Glue Down Installations are considered to be much easier than the nail / staple down hardwood floor installations. The glue down method can be done as a Do-It-Yourself Installation by most home owners, by simply following the installation instructions. The greatest advantage of a Glue down installation is that it can be done on any sub floor. Unlike the Staple / Nail down method, which can only be done on a wooden sub floor. You can install the hardwood floor directly on a concrete slab or on tile, ceramic or plywood underlayments. Glue down installations are pretty much limited to Engineered hardwood. We strongly recommended not using the glue down installation method with solid hardwood floors, for the glue will limit the woods ability to expand and contract. Thanks to the multi-layered structure of engineered hardwood, it can be installed using the glue down method, making it fast, easy and cost effective.
Step 1 : Starting your Glue Down Installation
• Always remember : Hardwood Floors are subject to extreme conditions of moisture and humidity
• Although Engineered Hardwood Floors resist well to harsh climate conditions, we still recommend that you leave the hardwood boxes open and let the wood acclimate for at least 72 hours at the temperature of the installation room. This way you avoid any environmental troubles with the wood. Check your sub floor prior to the installation. Make sure there is no oil, grease, dirt, sealer, wax or old adhesive. After you clean the sub floor, make sure the sub floor is well leveled and straightened out.
• The maximum acceptable variation within the sub floor is 1/8" in 10'. If you desire a larger variation, then you must level the floor straight, using a self leveling underlayment or another similar product. It is important to check the relative humidity of the sub floor. It must be dry before you start the glue down installation. It's recommended to check the sub floor with a Moisture Meter. The moisture content within a plywood sub floor should be between 6% to 12% percent.
• If your plywood sub floor has a smaller thickness than 3/4”, you must add another layer of plywood sheet to achieve a minimum thickness of 3/4". When installing over ceramic or vinyl tile, make sure there are no loose tiles and fill out all the grout lines with a Cement (or latex based) underlayment. Lightweight cement sub floor needs to be checked for density and hardness. Try scraping a coin or key across the concrete sub floor. If the surface powders easily, do not install any hardwood floor on this concrete slab !
• Structurally sound wood floors will not move or deflect easily. It's important to check the sub floor before the hardwood installation, in order to avoid squeaky and scratchy sounds coming from the hardwood.
Step 2 : Starting The First Row in your Glue Down Installation
• In order to start your first row, you must first choose a wall to start from. We usually recommend using an outside wall, since it is more likely to be straight and square with the room. Start the glue down installation by measuring the width of two hardwood planks from the wall. Mark a line parallel to the wall. Spread some hardwood floor adhesive over the area that you just marked, using a trowel.
• There are some differences between the trowel shapes. Professionals choose their trowel based on preference and familiarity. As for the hardwood floor adhesive, we recommend using a glue that is manufactured by a well known adhesives company, like Bostik, DriTac or Fortane. Now, let the hardwood floor adhesive set for about 30 minutes.
• The first row in your glue down installation is the most important. It is extremely important to install the planks directly to the wall, making a straight alignment. Misaligned hardwood planks can ruin your entire hardwood installation. Some hardwood floor professional installers use nails guns to nail the first planks to the sub floor, making sure the foundation is straight and will not move. You can also use a Tapping Block to insert and connect the tongues and grooves of each wood plank. Since the wall is not always straight, you might have to cut some of the boards to make them fit properly.
Step 3 : Doorway Threshold and Molding in Glue Down Installations
• If you are installing the hardwood floor in only one room, or have other types of flooring around this room, then you will have to edge this floor installation with a threshold or piece of wood floor. First of all, remove any existing threshold molding, skirting and base from the doorway. This will all be installed later. Measure and cut a hardwood piece to fit the doorway. Put it in the place under the door jambs.
• Now, use this hardwood plank as a guide piece and cut the lower door casing, leaving about 1/8” space between the door and the hardwood floor. You may use a Hand Saw or a Power Jamb Saw. Try to find hardwood floor planks that are matching in color and grain to the threshold and base shoe molding near the doorway.
Step 4 : Glue Down The Hardwood Planks
• Now that you are done with the first two rows, it's time to start laying down the rest of the rows. Start by spreading 2-1/2’ to 3’ of hardwood floor adhesive, from the first rows to the length of the room. Be careful not to lay more adhesive that can be covered in about 3 hours. If the flooring adhesive has already dried and cannot be absorbed by the hardwood planks, use a Scrapper to remove the adhesive.
• Then apply the glue again and place the floor properly. Make sure the space between the edges of the hardwood planks and the edges of the parallel rows is no smaller than 6”. Try using planks of random lengths while gluing down the hardwood, to make sure that that there are no plank edges that meet. Now, those rows can be installed while the adhesive is still wet. Just place the planks in their place (using a tapping block) and glue them down to the sub floor.
• We recommend using masking tape that is perpendicular to the hardwood floor (every few rows), just to make sure the planks are in the right place. The last row of the hardwood floor is done exactly the same as all the other rows. You might have to cut the planks of the last row to make them fit properly. You will probably have to cut the last rows tongue as well.
Step 5 : Cleaning and Finishing The Glue Down Installation
• The one tricky aspect of the Glue down installation method is the actual Glue (adhesive). Watch for adhesive spits coming from the wood planks. Make sure to clean them up quickly with an appropriate Adhesive Remover. It's very important to clean up the spits right away, before they dry up. Once the adhesive dries up, it can become a permanent damage on your hardwood.
• After the floor installation is done and the cleaning is finished, inspect the floor for any nicks or scratches and make sure there are no planks that have moved during the installation. 8 to 12 hours of drying time should be given to the adhesive before it is walked on. Dry climate areas may require a longer time to dry.
• The masking tape can be removed 24 hours after the glue down installation is complete. In order to protect your hardwood floor during the installation process, lay a paper felt over the hardwood, and staple it down to the skirting boards. DO NOT use a plastic or polyethylene felt to cover the floor - these materials hold moisture within the hardwood. Covering materials must let the floor acclimate to the temperature and humidity of the room.
• Introduction to Installation