Gaps in new hardwood flooring

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unclescrooge
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Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by unclescrooge » Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:48 pm

I'm currently undergoing a MAJOR home remodel in Southern California and as some of you know, I'm having issues at every single stage.

Right now I'm getting new hardwood floors installed.

The hardwood is 5 inch wide wire-brushed white oak and is 3/4 inch thick. It's tongue & groove hardwood.

I bought the wood from Flooranddecor.com and let it acclimate for 2 months.

Flooring guy started installing this week and he complained that the wood is incorrectly milled. There are gaps at some of the corners of the longer planks - wide enough to stick a credit card in the gaps.

Over about 60 sq ft, there are 7 such gaps. Each gap is about 3-4 inches long. It doesn't traverse the entire length of the plank (max length is about 6 ft) which leads me to believe it is a manufacturing defect vs an installation defect.

My options are :

1. Send back the wood. But now I have no wood, and it's probably going to be a couple of weeks before I can get 2500 sq ft of wood. I don't want to delay the project 2-3 weeks at this point, plus there's no guarantee the next batch (even from a different supplier) is defect-free

2. Send back the wood. Get engineered hardwood instead. Also might take 7-10 days, but at least it's less likely to have defects.

3. Live with it. Put filler in the gaps. Once I have large area rugs and furniture in place, I probably won't notice it.

So the question is whether this is something I should live with? Should I go with option 3 (which I'm leaning towards), or 1 or 2?

I should also point out that I feel defeated with all the constant battles at every single step of the way (except the roofing, which went off perfectly after I taught the roofer how attic ventilation worked).

Half of these struggles are probably my own overly critical eye, expecting everything to be absolutely perfect. Half the time I point out the defects to my wife, and she's like "it looks fine to me".

I put an offer on this house almost exactly a year ago and I've been dealing with one issue or another ever since. And we still haven't moved in yet either.

Thanks!

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dm200
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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by dm200 » Thu Sep 21, 2017 8:00 pm

Of course this is 20/20 hindsight, but I think it would have made sense to somehow involve the installer with the purchase of the materials.

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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by weltschmerz » Thu Sep 21, 2017 8:01 pm

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knpstr
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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by knpstr » Thu Sep 21, 2017 8:15 pm

I wouldn't use filler.

Between 1 and 2 that is up to you, you explained the caveats of each accurately.

That being said, I think you deserve a quality product and install.
You're looking at ~292 gaps at that rate 7 per 60 sq ft.
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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by Boats day » Thu Sep 21, 2017 8:33 pm

I'm pretty sure the gaps will get a little bigger as the wood ages . If it was my floor I would send it back as it defective.

Good luck

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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by F150HD » Thu Sep 21, 2017 8:38 pm

unclescrooge wrote:
Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:48 pm
Half of these struggles are probably my own overly critical eye, expecting everything to be absolutely perfect. Half the time I point out the defects to my wife, and she's like "it looks fine to me".
sounds exactly like me. One reason I like to buy some things 'used', removes the scratch/dent factor. But when I'm paying big $$$ for something new (like you are here) you want it right.

Def send the flooring back. Doubting I'd reorder and face the same hassle. Not worth the headache.

Find a local alternative. Maybe have the flooring guy source it.
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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by BanquetBeer » Thu Sep 21, 2017 8:48 pm

I would check F&D for discount and talk to floor guys about how well the filler would blend. If not I might go with engineered hardwood for time reasons (were happy with it over real wood).

You can do a cheap remodel or a perfect remodel. If you want nice and cheap (relatively) buy a new house.

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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by JonnyDVM » Thu Sep 21, 2017 8:52 pm

Flooring guy would know defective wood when he sees it. I would send it back and order from another source. What's another 2 weeks at this point ?
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unclescrooge
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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by unclescrooge » Thu Sep 21, 2017 8:56 pm

JonnyDVM wrote:
Thu Sep 21, 2017 8:52 pm
Flooring guy would know defective wood when he sees it. I would send it back and order from another source. What's another 2 weeks at this point ?
About $3k in excess holding costs :oops:

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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by HIinvestor » Thu Sep 21, 2017 10:19 pm

Wood is "living" and if you have spaces now, you will likely have more plus bigger problems over time. When we had our hardwood floors installed, we had the installer buy the wood and all materials and install. He was very picky and discarded and rejected wood that he didn't feel was perfect. The wood lay in our house acclimating and seasoning for weeks before he installed so it wouldn't swell or contract. We are still thrilled with our real white oak hardwood floors nearly 3 decades later.

