no expansion gap in hardwood floors
In my new construction home, they have just installed unfinished 5" solid maple on the 2nd floor, and haven't gotten to the 1st floor yet. On examining the work, I see that the flooring goes right up to the baseboard trim, not under it. There is not even a millimeter of space between the floor and the baseboard; it's that tight. The baseboard only has about 1/2" of space under it, and since the floor is 3/4" thick hardwood, it can't fit under the baseboard. They've known for a long time that 3/4" floors were going in. It seems to me that either they should have installed the baseboard trim with 3/4" under it to accommodate the floors going underneath it, or the baseboard should have been installed after the floors, on top of them -- in either case with a gap between the floors and the walls so the wood floors have room to expand. There is NO gap because the floor juts up against the baseboard.
It's especially important to install this flooring correctly since it's maple (unstable), wide plank (5"), winter and in Massachusetts where the humidity and temperature vary wildly throughout the year. I had previously asked my builder if they checked that the floor moisture was within 2% of the subfloor (guidelines for wide plank) and he never answered. Before that I had asked how they determine a floor is ready to install, and he said they let it sit out for a week. He usually installs 3" red oak, but does use professional flooring people to do the floors.
The flooring manufacturer states that the installers must follow the NWFA guidelines or the warranty is void. The NWFA guidelines state no more than 2% moisture difference, and expansion space (3/4") is required. The temperature in the house is 61 (heat is on) and the humidity is 28%. The floor is tongue & groove and I assume nail-down. I see different opinions on whether nail down needs expansion near walls, but most seem to be on the expansion-is-needed side (including the NWFA). Others say the boards can't expand as a whole if they're fixed to the subfloor.
There's also been wet work (tile installation & grouting) going on while the wood is acclimating and getting installed - I understand that's not supposed to happen either.
I'm extremely worried about the lack of expansion gap, and whether in general they're following proper procedures (e.g. the 2%). Before I raise this issue with my builder and possibly my lawyer, just wanted to check that I'm understanding the requirements correctly and I'm not missing anything.
Thanks so much for your help!
This post was edited by threeberries on Sun, Jan 27, 13 at 1:21