Important Note About Crawl Spaces: Many wood floors fail due to the failure of the installer to address moisture in crawl spaces. If you have a crawl space under your home or new flooring, you must properly remedy this moisture.
You must have a high quality vapor barrier or moisture insulation (with 100% blockage) or the moisture coming up from the crawl space will damage the flooring. A ground layer cover is required - must be 6mm minimum black polyethylene with joints overlapping at least 6 inches, and sealed with moisture-resistant tape.There must be a minimum of 18′′ from the ground to underside of joists, the polyethelene should also extend at least 6" up the block walls and be sealed there as well, and it should have perimeter venting equal to at least 1.5% of the crawl space total square footage. The vents should be properly placed for cross-ventilation. We recommend you read this document about what happens when crawl spaces are not sealed.
Important Note About Installing Over An Unconditioned Space (such as a garage): Subfloor moisture penetration of improperly sealed sub-floors over unconditioned spaces is a common cause of wood floor failure. If you are gluing the floor down over such a space, you must use a 100% urethane adhesive that contains a moisture barrier. If you are nailing the floor down over such a space, you will need to follow these steps:
In an unfinished space, staple a 6mm plastic sheet to the ceiling of the unconditioned space with joints overlapping at least 6 inches, and seal with moisture-resistant tape. In a finished space, coat the ceiling with two layers of high-gloss paint.
Lay down two layers of 15 lb asphalt saturated felt paper at a 90 degree angle to each other over the plywood before beginning the nail down installation. Thus, lay down the first layer and be careful not to overlap the rolls as this may cause an un-level surface. Once the first layer is down, install the second layer at a 90 degree angle and care not to overlap
Our solid (wood all the way through) floors can be put under cabinets if they are being nailed down or glued down. Floating floors of any kind should not be installed under cabinets. This is because you do not want to pin down an entire side of a room of floating floors as it will inhibit their ability to expand and contract naturally.
Properly manufactured bamboo and eucalyptus floors (like ours!) are similar to mid-range hardwoods when it comes to dimensional stability, so they can be installed in all climates whether very dry or very humid. Our floors have been installed around the world from the jungles of Kenya to the heights of the Rockies.
All wood flooring expands and contracts with the seasons due to changes in humidity - there are no exceptions. The key is to control your interior humidity as to avoid excessive swings in humidity throughout the year, as these will cause expansion and contraction in your wood/bamboo. The recommended humidity setting for our floors is 40%-60% in humid climates and 35%-55% in dry climates but even dryer and more humid settings may suffice as long as your humidity is stable (within a 20% range) throughout the year. We do recommend to try to keep the humidity above 20% in most cases. In very humid or very dry climates, just follow these tips and you will be all set:
a. Acclimate your flooring for at least 10-14 days prior to installation (instead of the normal 72 hours) in the environment in which they are going to be lived on. Ensure all boxes are opened properly so that the planks can breathe.
b. Glue the flooring down. The elasticity in the glue allows the floors to breathe easily through humidity changes.
c. Make sure to leave ¼ - ½ inch of expansion gap around your flooring perimeter at the time of installation.
d. Try to keep your interior humidity setting consistently in the same 20% range year round (opening windows for a day won't hurt the floors), even via the use of humidifiers/dehumidifiers if necessary. If you allow big humidity swings, larger gaps may develop between your planks during dry spells and they'll close during wet spells.
Although many of our clients have installed our floors over radiant heat over the yeasr, we don't provide a warranty for such installations. The reason is because there are many different types of radiant heat systems on the market,and some can be more difficult to control than others, resulting in extreme temperatures and damage to wood floors.
If you do choose to install our floors over radiant heat we recommend you read the National Wood Flooring Association's protocols for installing hardwoods over radiant heat subsystems, and follow the guidelines below.PRIOR TO INSTALLATION – RADIANT HEAT SUBFLOORS
We recommend that you only use 18 gauge cleats. If you use 16 gauge cleats they are likely to cause dimpling on your floors, as described in this article: https://www.ambientbp.com/pdf/avoiddimpling.pdf
Furthermore, they may cause cracks and splits in the tongue that will cause further issues down the road.
We see what you're trying to accomplish but there really are no vapor barrier underlayments used under nailed down floors because once you nail through any underlayment it nullifies it as a vapor barrier. The 3 in 1 underlayments are only used under floating floors, they don't work under nail downs because the compression of the foam results in nails coming loose over time.
Usually in a finished basement the humidity doesn't affect the hardwoods on the main level above it, unless the basement is excessively wet due to a high water table, uncovered ground layer, or similar problem.
That being said, if there is any concern about a basement having excessive humidity, we recommend putting a portable dehumidifier right in the basement. Different humidifiers will condition different sized spaces so make sure you buy one that's big enough for your entire basement. We've also heard of folks taping 6mm or thicker polyethelene sheeting (tarp) to the ceiling of the basement but that can get tricky.
In cases where the basement humidity is slightly elevated we've also heard of installers laying down two layers of 15 lb felt paper under the flooring first (on top of the subfloor), with the second layer of 15 lb felt being laid in a perpendicular fashion to the first, to help "wick away" moisture from the floors. Please note however that the 15 lb felt paper is definitely not considered a vapor barrier, it just helps wick away some moisture.
If you have a humidity modulator in your home that will keep your indoor humidity at a level of 40%-60%, you do not have any run limits on your floating wood floor. This can also be achieved via the use of a portable humidifer or dehumidifier. Also, some areas in the Southern United States have relatively stable humidity year around (like Southern California or Florida) so this usually isn't an issue in those areas. However, if you live in an area with seasons, and you don't have a way to control your humidity, you will want to ensure to follow the guidelines in the diagram below.
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