I would reject the bad wood and have your installer get wood that you and he like. The best time to get it right is at the beginning before you move in and have furniture and things that will be covered in dust from sanding.

Whether you choose "real" or engineered wood is personal preference. Research and decide.

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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by randomguy » Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:05 pm

HIinvestor wrote:
Thu Sep 21, 2017 10:19 pm
Wood is "living" and if you have spaces now, you will likely have more plus bigger problems over time. When we had our hardwood floors installed, we had the installer buy the wood and all materials and install. He was very picky and discarded and rejected wood that he didn't feel was perfect. The wood lay in our house acclimating and seasoning for weeks before he installed so it wouldn't swell or contract. We are still thrilled with our real white oak hardwood floors nearly 3 decades later.

I would reject the bad wood and have your installer get wood that you and he like. The best time to get it right is at the beginning before you move in and have furniture and things that will be covered in dust from sanding.

Whether you choose "real" or engineered wood is personal preference. Research and decide.
The part that is impossible for us to know is if the gaps are expected (the bigger the plank the bigger the gap) or abnormal. Gaps in hardwood floor growing and shrinking over the seasons is pretty standard. You can google to see how many people ask the question about how normal their gaps are. I don't think credit card gaps are abnormal. Your flooring guy should be a a better source of info but he is a bit biased.

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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by JBTX » Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:21 pm

We just had engineered wood put in. I just looked and there no visible gaps. It is glued to the floor.

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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by denovo » Fri Sep 22, 2017 12:49 am

dm200 wrote:
Thu Sep 21, 2017 8:00 pm
Of course this is 20/20 hindsight, but I think it would have made sense to somehow involve the installer with the purchase of the materials.
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by Allan » Fri Sep 22, 2017 5:36 am

Did you use a moisture meter to check moisture content before installing? That is what I see the best hardwood flooring contractors do. Needs to be in the 9% range. Did you check this?

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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by TT » Fri Sep 22, 2017 5:58 am

"Flooring guy started installing this week and he complained that the wood is incorrectly milled."
Your installer is spot-on. I would return the wood and purchase from another source as more of the same product will probably have the same irregularity in milling.

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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by bungalow10 » Fri Sep 22, 2017 6:05 am

Can your installer cut off the defective ends and continue installing with the good portions of the planks?
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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by ddurrett896 » Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:02 am

unclescrooge wrote:
Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:48 pm
I bought the wood from Flooranddecor.com and let it acclimate for 2 months.
When you say acclimate, did you leave the wood in boxed up and stacked in a pile? If so, I doubt it actually acclimated. Imagine the wood in the middle of the bundle in the middle of the pile...

It's a huge pain, but when I did my floors and let it acclimate, I unboxed everything and stacked every other row high perpendicular to maximize exposure.

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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by barnaclebob » Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:24 am

What does "incorrectly milled" mean? Can you post pictures or take measurements from one end to the other? The boards should at least have parallel sides.

Its normal for some gaps to form and close up as the seasons progress but that may not be the issue here. Do you trust the installers judgement or was he miffed that you didn't buy through him or something?

Was the wood stacked to allow airflow or was it packaged tightly for those 2 months?

Stick with real wood it looks so much better than engineered. And yes I've seen new engineered floors, if you can't tell the difference then you don't know what to look for.

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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by lthenderson » Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:28 am

A milling defect would mean that the board at the corner is narrower than the board in the middle. Is this the case? You can easily measure this to verify. If it isn't, the installer is blaming the manufacturer for a poor installation job. Real wood floors are more difficult to install because wood bends and twists with time meaning they have to make sure it is seated properly against the previous board when installing it.

If it truly is a milling defect, I personally would probably go with option 3 (or if it isn't too late, cutting off the bad ends) after first dealing with the manufacturer to get some money taken off for the defects. In a few years, there will be other cracks anyway. Wood shrinks with age but it should at least start out together.

