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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had a customer call me out to address flexing in their oak floor. This is a floating floor(glued joints, maybe 3/8" thick) that was installed by the previous owner. There are several spongy spots in the floor and you can see the joints slightly flex almost any place you walk. The area in question is about 40 sq ft from the fridge to the island in front of it. The owner stated that there was a small amount of flex in the floor when they moved in 7 years ago. Over time it has spread outward and increased in severity. It now flexes almost 1/2" when you step on it. My thinking is that this floating floor was installed over an unlevel subfloor and this has allowed the glue in the joints to break loose over time causing the flex to spread and worsen. This morning i pulled the fridge and was able to work several boards out to inspect. Under the wood i found 18" travertine (i think it is actually porcelain-some type of glaze on it). In the small area i removed i can see one intersection and all four corners of tile are at different heights-at least 1/8" difference. So, here is my questions,
1. Is there any other situations that could cause this that i am not thinking of?
2. If i am able remove the floor in this area without damaging it(i have no spare pieces at all) can i pour a small amount of self leveling concrete, then reinstall/reglue the original floor to correct the flexing?
3. can i pour the self level directly onto the tile? do i need to apply primer since it is not going onto concrete? should i rough up the tile to give the self level better adhesion?
4. How long should i wait before reinstalling the floor? I know tile can go down quickly but wood floor usually requires longer cure time. Since this is floating with a moisture barrier can it go down after a few hours or do i need to wait longer?

I realize the "right" answer is that it probably all needs to come out and be installed properly. Either bust out all the tile, level and glue down or even pour over the tile and glue down. This is close to a million dollar home and probably 2000+ sq ft of wood in this area. The owner has no interest in spending 20-30k to redo the floor so looking for options to make this area manageable.
Thanks for any advice.
Ricky
 

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Personally I try to avoid jobs where I have to work hard and take risks to save a money for a customer who has more than the means to do the job right.

What happens when you break or scratch a board? Are they going to want an all new floor?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Personally I try to avoid jobs where I have to work hard and take risks to save a money for a customer who has more than the means to do the job right.

What happens when you break or scratch a board? Are they going to want an all new floor?
I would typically agree with you. I have definitely learned that some jobs are better to either turn down or price high enough to be worth the b.s. and possible risk. I should probably include this one is a regular customer and happens to be a personal friend. We are going into this with all possible bad scenarios discussed up front.
Any thoughts on the floor?
Thanks
 

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Has the floor swelled and is now press up against the wall? This will cause the flexing you describe. Especially if something heavy is in the middle of the floor trapping it and not allowing it to float properly.

Or like you mentioned an unlevel substrate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Has the floor swelled and is now press up against the wall? This will cause the flexing you describe. Especially if something heavy is in the middle of the floor trapping it and not allowing it to float properly.

Or like you mentioned an unlevel substrate.
I don't believe there has been any water damage. At least didn't see any signs on the pieces I pulled up. It is close to the wall but not touching.
Thanks
 

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m1911 said:
this will often happen if the installer did not leave an expansion joint around the perimeter.
That would be the first thing I would check top
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The area under the fridge that I checked did not have a huge gap at the wall but there was definitely a gap. I guess I need to pull trim in a few other places and recheck this. if I do happen to find it tight against the wall in several places what is the cure? Should I pull all the trim, cut the appropriate gap, then work out any possible boards and reglue/reinstall the affected pieces in this area?
Any thoughts on the self leveling concrete over tile?
Thanks
 

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The area under the fridge that I checked did not have a huge gap at the wall but there was definitely a gap. I guess I need to pull trim in a few other places and recheck this. if I do happen to find it tight against the wall in several places what is the cure? Should I pull all the trim, cut the appropriate gap, then work out any possible boards and reglue/reinstall the affected pieces in this area?
Any thoughts on the self leveling concrete over tile?
Thanks
If it was once flat, I would cut the gap & give it some time & see if it didn't return to flat.

The real fix though, you already know, which is to pull out the old & start new.
 

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I don't believe there has been any water damage. At least didn't see any signs on the pieces I pulled up. It is close to the wall but not touching.
Thanks
I guess I meant expand. This is natural for the product to do as the humidity in the room waxes and wanes.
 

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Any thoughts on the floor?
Thoughts are - Probably a moisture issue. Uneven floor. Glued joints failing.

Questions - Why was the new floor laid over the old floor? Trying to cover up an uneven tile job? Looks?

I wouldn't screw with it, even if it's a good friend, unless it's a complete tear out/replace. Too much hassle otherwise. A million dollar home and they want to be cheap? No thanks. JMHO.
 

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Call your leveler tech line, I can't remember.
If you were glueing it directly to leveler it's. 18-24 hours wait time usually.
Not all levelers are the same , if it were slab priming is a must. Haven't been in that situation but Mapei I know will guide you to product selection, kinda regional whatever products are available, they're all competitive and have similar products.
 

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This is obviously global warming at work. That damn retarded evil genius George Bush is at it again with his all powerful weather machine. Stupid chimpanzee.

Anyway, The wood was been worked with 7 years of traffic. It moves easier now. It's as simple as that. If you think you can get the stuff up and put it back down, knock yourself out. As far as self leveling goes, that's pretty hard to screw up over tile. I wouldn't bother priming. Priming with SLC isn't for the sake of getting a better bond. It's to keep the water in the pour instead of it leeching into the subfloor as soon as you dump it out. (wif no water, she no self level no more)

Good luck.
 

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Just my >02.
I agree that checking for expansion is the first think to do.
The second is run away if there is expansion room. You will lose a friend over this.
Good luck!
 

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Checking expansion prob wont alleviate the problem immediately if the area in question is far off the walls. It may take a very long time to work its way back flat. ...or never at all.

Can you address it from below?

Sometimes on nail downs you can stop squeaking by driving a screw up from the subfloor below with a screw shorter then the subfloor+hardwood thickness.

However, screws may be an issue with a floater if you have to use many of them.

If there isnt a huge hump where it flexes you may be able to drill from below and use very low expanding foam in a spot or two.

...if your on a slab, well then your SOL with that suggestion.

Can you drill from above, fill the void with foam (or glue or sand) and plug?
 

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If they don't want to spend the money to do it right I would walk away from it. Who knows what you'll find and who says you can save the existing flooring, then what?
 
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