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TOPIC: Expert Advice needed! Sika T55??

Expert Advice needed! Sika T55?? 01 Feb 2011 09:57 #696

I hope I'm not wasting anyone's time with my question. Has anyone used Sika T55 to glue solid hardwood floor onto concrete? Have you met with success? I can't find any hard evidence that it's not recommended. Please point me in the right direction.

Additional info:
Above grade concrete subfloor (1960's building - I'm told that there's no need for a moisture vapor for such an old building, is this true?)
In DC
Mullican select solid white oak hardwood 5" x 3/4" unfinished, natural

Thanks in advance, and I'm a newbie to this, so any advice and simple language would be appreciated.
<em>edited by texasolivia on 2/1/2011</em>

Expert Advice needed! Sika T55?? 01 Feb 2011 13:11 #698

Solid glued to concrete is very difficult because long unfinished boards are NOT straight or flat. How are you going to keep the flooring in position while the adhesive solidifies??? If the pieces are 24" or shorter and you cull out crooked-warped pieces you might be able to do it.

With regard to a moisture vapor barrier, How do you propose to defend yourself in the event that a moisture related problem occurs after you install the floor???

Who cares which adhesive you use to do something that has inherently VERY HIGH RISK.
Brickman Consulting

Expert Advice needed! Sika T55?? 01 Feb 2011 13:31 #699

Thank you for your insight! I am having this issue because my condo developer did just that. I recently bought my DC condo one year and one month ago. I am currently in a battle with my developer trying to get my floors replaced. About 6 months after moving into my unit, I noticed my floors were buckling and gapping. I tried getting a straight answer from the contracting company who installed the floors and the developers but got no real answers. So I hired a separate hardwood floor inspector. Bottom line is he felt I needed the floors replaced. I am now arguing with the developers as they feel that they did everything right with the install and aren't at fault. They are saying that there was no need for any type of moisture barrier as the building is not new build, and the concrete had plenty of time to dry out.

That is why I'm in search of some sort of information that says, look, you DON'T glue solid hardwood to concrete period. As they are using the Sika bond literature to say they did it per their instructions, but I have a feeling that the proper preparation and job conditions were not used. Every professional has said that's not the right thing to do, yet, their construction contractor and flooring contractor did. Is there anything in the NWFA manual?

Thanks again. I'm just flustered because the developers won't admit to any wrongdoing.
<em>edited by texasolivia on 2/1/2011</em>
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Expert Advice needed! Sika T55?? 01 Feb 2011 14:31 #700

texasolivia wrote:
Thank you for your insight! I am having this issue because my condo developer did just that. I recently bought my DC condo one year and one month ago. I am currently in a battle with my developer trying to get my floors replaced. About 6 months after moving into my unit, I noticed my floors were buckling and gapping. I tried getting a straight answer from the contracting company who installed the floors and the developers but got no real answers. So I hired a separate hardwood floor inspector. Bottom line is he felt I needed the floors replaced. I am now arguing with the developers as they feel that they did everything right with the install and aren't at fault. They are saying that there was no need for any type of moisture barrier as the building is not new build, and the concrete had plenty of time to dry out.

That is why I'm in search of some sort of information that says, look, you DON'T glue solid hardwood to concrete period. As they are using the Sika bond literature to say they did it per their instructions, but I have a feeling that the proper preparation and job conditions were not used. Every professional has said that's not the right thing to do, yet, their construction contractor and flooring contractor did. Is there anything in the NWFA manual?

Thanks again. I'm just flustered because the developers won't admit to any wrongdoing.
edited by texasolivia on 2/1/2011

The fact is you can succussfully glue solid wood to concrete, both on grade and above grade. If it installed over the proper adhesive and is kiln dried flooring that was ACCLIMATED PROPERLY it should not be a problem. As to warped, bowed, or other naturally occuring conditons seen in solid wood... an additional percentage of product should be ordered to insure enough material to cull out (remove) the worst of the "bad" flooring. That being said, using the strap method, I have found that the waste percentage is not far from a traditional nail down. I have glued down quite a bit of solid wood in the last couple of years and have had great success doing so. As to the system used in your scenario. Have you contacted the adhesive manufacturer about the proper use of their product? Did the inspector open up the floor to inspect the bond? Is everyone in your building having similar problems?
Bob Goldstein
Vermont Natural Coatings
Technical Services, Training and Sales

Expert Advice needed! Sika T55?? 01 Feb 2011 14:49 #702

Thank you Bobgoldstein for your comment. I did contact the adhesive manufacturer and they of course back their product, but have said if the proper preparations aren't made, it will not work as it should. I have knocked on several locations of my floor and found many "hollow" spots. Especially in the areas where it is crowning. The flooring doesn't run under the HVAC system, so the inspector got a good look at the bond and noticed no moisture vapor reduction was used. And yes, many of my neighbors are having the same problem. The developers come in and "fix" the problem and two months down the gaps return. The wood filler dries and cracks and falls down. In addition, new issues are happening, my floorboards are cracking lengthwise. I have no idea why it's doing this as I thought wood expanded width-wise not length-wise. According to the hardwood company they don't recommend gluing their boards down to concrete. (http://www.mullicanflooring.com/ShoppingGuide.html) Who is right in this case? The hardwood floor company or the adhesive company? Thanks again for your comment, I really do appreciate any insight/information. It's depressing to see my first home's hardwood floors looking sh*tter each day that's passing.