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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by pshonore » Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:50 am

If the wood was in the house for two months, its acclimated for sure. As far as the gaps, while boards should straight along their length, they can also be slightly concave or convex. A good installer knows how to nail to fix that. Sometimes the entire board may be slightly narrower. Unfortunately that's usually not noticeable until you install its neighbor in the next row. A careful installer will check that as they go and use any bad boards where they're not noticeable (in a closet or when one side is trimmed, etc). Without seeing the floor, its difficult to say if the installer is at fault or the milling. I would call the folks who sold it to you and have them come take a look.

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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by dbr » Fri Sep 22, 2017 9:05 am

lthenderson wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:28 am
A milling defect would mean that the board at the corner is narrower than the board in the middle. Is this the case? You can easily measure this to verify. If it isn't, the installer is blaming the manufacturer for a poor installation job. Real wood floors are more difficult to install because wood bends and twists with time meaning they have to make sure it is seated properly against the previous board when installing it.

If it truly is a milling defect, I personally would probably go with option 3 (or if it isn't too late, cutting off the bad ends) after first dealing with the manufacturer to get some money taken off for the defects. In a few years, there will be other cracks anyway. Wood shrinks with age but it should at least start out together.
Agreed. The installer knows it is a milling defect because? Presumably he can see the reason and a measurement would confirm. You are talking a width change at board ends of 1/32 or 1/64 or something of that nature. Either that or the board curves by that amount. You could lay a steel carpenter square on the edge and see.

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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by pshonore » Fri Sep 22, 2017 9:33 am

dbr wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 9:05 am
lthenderson wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:28 am
A milling defect would mean that the board at the corner is narrower than the board in the middle. Is this the case? You can easily measure this to verify. If it isn't, the installer is blaming the manufacturer for a poor installation job. Real wood floors are more difficult to install because wood bends and twists with time meaning they have to make sure it is seated properly against the previous board when installing it.

If it truly is a milling defect, I personally would probably go with option 3 (or if it isn't too late, cutting off the bad ends) after first dealing with the manufacturer to get some money taken off for the defects. In a few years, there will be other cracks anyway. Wood shrinks with age but it should at least start out together.
Agreed. The installer knows it is a milling defect because? Presumably he can see the reason and a measurement would confirm. You are talking a width change at board ends of 1/32 or 1/64 or something of that nature. Either that or the board curves by that amount. You could lay a steel carpenter square on the edge and see.
Much easier to see if you lay the edge of the board against something reasonably straight (like a steel door, sheetrocked wall, door casing, etc), or just dry fit the pieces on the floor before nailing.

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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by dbr » Fri Sep 22, 2017 9:39 am

pshonore wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 9:33 am
dbr wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 9:05 am
lthenderson wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:28 am
A milling defect would mean that the board at the corner is narrower than the board in the middle. Is this the case? You can easily measure this to verify. If it isn't, the installer is blaming the manufacturer for a poor installation job. Real wood floors are more difficult to install because wood bends and twists with time meaning they have to make sure it is seated properly against the previous board when installing it.

If it truly is a milling defect, I personally would probably go with option 3 (or if it isn't too late, cutting off the bad ends) after first dealing with the manufacturer to get some money taken off for the defects. In a few years, there will be other cracks anyway. Wood shrinks with age but it should at least start out together.
Agreed. The installer knows it is a milling defect because? Presumably he can see the reason and a measurement would confirm. You are talking a width change at board ends of 1/32 or 1/64 or something of that nature. Either that or the board curves by that amount. You could lay a steel carpenter square on the edge and see.
Much easier to see if you lay the edge of the board against something reasonably straight (like a steel door, sheetrocked wall, door casing, etc), or just dry fit the pieces on the floor before nailing.
I have a piece of 8' metal stock 1" x 1/4'' that I sometimes use for the purpose. It is a little wimpy compared to something really straight. The point was to ad that it might be a milling problem losing the trueness rather than losing the width.

