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Suggestions pleasefor engineered wood over newly installed subfloor in basement?

Suggestions pleasefor engineered wood over newly installed subfloor in basement?

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  #1  
Old 12-14-11, 09:32 AM
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Suggestions for engineered wood over newly installed subfloor in basement?

Hi. We are in the process of finishing our basement. We had some moisture problems in the past, but have had those corrected (and hurricane tested), before the buildout. Being a weenie, I also had french drains put in, clad the concrete slab walls with 1.5" XPS (nailed, glued and taped) then had OVRX subfloor installed (love it, btw - rock steady, quiet and warm) with metal stud framing built on top of the subfloor. The metal studs are filled with R-15 Roxul. So moisture problems are very unlikely.

My wife would like a wood floor in her photo studio, which is ~500 square feet, and since we are below grade that means engineered or laminate. It won't be a high traffic area, but I still want a durable hard wood. Also, I just don't dig laminates conceptually (my preference only, I don't want to defend it or diss laminates).

I bought Roberts Super Felt underlayment to use under the wood floor, and although floating is an option, since we can nail into the OVRX, I think I'd like to go that route as I believe it will feel and sound more solid.

Have been to HD and we both liked the color and LOOK of the Tarkett Genesis Birch Bordeaux, but know nothing about quality. I'm hoping to keep the materials cost under $5 / square ft (hoping that is - if it has to be more then oh well, but not more than $7 for sure).



Any other brands / retailers / etc we should consider? The Tarkett is 3/8" thick, five-ply click lock. Would 1/2" or 9/16" make any noticeable difference when nailing the floor down? Also, is installation much more difficult and/or expensive doing nail down vs. click lock?

Oh and I will not be installing this myself. I will try to find a good supplier/contractor and am open to buying the materials from the installer if that works better (I know some installers refuse to touch anything they haven't supplied and I respect that).

So I guess it boils down to:

- Thickness - is 3/8 "thick enough" or is that just not that important
- Installation vs. Sound/Feel - I'd like the floor to be as quiet and solid feeling as possible. Given the subfloor and underlayment, should it then be glued, nailed, glued and nailed or is floating really ok? The OVRX feels rock steady with almost no flexing or creaking.
- Durability - this is not a high traffic area, but I think a harder wood is needed because with equipment being moved it will be subjected to drops occasionally
- Plies? - 5ply vs 7ply vs 9ply - does it really make any difference?
- Brand - there are sooooo many, and so many complaints. Which ones have had the most reliable quality? I've heard that Hurst Hardwoods is a reliable seller (don't know) and they carry these brands, for example:

Anderson
Appalachian
Armstrong Hardwood
BR-111
Bruce Hardwood
Columbia Hardwood
Hartco
Homerwood
Hurst Hardwood
Indusparquet
Kahrs
Lauzon
LM Flooring
Mohawk
Mullican
Pinnacle
Robbins
Scandian Exotics
Shaw Hardwood
Somerset
Tarkett Hardwood
Triangulo
UA Floors
Versini
Virginia Vintage

I understand that is a boatload to chew on. Any help appreciated! Thanks!
 

Last edited by MasonS; 12-14-11 at 10:30 AM.
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  #2  
Old 12-16-11, 06:54 AM
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No one? geez. This is the second forum I've tried with no replies.
 
  #3  
Old 12-16-11, 07:20 PM
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Robert's Super felt is an underlayment for floating engineered hardwood or laminate. If you're nailing, you can return it. As far installation goes, I would go to a local, full service flooring store to purchase both the material and the installation. Buying material separately and then hiring your own installer sets you up for problems with possible warranty claims. Also, if you have a problem with an installer you hire yourself, its up to you to to get him to fix it. He may choose to deal with your complaint by not answering his cell phone. Also, I would stick a pencil in my eye before I hired H.D. to install anything. Been down that road once and once was enough. Don't get too wrapped up in hardness. Any wood, no matter how hard, will dent. In my experience anything harder than red/white oak will tend to have similar real world performance. The only exception to this that I'm aware of is stranded bamboo. I beat on it with a piece of oak scrap to demonstrate it's hardness to customers. No dents! O.K., that's enough, someone else can answer your other twenty questions.
 
  #4  
Old 12-17-11, 03:58 AM
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Sorry for the lack of response. Staabc gave good advice. You'll have to re read your post. You were asking an endorsement from this panel for a product that may or may not work in your situation, installed by people we don't know, and you gave us a list of flooring that we could not possibly study.
You alone must make the decision. As a contractor I NEVER pick out styles, colors, hues, grains on ANY product. If the customer is satisfied with THEIR choice, then bless their hearts. If not, then THEY have decisions to make outside my box. I will advise them only on installation problems they may encounter with certain products they have chosen.
 
