Finished Laminate Floor Install...Some ?'s

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  #1  
Old 02-01-04, 10:00 PM
saejin
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Finished Laminate Floor Install...Some ?'s

Hello everyone. I've been lurking for awhile and I must say some of the info here is great, wished I would have found it before attempting my install.

Like the subject says I just finished installing my laminate flooring and I have some questions. First of all it was approximately 650 sq ft between two rooms connected by a foyer. I used Westhollow laminate from diyfloor.com, it was on sale. Here are my questions:
1. The floor crackles a little, I believe the sound is coming from the joints. There's plenty of expansion gap all around. Floor was acclimated prior to install. Will this go away with time?
2. One room's subfloor was not flat. Did not realize this until most of floor was put down. I checked prior to install, but must have missed it. Will this cause problems later? Right now all you can see is the floor flex a little where the dip is.
3. I have noticed a few small gaps in between the butt ends of the planks. Will these increase or decrease with time?

Now for some lessons learned for anyone else looking to install on their own:
1. If you can afford it, hire a pro. The wife and I did 650 sq ft between 2 rooms. It took us 3 days! and then some. Rooms were mostly sqaure with some extensions around the doors.
2. Buy a table saw!!! We used a circular saw the first day and half. On the second night I picked up a $99 table saw at Lowes and it save me at least 8 hours during the next day and half.
3. You really don't need a finishing blade on the saw. The pieces you're going to be cutting are going to be up against the wall and eventually covered by some type of molding. The regular blade doesnt nick ar crack the laminate very much at all.
4. Invest in some quality laminate or wood. I bought some stuff on sale and It looks great, but I'm getting some crackling sounds now. Not sure if its the quality of the product or my install.

TIA
 
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  #2  
Old 02-02-04, 05:58 AM
LisaCea
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The "crackling" of your floor is a direct result of the subfloor not being flat. So are the cracks in the butt ends The tounge and groves are rubbing against eachother over the uneven spots making the sound.

The lifespan of your floor is greatly reduced unless this situation is resoved.
 
  #3  
Old 02-02-04, 01:00 PM
saejin
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Crackling sound is getting better now, meaning that it's not as loud. The subfloor was within spec, so unless it has to be perfectly flat, I don't see how it's possible.

Could the quality of the underlayment be a possible cause. Most flooring I looked at had specific underlayment sold by the manufacturer. the flooring I purchased said I could use generic stuff. It's just plain white foam with a poly backing. I've seen other stuff at Lowes and Home Depot that look and feel much better.

Luckily this house now is not for the long term. We're probably going to sell this summer, I just needed to replace the carpet and thought laminate would look better and appeal to more people. I know it doesn't add value, but it should help the house sell.

thanks
 
  #4  
Old 02-02-04, 01:24 PM
florcraft
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the reason the crackling sound is going away is cause the integrity of the joints is gone.
it doesnt mean things are better, it just means noise is gone but joints are toast.
good thing your moving huh?
I hope I dont buy the house if you dont get it done right.
 
  #5  
Old 02-02-04, 07:32 PM
saejin
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OK, lets get the definition of crackling straight because I think everyone has the wrong impression of what I'm hearing.

It's not a loud crack and popping sound, just a slight squeak every once and while now. It's not like every time I take a step I hear a loud crack like a board just broke or a joint just popped. I may not be a pro installer, but I'm not that bad. It's all installed according to manufacturer spec except for one or two dips that I overlooked in one room.

As far as the joints being ruined I have to disagree. All the boards remain in place and none of the joints have separated.

Also, if a potential buyer deems the floor installation unacceptable based on a home inspector of their choice then I will gladly offer a flooring credit or have a new floor installed. I'm not out to cheat anyone into buying a house with a badly installed floor. I was merely refering to the sound. My next floor will probably be a nailed down and glued solid wood floor. Floating floors are not as solid as I like it to be.

Now back to some of my original questions.
1. Could the quality of floor make a difference in types of sounds heard after install. Or does every laminate floor ever made and installed stay perfectly quiet when walked on.
2. Could type and quality of underlayment make a difference on sounds made.
3. Could the butt t&g joints ever be to tightly installed. I know the edge t&g clicks together, but we had to use a tapping block to connect the butt ends together. We tapped them pretty hard.

TIA
 
  #6  
Old 02-03-04, 05:36 AM
LisaCea
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Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but Floorcraft is correct, the noise is going away because the joints are toasted.

Installing a floor is not the no brainer most people think. If you had paid a pro to do this job you would be screaming for a replacment instead of defending your faulty installation.

This floor is probablly ruined.

