Help! Our wood floors won't stick!

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I'm hoping someone out there can answer this question! When we bought our house a year ago we had the old wood floors pulled up and had engineered wood floors put in. We had someone we "know", who's been in the construction business for years, do this and several other projects for us. Long story short, the floors would not/are not staying down. He says its from moisture from "somewhere", but can't tell us where. He drilled small holes and squirted liquid nails in them and laid buckets of rocks, boulders etc to see if that would work. It only did temporarily. They are coming up again, not at the edges, per say, but about 1 ft from the outside walls and patio door. He said that the only other option would be to pull up the floors (hopefully the glue is on the board side) and spread a tar like substance down to get the wood floors to stick. He said it's about $150 a bucket.
I'm no expert by all means, but if he's a degreed engineer and has been doing contract work for years, wouldn't he be able to lay wooden planks and get them to stick? If they don't stick, wouldn't he know why? AND... The planks are not too tight as to make them buckle AND the upstairs boards "click" too. WHAT IS GOING ON OVER HERE??? Please help me understand!!
  9 answers
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Apr 30, 2016
    Obviously the guy you are working with does not know what he is doing. If the floors are buckling away from the edge, one of the reasons for this may be that they did not leave enough room for expansion/contraction. Check at the edge and see if there is about 1/4" gap between the last board and the wall. If there is quarter round, pull up a piece and check it out. And make sure the quarter round is nailed to the baseboard and not the flooring (holding it back from expanding!) That is the reason quarter round is used with all floors...it covers this gap. If this is not the problem, google the problem and see what you find. Also, you can contact the manufacturer of your product. The can give some information to you on how to check out the problem. Go to a flooring place and ask questions! We have had real wood floors down since 1999 and they are still perfect! We have had laminate floors down since 2005 and they are still perfect! We installed our own floors...learned how by reading the directions, watching videos and help from friends who have installed flooring, and years of accumulated knowledge!

  • Barbara C Barbara C on Apr 30, 2016
    Engineered planks are not real wood and and he probably should have put down a moisture barrier before installing.Shame you could not save the REAL wood floors. You need a second opinion quickly.

  • William William on Apr 30, 2016
    Great advice from Jeanette and Barbara! Engineered wood is a floating floor. Special padding/vapor barrier is first laid on the existing floor. The engineered wood planks laid over that with a 1/4" gap all around the perimeter. This allows for expansion. Quarter round covers the perimeter gap and must be nailed into the baseboard not into the flooring. Some engineered flooring is snap lock. Some is tongue and groove which needs to be glued in the tongue and groove. Were the old floors in such bad shape that they couldn't have been sanded and finished or were you just looking for a different look?

  • Centsably Creative Centsably Creative on Apr 30, 2016
    EVERYONE ABOVE SAID EXACTLY WHAT I WAS GOING TO SAY. I HAVE THE SAME TYPE OF FLOORING. YOU NEED A BARRIER FIRST AND PROPER INSTALLATION SECOND. sorry.... did not mean to be in caps. I would go to a flooring retailer and get the name of an experienced wood floor installer.

  • JAT JAT on Apr 30, 2016
    Amen to the above responses

  • Donna Donna on Apr 30, 2016
    I would definitely check under the quarter round first, since that would be the easiest fix. We installed our laminate floors almost 10 years ago ourselves and they've never shown the first sign of buckling.

  • Swinnen Lisette Swinnen Lisette on Apr 30, 2016
    I am sorry to say, but after a waterproof barrier, you will have to replace the boards who came up by new ones. Because floating floor hate moisture and once they "tasted" water you can't get them straight again. They always will come up, unless you nail them every inch.

  • Sarah A. Victory Sarah A. Victory on Apr 30, 2016
    Well, Genevieve I empathize w/you. My home is on a concrete slab and I replaced 3 rooms of carpet before I moved in w/ tongue and groove engineered flooring. The type glue that is used is very expensive and I recall buying approx $360 worth. The sellers son moved the weights on the glued down flooring to have his Estate sale and I was told this months after the fact when I asked the flooring company to come back and correct the issue. They also made some tiny holes and inserted glue and this helped in some areas but the floor still creaks in other places when stepped on. After running out of the "special" glue they used twice they stopped responding to my calls. About par or above par for most individually owned businesses in Tennessee. My 3 rooms of flooring were in excess of $6,000 in 2014. I do recall the glue was injected w/a needle but it wasn't liquid nails. Possibly if they had done some more glue it would have totally resolved the problem. I do recall that the flooring owner said that the floors were also designed to float. Well, there was a floating floor in the kitchen and I replaced it w/tile. I don't happen to like the floating quality of that type floor or I would have not bought such an expensive amount of glue. Annd that's my flooring experience to contribute to the mix. Good luck!

  • Jean.linc Jean.linc on May 08, 2016
    I totally feel your pain, because I have been there. In mid 2012 we had a new home built on a slab.. In the planning stage we conferred with an upscale flooring company. They assured us there would no problem with engineered flooring on a slab. The house was completed, we moved in in December 2012. In late summer 2013 we noticed difference in sound in flooring between areas. Long story short between many confrontations between builder and flooring company, they were blaming each other. End result they split cost of replacing floors. Bear in mind we had been in home for several months. They moved furniture to garage and tiled areas and used a saw and cut the flooring every 10", removed glue, cleaned floor and started over with special glue, felt paper vapor and we are totally enjoying our "correctly installed" engineered flooring.