Hardwood flooring installations have trended toward new design elements in the commercial sector and beyond for some time now. In many cases, this includes wider, longer and thicker wood plank flooring. The visual appeal is almost undeniable and this type of larger faced wood flooring product has become a favorite for many institutional commercial projects, such as hotels, restaurants and more. Of course, with a more sophisticated and intricately involved design, typically comes a more extensive and demanding flooring installation. Some additional provisionary safeguards must be considered and employed prior to and during the installation process.
Installing a wood flooring system that is wider, longer and thicker can contribute to the challenge of efficiently managing a more cumbersome wood plank species. Adhering to installation standards and specifications established by the wood flooring manufacturer and all other manufacturing product components involved becomes more critical than ever before.
As is always the case with any flooring installation, success or failure begins and ends with proper subfloor preparation. Subfloor preparation is always of the utmost importance; clean, flat, dry. Keeping the subfloor clean prior to the installation and avoiding the introduction of any contaminants to the flooring system is crucial. This includes before, during and after the installation process.
Making certain that moisture vapor transmission levels are within limitations and guideline specifications established by both the wood and adhesive manufacturers will play a significant role in achieving success. The larger a product is, the more susceptible it will conceivably become to an elevated moisture vapor transmission rate.
Flattening of the subfloor to within industry standards and tolerances remains crucial to the success of installing larger dimension flooring. These products typically are more inherently rigid than smaller dimension planks, and will face difficulty in achieving maximum surface area contact with the subfloor if not flat, and the resultant installation may suffer from hollow spot development.
Flatness in general becomes a key focus in these types of installations, both for the substrate and the flooring product. Utilization of premium milled wood flooring will assist and keep bowed boards from negatively impacting a wood flooring system. If a board is bowed, clamping or weighing down a plank while also taping the boards in place are precautions that can prove useful.
These practices aid in achieving proper adhesive transfer to the back of the board, which is a critical component to success. Up to 100% adhesive transfer is often required by most adhesive manufacturers. Application of a sufficient amount of adhesive becomes paramount for achieving proper transfer. Use of the correct flooring trowel will enable an installer to apply the appropriate amount of adhesive required for each installation. To ensure this occurs, many adhesive manufacturers will stipulate that an installer occasionally check for transfer to the back of the wood flooring. If adhesive transfer is less than the required amount, applying fresh adhesive is recommended.
Choosing the right adhesive technology becomes a primary factor when installing wider, longer and thicker planks. Products offering or possessing the ability to develop green-grab or wet suction characteristics are especially well-suited for installation of larger dimension flooring, as the adhesive is able to keep a larger, more demanding wood flooring product in place with ultimate permanent bond strength capabilities.
Moisture reactive technologies such as urethane or polymer-based adhesives are often the preferred and mandated solution method. Regardless of the technology chosen, this type of installation is not the spot to use anything other than a premium grade adhesive specifically suited and recommended for this type of demanding installation.
Finally, to further assist with proper adhesive transfer of your premium grade wood flooring adhesive, rolling of the floor is highly recommended every 2-3 hours during and immediately after the installation process. This will help ensure complete and total contact of the adhesive with the wood flooring product.
Installing wider, longer and thicker hardwood flooring in commercial applications has become very alluring to architects, builders and developers. With that enhanced visual appeal does come some extra precautionary work, but the end product is typically well worth the time and effort.