Wide plank floor adhesive help

tminnJanuary 18, 2014

We are installing 750 square feet of 6" wide plank hickory flooring over plywood and need to know what is the best adhesive to use. The flooring was expensive and we don't want the installation to be compromised by using the wrong adhesive. My brother in law who is installing, says construction adhesive would be fine...but the company we purchased the wood from says we should buy glue from them at $1 a sq ft. The company says it should be a "full trowel glue down". We're not sure what brand of adhesive the company wants to sell us. Should we go with their adhesive? Is there an ideal adhesive that we should use? We feel a little uneasy about the company's recommendation...feels a bit "pushy", but if that is the cost of the adhesive, then we're fine with it. Can anyone recommend an appropriate adhesive for this job?

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Over ply? Nail it.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 11:15PM
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We are planning to nail and glue it.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 7:58AM
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You could use their glue suggestion. The price of $1 per foot is roughly the price to expect for trowel glue. Its good stuff but since youre gluing and nailing simple construction adhesive is more than fine.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 1:56PM
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There are many choices available for adhesive. Some contractors around here use a product from Chemrex (not sure which one) but I haven't used it. My favorite is Stauf WFR930.
I have also used different urethane glues from Bostik, Sika and even some generics. The Stauf seems more forgiving that urethane, has an easier cleanup and doesn't etch finishes when using prefinished.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 8:35AM
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We have a similar installation -- 300+ sq ft of 7" oak.

We have installed large areas of narrower planks with only nails. With wide planks in this area, glue and nail is recommended. We're beginning the glue and nail process with a trowel-on Stauf adhesive as we speak tonight.

(Wish we had thought twice and used a caulk gun and regular construction adhesive. They didn't tell us that was an option at the mill, though we have a lot of this same flooing installed 20 yrs ago by a pro and he used the caulk gun. It's held up fine. )

The floor is laid out and ready to install. In fact, we already nailed and glued the first 2 rows, then stopped to select planks for the entire main floor, 14ft square, both to grade the wood ourselves and so the glue operation would not be interrupted to find and cut pieces.

I could use some advice on logistics from someone who is experienced at this. Tried to find a youtube to see someone doing this. Seems the glue will get in the way of the nail gun unless we only lay glue for one row at a time, which is slower. So, I hope logistics questions don't sound silly.

Can we trowel on glue for several rows at a time, let it skim, and then go about nailing?

Do we need to protect the floor from the hose or gun, etc.?

Where do you set your bucket, etc., in relation to the nail gun to keep it all out of the way but convenient? Do you trowel right out of the bucket onto the floor?

I've got a couple of rolling mechanics thrones, and one can sit down and trowel and roll along to save knees. How do you do it?

Thanks for advice!

    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 10:15PM
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p.s. Just put the heavy glue can on a small dolly which should help. And it appears from instructions that there's no waiting for the glue to skim over - just trowel it on and place the plank. We put some blue painter's tape on the bottom of the nail gun in case we get it into glue by mistake - this stuff is cleaned up with acetone and it might save that step several times over. The glue/troweling step just seems to have the potential to really slow down getting the floor installed. Again, any advice from someone who has done it would be appreciated!

    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 10:37PM
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For others with similar question about this adhesive, I'll post a follow-up. As far as my question about logistics, thinking ahead was worth my trouble. Will pass on what we've learned so far and our conclusion about this glue.

This Stauf WFT930 is imo a nice glue, easy to trowel on, but after only 3 rows of planks into the job, we're wishing we had gone with a caulk gun and construction adhesive. It's just slowing down the job. A caulk gun would be faster and I suspect it would do the job based on previous posters for this thread.

We have up to 10ft planks. Even with the flooring pre-selected, we ran into a long board that was too bowed for our tools; so it's best to dry fit every piece ahead. So, dry fit, remove, trowel glue for only that piece in case of trouble until sure you can nail it. (I will stand corrected if someone can tell me a better way. )

The glue has a 30 minute "open time" and we've had no trouble applying it. Even in the cold, it's a nice consistency, trowels on well with the recommended trowel. I used a 4" putty knife to scoop out enough for a row into a disposable hand-held trough. (I used a plastic spinach bin from Sam's.) Just scoop onto the floor, spread, and then trowel along the row. Works very easily.

The mechanics rolling stool is a knee saver. Using small furniture dollies for bundles of wood when we brought it in to acclimate and for the heavy glue bucket really helps save horsing those items around.

I would say I think a troweled on application will give you better coverage than caulking gun -- when we lift a glued piece back out, it's covered almost over the entire surface. We won't know for some time whether that helps with seasonal shrinkage on a wide plank floor. I remember the previous installation (a pro years ago) with a serpentine caulking application under the boards, and we did not get that glue coverage, and the floor does show the seasons. But there are supposed to be more flexible fillers now that will cover the cracks better.

I haven't checked on relative cost yet. But we paid around $25/gallon for this and the mfr sheet says that will cover up to 50sq ft / gallon. Am going to price construction adhesive, call the mill and ask for an alternative, and possibly try to sell this glue or at least put the second 4-gallon bucket back in for a restock fee after we've finished the first bucket.

Hoping to speed up the job with less attention to glue and more attention to the wood. If the construction adhesive works (as previous posters say it is okay), we'll use it instead of this troweled-on application for our next area, which is several times bigger than this.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 11:00AM
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Further follow-up. We've gotten used to the troweled on glue. Will not bother to get construction adhesive to finish job, but will certainly price out the options for the next job.

Feeling rather silly now that we're faster gluing - it's not much of a delay once we are used to it. But dry fitting is a must. The glue has a very nice consistency, spreads really well, and when we trade off the pain of a caulk gun with less coverage, the trowel wins.

Gave up using a "mud pan" and am troweling directly from the bucket, just keeping lid on as much as possible. (Lift the lid enough to scoop out with the 5" putty/drywall knife, spread it on directly. Then trowel before moving on. It's actually simpler and saves time. )

However, we're using the plastic mud pan on the dolly to hold the trowel when not in use, between planks. Also adhered a small plastic disposable container in the middle of the bucket lid to rest the trowel and knife on briefly.

The furniture dolly under the glue is a huge help. Ditto mechanics rolling stool.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 1:46PM
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And a further follow-up. IMO go with the caulked-on glue.

After we finished the 4-gallon bucket, we had a medium closet area of flooring still to install. We switched to a caulk gun to compare instead of opening another large bucket. The difference in ease and speed of installation was orders of magnitude better in those last rows. And it turned the job into a one person instead of two person job. We still were able to get great coverage.

This troweled-on glue may have advantages if you're going to glue flooring to concrete or have some challenge that needs the VOC's or for some other application.

But for our installation, wide-plank oak on plywood subfloor, it just wasn't worth it. Not only was it terribly expensive, It cost us many, many hours in extra time, even though we worked out a good method and enjoyed the glue operation. The time hit is just not worth it with troweling.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 11:49AM
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