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I always try to limit the expansion gaps when gluing down engineered, and probably always cheat the recommended wall gaps so they look better. Haven't had any problems doing so, probably because of the stable climate here. What gets me is that if they want you to leave say a 3/8 gap, if the wood ever expanded even half that much the glue would have to completely let loose. So isn't it just redundant to leave that big of a gap if you're gluing? Might as well just float it if you really stick to those big gaps. I see gluing as a way to give a better looking installation, like 1/8 inch gaps against fireplaces, next to adjacent tile, etc. So do any of you glue down in areas where the boards really do expand and contract a lot, and if so does the glue let loose or what?
 

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ahh the fireplace ! i leave 1/2" at the walls but when ever i get to a mantle no matter what my intention it ends up being but up tight .clients love it . so far no issues .
the glue does have some stretch but you make a seriously good point . maybe due to the sealed boards movement is limited .Maybe the gap thing is just old habit and smart thinking .
 

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That same argument applies to solid 3/4" hardwood also. If it moves the amount of the recommended expansion gap, it has to break the cleats. I've asked manufacturers about that years ago and never got a real answer. Bottom line you follow manufacturer's instructions in case there is a warranty claim.
 

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Good point about the warranty, but more than a few people I know went with tile because they didn't want the hideous oversize gaps and quarter round or shoe molding everywhere.
 

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Good point about the warranty, but more than a few people I know went with tile because they didn't want the hideous oversize gaps and quarter round or shoe molding everywhere.
Quarter round against the base is a crime. Do the job right, pull the base, install the floor, replace the base. Adding that ugly quarter round makes a quality job look like a cheap mobile home. I can't tell you how much I HATE that stuff. I've never once used it.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Good comparison to a cheap mobile home, that's exactly the feeling I get when I see it, especially in an otherwise very nice house. And like mentioned before, against a hearth or fireplace surround is really tacky.
 

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I always keep it 1/4 or less no matter hardwood or laminate, floating or glued. Maybe I have been lucky, but I have never had a call back due to buckled flooring from expansion. That 1/4 or less applies to side walls where baseboard will cover the gap. Things like hearths, transitions, or thresholds are done tight. No customer wants to see a big gap full of crumbs and dirt. I am not a big fan of shoe or 1/4 round because of big gaps. To me it looks like someone made a mistake.

like mentioned above please pull the base, install the floor, then put the base down when doing wood or laminate. I don’t mind tile to the base and lots of new construction we do it that way, but not with wood. In my eyes shoe molding is a bandaid.
 

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Quarter round against the base is a crime. Do the job right, pull the base, install the floor, replace the base. Adding that ugly quarter round makes a quality job look like a cheap mobile home. I can't tell you how much I HATE that stuff. I've never once used it.

Guess we're all entitled to our opinions. But base shoe does serve a purpose, especially in older homes. It's also very common in elaborate trim of older homes. Do tell us, how you handle running 5 or 6" base on a floor that's not dead flat. Do you scribe every piece of base to the irregularities of the floor?

As for expansion gap around the perimeter. Have ya ever seen a floor that got flooded? It doesn't take much water to make a floor expand 1/4" & start buckling & heaving up in the middle. I've had floors get flooded, with proper gapping that were able to be saved without having to tear them out & replace. We do quite a few insurance jobs a year & work with local fire/water restoration companies. They've got matts that they lay down to dry out the floors.
 

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As for expansion gap around the perimeter. Have ya ever seen a floor that got flooded?
The one I'll never forget was owned by an older lady who went into a nursing home and had no kin to make sure the house was properly winterized. Pipes froze and burst. Not only did the floor heave up about a foot in the middle; before it heaved, it managed to push the entire front wall of the house outward nearly 4". Awesome.
 

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Guess we're all entitled to our opinions. But base shoe does serve a purpose, especially in older homes. It's also very common in elaborate trim of older homes. Do tell us, how you handle running 5 or 6" base on a floor that's not dead flat. Do you scribe every piece of base to the irregularities of the floor?

