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Engineered Hardwood Installation Instructions








Engineered Hardwood Installation Instructions

BKB Hevea Hardwood Flooring Installation Guide

General Recommendations
Read and understand all installation instructions before proceeding with the installation.  All instructions must be followed to maintain the warranty.  Please note our floors are milled to precise specifications, and therefore have a snug fit.  Do not attempt to directly hammer the flooring together, a tapping block must be used.  There are many styles of flooring tapping blocks, or a simple framing timber such as a 2 x 4 can also be used.  Any timber or tapping block that can be placed alongside the flooring plank, or on top, overhanging the sides (without causing damage to the flooring), and tapped with a flooring hammer will work fine as long as it allows the flooring to be easily assembled with no gaps.  When ordering the flooring, allow for 5% extra for your waste factor.  This is for pieces that are cut at walls, etc., where the cut end cannot be used anywhere else.

Inspect the Flooring Before you Install
Wood is a natural product, and will therefore have natural variation.  Inspect the flooring before installation for color, finish, and graining.  The floor should be “racked out” before final installation, while taking care to remove any natural characteristics you do not desire.  “Racking out” is the term used for dry laying the floor exactly as it will be installed prior to adhering it or clicking it together.  Plan the layout for a random appearance throughout the installation.  End joints should not be any closer than 6” (15 cm apart), and avoid clustering end joints in one area.  We recommend that the planks are laid parallel to the light source.  If it is being installed on top of old wood flooring, it should be installed perpendicular to the old floors.  BKB Hevea will not warranty flooring installed with obvious defects.

Installation Notes
When cutting planks at a wall or other obstruction, use the cut plank as the starter strip to begin the next row whenever possible. Mix the boxes as you install in order to blend any color variation and lengths.  A 3/8” (10 mm) expansion gap must be allowed around the perimeter of the room, or at all obstructions.  For rooms wider than 20’ (6 meters), allow an expansion gap of 1/16” (1.5 mm) per 3.28’ (1 meter).For pipe lead-throughs, drill holes with a diameter about ¾” (20 mm) larger than the pipe.  Saw out a piece as shown in the diagram pic.  Insert the sawn out piece after the floor has been laid.  For glue down or floating floors where adhesive is used, be sure to clean off all adhesive from the floor’s finished top surface BEFORE the adhesive dries.   After the flooring is installed, provide proper protection by laying a quality felt type paper (or similar) over the entire floor.  DO NOT TAPE ANY FLOOR PROTECTION DIRECTLY TO THE FLOOR.  For better protection, lay Masonite over the felt paper.  Or, use a product such as Ramboard (www.ramboard.com) by itself.  Tape the rolls of Ramboard or felt paper at the seams, but do not tape them to the floor.  Be sure the floors are clean prior to installing floor protection. Never use plastic or polyethylene sheeting to cover the floor since they will trap moisture and not allow the floor to breathe.  The floor protection must allow the floor to breathe.  When installing skirting (base molding), do not attach it in any way to the flooring.  Likewise, do not install the skirting in a way which it pushes down with force on the flooring, which will inhibit necessary floor movement.

Jobsite Conditions
The job site must be climate controlled (permanent HVAC systems) with a temperature between 60° and 80° F (16° to 27° C) and a humidity level between 40% and 60%.  BKB Flooring does not require acclimating to the job site unless the flooring is transported from an environment of extreme temperature or humidity.  In this case, allow 48 hours of on-site acclimation.  Climate controls must remain operational during the life of the flooring.  Never open the flooring packages until they are actually being installed. 

Subfloor Moisture Requirements
Wood subfloor moisture content must not exceed 14% when measured with an accurate moisture meter.  In addition, the difference in moisture content between the wood subfloor and the flooring planks must not exceed 4%.
Concrete subfloors must be visibly dry, and show no signs of excessive moisture transmission.  Calcium Chloride tests should be at 3lbs or less per 1000 SF per 24 hours(As per ASTM F1869)and/or Relative Humidity tests of the slab must be below 85% (as per ASTM F 2170).

