Gaps forming in newly laid laminate floor

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Old 08-22-03, 10:22 AM
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Gaps forming in newly laid laminate floor

My husband & I laid TrafficMaster laminate flooring in our kitchen ourselves. we did everything right: used the proper foam underlayment, left 1/4 inch gap all around, nailed the quarter round trim to the wall & not the floor, and we made sure that all the planks were nice & tight before moving on to the next row.

but now, a month later, we've noticed where the planks butt together on the short ends, there are gaps, about 1/16 inch, forming where the planks seem to be pulling apart. is this natural expansion or is something bad happening?? any remedy short of disassembling the whole thing to get to the problem areas & reconnecting the planks?

thanks.........
 
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Old 08-22-03, 05:21 PM
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Gaps

Did you allow your laminate product to acclimate to the temperature & humidity conditions of your home before installation. Manufacturers recommend that flooring material be placed in areas where it is to be installed and allowed to adjust to environmental conditions before installation (up to several days, depending upon manufacturer). Then, maintaining constant temperature & humidity conditions at occupancy levels is important for preventing expansion/contraction problems. Humidity should be maintained at 45-55%

Contact Shaw direct for specific directions re: your TrafficMaster product.
 
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Old 08-22-03, 05:47 PM
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Shaw requires a 48 hour acclamation period. The boxes should not be opened, and the temperature\humidity should be maintained at the same level just as twelvepole stated. I have seen what you're describing most commonly when the full accalamation period has not been given. Did you install the planks over concrete? If so, did you place a moisture barrier down? Moisture could also be a factor.

Robert
 
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Old 08-22-03, 06:21 PM
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Laminate gaps

Thank you, rgillespie, for bringing up an issue that I overlooked in my haste to post a response. Subfloor moisture conditions can be a major issue, as well as acclimation. Following manufacturer's installation instructions is extremely important.

While most expansion/contraction takes place across boards rather than along length & installer stipulated all rows were tight, I assumed this meant along the horizontal where most expansion/contraction takes place. Perhaps, all rows may have been tight, but the abutting of flooring along the length may not have been and that is where the gaps have occurred. Just a thought, if the installer did acclimate.
 
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Old 08-25-03, 12:30 AM
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We DID let the flooring acclimate for the required 48 hours. it is NOT installed over concrete. it's on regular wood subfloor (we have a crawl space) so moisture isn't a problem. and it was locked tight BOTH from row to row, and end to end. and the humidity shouldn't be a problem, since we run our A/C constantly (although we keep it a little warmer during the day when we're at work, and a little cooler at night).

the only thing i can think of is, when we installed it, we had our miter saw set up outside, of course, and it was really hot & humid. so maybe just that short amount of time from going in & out made it do something wierd. there's no way we could've had the saw inside, though. the amount of sawdust created was mind-boggling.

before i pull off the baseboards & try to use the pull bar to tighten up the seams (or, worst-case-scenario, undo the flooring back to the gapped areas & re-click them tighter), i think i'll wait a few seasons & see if they change on their own when winter comes....unless anyone has any other ideas.

thanks for all the input!
 
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Old 08-25-03, 03:34 AM
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See if you can rent or buy a pair of Floor Vice's with straps to pull the end joints back tight.

Crain Cutter 566H Floor Vise
Crain Cutter

Works pretty good if you don't want to pull off the base/shoe mould. A lot of companies make these suction cup clamps.

Jerry
 
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Old 08-25-03, 06:14 PM
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Moisture is a problem

Moisture from an unmitigated crawl space is real bad news, much greater than from a concrete slab. Get some very heavy polyethylene (8mil) and completely cover the ground in the crawl space. Put some weights on the poly to hold it in place. Making an adjustment now would be a mistake because the laminate will want to move some more until the vapors from the crawl space are isolated. You may need to make an adjustment to the floor after the floor dries completely and it may take 6 months but in the end you should do fine.
 
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