As for expansion gap around the perimeter. Have ya ever seen a floor that got flooded? It doesn't take much water to make a floor expand 1/4" & start buckling & heaving up in the middle. I've had floors get flooded, with proper gapping that were able to be saved without having to tear them out & replace. We do quite a few insurance jobs a year & work with local fire/water restoration companies. They've got matts that they lay down to dry out the floors.
Yep. Every older house here has quarter round or a shoe base of some sort if it has base at all.

Looks wierd without it.

Sent from my SM-N975U using Tapatalk
 
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Guess we're all entitled to our opinions. But base shoe does serve a purpose, especially in older homes. It's also very common in elaborate trim of older homes. Do tell us, how you handle running 5 or 6" base on a floor that's not dead flat. Do you scribe every piece of base to the irregularities of the floor?

As for expansion gap around the perimeter. Have ya ever seen a floor that got flooded? It doesn't take much water to make a floor expand 1/4" & start buckling & heaving up in the middle. I've had floors get flooded, with proper gapping that were able to be saved without having to tear them out & replace. We do quite a few insurance jobs a year & work with local fire/water restoration companies. They've got matts that they lay down to dry out the floors.
I do have an issue with the appearance. When I do engineered flooring I pull the base, leave the necessary space against the wall, and put the base on top of it. If there is a gap it will get caulked and painted or we shape the base. Yes, it takes longer. Yes it's a pain in the ass. But the finished product is in my opinion far more professional looking than trimming the trim.
If I was up against the wall I'd use a rectangular piece as the shoe.
 

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Pinwheel, my original question had to do with glue down in particular, so when you talk about heaving up in the middle, how can that happen with glue down? If it heaves and buckles enough to come unglued it sounds like a complete disaster anyways, right?
 

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Quater round looks stupid at the floor, whoever installed it should be drawn and quatered for not knowing you use base shoe, not quarter round. I'm a fan of base shoe, as Pin said, it is there for a reason.

Tom
 

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Agree with you on that one. I have seen installations where they left a 1/2 inch gap between the boards and the installed baseboard, without tucking under the base at all. Then they were forced to use big old 3/4 inch quarter rounds. A base shoe would look better, but when you get 3/4 inch thick you're essentially as thick as the baseboard now. So I am agreeing with you, and agreeing that whatever gap you use that the gap should be under the baseboard. However, the dilemma is when you get a customer with baseboard down to the floor that doesn't want it removed. Then you have to try and honor the stupid warranty that says leave the big honking gap, or give the customer oversized quarter round or base shoe and they agree but say it's ugly when it's done!!! That's why I try to use the minimum expansion gap I can whenever possible.
 

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Pinwheel, my original question had to do with glue down in particular, so when you talk about heaving up in the middle, how can that happen with glue down? If it heaves and buckles enough to come unglued it sounds like a complete disaster anyways, right?
Engineered is used over concrete where solid wood usually isn't, because engineered is stable to moisture changes. As a rule, engineered doesn't have a lot of expansion & I wouldn't get real excited about not leaving an expansion gap along a stone fireplace. Likely not going to have floor failure. You flood engineered, it's going to delaminate & it's going to be at a minimum, plank replacement for damaged planks, but more than likely a complete tearout & redo. Most modern glues for engineered, are elastomeric & will stretch with plank movement of expansion/contraction.

But to answer how can flooring buckle with glue down, let me just say, if wood wants to move, there's no glue or fastener going to be strong enough to prevent it from buckling. When wood expands into a non movable barrier, it's only choice is to go up, (buckle). The wider the stretch of flooring, the more important it is to allow expansion gap because if every plank in a 20' span expands 1/32", you're actually talking inches of expansion, not fractions of an inch. I know your original question was about engineered, so this point doesn't apply as much.
 

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I do have an issue with the appearance. When I do engineered flooring I pull the base, leave the necessary space against the wall, and put the base on top of it. If there is a gap it will get caulked and painted or we shape the base. Yes, it takes longer. Yes it's a pain in the ass. But the finished product is in my opinion far more professional looking than trimming the trim.
If I was up against the wall I'd use a rectangular piece as the shoe.