Subfloor Leveling
Subfloor must be level within ¼” (6 mm) over 10’ (305 cm).  Wood subfloors can be sanded at high spots, and concrete subfloors grinded at high spots.  Appropriate leveling compounds must be used for low spots.

Wood Subfloors
Wood subfloors should be clean and at least ¾” (19 cm) thick and structurally sound.  Floor joist should be properly spaced according to local building codes.  Fasten any loose subflooring with proper length screws prior to installing the new hardwood floor.  If the subfloor is less than ¾” (19 mm), or has excessive deflection, install an additional cross layer of subflooring of at least 3/8” (9 mm) thickness.   For glue down applications, subfloor must be free from dirt, oil, grease, paint, or any other contaminant that will interfere with adhesion.  For staple or nail down applications, particle board subfloors are not sufficient to hold nails or staples, and therefore is not an acceptable subfloor.

Concrete Subfloors
New slabs must cure a minimum of six weeks prior to installing the new hardwood floor.  Be sure to perform the above mentioned moisture tests to assure a dry slab.  These tests only indicate moisture content at the time of the test.  BKB Hevea cannot be responsible if moisture levels change in the future.  If moisture content is too high after six weeks of curing, then proper moisture suppression must be put in place to prevent excessive moisture from penetrating the new floor.  For floating floor installations, the subfloor can be covered with 2 mil plastic sheeting, with overlapping and taped edges prior to laying the underlayment.  For glue down applications, there are many products that can be applied to the slab which will inhibit moisture.  Stauf 210, 270, Sika MB Primer, or similar products are designed for moisture remediation.  Stauf, Sika, and others also offer adhesive with a built-in moisture consolidator.  The amount of moisture in the slab will determine which product to use.  Follow adhesive manufacturer’s instructions.  In the case of glue down applications, the slab must be free from dirt, oil, grease, paint, old sealers, or any other contaminant that will interfere with adhesion.  Do not use chemicals to remove contaminants, only use scrapers/grinders.   For further information, consult the manufacturer of the adhesive or concrete sealer which you are using.  Do not use any adhesives containing water to glue down BKB HEVEA flooring.

Radiant Heated Subfloors
BKB recommends only floating floors over radiant heat. Two  weeks before installing BKB Flooring, the subfloor should be heated to half the capacity of the heating system.  At the same time, the rooms should be properly aired and ventilated.  The heat is then increased gradually for about one week.  Seven days before installation the underfloor heating should be gradually reduced and completely shut down 1-2 days prior to the installation.  The underfloor heating should be turned off during installation.
After installation the underfloor heating can be turned on again.  The heat should be gradually increased over a 4 day period to a maximum of 82° F (28° C) surface temperature.  A moisture barrier must always be used with underfloor heating. 
BKB does not recommend the following wood species for underfloor heating: Wenge, Jatoba, Kempas, Maple, Beech.

Glue Down Installation
1.     Measure the width of the room in order to determine the width of the last row of planks.  If it is less than a half of a plank’s width, split the difference between the starter row and the last row.
2.    After selecting a starter wall, measure out from each end of this wall the width of two planks.
3.    Snap a chalk line from these two points, which will be parallel to the starter wall.  
4.    Determine if the sides of any planks will have to be trimmed due to an uneven starter wall.
5.    Spread adhesive from the starting wall to the chalk line, and begin laying the planks with the groove facing the starter wall.  Be sure to follow the adhesive manufacturer’s instructions.  The first row must be aligned with the chalk line, and be sure to check this as you install additional rows of flooring.  You can top nail the first row if the subfloor is wood, or use appropriate concrete fasteners for concrete subfloors in order to keep it aligned.  As an alternative, you can use wedges between the starter plank and wall.
6.    Use a tapping block to ensure the proceeding rows are fully engaged with no gaps.
7.    After the first two starter rows are secure and properly aligned, spread adhesive 2’ to 3’ (60cm to 90cm) from there, across the length of the room.
8.    Begin installing successive rows of flooring by placing the planks on top of the adhesive and tapping into place with the tapping block and hammer.  Be sure there are no gaps between the boards.  Stagger the end joints at least 6” (15 cm) apart.
9.    When enough rows are installed, secure them together with blue painters tape to ensure they remain tightly together while the adhesive sets.  Do this across the entire floor as the installation proceeds.  Do not allow the tape to remain longer than necessary (2 hours or less).
10.    Use a pry bar or heel iron to aid in installing the last row of planks.  Remember to leave the required expansion gap at the wall.  Use wedges or spacers to hold the last row in place until the glue sets.