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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by rustymutt » Fri Sep 22, 2017 9:52 am

Send it back with a message that Americans are tired of lousy businesses that sell crap not meeting specs, and if they can't do it, you'll find a company that can. And don't act afraid to tell them! :sharebeer
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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by unclescrooge » Fri Sep 22, 2017 12:17 pm

barnaclebob wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:24 am
What does "incorrectly milled" mean? Can you post pictures or take measurements from one end to the other? The boards should at least have parallel sides.

Its normal for some gaps to form and close up as the seasons progress but that may not be the issue here. Do you trust the installers judgement or was he miffed that you didn't buy through him or something?

Was the wood stacked to allow airflow or was it packaged tightly for those 2 months?

Stick with real wood it looks so much better than engineered. And yes I've seen new engineered floors, if you can't tell the difference then you don't know what to look for.
Some of the boards do not have parallel sides.I can stick a credit card into the gaps.
https://imgur.com/a/gT5Zk

The boards were packaged loosely in cardboard boxes, most of which were opened. At least the the ones which were installed so far.

I feel the installer, while not wrong about the wood, is definitely angling for more money.

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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by pshonore » Fri Sep 22, 2017 12:50 pm

Am I correct these floors are not pre-finished, but will be sanded and some finish coat applied? If so, the "gaps" will likely become less noticeable, but a credit card should not fit in the gap.

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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by barnaclebob » Fri Sep 22, 2017 12:54 pm

pshonore wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 12:50 pm
Am I correct these floors are not pre-finished, but will be sanded and some finish coat applied? If so, the "gaps" will likely become less noticeable, but a credit card should not fit in the gap.
If anything I'd think they'd become more noticeable because the good seams will seem tighter. The pictures make it seem like its not that bad now but I can't remember what my own floors look like and wont see them again until Sunday.

Also OP, i can just barely not make out your CC # but someone who is more determined might be able to...

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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by TRC » Fri Sep 22, 2017 12:58 pm

This is crazy, because the exact same thing happened to us. We installed 5" wide Brazilian Koa in our house 4 years ago when we moved in. It was August here in the Northeast...so very hot and very humid. I bought the wood from Lumber Liquidators and hired a private installer that I knew. He said the exact same thing - the boards were inconsistently milled and they seemed "wet", even after sitting in our house for a couple weeks. He was about 25% done before he raised the issue to us, so we went ahead and had him complete the install. Immediately we had gaps and uneven board heights. I really noticed it when walking barefoot. Winter came and it got way, way worse. With everything drying out, we had gaps the thickness of a pencil. Food, dust and all sorts of debris would get into them. It drove me absolutely insane. Long story short, after 3 year we ripped up the entire floor and installed red oak (which is native to New England) and went with the unfinished version that was then sanded by the installer. Our floors now look like a ballroom floor with zero gaps whatsoever. It was a $14,000 lesson for us unfortunately.

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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by Sandtrap » Fri Sep 22, 2017 1:00 pm

Flooring guy might have suggested cutting out the sections with the gaps before installing, staggering the joints to a nice pattern.
No gaps.
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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by mrc » Fri Sep 22, 2017 1:47 pm

I don't see anything wrong in the second (close up) image. Nothing that a CC would fit.

It's possible that the boards were milled while the ends were wetter, and once completely dry, shrank just a bit. The the width tapers from end-to-end being wider in the middle and narrower on the ends, that is my guess. If much of the wood is like this, the lot is defective. If a few are, that's life with a natural product and why you should by 5-10% extra. Is it possible that there are a handful of boards that are not milled properly and can be culled out, and/or used for ends once cut in half?

This is also a reason I prefer working with narrower boards. 2-1/4" oak and maple seldom does this.
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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by TheGreyingDuke » Fri Sep 22, 2017 2:19 pm

pshonore wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 12:50 pm
Am I correct these floors are not pre-finished, but will be sanded and some finish coat applied? If so, the "gaps" will likely become less noticeable, but a credit card should not fit in the gap.
To my eye, this looks to be pre-finished. It also looks like the installer did not do all that could be done to close the gaps. Putting this stuff down, even the pre-finished stuff, is not simply a matter of putting the boards down. Oftentimes there is a bit of torquing that needs to be done to get a snug fit, especially in widths wider than 3" or so
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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by iamlucky13 » Fri Sep 22, 2017 2:26 pm

It's not clear to me from the pictures that the issue is uneven width, as opposed to warping of the boards. I don't see where you've checked width. Just verified the gaps.