If I pulled the base on every job I do & scribe it to the floor, I'd never make any real money. In your little world, everything is painted & caulked it sounds like. The old saying, caulk makes a carpenter what he's not. Besides, caulking trim to the floor isn't the best practice. It's just a matter of time before that bond breaks & looks like ass. How do you address gaps when you're installing stain grade trim? You can't caulk that stuff to the floor. Do you really take the time to scribe every piece of trim to the floor to have no gap?

I work with a lot of wide, hardwood stain grade trims. 6" wide oak base doesn't bend to follow the irregularities of the floor. Base shoe does & whether you think it looks professional or not means nothing to me or my clients, we know it does.
 

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If I pulled the base on every job I do & scribe it to the floor, I'd never make any real money. In your little world, everything is painted & caulked it sounds like. The old saying, caulk makes a carpenter what he's not. Besides, caulking trim to the floor isn't the best practice. It's just a matter of time before that bond breaks & looks like ass. How do you address gaps when you're installing stain grade trim? You can't caulk that stuff to the floor. Do you really take the time to scribe every piece of trim to the floor to have no gap?

I work with a lot of wide, hardwood stain grade trims. 6" wide oak base doesn't bend to follow the irregularities of the floor. Base shoe does & whether you think it looks professional or not means nothing to me or my clients, we know it does.
Stain grade base has to be scribed to the floor, though it's rarely used around here. We have to use the same process for engineered or FIP flooring. With engineered products it's easy enough to run a straight edge around the perimeter and address any bad spots. Most flooring specs call for no more 1/8" variance in 10', though I've never seen a framed floor that flat.
The architects I work with simply won't have a base shoe either. They don't care if it costs a hundred bucks an inch to scribe the base, shoe just isn't happening.
If your clients accept quarter round then that's the market and it's what you do. Pulling and scribing base is expensive and a lot of people see no value in it. Personally, I just don't like the look. It's not that it's a bad job, or incorrect, it just bugs the hell out of me. It bothers me enough that I'd consider a different flooring if I had to use quarter round.
 

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Stain grade base has to be scribed to the floor, though it's rarely used around here. We have to use the same process for engineered or FIP flooring. With engineered products it's easy enough to run a straight edge around the perimeter and address any bad spots. Most flooring specs call for no more 1/8" variance in 10', though I've never seen a framed floor that flat.
The architects I work with simply won't have a base shoe either. They don't care if it costs a hundred bucks an inch to scribe the base, shoe just isn't happening.
If your clients accept quarter round then that's the market and it's what you do. Pulling and scribing base is expensive and a lot of people see no value in it. Personally, I just don't like the look. It's not that it's a bad job, or incorrect, it just bugs the hell out of me. It bothers me enough that I'd consider a different flooring if I had to use quarter round.

We obviously work different markets. I work in such a wide range of home values, I don't have the luxury of being rigid. I work for property managers in homes barely above squalor where any improvement is 100% better than it was, to multi million dollar homes & everything in between. A very large part of our market is remodel in older homes where we refinish existing hardwood & likely either remove replace trim or remove & reinstall when the budget don't allow new. We don't have the luxury of making sure existing floors are dead flat when we refinish what's there. I lay the occasional engineered flooring or vinyl plan, but it's not a common occurrence.

As for what's right or wrong & what looks professional, lays on my clients. Many of their choices, look like ass IMO, but I still install what they pick because that's what a professional does. Because at the end of the day, if they're happy with it, I'm tickled to death.
 

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We obviously work different markets. I work in such a wide range of home values, I don't have the luxury of being rigid. I work for property managers in homes barely above squalor where any improvement is 100% better than it was, to multi million dollar homes & everything in between. A very large part of our market is remodel in older homes where we refinish existing hardwood & likely either remove replace trim or remove & reinstall when the budget don't allow new. We don't have the luxury of making sure existing floors are dead flat when we refinish what's there. I lay the occasional engineered flooring or vinyl plan, but it's not a common occurrence.

As for what's right or wrong & what looks professional, lays on my clients. Many of their choices, look like ass IMO, but I still install what they pick because that's what a professional does. Because at the end of the day, if they're happy with it, I'm tickled to death.
That's kind of the required attitude for a contractor.
Most of my work is on very old houses for people with substantial assets. They aren't interested in a house that displays wealth, but they do demand quality and attention to detail. They're also quite willing to pay for it.
 
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