Why didn't you feel sorry leave enough expansion Gap?

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highup

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Went to the job yesterday because a customer complained about a noise walking along hallway. Laminate was tight to a radiused metal corner and another place in the hallway. Actually the laminate touched the hallway wall lightly in numerous places.
Then she directed me to the end of the dining room which was at an exterior wall.
It was tight there also. 🤔
 

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highup

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Rusty can you fix that title? My microphone and its "spell correction" gizmo is making me look like an idiot. 😡

It's supposed to read: why didn't the installer leave an expansion Gap.
Is there a way to turn off spell or maybe it's "word correct"on an Android?
On my computer, there is such an animal as spell check. It corrects spelling. My phone's microphone converts words or sentences into unreadable garbage. 😡
 
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highup

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Anyhow, I trimmed less than 1/4" off the planks. Much better now.
The dining room planks were snug to the wall.
 

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highup

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As I was walking back and forth, taking tools to my truck, I glanced at the home and my eyes noticed........ The cause of the problem. The flooring was a laminate, not a solid vinyl plank like Cortec.
 

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Brlymeguy

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As I was walking back and forth, taking tools to my truck, I glanced at the home and my eyes noticed........ The cause of the problem. The flooring was a laminate, not a solid vinyl plank like Cortec.
Hope I don’t sound too dumb. What about the outside of the house was the cause of the problem? Just curious because I must be missing it.
 

C.J.

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The vent holes for the crawl space were sealed up. Moisture can’t escape so it migrates up into the living space and is absorbed by the laminate floor causing it to expand and eventually buckle.
 

highup

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Hope I don’t sound too dumb. What about the outside of the house was the cause of the problem? Just curious because I must be missing it.
Yep exactly like CJ said.
People someyimes seal vents all around the perimeter of their house and they think if they plug them up during the winter time it will retain heat and save on the electric bill.
Those vents are made so moisture to escape from underneath the house. You never ever seal them shut. You need screens to keep the pests out from underneath the house, but you don't cover them up with plastic sheeting or fill them with foam.
I immediately called the shop after seeing that those vents were plugged up. I told them that the floor had expanded because moisture had built up underneath the house and it was not an installation related problem. The shop paid for my labor and did not charge the customer for what I did.
I told the customer to immediately remove that foam.
I was very direct with the and explained to them that this was not a product failure and the problems they had were not installation related. I informed them that the store was going to pay for my labor anyway as a courtesy.
 

highup

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Nope, I don't have to fix my stuff. 😉
I do fix a considerable number of jobs every year. I have four on the books right now, but have been too busy to get to. There's probably more than that I haven't looked at my list for a couple of months.
It was installed correctly but the homeowners filled all the foundation events with foam.
I have no clue how long the material has been down. A year and a half maybe? I'm guessing.
 

highup

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nice catch!
Thanks, I appreciate that. The retailer appreciated it even more. 😁
I'm always aware of my surroundings. I notice stuff. Sometimes mundane stuff. I glanced over and saw that foam in the vents. The job was completed and I was packing out tools. I could just have well been looking at the sky.
 

zannej

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Sheesh! My friend and I did a better job installing flooring in his kitchen and bathroom and we're amateurs. Used painting sticks for the expansion gaps.

I was wondering about the title to this thread. Sounded like you were scolding the installer for not leaving expansion gaps & saying they should feel sorry for doing that. LOL.

The first time I heard of flooring needing expansion gaps was on a People's Court case. Homeowner was suing the installer for messing it up by not leaving an expansion gap and it buckled. She called him back to fix it so he came back and glued it down, but then the flooring cracked. Apparently it wasn't a glue-down product. She then called in another installer who had to throw away the cracked boards, remove the glue, and pretty much re-do the floor with new boards so it was an expensive fix (not sure if he could have fixed it without doing it all over or not, but he claimed he couldn't). Original installer's defense was she didn't give him a chance to fix it the 2nd time. Plaintiff said she didn't trust him to do it right. Judge said that was fair and made him pay for the re-do and replacement materials.

When I see sloppy jobs like that from pros it makes me want to go up and slap them with the installation instructions.
 

highup

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Zan, the flooring was installed correctly.
The homeowner sealed up vents around the perimeter of the house making the flooring expand.
 

zannej

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Ohhh! Ok. I had missed that part. I don't know if it's damp under my house. It's open so air can go out, but it's also humid in the air around the house. It didn't feel very damp when I was under there, but that was compared to the outside area where it was like a sauna. And the condensate line does drip under there-- but on the opposite end of the house from where vinyl plank will be installed. I want to put a moisture barrier down underneath the planks just in case though. It's going to be vinyl rather than laminate.

