Putting down engineered flooring...

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  #1  
Old 12-31-12, 01:34 AM
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Putting down engineered flooring...

Hi,

I have what I hope is an incredibly stupid and hopefully easy question...

The local Lumber Liquidator had an insane sale on engineered oak flooring. (It will cost about $10 to re-floor our 40 year old, small half bath...) Too good to be true right? Maybe...

The salesman said that all we needed was the flooring itself (see below), and the 'Eco silent Sound HD Underlayment' (Eco Silent Sound HD Underlayment - Amazon.com)



And...



Was the salesman right? That's all we need? I've been looking at the Web and finding all sorts of solutions... Confused...

I'm trying to put the engineered flooring over a well-adhered vinyl flooring... How do I do this? Does it just float, or do I need to secure it using glue and or nails?

Thanks in advance...

Alan
 
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  #2  
Old 12-31-12, 05:03 AM
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Others will try to discourage you from using hardwood in a bathroom, but that is not your question. Yes, that is all you will need. If the floor is perfectly flat and sound, you can use any underlayment designed for use under either laminate or engineered. If you are on a slab, recommend use of an underlayment with a vapor barrier attached like the Eco one you describe. Key is that when you put the planks down, they touch the floor evenly without any low or high spots in the subfloor. This will cause bounce and you will be disappointed in your final outcome. If an uneven subfloor exists, you will need to remove the vinyl and level out the subfloor before proceeding.
 
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Old 12-31-12, 10:22 AM
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Thanks, czizzi. The half bath is almost never used, and dampness is definitely NOT a problem. Also, the current floor is flat and level, so low and high spots are no issue...

But I'm still confused; I still don't understand how to mechanically attach the flooring to the floor itself. Nails? Glue? Gr does it really simply "float" with NO attachment at all. Does that mean it fits in so tightly that no other security is necessary? I'm really not comfortable with the "floating" solution, if that's what it means.

I'm a handy guy, but have never done anything like this before, so many thanks for any help you and others can give.
 
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Old 12-31-12, 10:24 AM
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Floating floors are pretty common. And you do not want it to fit tightly, it needs room to expand and contract.
 
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Old 12-31-12, 01:39 PM
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The floor truly floats on a cushioned underlayment and is neither attached to the subfloor or anchored at any wall junction. The friction of the underlayment keeps everything in place. Think of it as a laminate floor, engineered only refers to a hardwood floor that only has a veneer of real wood on the finished side. The balance of the board is a layered plywood (in most cases). This is cheaper to produce than 3/4" thick real wood. Engineered is also more stable so it can be thinner (3/8") and loose laid as a floating floor.
 
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Old 12-31-12, 02:57 PM
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Hi,

Thanks again for the replies... Here's the deal... I trust you guys, so I sent the wife back to LL and had her buy more of the engineered flooring...



Now we have enough for both the half bath and the kitchen -- oak and maple respectively... On sale... With bartering...

I'm tempted to put a dab of glue on the tongues every foot or so... Is that a good idea, or might that stop the ability of the floor to expand and contract here on Cape Cod?

Thanks again,

Alan
 
  #7  
Old 12-31-12, 04:18 PM
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Lay the flooring flat on the floor, you don't want it warping and taking a funny shape. If you float, do not add any glue, it is not necessary. Install the floating floor, if you are not convinced that it is to your standards, you can unzip and add glue. But trust me, you won't. Let the floor acclimate in the room it is to be installed for at least 72 hours before you attempt to install.
 
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Old 01-02-13, 02:28 PM
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Hi,

Okay, here's what I'm facing...



A couple quick questions... How do I handle the flooring behind the toilet? Do I glue that? When I scribe the curve for the toilet, any special instructions?

Thanks,

Alan
 
  #9  
Old 01-02-13, 02:42 PM
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Pull the toilet out, lay your floor, reset the toilet. Is there enough clearance around the floor register to go underneath?

See you didn't forget to have a handy can of inspiration while trying to figure this out.
 
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Old 01-02-13, 02:52 PM
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Yeah you have to pull the toilet out, lay the flooring and cut around the toilet ring.. Dont forget to put in a new wax ring while your at it..

