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Engineered Hardwood Install

I am looking to remodel my kitchen within the next year. I am currently looking at keeping the cabinates which are in great shape (replacing the doors only), changing out the cheap countertop with butcher-block (making it myself), and replacing the vinyl/linoleum floor with an engineered wood, or bamboo (not solid hardwood, I live in the south and humidity can be an issue). Since this will be an on slab install and I hate the "hollow" sound of a floating floor I am researching proper instillation techniques. I have installed flooring over plywood subfloors before so I am not a total novice. Now to my question: I have found a few options for install:
1. Glue the floor to the concrete slab
2. Put down a subfloor and nail to that
3. Use a product called Elastion as underlayment which claims to take the place of the underlayment and the glue
Anyone have any experience with Elastion it sounds like a 1 stop solution????

Re: Engineered Hardwood Install

Elastilon is a free floating system. Bamboo is solid wood.

Do you really want wood for a kitchen floor? You need to keep the floor dry all the times. Some have hardwood kitchen floor and they love it though... My first choice is tile.

Also, when replacing vinyl, everything you put on will raise the floor, possibly creating new problems (in front of the dishwasher and cabinets).

Re: Engineered Hardwood Install

Thanks for the info on the free floating, I was under the impression that both sides of the product had a glue so that may be a deal breaker.

My wife hates tile and I am a forester so to me wood or bamboo is a logical choice (I also considered cork, but I want that in the bathrooms). Bamboo is solid but it's actually a grass (Poaceae) so I don't consider it a "wood." It also has different mechanical properties when compared to a southern yellow pine or hardwood: pore/cell structure, hardness, shrink/swell properties, etc. which to my mind make it more suitable for a kitchen application (with proper care). I have considered the difference in height and I have planned for the contingency and made sure the dishwasher will still fit under the counter, the stove can be adjusted without issue. The current vinyl does not extend under them (kind of a sloppy job in my opinion since it’s pealing up in front of them).

Re: Engineered Hardwood Install

I have hardwood (nailed down) in my kitchen and I like it very much. It has got its worn spots, but a wood floor with a little distress still has charm, while worn vinyl or broken dated tile just looks bad.

One thing to keep in mind is the possible eventual removal of the floor down the road. A kitchen floor does get a lot of abuse and while engineered can be refinished a couple of times, it is not a forever floor. I don’t have any experience with bamboo. Also, kitchens tend to get remodeled every 20 to 30 years – and while that seems a long time from now – it goes pretty fast.

So, whatever you choose, do not glue down directly to the slab. You can glue to a subfloor/underlayment. The underlayment can be taken up along with the floor someday. Your older self or the next homeowner will thank you.

We had an engineered floor in our dining room which we removed when we put hardwood throughout the main level. I was able to remove it by cutting the floor + underlayment into large squares with the circular saw and prying them up with a crowbar, leaving the subfloor intact for the new hardwood. Hard work but much easier than trying to get glue / adhesive off the subfloor, or in your case, the slab.

Also, I would remove the peeling vinyl – which it sounds like you plan on doing – at which time you will experience the joy of adhesive removal if it is glued to the slab.

A. Spruce
Re: Engineered Hardwood Install

I put high end, floating, engineered hardwood in my kitchen and half bath and main area of the house, loved every square inch of it. We damp mopped it regularly, and by "damp mop" I mean exactly that, a mildly wet sponge mop that would be wet enough to remove dirt and debris, but not wet enough to get between the joints and cause problems. Lived in that house for two years, mopping several times a week (kind of a clean freak ), and it looked as good the day we left as the day it was installed.

Don't want to damp mop, then there are a number of dry mop sprays to help accomplish the same thing, though a damp mop or damp rag is faster, easier, and cheaper to use than buying a product that is 99% water anyway.

Like you, I don't like the hollow knock that typical floating floors have, however, with a good quality flooring and substrate, the knock is minimal. I've been in plenty of older homes with hard wood, and trust me when I say, those nailed floors squeak and creak after a short period of time because with expansion and contraction, the nails loosen and the boards move against each other and against the nails, causing lots and lots of noise. The only way around that is for a full glue down, and engineered flooring needs the freedom of movement. Solid hardwood can be glued if that is the way you want to go.

I would suggest going to a flooring showroom and walk across the various displays they have. You are pretty guaranteed that the display will be installed correctly so as to showcase the product in the best possible light. One final note on engineered flooring, you want to get the thickest surface layer material as possible. The thicker the top layer is, the more durable and stable it will be. The thin surface layer stuff is garbage because you'll wear through it very quickly and you can't resurface it, like you can the thicker stuff.

FWIW, I went with Kahrs brand, excellent product.

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