Floating Installation
Maximum floor width is 59’ (18 meters).  For wider floors, an expansion gap covered by a t-molding must be used at half of the width.  If the flooring continues through doorways into other rooms, the floor should be divided at the door with an expansion gap, and a t-molding should be used to cover the gap.  BKB Hevea flooring can be floated over any underlayment (padding) which approved for floating floor applications.   Many of these underlayments have a moisture barrier built in.  With the proper underlayment (padding), the floors can be floated over various types of subfloors including plywood, concrete, particle board, gypsum, ceramic tile, vinyl tile, and sheet vinyl.  Because it rests on the pad and subfloor with its own weight, the flooring can have slight up and down vertical movement when walked upon, but not to the degree where it can be felt.  This is normal.  For the tongue and groove profile floating floor, glue is applied inside the groove on the sides and ends of the boards.  DO NOT fill up the groove with glue, only apply it to the lower edge of the groove.  You can use glue provided by your local flooring distributor, or any high quality woodworking glue such as Titebond (www.titebond.com) or Ponal (www.henkel.com).BKB Loc floating floors do not need glue.

For both tongue and groove floating floors, and BKB Loc floating floors:
1.     If the underlayment does not have a moisture barrier, and moisture testing indicates it is necessary, cover the subfloor with a 0.2 mm thick plastic sheeting, overlapping and taping the edges (overlap should be at least 8” or 20 cm).
2.    Undercut door casings 1/16” (1.6 mm) higher than the flooring and underlayment.  Simply use a scrap piece of plank and underlayment against the door casing as a guide, and cut the casing with a hand saw or power jamb saw sent to the correct height.
3.    Decide which way the planks will run, measure the width of the room, and determine the width of the last plank.  If it is less than 1.5” (38 mm), then cut the starter row narrower to allow the last plank to be wider.
4.    Roll out the first row of underlayment at the starting wall.  Any joints in the underlayment should be duct taped unless it has a built-in adhesive strip.  
5.    Rack out the floor to ensure a random appearance.  For flooring which comes in all one length, cut about 3 or 4 planks in random lengths, each a minimum of 20” (50 cm) difference in order to establish a random pattern.  To minimize waste, and whenever possible, use cut pieces from the end of each row as the start of another row.  Continue installing random lengths at the start of each successive row in order to achieve a random pattern and staggered joints.  Joints should be staggered a minimum of 20” (50 cm).
6.    Continue directions below based on tongue and groove floor or BKB LOC floating floor.
For tongue and groove floating floor:
1.    Dry lay the first two rows on top of the underlayment, groove side facing the wall.  Beginning in the upper left of the space, place spacing wedges along the ends and sides of the starter row at the walls in order to place the starter row.  These wedges can even be made from scrap pieces of the flooring.  
2.    Apply glue to the lower side of the groove of the starter board in the second row and attach it to the first board in the first row using a tapping block and hammer.  Remember to always immediately and completely wipe off any excess glue from the surface of the flooring with a damp cloth.  Continue this process to complete the second row, and third row.  At the walls, use a pry bar or heel iron if necessary to pull the ends of the planks together.  
3.    After the third row is installed, check your alignment with the starter wall and all expansion spaces to ensure they remain as specified.  Now is the best time to realign or make any necessary corrections before too many rows are installed, which will make it difficult to correct.
4.    When the first sheet of underlayment is nearly covered with flooring, install the second sheet.  Be aware that some underlayments have an overlapping vapor barrier with an adhesive strip.  Be sure not to cover that overlap distance on the first row of underlayment with flooring before you have a chance to properly lay the second row of underlayment. Pic
5.    After installing several rows, use painters tape to secure the planks while the glue dries.  Remove the tape in about 2 hours in order to avoid damage to the floor’s surface. Pic
6.    If the last row needs cutting, lay the planks to be cut on top of, and perfectly aligned with the second to last row.  Trace the wall contour onto these planks using a scrap piece of flooring.  Cut along this line and install the last row.  Remember to allow for the proper expansion space at the wall.  Use a pry bar or heel iron if necessary to install the last row.  pic
7.    Install wedges between the last plank and the wall. pic
8.    Allow the floor to dry at least 12 hours prior to foot traffic.  Remove wedges, sweep the floor to remove all dust and dirt, and protect as specified.