I only use tile in my bathrooms now, sealed real well.. I had HW flooring in one of my rentals and a little spilled water which wasn't cleaned up made the flooring swell up.. didnt look too good after..
 
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Old 01-02-13, 02:52 PM
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GASP!!! "Pull the toilet out"???

I worked with a plumber for about a year, and know that that project is way over my head... Can't I just install the flooring around the toilet???

Alan
 
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Old 01-02-13, 04:15 PM
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You can go around the toilet if you like, you can also go up the walls. But the way to lay this floor so that it looks like it was original to the building is to pull the toilet and reset. Pulling the toilet is ten times easier than trying to scribe a floor around an object that is not square. Hope you bought a few extra cases of flooring as you will need them while trying to get a good fit around the toilet.
 
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Old 01-02-13, 05:35 PM
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Your $10 floor is going to turn into a $500 headache, IMO if you don't do it right and pull the toilet. There will be no way you can accurately scribe around that toilet profile and make it look good. You can also buy $20 of tile and have a "FLOOR" rather than something that, in my opinion, will fail in a few years. Not everyone's aim is as good as perfection required for this type floor.
 
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Old 01-02-13, 09:30 PM
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Thoughts...


* First, thanks for all the replies...
* I put the can of inspiration in the pic for size perspective... (Note the width of the sink from the wall -- 8.25"... I believe that is the narrowest available... I had to try three different plumbers just to find one who could install it...)
* Speaking of plumbers... As you no doubt know, these guys don't come cheap... I plan on $125/hr plus materials plus 10% just because...
* The toilet has been in place for about 40 years... There is no way I can pull it to raise it... That will involve new pipe, soldering, etc., and that will take a pro... He'll have to come once to remove and once to re-affix...Ouch...
* I hear you concerning tile... I'm not worried about splashing because this is my wife and my private bathroom... There is no shower or bath, and "aim" is no consideration... Also, our main bathroom is tile, and I'm no great fan of it -- trying to keep the grout clean is a bear... A quality mat in this small half bath should eliminate any rare exception spillage.
* Concerning the scribing... Have to smile on this one... One of my hobbies/occupations is building boats and cabinetry .. (I moderate a couple of boatbuilding forums....) Scribing on a bevel is fun for me...


Thanks again for all input, and hope for more!


Alan
 
  #15  
Old 01-03-13, 03:27 AM
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Why do you think that you have to re-plumb the toilet? Makes no sense to me. Longer bolts, thick #10 wax ring and possibly a stacked wax ring and you are back in business.

Shaving Laminate/MDF is not the same as carving and shaving wood. You also attach them to each other by angling the tongue of one into the groove of another. Not sure there will be enough clearance to take one at 45 degrees, marry with another and then set down flat into position tight to the shape of the toilet.
 
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Old 01-03-13, 06:32 AM
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40 year old toilet, I know it isn't broken, but isn't it time to upgrade to an American standard Champion 4 ADA compliant low flush toilet. Just sort of bringing it into the 21st century. First use and you can thank me later.
 
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Old 01-03-13, 06:44 AM
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I think pulling the toilet is going to be a lot less work than you think it is. Even if you're right, you'll be happier if you do it that way, you will not get the flooring to look good trying to cut it around the stool.

Also, I'm with Chandler - it's time to consider upgrading this toilet anyway if it's that old.
 
  #18  
Old 01-03-13, 11:30 AM
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Hmm...

In my gut, I know you guys are right, The toilet should be pulled, and probably replaced... But I've just gone through about $1,000 working on the two bathrooms alone... I don't think the wife is going to be crazy about me attacking the bathroom yet again...

I worry about breaking the old fittings, and also about elevating the toilet itself... Just did that with the main toilet and that required a plumber and some pretty serious/creative work...

On the other hand, I know I can scribe in the flooring to fit with ease...

Still, I want to do the job right...

Let me talk with the wife...

Thanks,

Alan
 
  #19  
Old 01-03-13, 03:27 PM
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Once you scribe the toilet, the floor is yours for life. If the toilet fails, there will not be a match that will fit the footprint that you have carves out. You will then have to replace the whole floor and the toilet anyway.

What the heck happened to the main toilet that you had to take out a loan to raise it?
 