I haven't installed a hardwood floor before, but I thought one of the reasons narrower boards was the norm is the difficulty of maintaining straightness after drying and in different environments, and the narrower boards are much easier for the installer to pull tight to each other. Plus, you distribute the shrinkage or expansion across more joints, meaning each joint will have a tendency towards narrower gaps.

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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by thirdman » Fri Sep 22, 2017 2:34 pm

Send back the defective flooring and install cork flooring.

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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by astute_pragmatist » Fri Sep 22, 2017 2:59 pm

Hardwood installer here... I have a good bit of hardwood floor installation experience. I have done over 25,000sqft in multiple homes and have worked with 5"-5 1/2" plank, as well as Ipe (ironwood).

Milling defects are considered "normal". Almost all companies include documentation stating that ~5% of the boards you receive will be defective and it's up to you or your installer not to use them. And the warranty doesn't cover these boards.

I've seen gaping issues like you have and there are two probable causes:

1. Your installer did not set your first row perfectly straight. Take a floor laser and shoot the back side of the first row and see if it's straight, if it is check the next row until you find the issue.

2. If it's not the first row being crooked then your installer probably installed a mis-milled board. The most common mis-milled boards will be in face width. So if you have 5 1/2" planks you might get some boards that 5 3/8". Normally when there are mis-milled boards they are the same wrong width and you can save them up and do a whole row.

My opinion is the wood is fine, you need a new installer. Also, the wood company will not take the wood back once it's been nailed down.

Before installing every board the installer should be checking the width of each board against the last board. I would not be happy with the install you showed in the picture, but unfortunately it's most likely your installer.

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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by astute_pragmatist » Fri Sep 22, 2017 3:05 pm

Just reviewed your pictures again.

In the second picture I can clearly see two different width planks on the first row that was set. That is unacceptable, especially for a first row.

Not to mention the top nailing when you have room to drive a screw from behind. We always use Grex fasteners on the first row to hold it (no ugly top nail heads).

Also, the gaping will continue to become more pronounced as the flooring is installed. It's like building a house on a bad foundation when the first row is not perfect. Hate to say this but I wouldn't continue, unless you want the gaps.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by lthenderson » Fri Sep 22, 2017 4:13 pm

Now that I've seen the pictures, I definitely think you have a crappy installer. Like the previous poster said, it is most likely a crooked first row installed. I always cherry pick those boards and make sure they are dead on straight. By doing so, it makes the rest of the install go so much easier.

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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by unclescrooge » Fri Sep 22, 2017 4:33 pm

TheGreyingDuke wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 2:19 pm
pshonore wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 12:50 pm
Am I correct these floors are not pre-finished, but will be sanded and some finish coat applied? If so, the "gaps" will likely become less noticeable, but a credit card should not fit in the gap.
To my eye, this looks to be pre-finished. It also looks like the installer did not do all that could be done to close the gaps. Putting this stuff down, even the pre-finished stuff, is not simply a matter of putting the boards down. Oftentimes there is a bit of torquing that needs to be done to get a snug fit, especially in widths wider than 3" or so
It is prefinished.

It's hard to find quality installers right now. Everyone is booked for several weeks out.

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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by edge » Fri Sep 22, 2017 5:23 pm

Ok, so you chose a wide plank solid product from a non top line manufacturer. You are going to have problems.

If you go wide plank and want high quality you need a solid sawn product from a company like Vintage.

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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by unclescrooge » Fri Sep 22, 2017 5:34 pm

thirdman wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 2:34 pm
Send back the defective flooring and install cork flooring.
That was my first suggestion.
Wife vetoed that idea so it's a non-starter.

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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by unclescrooge » Fri Sep 22, 2017 5:38 pm

lthenderson wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 4:13 pm
Now that I've seen the pictures, I definitely think you have a crappy installer. Like the previous poster said, it is most likely a crooked first row installed. I always cherry pick those boards and make sure they are dead on straight. By doing so, it makes the rest of the install go so much easier.
astute_pragmatist wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 2:59 pm
Hardwood installer here... I have a good bit of hardwood floor installation experience. I have done over 25,000sqft in multiple homes and have worked with 5"-5 1/2" plank, as well as Ipe (ironwood).

