is important that hardwood flooring is stored in an environment where the humidity levels are very close to the actual living conditions that will be maintained in the home. Temperature is not as an important factor so long as temperature changes do not result in a change in stable relative humidity. Avoid storage in a garage, uncontrolled warehouse, trailer, new home without heat, or any other location where there might be high or variable humidity conditions that exceed 65%. The material will absorb moisture if exposed to these conditions. If the flooring is installed after it has absorbed even a small amount of excess humidity, there is a strong possibility that the flooring will lose this additional humidity and change dimension at a future date. In all installations over wood subfloors, it is critical to inspect the subfloor for both stability and moisture content before considering installation. Installations over wood subfloors must include an inspection of the moisture content of the subfloor in several areas. You must also check the relative humidity of the installation area and the area below the installation. Inspections of solid material and subfloor material should be done with a digital moisture meter. This device has protruding pins to penetrate the surface of the material to check the moisture content. Inspections for indoor humidity should be done with a hygrometer/digital humidity gauge that reads both temperature and humidity. Educate yourself on the relationship between temperature change and humidity variation. These important tools are available through your distributor or over the internet: Area of Installation: 1. Subfloor cannot be more than 4% higher or lower in moisture content than the flooring being installed onto it. The difference in moisture content will be absorbed by the flooring and result in a change of dimension due to moisture content change in the planks. 2. Relative humidity in the area must be able to be controlled and maintained in a range of between: 35% - 60%. Relative Humidity should be measured using a hygrometer / humidity gauge at floor level and under the same stable temperature and humidity conditions that the room will be maintained at once the projected is completed. If the flooring is delivered into a high humidity environment and allowed to acclimate to it, the flooring will shrink once the humidity has been reduced. If flooring is delivered and installed into a high humidity environment, the flooring will begin to swell and compress very quickly resulting in squeaking and crackling sounds from expansion. The flooring may also begin to exhibit surface cracks from this abnormal and un-necessary stress. Flooring that has absorbed high levels of moisture due to humidity conditions over 60% will also be difficult to lock together as the groove side of the planks will swell and inhibit the tongue from entering the groove. 3. Area below the subfloor must be inspected and maintained with the following considerations. a. Humidity levels must be kept below 60% at all times during the year. When installing hardwood flooring in a home that is under construction, you must consider that the vapor emission rate from the concrete floors and walls will increase the relative humidity in the home for an extended period. If hardwood floors are delivered and allowed to acclimate to high humidity conditions, it is probable that they will shrink back to their original dimension once the home has dried out. If you install hardwood flooring in a new home when relative humidity conditions are not being controlled by additional dehumidification for the 1st 12 months, the planks may absorb this additional humidity and

3 expand. The result will be a crackling noise when the floor is walked on that is caused by the planks expanding against each other. This condition will disappear if the humidity levels in the basement are lowered for an extended period. b. If the humidity levels are allowed to continue at a high level it is possible for damage to occur to the planks from this increased stress by crushing the edges and permanently distorting the dimension and appearance of the planks. No open water, puddles, damp areas, mold/mildew can be present. The basement must be waterproof and dry. Installations over crawl spaces must have crawl space inspected to meet the same humidity conditions as a dry basement including effective vapor barriers, ventilation and dehumidification. c. New construction must have subfloor moisture content and humidity conditions checked before material is delivered or installation is started. Purchase and installation of high capacity dehumidifiers is a strong recommendation for any home regardless of age or construction type. Newer homes and remodeling projects include vapor retardant house wrap, energy efficient windows and doors, and high R value insulation. The homes ability to breath through normal air change (exchange of outside air with inside air) is very limited. A dehumidifier removes excess humidity from the air. This helps prevent moisture from building up in walls, attics, furniture, and any hardwood cabinets, millwork or flooring in the home. Air conditioning alone is not sufficient for use as year round dehumidification. High humidity conditions can be present during periods of temperatures lower than normal A.C. conditions. Make sure the subfloor is stable and properly fastened to the joists. d. Plank flooring must be installed on a 45 or greater angle across the joists. This is necessary to prevent squeaks from the new wood flooring deflecting between the joists. Joists must be 19.2 on center or less for the same reasons. The subfloor must be fastened to the joists every 9 using screws. If the installation is new, the subfloor must also be glued to the joists. This is a building code in most municipal areas and is intended to help minimize deflection of the subfloor. e. A vapor retardant material such as 15# minimum builders felt must be used between the hardwood and the subfloor. Installation of vapor retardant material will decrease the amount of seasonal movement in solid wood flooring by limiting vapor absorption into the back face of the flooring. Do not use a vapor barrier. A vapor barrier will trap moisture between the subfloor and the back side of the plank flooring and result in increasing the moisture content of the hardwood flooring. f. Solid hardwood plank flooring s standard application method is using a barbed flooring nail called a cleat or a pneumatically driven flooring staple with a ½ wide crown. The fasteners are driven through the tongue side of the hardwood on a 45 angle. The next plank s groove side covers the fastener. The fasteners are installed about 8 apart. They do not penetrate the subfloor enough to require them to be nailed into the joists. Hardwood flooring is installed onto the subfloor - not the joists. A minimum space of approximately 3/8 is left around the perimeter of the room and away from any fixed objects (cabinets, support posts, ceramic floor, etc). This spacing is required for seasonal expansion of the wood floor. The gap is concealed by using base board, shoe mold, or any other trim that your customer has agreed on to add a cosmetic cover. STANDARD NAIL AND STAPLE GUNS FOR HARDWOOD FLOORING SHOULD HAVE THE NYLON/PLASTIC FACTORY FINISHED SHOE ADDED TO THE TOOL. THESE SHOES SHIFT THE PRESSURE ON THE TOOL FROM THE BEVELED EDGE OF THE FLOORING TO THE FRONT OF THE TONGUE. THIS WILL HELP MINIMIZE DAMAGE TO THE BEVELED EDGES OF FACTORY FINISHED FLOORING THAT CAN OCCUR FROM THE HARD STEEL PLATE. (A minimum option to this is to add a thin felt pad to the plate of the gun and avoid using the plate to drive planks together).