  #5  
Old 12-18-11, 11:41 AM
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Thank you both for your responses.

staabc: I do NOT plan to have HD do the installation; I have read too many horror stories. But I do appreciate the warning. I am also happy to buy from a contractor/installer, but I noticed that there are (seemingly) good deals available on the web with no tax and free shipping - and I can have my basement contractors (who are quite good) do the install for me. But if buying from the web is always too risky, then I will drop that idea. Also, since I already bought the superfelt, is it waste to put under nailed down or is it actually a bad idea for some reason? I like having the vapor barrier, and additional sound absorption for any potential future squeaks.

chandler: I appreciate what you have written, and your having posted, but my hope was that someone would give me some greater guidance on brands to seek and or avoid. I know that I need an engineered wood for my application. Grain, color, hue, wood type are of course our choice, and we will pick something that we like. But there are other considerations with engineered woods:

- Aluminum oxide layers - I've seen 5 - 10 layers advertised. Does it even matter?
- Plies - I've seen 5-9. Does this even matter?
- Wear layer - I've seen 2 - 5 mm. How much does this matter? 2 would suggest one sanding (maybe); 4+ I believe offers up to 3 sandings. Do YOU think it is worth it to pay up for a thicker wear layer?
- Brand - Which ones have YOU found to be most reliable? I did not expect anyone to give me comments on that giant list of manufacturers I posted - that was more to display how confusing the array of brand options is.
- Thickness - I've seen 3/8" - 5/8" (and a few rare 3/4"). Does this in any way affect the experience of the floor? Why (if at all) would it be worthwhile to pay for thicker flooring? Is the wear layer thickness more important than the overall thickness?

Thanks!
 
  #6  
Old 12-18-11, 12:27 PM
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MasonS, here's my take. Others may differ.
1. More Aluminum Oxide layers puts more of it between you and the wood. Is it necessary, probably overkill at 10. How long do you plan on keeping the floor/house?
2. The more plies you have will help with warping factor, and the plies generally go up with the thickness of the flooring.
3. Here, again, how much traffic (rough traffic) will it get? I have customers on their 10th year of engineered flooring and have yet to think about sanding.
4. I have installed everything from Harris Tarkett, Armstrong, Home Legend and others. All have given satisfactory usage to my clients. I'll lay almost anything that is straight and fits well. You can get "cabin grade" wood, and there will be more boogers in it than normal.
5. For engineered flooring nothing less than 5/8. It is easier to lay (click lock) and feels solid after the installation, whereas a thinner floor or laminate will feel "clacky" or mushy. The wear layer is important to that part of the floor. The overall thickness is important as far as installation and feel goes. Our last one was about 800 sf in a basement (LR, 2BR and hallway with closets). 5/8" click lock hand scraped, and we had it done in 3 days, 3 people. Closet cuts are the most tedious.
Good luck with your choices, and let us know how it goes.
 
  #7  
Old 12-18-11, 04:58 PM
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chandler, thank you again for taking the time to reply to me.

Originally Posted by chandler View Post
MasonS, here's my take. Others may differ.
1. More Aluminum Oxide layers puts more of it between you and the wood. Is it necessary, probably overkill at 10. How long do you plan on keeping the floor/house?
Unless my wife's job situation changes, we aren't going to move for the foreseeable future (say 15 years).

Originally Posted by chandler View Post
2. The more plies you have will help with warping factor, and the plies generally go up with the thickness of the flooring.
Basement should be dry with a pretty stable climate, but warp resistance is important to me as it is a below grade installation.

Originally Posted by chandler View Post
3. Here, again, how much traffic (rough traffic) will it get? I have customers on their 10th year of engineered flooring and have yet to think about sanding.
Not much traffic in this area, but it may be subject to occasional drops of equipment. So hardness (dent resistance) is more important than abrasion resistance.

Originally Posted by chandler View Post
4. I have installed everything from Harris Tarkett, Armstrong, Home Legend and others. All have given satisfactory usage to my clients. I'll lay almost anything that is straight and fits well. You can get "cabin grade" wood, and there will be more boogers in it than normal.
This is very encouraging to know. Being completely ignorant, I feared that some brands may be a major mistake. Good to know that most products are at least "good." My wife will NOT want cabin grade. That is a definite.

Originally Posted by chandler View Post
5. For engineered flooring nothing less than 5/8. It is easier to lay (click lock) and feels solid after the installation, whereas a thinner floor or laminate will feel "clacky" or mushy. The wear layer is important to that part of the floor. The overall thickness is important as far as installation and feel goes. Our last one was about 800 sf in a basement (LR, 2BR and hallway with closets). 5/8" click lock hand scraped, and we had it done in 3 days, 3 people. Closet cuts are the most tedious.
Good luck with your choices, and let us know how it goes.
While your other comments were helpful, this one is very very helpful! The vast majority of options seem to be 1/2" or less. Clacky and mushy is exactly what I do NOT want. This will be for one room, ~500 sf, newly built and evenly rectangular with one closet.

Any preference for floating vs. nailed since I have the option to go either way?
 
  #8  
Old 12-18-11, 05:28 PM
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I prefer floating click lock flooring in a basement, but you do have an option with the subflooring installed. Nail/staple down is permanent, and if something happened to your floor it would be a bear to tear up and repair. Be sure to use a manufacturer's recommended underlayment for the floating for warranty purposes.
 
  #9  
Old 12-19-11, 08:59 AM
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chandler, thank you so very much for your guidance! I wanted to avoid mushiness and clacking, but overlooked the repair aspect. I have to recognize that it is a basement, after all, so repair is more likely than elsewhere in the house. The Super Felt is a recommended underlayment for almost all floating floors, so it should be ok (but I will verify before installation).

I'll try to find a 5/8" click lock. I've seen 5/8 tongue and groove, but haven't found any click lock that thick yet. If you know of any that you have found to be reliable, suggestions are very welcome! What brand/type of flooring was the 5/8" click lock that you mentioned above?

FYI, I will most likely buy it from a local installer, but I liked to be as informed as a consumer as possible beforehand. thanks!
 
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