Milling defects are considered "normal". Almost all companies include documentation stating that ~5% of the boards you receive will be defective and it's up to you or your installer not to use them. And the warranty doesn't cover these boards.

I've seen gaping issues like you have and there are two probable causes:

1. Your installer did not set your first row perfectly straight. Take a floor laser and shoot the back side of the first row and see if it's straight, if it is check the next row until you find the issue.

2. If it's not the first row being crooked then your installer probably installed a mis-milled board. The most common mis-milled boards will be in face width. So if you have 5 1/2" planks you might get some boards that 5 3/8". Normally when there are mis-milled boards they are the same wrong width and you can save them up and do a whole row.

My opinion is the wood is fine, you need a new installer. Also, the wood company will not take the wood back once it's been nailed down.

Before installing every board the installer should be checking the width of each board against the last board. I would not be happy with the install you showed in the picture, but unfortunately it's most likely your installer.
Thanks for all the feedback!!!!

I've hired a certified floor inspector. His job is two-fold.
1. see if the installer knows what he's doing
2. see if the wood is acceptable, needs to be replaced or just discounted for defects - the retailer is also asking for his report so this will help settle both issues.

I'll find out more tomorrow morning.

Thanks again!!

ChrisC
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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by ChrisC » Fri Sep 22, 2017 6:17 pm

I think I'll be going this route too. Didn't know this specialty existed. Keep posting about your experience.

minimalistmarc
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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by minimalistmarc » Fri Sep 22, 2017 6:42 pm

Cork flooring is the worst.

Once it's down it's never coming back up.

We've just floored over ours with laminate flooring and are so glad not to see it ever again

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unclescrooge
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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by unclescrooge » Fri Sep 22, 2017 6:44 pm

minimalistmarc wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 6:42 pm
Cork flooring is the worst.

Once it's down it's never coming back up.

We've just floored over ours with laminate flooring and are so glad not to see it ever again
Was the cork flooring sealed? I've heard that it needs to be sealed for it to last.

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unclescrooge
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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by unclescrooge » Fri Sep 22, 2017 6:45 pm

edge wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 5:23 pm
Ok, so you chose a wide plank solid product from a non top line manufacturer. You are going to have problems.

If you go wide plank and want high quality you need a solid sawn product from a company like Vintage.
I was unaware of them at the time.

I've learned so much remodeling this house - I'll be a pro the next time. But hopefully this is the last time I ever need to move.

edge
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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by edge » Fri Sep 22, 2017 7:31 pm

It could also be that your installer did not inspect the boards properly. But there is a chance that there's too many boards that are off.

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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by unclescrooge » Fri Sep 22, 2017 7:37 pm

edge wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 7:31 pm
It could also be that your installer did not inspect the boards properly. But there is a chance that there's too many boards that are off.
I suspect it's a bit of both. Hence the inspector.

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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by Sandtrap » Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:26 pm

astute_pragmatist wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 2:59 pm
Hardwood installer here... I have a good bit of hardwood floor installation experience. I have done over 25,000sqft in multiple homes and have worked with 5"-5 1/2" plank, as well as Ipe (ironwood).

Milling defects are considered "normal". Almost all companies include documentation stating that ~5% of the boards you receive will be defective and it's up to you or your installer not to use them. And the warranty doesn't cover these boards.

I've seen gaping issues like you have and there are two probable causes:

1. Your installer did not set your first row perfectly straight. Take a floor laser and shoot the back side of the first row and see if it's straight, if it is check the next row until you find the issue.

2. If it's not the first row being crooked then your installer probably installed a mis-milled board. The most common mis-milled boards will be in face width. So if you have 5 1/2" planks you might get some boards that 5 3/8". Normally when there are mis-milled boards they are the same wrong width and you can save them up and do a whole row.

My opinion is the wood is fine, you need a new installer. Also, the wood company will not take the wood back once it's been nailed down.