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Old 01-03-13, 06:14 PM
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  #21  
Old 01-04-13, 12:08 AM
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Hi,

Thanks again for the replies!

Talked this over with the wife, and we're going to remove the toilet, put down the new flooring, and put in a new toilet on top of it... Thoughts...

* Thanks for the video, but the installation of the flooring is going to raise the the toilet by ~.5", and I'm afraid that is going to be a problem.

* As for the initial plumbing costs... When we replaced the main toilet, we found that it wasn't installed properly 40 years ago (and that's why it never did flush properly...) That meant basically re-plumbing the toilet from the basement up. What's worse, We also had to replace a 40 year old sink with the one in the photo below... That was the narrowest I could find for a bathroom just slightly wider than a phone booth... I bought the sink knowing that it was European and that adapting it to fit was going to be a hassle. And it was a major, expensive hassle, but it had to be done.

* I'll call the plumber tomorrow and see what we need to do to get the job done right... I don't mind paying a little extra to get a job done properly once, but mussing around with repeat efforts drives me crazy.

* Back to the floor... I'm planning on gluing in place the small back sections of the flooring behind the toilet... Good idea? Or will the weight of the toilet stop them from moving and negate the need of glue?

Thanks so much for your time and thoughts!

Alan
 
  #22  
Old 01-04-13, 03:30 AM
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If you remove the old flooring, you will not have to worry about any height adjustments of the toilet in relation to the new flooring. Saves on a plumbers call.

The weight of the toilet will maintain the laminate which will be locked together behind the toilet. Easiest would be to bisect the toilet flange down the middle with two flooring planks. See how that works out on the sidewalls as you don't want too thin of a piece as an end cut.
 
  #23  
Old 01-04-13, 07:47 PM
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Hi Czizzi,

Th eproblem is that I'm not ripping up the existing flooring -- that is perfectly sound... Instead, I'm installing a new engineered flooring on top of the existing, and that will raise the toilet by about half an inch... Bummer...

Alan
 
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Old 01-05-13, 05:25 AM
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How will laminate flooring that is 1/4" thick raise things 1/2"?? The flooring you showed us is laminate and not engineered flooring. The only thing you will have to do is buy longer bowl bolts and a thick wax seal, or an adapter ring siliconed to the flange and the world will keep on rolling.
 
  #25  
Old 01-05-13, 01:30 PM
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Hi Chandler,

You are correct sir! The new floor will rise just 1/4" plus the underlayment... Here are my concerns, and why I'm calling in a pro...

a.) I've priced out the toilet at the Big Box stores, and I simply can't compete with a plumber. (When I was working for a plumber, one day we were picking up stock and he offhandedly asked, "Do you want a new water heater?" I was amazed at the discount contractors get.) So, for me, the cost of a pro toilet install (and the cost of the old unit's disposal), it's very cost effective to go with a trusted plumber...
b.) If the old toilet was improperly installed 40 years ago (like our main toilet was), I wouldn't be able to handle the job... (You know major surgery is involved when the plumber heads for the basement with a Sawzall and a torch...)
c.) Thankfully, because of my (limited) background as a plumber's helper, I'll know that the job will be done right. I may not have all the tools, expertise, patience, or parts to make it right, but I know right when I see it...

Thanks again,

Alan
 
  #26  
Old 01-07-13, 10:47 PM
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So here we stand now sans toilet:



Any insights on getting the new flooring laid out 'just right' aside from the manufacturer's recommendations?

Thanks,

Alan
 
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Old 01-08-13, 03:04 AM
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Looks as if you're starting at the tub, so measure over from the tub and out from the wall and cut the toilet flange hole in the laminate piece that is covering it. Of course you will need to cut starter pieces for the short ones. Don't be afraid of cutting the flange hole 1/2" larger than the flange. The toilet will cover it all, and it will give you wiggle room.
 
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Old 01-08-13, 11:51 AM
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Hi Chandler,

Thanks for the input...

Thankfully, there is no bath/tub/shower... This is a tiny half bathroom... It measures 34" by 86"... (The new sink I just put in protrudes just 8.5" from the wall...)