BKB Loc Floating Floor
1.    Begin laying the first plank from left to right at the starter wall, leaving a 3/8” (10 mm) expansion gap at the wall.  Install the next board at the end of the first board, holding the far end up at an angle and locking together the Loc system at the board ends.  Continue this across the room.  Use the cut from the last board to begin the next row, if possible.  
2.    Press the first board of the next row at an angle against the board in the previous row and lay it flat.  Check that the groove of the board in the previous row is free from grit and dirt.  If a gap remains, tap with your hand on the board joint.
3.    Place an installation wedge underneath the end of the installed board.  Install the next board first by placing the end of the board down at an angle into the end of the previous board.  Lay the board down, remove the wedge, and tap the side of the board into place using a tapping block.  
4.    After three rows are complete, the distance between the flooring and the walls can be adjusted to a minimum of 3/8” (10 mm) by using wedges.  
5.    If the starting wall is not straight, the shape of the wall can be drawn on the boards of the first row.  Lift the boards in the first row and cut them to match the wall.  Reinstall the boards from left to right.  
6.    If the last row of boards is to be installed under a door frame, cut away the locking edge, apply glue on the groove, and install the board

Nail/Staple-Down Installation
A good choice for nailing BKB engineered flooring is Powernail’s Model 45 manual nailer (www.powernail.com) with adapter plate 826-12.  Use 1.5” (38 mm) L-nail x 16 guage.  (L 150-16).Be sure the stapler or nailer seats properly on the tongue of the flooring plank.  They should not have any parts that can scratch the surface of the prefinished flooring.

1.    Use a scrap piece of flooring, placed flat on the subfloor to test the nailer. When using a manual flooring nailer, always perform tests to verify proper performance.  
2.    Determine your starting wall.  Nail down flooring should be laid perpendicular to the floor joists.  Calculate the width of the last row of flooring.  If it is less than 1.5” (38 mm) then split the difference between the starter row and last row.
3.    Cover the subfloor with black felt paper or other suitable material designed for nail down flooring.  This will help retard moisture from below (it won’t stop moisture) and will help prevent squeaks.
4.    From your starter wall, measure out at each end the width of one plank plus 3/8”” (10 mm), and snap a chalk line from these points (which is parallel to the starting wall).pic The boards in this starter row may have to be trimmed if the wall is not straight.  Alignment of the first row is critical since it dictates the remainder of the install.
5.    Install the first row of flooring.  Align the tongue edges with the chalk line, and secure the planks with a pneumatic brad nailer, finish nailer or finish nails.  Always drill pilot holes if using finishing nails.pic
6.    Rack out the floor to ensure a random appearance.  For flooring which comes in all one length, cut about 5 planks in random lengths, each a minimum of 6” (13 mm) different in order to establish a random pattern.  To minimize waste, and whenever possible,  use cut pieces from the end of each row as the start of another row.  Continue installing random widths at the start of each successive row in order to achieve a random pattern and staggered joints.  Joints should be staggered a minimum of 6” (15 cm).
7.    The successive rows can be installed with the pneumatic nailer or finish nails driven at a 45° angle into the nailing area above the tongue.  Remember to drill pilot holes if using finish nails. Pic
8.    Continue this way until the planks are far enough from the wall to accommodate the flooring nailer/stapler.  Distance between nails or staples should be no more than 6” (15 cm).  Do not use fasteners too close to the plank ends, which will cause the tongue to crack (no closer than 2” or 5 cm).
9.    Face nail the last few rows (as you did the first few rows) when the floor nailer no longer fits between the floor and wall.  Install the last plank with the aid of a pry bar or heel iron. pic

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