Before installing every board the installer should be checking the width of each board against the last board. I would not be happy with the install you showed in the picture, but unfortunately it's most likely your installer.
+1
Wiki Bogleheads Wiki: Everything You Need to Know

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unclescrooge
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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by unclescrooge » Sat Sep 23, 2017 12:45 pm

unclescrooge wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 5:38 pm
lthenderson wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 4:13 pm
Now that I've seen the pictures, I definitely think you have a crappy installer. Like the previous poster said, it is most likely a crooked first row installed. I always cherry pick those boards and make sure they are dead on straight. By doing so, it makes the rest of the install go so much easier.
astute_pragmatist wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 2:59 pm
Hardwood installer here... I have a good bit of hardwood floor installation experience. I have done over 25,000sqft in multiple homes and have worked with 5"-5 1/2" plank, as well as Ipe (ironwood).

Milling defects are considered "normal". Almost all companies include documentation stating that ~5% of the boards you receive will be defective and it's up to you or your installer not to use them. And the warranty doesn't cover these boards.

I've seen gaping issues like you have and there are two probable causes:

1. Your installer did not set your first row perfectly straight. Take a floor laser and shoot the back side of the first row and see if it's straight, if it is check the next row until you find the issue.

2. If it's not the first row being crooked then your installer probably installed a mis-milled board. The most common mis-milled boards will be in face width. So if you have 5 1/2" planks you might get some boards that 5 3/8". Normally when there are mis-milled boards they are the same wrong width and you can save them up and do a whole row.

My opinion is the wood is fine, you need a new installer. Also, the wood company will not take the wood back once it's been nailed down.

Before installing every board the installer should be checking the width of each board against the last board. I would not be happy with the install you showed in the picture, but unfortunately it's most likely your installer.
Thanks for all the feedback!!!!

I've hired a certified floor inspector. His job is two-fold.
1. see if the installer knows what he's doing
2. see if the wood is acceptable, needs to be replaced or just discounted for defects - the retailer is also asking for his report so this will help settle both issues.

I'll find out more tomorrow morning.

Thanks again!!
The flooring inspector said the installation was sub par.

The floor wasn't perfectly level to within 3/16 inch. The first row was not installed properly, which caused wedge gaps and out of rack gaps of 1/32 and 1/16 inches.

He said the installer definitely had no clue what he was doing. He should've discarded certain planks, and rearranged others to make sure there weren't stark differences between two adjoining planks. Basically, a good installer would have made the wood work.

Since the rest of the house was not finished, there was no way to acclimate the wood. Internal home moisture levels were 63%, vs recommended level of 30-55%.

The house was recently painted, which he said would increase the moisture levels.

Since we're on a bit if a time crunch for the refinance, he recommended we install felt-backed sheet vinyl ($5/sq yard) and get the house refinanced. Then install the wood after it's been properly acclimated.

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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by edge » Sat Sep 23, 2017 1:02 pm

With wider boards less tolerance for bad install.

astute_pragmatist
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Re: Gaps in new hardwood flooring

Post by astute_pragmatist » Sat Sep 23, 2017 1:33 pm

unclescrooge wrote:
Sat Sep 23, 2017 12:45 pm
The flooring inspector said the installation was sub par.

The floor wasn't perfectly level to within 3/16 inch. The first row was not installed properly, which caused wedge gaps and out of rack gaps of 1/32 and 1/16 inches.

He said the installer definitely had no clue what he was doing. He should've discarded certain planks, and rearranged others to make sure there weren't stark differences between two adjoining planks. Basically, a good installer would have made the wood work.

Since the rest of the house was not finished, there was no way to acclimate the wood. Internal home moisture levels were 63%, vs recommended level of 30-55%.

The house was recently painted, which he said would increase the moisture levels.

Since we're on a bit if a time crunch for the refinance, he recommended we install felt-backed sheet vinyl ($5/sq yard) and get the house refinanced. Then install the wood after it's been properly acclimated.
Based on the two pictures you posted, that was my assessment too. Your floor inspector is right on the moisture level.

A good installer would have seen the varying widths (which is common) and used them all in the same same row.

That first row they put down was atrocious, assuming you will be ripping all the boards up?

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