My plan is to start with the flange for the waste pipe for the toilet, and center the starter boards around that, and then move the boards out into the rest of the bathroom avoiding the dreaded 'H Pattern'... Will that work?

Thanks,

Alan
 
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Old 01-08-13, 12:53 PM
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You've got to start at one side (groove side) and snap the planks together, then tap the end with a tapping block or scrap flooring to get the ends to snap in. You won't be able to "start" at the hole. The cut you make on the end run can start your next run and avoid a symmetrical pattern.
 
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Old 01-09-13, 09:53 PM
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Hi Chandler (et al),

Thanks for the response... I understand your suggestions... Got it...

Sorry to be a pest, but I still have a few questions...

i.) When it comes time to lay down the flooring, do I rip off the groove side (the side that goes under the molding) on the first pass?
ii.) I understand that that a floating floor doesn't have to be glued down to the sub floor, but do I have to (or should I) glue the edge to edge snap joints? Should I glue the outside runs to the moldings?

Thanks,

Alan
 
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Old 01-10-13, 03:42 AM
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If it is snap lock, no glue. No need to rip off any edge since you will be putting base or quarter round down. Be sure to leave at least 1/4 to 1/2" space all around the room, except at the door, of course. Have you figured transition at the door yet? Your floor will float and the quarter round will keep it down.
 
  #32  
Old 01-10-13, 06:14 AM
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Hi Chandler,

Thanks for the reply...

The flooring is from Lumber Liquidators... It's the typical 8mm "Easy Click" installation... I've never worked with it before, but it seems pretty good... I especially like the "Eco Silent" underlayment...

I think I messed up on the transition... As the exiting floors (genuine oak, and the old vinyl) are at the same level, I think I should have gotten a reducer...

- Blacksburg Barn Laminate Reducer:Lumber Liquidators

Instead, I got a threshold: - French Oak Laminate T-Molding:Lumber Liquidators

Oops!

I'll either get the right stuff, or make it myself...

Thanks,

Alan
 
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Old 01-14-13, 06:34 AM
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Quick update...

Floor is down... I took your sage advice and it looks awesome!!!

Many thanks,

Alan
 
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Old 01-14-13, 06:51 AM
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Where are the pictures of the finished project?
 
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Old 01-14-13, 12:21 PM
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On the way after I get some sleep!



Alan
 
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Old 01-14-13, 05:38 PM
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And here it is...



Not perfect, but pretty good for a first timer...

Thanks!

Alan
 
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Old 01-15-13, 03:37 AM
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I think you did a really fine job. Hope our suggestions didn't boggle your mind too much. OUR mistakes and findings hopefully help others prevent the same ones.
 
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Old 01-15-13, 05:33 AM
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Yeah, that looks good - nice work.
 
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Old 01-15-13, 06:41 PM
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Nice when a plan comes together. Good job. Not crazy about the reverse trap set up on the barbie sink but what are you gonna do.....-
 
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Old 01-15-13, 10:23 PM
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Hi,

First, thanks again so much for all your advice! The job isn't perfect (there are three 1/64" gaps), but I think I got the important stuff right like leaving it floating with plenty of room for expansion and contraction. (Here on Cape Cod, there are pretty major, sudden changes in temp and humidity, and a door that works perfectly fine today may literally refuse to close tomorrow!)

As for the reverse trap on the sink... Funny story... The bathroom is only 34" wide, and the old sink used to stick out about 20". Add to that the fact that the bathroom door used to open inward leaving only a 12" squeeze point for entry and exit, and we basically had an unusable bathroom. (I like to drink beer, and sucking in my gut just to go to the bathroom is a deal breaker for me...) Anyway, I changed the door so that it would open outwards thus eliminating the doorknob obstacle and bought what I believe to be the world's narrowest sink: about 8" from the wall... Man it was funny watching that plumber try to hook up the trap... Gotta give him credit... He got the job done... Works like a dream, and now the bathroom is actually functional and isn't a death trap in the case of fire....

I hear you concerning forums and newbies learning from the mistakes of more experienced.... I moderate two boatbuilding forums, and there are times when I do my best to advise against steps 'XYZ' because I had an abject failure using steps 'XYZ'.... Such is life...

Thanks again, and I promise that the new floor won't get wet!

Alan
 
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