Expert Advice needed! Sika T55?? 01 Feb 2011 17:30 #704

Olivia,
Your initial post was somewhat misleading and deceptive and gave the impression that you might be considering using this procedure on a new floor. The advice and comments here will not be very useful in disputing your developers' position until you have a proper inspection completed with findings that objectively document the defects.
Brickman Consulting

Expert Advice needed! Sika T55?? 01 Feb 2011 18:05 #705

I'm not trying to use this info against my developer. I was hoping to gain credible written information. I have already gone through an inspection with a certified hardwood floor inspector. I was hoping to find some shared information on a product that is hard to get information on. No matter what searchable words I use the results are the same, product data sheet. I apologize if it seems my intent was to use this information as something to dispute with my developer. The best laid plans are the ones with the most research put behind it. Thanks for your time.

Expert Advice needed! Sika T55?? 01 Feb 2011 18:27 #706

Had a Mullican solid 3/4 to work with some guy tried to glue it down to concrete. Ha ha good luck, disaster Waste ratio would probably be 50% and you would need a pallet of blocks to weight it down.

Age of the concrete does not matter, Where do people get this dumb azz theory that old concrete does not have MVE? Duh.

Walk away from this project....no....run fast away from it. Unless it's all shorts and you can do extensive moisture testing, rh and calcium chloride tests up the yazoo, plus a trowel on vapor retarder.

Just listening to your initial post tells me you know nothing about concrete or hardwood.

Expert Advice needed! Sika T55?? 01 Feb 2011 18:35 #708

grooving wrote:
Had a Mullican solid 3/4 to work with some guy tried to glue it down to concrete. Ha ha good luck, disaster Waste ratio would probably be 50% and you would need a pallet of blocks to weight it down.

Age of the concrete does not matter, Where do people get this dumb azz theory that old concrete does not have MVE? Duh.

Walk away from this project....no....run fast away from it. Unless it's all shorts and you can do extensive moisture testing, rh and calcium chloride tests up the yazoo, plus a trowel on vapor retarder.

Just listening to your initial post tells me you know nothing about concrete or hardwood.

I beg to differ. I've glued down tens of thousands of sq. ft. of wood flooring over the years without any failures. Just did one this past fall; 2-1/4" x 3/4" rift and quartered red oak. No problem. This was a great mill, very little waste. I usually fighure 15%, strap the floor and check frequently to insure good adhesive transfer, MAKE SURE YOU ARE USING AN ADHESVIE that works under 3/4" solid... no sweat. Just a few simple tricks of the trade and you're good to go.
Bob Goldstein
Vermont Natural Coatings
Technical Services, Training and Sales

Expert Advice needed! Sika T55?? 02 Feb 2011 15:22 #714

Well RQ is more stable and does not warp as much either. Didn't mean to say you cant gluedown solid, that Mullicant was a POS, hardly anthing straight and flat in a 1000sf. Of course goung to a wood substrate is easier than concrete. I teat it like a cork install, roll it, roll it and roll it agin with a hundred lb roller, then roll it again.

Expert Advice needed! Sika T55?? 03 Feb 2011 15:45 #719

I done solid 3/4" x 21/4" exotic unfinish over concrete and had no problems at all .
I do recomend moisture testing on ANY concrete slab dont matter how old it is and also concrete sealer .
Make sure that you have a proper acclimation of material and follow all the procedures for the installation (like Bob say it).
Good lucky .

Expert Advice needed! Sika T55?? 03 Feb 2011 19:45 #723

Im in Australia and am a flooring installer and an accredited inspector for the australian timber flooring association. Here we predominantly use adhesives on almost all floor installs, and it can be done very succesfully. However it also introduces considerably more cautions that must be met at the preperation stages. The most significant differance with adhesive fixing a floor is the severe restriction that it places on the natural movement of hardwood floors, and introduce's potential problems such as peaking in higher density flooring and crushing with low to medium density floorboards at board edges. This gives the appearance of a cupped floor however is a pressure related problem and not a differance in moisture gradient like a cupped floor is. A moisture test should always be taken of the slab to deside if a mvb is need or not, however older slabs are generally drier and release moisture at acceptable rate for timber to handle. Your description of the floor both buckling and gapping seems to contradict each other as buckling is usually a result of increased moisture and expansion whereas gapping is usually the result of reduced moisture and shrikage. could you perhaps be a bit more specific with what you mean by buckling?

Expert Advice needed! Sika T55?? 04 Feb 2011 16:10 #728

I believe that Sika requires the use of their primer/vapor barrier in their guarantee.

Expert Advice needed! Sika T55?? 17 Aug 2011 17:08 #1784

  • Jim Decker
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I see this is a condo project. Had a big developer in El Paso in his 6500 sf house that used lightweight concrete and insisted we glue the engineered wood directly to it. After much discussion with various adhesive companies it was decided no one was foolish enough to do it and we floated 2 layers of 3/8" plywood and proceeded without any difficulty. He built a ton of condo's and insisted it was ok. However he never used hardwood in those projects. I don't see it mentioned so I ask is this light weight concrete?

Expert Advice needed! Sika T55?? 25 Aug 2011 10:48 #1826

  • craig
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Olivia stated that the floor was buckling and gaping. Gaps aren't usually associated with excess moisture. Sounds like the floor is drying and possibly warping.

The Sika T55 is a relatively flexible adhesive and lets the boards move with seasonal moisture content changes. Hey, maybe that's our solution to noisy floors over OSB.

I am disappointed that all Olivia got from her inspector was that the floor needed to be replaced. How about a cause?

Expert Advice needed! Sika T55?? 25 Aug 2011 17:20 #1827

. