Replacing Old Engineered Water-Damaged Wood

Q: I have the first floor kitchen, living room & corridors oak. It is glued to the concrete slab. I have 2 other rooms on the floor with a wall-to-wall carpet on the concrete slab. All of this is on the first floor. What are the important steps to replace all of this with new engineered hard wood floors? How should the old floor be removed, how will the old glue be scraped off & should there be leveling?
Can you describe the process in detail & any gotchas.

A: Removing any flooring which has been glued in place is one of the toughest jobs out there, but with a bit of patience and time, you will get the job done. Before we get too in-depth on what you will need to do, let’s first talk about time and tools. On average, removing a glue down hardwood floor will go at a rate of roughly 10sf per hour. This includes time required to scrape away the adhesive from the subfloor. With that timing in mind, I would advise looking into some temporary labor to help you out in the removal process. This could be anything from temp labor to convincing a few friends to help out in exchange for a well deserved meal from the local pizza joint.
Now let’s talk about the tools you’ll need to get this job done. First off you will need a good circular saw (aka skill saw) and plenty of spare blades. Next on our list will be a pry bar and a small sledgehammer, typically a 3lbs. sledge does the trick nicely. Finally you will need some scrapers to remove the adhesive. Typically one with a 3″ to 5″ blade is going to be your best bet.
For the actual removal process, you will want to first cut your wood flooring into sections about 12-18 inches in width using your circular saw. Make sure that you are cutting deep enough so that the blade is just barely touching the concrete. This will ensure you cut entirely through the board which is critical. Your saw blades will dull fairly quick so be ready to replace them. Also, make sure that any adjustments you make to your saw are done with the saw unplugged (better safe then sorry).
To start, make your first cut 15-18 inches away from the wall and try to follow the seam of the flooring as best you can along the entire length of this dimension of the floor. Make one or two more cuts a similar distance from this first cut, then make perpendicular cuts about every 12-15 inches along this area. This will work as a good start point to begin the removal.
After you have cut the floor into sections, you will be getting into the hard work. From here you will be using your hammer and pry bar to remove the sections of flooring. It will take a couple of hits to get the pry bar wedged underneath the flooring, but the key here is to get the flooring to come up in small sections, not in splintered chunks. It is usually easiest if you can get the flooring from the tongue side of the plank. To locate the tongue side, go along the walls of the area and look for a row with full planks, typically this was the first row of flooring as the last row is typically cut to fit. The groove side of the plank is placed against the wall, so work from the opposite side of this wall and steadily take up flooring. After you have removed the flooring, you can move onto removing the adhesive.
When scraping, keep in mind that you should flip the blade on the scraper often in order to help keep the blade edge sharp. Blades will need to be replaced as they get dull over time and how long each blade lasts will be dependent on the adhesive used and how smooth your subfloor is. Assuming your subfloor was properly leveled before the flooring was installed it should be rather smooth and easier to work with when scraping. Scraping can be more or less difficult depending on the adhesive used (older adhesives from the 70s are a real pain) and removing the adhesive may call for use of special adhesive removal equipment, but this tends to be rare if the flooring is relatively new (within the last 5-7 years).
There are a few more solvents out there that you can use to soften up the adhesive. Several are made with a citric acid base (like the cleaners you see in stores labeled as “citrus”). There are a few others that are out there made from a soy base. The key is finding one formulated for the particular adhesive used to install your floor. With these solvents, you will need to allow them a bit of time to get into the adhesive and soften it back up, so keep this in mind when planning your removal process.
After you have removed the flooring and scraped the left over adhesive away, then you will want to check to ensure your concrete is level. If needed, level out the subfloor so that you will have a nice smooth surface to install the new floor over.


New 2008 introduction

Another great 2008 introduction: Recycled Leather Flooring!!!

The diverse patterns and colors make this a really unique flooring option. I am even thinking of putting this in my office. It is cool! This floor is online and on display in most every iFLOOR store in the country now.

Robus Leather Floor Tiles are:

* A unique flooring that adds a touch of class to any space
* Environmentally friendly; made from recycled scrap leather
* Great for virtually any room in your home or workplace
* Affordable and durable
* Click for Robus Sealant Tech Sheet
* Click for Robus Adhesive Tech Sheet
* Click for Robus Adhesive MSDS
* Click for Robus Leather Floor Installation & Maintenance Instruction
* Click for Robus Return Policy

Which Way Do I Lay My Floor?

Q: How do I figure out which way to lay the flooring in the dining room.
Cathie & Dan

A: Typically wood floors are installed so that lengthwise they run parallel to the longest wall in the room. Now sometimes floors will be installed perpendicular to the longest wall based on one of a few reasons. The primary reason is usually how the home owner wants to the floor to look.
Wood flooring naturally will make rooms seem larger and in particularly long areas, like hallways flooring will occasionally be installed perpendicular to prevent the “bowling alley” look. Keep in mind, it is fairly rare for this to occur as it usually involves a lot of cuts and waste.
Another reason would be if you choose to install the floor at an angle or if you want the natural light coming into the room to move across the floor in a different orientation.
In the end, the easiest way to install a floor is to have it run lengthwise parallel with the longest wall.


KUDOs Corner – Floor Buying


My friend and I shopped for flooring in Utica last Saturday. I had come across the website earlier in the week and we decided to drive over and take advantage of the one day sale.
Matt and Amir made the one and a half hour shopping trip enjoyable. They approached us when we entered and then let us look with out pressure. When we
found a few selections they helped us narrow down our choices by asking us about our needs. They were very friendly.
I have already told a few people about the website and the store myself and will continue to do so.

Thank you,


Continue reading KUDOs Corner – Floor Buying


Engineered Hardwood Install Question

Q: I’d like to install an engineered hardwood floor over the linoleum in my kitchen. The flooring would also extend into the area between the kitchen and the next room; sort of a hallway. That area has a rise of about 1.5 to 2 inches over its 8 feet. How do I install the floor with this change in flatness?
A: This is actually fairly easy to account for with a bit of careful measure work. First off, you will want to ensure that this rise is nice and smooth, if it angles off at on end of the rise (top or bottom) you will simply need to account for this.
The flooring itself should be installed width-wise along the rise as this will make it much easier to account for the change in elevation. If the rise is nice and smooth the whole way it will make your installation fairly easy. Spend plenty of time dry racking out the boards in this area and use the measure twice before you cut once way of thinking.
Now, if your floor angles off at either side of the rise you can account for this in one of two ways. One method would be to smooth out the angle via grinding down (top of the rise) or by adding a bit of material to smooth out the angle (bottom side of rise).
The other way to account for angles would be to measure the area and cut an appropriate angle into the board which will sit over this area. Again, measure twice, cut once and dry rack the floor out carefully to ensure all of the joints marry up nicely. I would suggest beginning your installation at the board which will be cut as this will help to ensure each area of the rise marries up nicely and that the floor is installed to take the rise into account. Keep in mind, this will require a bit of work to properly map out the install so that you keep your floor installed nice and straight as it spreads out toward the rest of the walls.
Since you intend to install over your current linoleum my guess is that you will be floating this floor, if not, you will want to remove the linoleum and any remaining adhesive residue before beginning your installation.


Exdura – the hardwood flooring with a 55 Year Warranty

I am so excited to see the new line of solid hardwood flooring known as Exdura finally available on iFLOOR!

This solid 3/4″ thick hardwood harvest with Appalachian certified and managed forests is truly amazing. With species like red oak, white oak, hickory, walnut, ash and maple in several widths and grades this series is sure to be one of the top new introductions of 2008.

Exdura is a floor that is MADE IN THE USA too! It has a North American made finish on it as well which is absolutely stunning. No worries about lead based paint or any of that other non-sense, only the finest materials are used to make the Exdura hardwood flooring. The finish is made in the USA and is 100% solid which means no VOCs. That shows a true commitment to taking care of the earth!

There is alot more to the Exdura story than I have time to share today, but I wanted to give you a quick preview to this powerful new MADE IN THE USA line of hardwood with a really tough finish and a 55 year warranty!

Personally I love the Ash and the Hickory – but I am a sucker for the 5″ Red Oak and Walnut too. Mmmmm. An American made floor that is competitive with imports in terms of price often even lower than some of the cheap imports we have seen from online copy cats, but quality that blows away the competition.


Limestone Pitting – What to do?

Q: I have limestone tiles on my home floors. Living in Egypt, they call it a low grade marble as it’s polished to look like marble. It is now pitting and really looks shabby after only several months. We had it professionally sanded and polished and it was great for a few weeks. At this point, we want to put new flooring down. Is there anything that we can put on top of these tiles or do we have to take them all up and start fresh? We thought about using HDF but I’m afraid to use it as it covers the whole living room and open kitchen and I think we’ll have a lot of marking especially in the kitchen. Any thoughts?
Thank you,
Jayne Ragheb

A: What more than likely has happened to your limestone is that after it was sanded and polished a proper sealant was not added to the floor to prevent moisture from getting into the limestone, which would explain the pitting. Based on how bad the pitting is, it is possible you can sand, polish and seal the limestone and keep it as a floor.
If you wish to put in a new floor you can mortar right over the top and install providing two things. First, and this is critical, is that the existing floor is down tight, if not that has to be fixed prior to installation. Secondly I would suggest that you use modified thin set as a setting bed.
Remember if the floor is not tight then the right thing to do would be to pull the floor and prepare the subfloor for a new floor. I would stick to tile or stone myself as nothing is as easy to live with and maintain as tile. Should you wish to look into laminate keep in mind that you will need to take certain precautions in regards to what furniture you can place over the floor since it will be floating, and in areas which will have more moisture you may want to add a thin bead of glue into the joints of the floor to act as an additional moisture seal.
In regards to marking, laminate is built to resist marking quite well and the finish applied to them is super tough. Assuming your not dragging heavy objects over the floor constantly you should have little worry about marks on the floor.