I didn't realize that the moisture could make laminate expand that much.
 

highup

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Ohhh! Ok. I had missed that part. I don't know if it's damp under my house. It's open so air can go out, but it's also humid in the air around the house. It didn't feel very damp when I was under there, but that was compared to the outside area where it was like a sauna. And the condensate line does drip under there-- but on the opposite end of the house from where vinyl plank will be installed. I want to put a moisture barrier down underneath the planks just in case though. It's going to be vinyl rather than laminate.

I didn't realize that the moisture could make laminate expand that much.
You would want to have a 6 mil or heavier black plastic vapor barrier underneath the entire home but still, you would want to have the required number of vents of the proper size to allow air movement under the home.
If you seal up the vents figuring it's going to help insulate your house, every single bit of the moisture that evaporates in the ground under your house will have to go straight up through your floor. You do not want that.
The dampness will of course be in the flooring structure, such as your joists . You don't want mold, mildew, or mushrooms growing on the under structure of your home. You've got to let it breathe.
If you can afford to go off the deep end, you can seal up the foundation walls and the dirt and create a virtual hermetically sealed environment and stop 100% of the moisture from coming up through your floor. OK, 98.873%
I worked in a home back of the '80s where the contractor designed his own heating system. It was forced air and he had limited ductwork that simply pointed air in different directions underneath the house towards their preferred destination. A few of the ducts were 3 to 6 ft long and some were 20 ft long to get air from the heater location closer to where he wanted the heat to go
There was literally a total seal in the crawl space. I mean sealed up and insulated.
It's sort of made the entire crawl space the duct. He was told by a local heating company that his design would not work. Well, ummmm....... It did. He had some other oddities such as small fans above each door casing in the bedrooms and bathroom that could move air from room to room. Interesting fella.
 
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zannej

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My house is up on little concrete pillars. The "crawlspace" underneath is not sealed up. There is some sort of siding that comes all the way to the ground in a few spots, but for the most part, it's open under there so air can circulate. It's very sandy and feels fairly dry except in a few spots where water leaked. I don't even know if putting a moisture barrier underneath is possible as there isn't enough clearance to crawl under some spots. Ground has shifted over the years and there are some high spots and low spots. There are definitely bacteria under there. One of the times I crawled under I got a staph infection on my skin somehow. That was years ago so I don't know how it got under there or if it's still there, but now when I crawl under I use coveralls, gloves, and a hood, and a face mask, and goggles.

So, there is no real "foundation" to the house. It's just the pillars over the dirt (I hope they are actually on top of something deep in the ground, but I doubt anything was done right on this house).
 

Jon

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zannej ask yourself if you would leave a cardboard box under your house?
If you would you shouldnt have a problem
Here as we have an average 75% humidity ventilation is very important
An engineer type person explained to me that if the side of the house has large gaps on the oppersite side of the house underneath the prevailing wind can blow through. If there are small or no gaps the prevailing wind gets trapped underneath and cant escape. You have to have blow through ventilation
People here end up covering the holes up with plants, build something aside the house to prevent the blow through effect
When I was wearing my other hat looking at flooring complaints the first thing we did when entering the house and take a big sniff
This is my house and you can see how much of the vents are blocked off due to the previos owner raising the path to prevent run off from the concrete drive at the lenght of the back of our place. Not good really but do not have any problems
 

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Mark Brown

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Most of the building science now would lend itself to unvented crawlspaces.
Best possible thing you can do is enclose them and run dehumidification, I am slowly working my way towards this. It is hard seeing as it is a dirt floor crawl, but one step at a time. For the here and now, I laid ground cover (6 mil) and ran it 14 inches up the foundation and enclosed the space. When it was vented all that was down there was mold and gunk everyplace.
I forget all the sciencey nonsense, it has been a while.... I will have to get on the hunt.

Problem with building science is that everyone is always late to the party and slow to change their minds.
 

C.J.

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Most of the building science now would lend itself to unvented crawlspaces.
Best possible thing you can do is enclose them and run dehumidification, I am slowly working my way towards this. It is hard seeing as it is a dirt floor crawl, but one step at a time. For the here and now, I laid ground cover (6 mil) and ran it 14 inches up the foundation and enclosed the space. When it was vented all that was down there was mold and gunk everyplace.
I forget all the sciencey nonsense, it has been a while.... I will have to get on the hunt.

Problem with building science is that everyone is always late to the party and slow to change their minds.

I read the same thing about vented crawl spaces. The new way is as you’ve said, encapsulated and conditioned crawl spaces. However, unless you are prepared to totally seal and condition it, you’re best just leaving it vented with a vapor barrier down.
 

zannej

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The east and west sides of the crawlspace are uncovered so the wind can blow through. I think there are some carboard boxes under there. LOL. Most of the moisture under there is from plumbing leaks. I really should do a test where I leave a bigger piece of cardboard under there and see what happens to it. I have vague childhood memories of crawling around under there during summer to escape the heat.
 
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