4 A basic technique of installation includes racking the floor. The installer should lay out a substantial amount of flooring prior to fastening the planks. This allows them to switch planks positions to minimize scrap, blend colors, and insure that end joints are staggered more than 8 apart between adjacent rows. Your installer will also use long planks as a starter course. The starter course is normally positioned next to the longest and straightest wall in the home. The starter course must be perfectly straight and is anchored in place using nails and adhesives to insure that it does not move when planks are locked against it. Your installer will start and finish each row out using a plank that has been cut on a cut-off saw. Most typically, a power miter saw with a fine toothed carbide tipped hardwood blade. Many installers prefer to set up their equipment in a garage or job trailer as a cut area rather than in the customer s home. This avoids excess sawdust, potential damage from tools, and makes daily cleanup a much easier process. You installers should be working in clean soft soled shoes. Traffic mats and pads are suggested to avoid dents and scratches from tools or other trades during installation. Daily clean up of all dust, nails, cut-offs, etc is important in remodel jobs as your customers may walk across the floor after hours. Any debris left on the floor may result in a claim and some required replacement of unintentionally damaged planks. Concrete/ Light Weight Concrete Installation: The NWFA (National Wood Flooring Association) does offer guidelines and specifications (January 2007) for adhesive application of solid hardwood to concrete. Concrete must be a minimum of 2400 p.s.i. If Lightweight Gypsum concrete is used consult the adhesive manufacturer to see if their product will bond properly. Contact your distributor or our technical services department for more information on hardwood floor adhesives. You must be familiar with the curing rates and application requirements specified by the floor adhesive manufacturer. In general, concrete must have a vapor release rate of less then 4# per 1000 square feet in a 24 hour period to consider use of wood flooring adhesives and solid wood flooring. Liquid vapor barrier or vapor resistant prime coatings that are compatible with the adhesives are strongly recommended. The concrete floor MUST be CLEAN, DRY AND FLAT before considering using adhesives. Our Solid Flooring planks are designed and milled to be extremely flat and straight. Our side interlock system is a tap lock that requires our products to be tapped together. Applications to concrete must follow NWFA specifications relating to concrete and site conditions and adhesive manufacturer s instructions on site preparation, adhesive skim-over time, and trowel notch size. Any applications onto concrete must have a log of concrete conditions and moisture tests maintained before installation of flooring begins. Concrete floors can emit vapor throughout their life. If the slab is not properly sealed from vapor transmission between the hardwood and the slab, varying degrees of movement may occur. Any movement within the slab will also result in surface distortion of the hardwood planks. Contact the NWFA or our office for current NWFA/NOFMA guidelines. Radiant Heat Installations: Our products can be installed over low temperature radiant heating systems. The Moisture Content on flooring stored in our facility is extremely consistent and is less then 8% when shipped from our facility. Always check the M.C. of the flooring before it is installed to insure that the material is at the lowest M.C. consistent with the humidity levels maintained when the home is occupied. The surface temperature of the sub-floor level may not exceed 27 degrees (C)/80.7 degrees (F) if the product is being installed over a radiant heating system. 3/4 solid hardwood flooring has an R value of approximately.68, which is extremely low. Heat will move easily through the subfloor product as well as the hardwood flooring. If the home is located in an area where the heating system will be in use for extended periods - the consumer may experience some season shrinkage in between planks as the moisture content of the planks is dried out of the wood. If the heating system is allowed to exceed 80.7 degrees (F) the planks will begin to lose moisture content and shrink. We require the use of a whole house humidification system to maintain interior

5 relative humidity over 35% during the operation of a radiant heating system. This will minimize the amount of shrinkage or possible grain separation. We recommend that wood flooring that is to be installed over a radiant heating system should be installed using an elastomeric wood flooring adhesive product that has been labeled by the adhesive manufacturer as being made specifically for solid hardwood flooring. These adhesives must be applied using a trowel using the adhesive manufacturer s recommended trowel, notch size and shape. You must check the adhesive manufacturer s requirements or restrictions for usage of the adhesive over radiant heating systems and you should be aware of the skim-over time. Adhesives must be elastomeric and allow some seasonal movement of the planks as well as to seal the reverse faces. If lightweight concrete is being used, check adhesive manufacturer s specifications to make sure their product is designed for use over lightweight concrete. Equipment and Information Sources: Moisture meters: Fasteners: Delmhorst Instrument Lignomat USA Ltd. General Electric Protimeter Powernail Company Stanley/Bostitch Porta-nails Inc Primatech Flooring adhesives and sealers for Concrete and radiant heat installations: Bostik Inc: TKO Adhesive + MVP Primer W.F. Taylor: MS Plus Wood Flooring Adhesive (100% solid) Kerakoll S.P.A: Silovil 3000 Sika: SikaBond T53, T54, T55 (extremely high quality) Industry leading technical assistance and consulting available. Stauf-USA: Stauf SMP 960 / 940 (extremely high quality) The adhesives listed above are suggestions for manufacturers that list their products as designed for use to adhere solid hardwood planks to concrete. We do not endorse any of these manufacturers. Before you select an adhesive, consult with the manufacturers Web sites for proper application methods and conditions. For any additional questions please call us at Ludaire or visit our website at

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