As far as the joints being ruined I have to disagree. All the boards remain in place and none of the joints have separated.
Just wait...they will.

1. Could the quality of floor make a difference in types of sounds heard after install. Or does every laminate floor ever made and installed stay perfectly quiet when walked on.

Every properly installed laminate floor is perfectly quiet when walked on. Yours was not properly installed by your own admission.

except for one or two dips that I overlooked in one room.
How many more were overlooked you still don't know about? If its making noise, it was not installed to specs.

2. Could type and quality of underlayment make a difference on sounds made.
Only if it was not to the manufactuer's specs

3. Could the butt t&g joints ever be to tightly installed.
Not really

I know the edge t&g clicks together, but we had to use a tapping block to connect the butt ends together. We tapped them pretty hard.
This is standard procedure for a laminate installation, The cheaper the floor, the harder you have to hit the tapping block.

Floating floors are not as solid as I like it to be.
They are if they are installed properly
 
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Old 02-03-04, 10:15 AM
florcraft
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Unfortunately it may take a bit for the effects to show. Once the floor gets some real challenges (high humidity, then low humidity) then the Lam will react as best it can, hopefully all will be o.k. But from my experience, probably not.
ALL lam jobs I have done have had no squeaks or popping or anything. The laminate performed as expected.
If I ran into one of these jobs, and was hearing what you are, then I would have to assume bad things, and redo it.
 
  #8  
Old 02-03-04, 05:31 PM
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I'm in total agreement with both Lisa and florcraft.

Creaking, popping, & squeaks, are the result of a tight joint, flexing from the lack of a flat or unstable substrate.

The tight joint, isn't tight anymore, as it is designed to be, when the noise disappears. When the noise decreases, the joints will slowly gap.

If you had to beat the end together, are you sure it wasn't a rotating lock design? Installing a rotating lock like a flat & tap, will damage the T&G. Which can cause noise.




1. Could the quality of floor make a difference in types of sounds heard after install. Or does every laminate floor ever made and installed stay perfectly quiet when walked on.



A properly installed laminate floor stays perfectly quiet.



2. Could type and quality of underlayment make a difference on sounds made.


Yes, most definitely.But it is the hollow sound that is effected, not squeaks, crackles and pops.



3. Could the butt t&g joints ever be to tightly installed.


Yes, they can be too tight, causing the ends to peak. But it usually micro-fractures the beaten edge, too.



Take your floor back apart and relay it after the proper floor prep to bring the subfloor up to the flatness specifications. 1/8 inch in 6 feet or 3/16 inch in 10 feet. That is pretty flat!
 
  #9  
Old 02-04-04, 08:10 PM
saejin
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OK, I'm getting the picture now...thanks everyone for being so straightforward.

Of course I'm trying to defend my installation because I did check the flatness of the floor and only two areas of one room were out of spec. One room is flat within the manufacturer's specs and it still squeaks. I followed all instructions on how to connect the boards and tap them into place. I may have a tapped a few boards a little harder then neccessary, but this is my first time installing and I've learned my lessons for next time.

I'm installing the 1/4 round trim right now and have noticed something else. On some boards, the expansion gap has moved closer to the walls then I had set them. It must have happened when I was tapping the butt ends together. Could the lack of expansion gaps in these areas be causing the squeaks since some of the boards have no place to expand. Should I cut some of the excess away leaving the proper gap.

Being a laminate and buying so cheap I didn't expect this floor to last forever, just a little longer than carpet would last. I expect whoever buys my house will think the same. I just needed to replace my carpet and thought installing laminate would be easy. Now I know.

By the way the laminate cost me $1.29 sq/ft and the underlayment was $0.19 sq/ft, so this isn't the highest quality stuff out there. It looks nice and gets the job done though

thanks and keep the comments coming.
 
  #10  
Old 02-05-04, 10:04 AM
florcraft
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keep the comments coming huh?
Well, for any other potential buyer of laminate here is an example of when you buy laminate so cheap, the durability of the Laminate will be the last thing to worry about. It also affects the installation process, and it affects how the laminate deals with everyday occurences (moisture, humidity, ect..)

Not sure about your expansion gap, and if it is causing squeaks.
 
  #11  
Old 02-05-04, 04:28 PM
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You have a lot going on with that floor!

Yes, the expansion not being there can lock the laminate in, causing it to buckle.

This buckling could be the cause of the flexing and noisy tight planks.
It just looks like a dip flexing, when in reality, the flooris slightly raised from the pressure.
 
  #12  
Old 03-05-04, 07:17 PM
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Talc

Try sweeping some talc over the noisy area...this works on 25/32 hardwood flooring, it might help on this too.
 
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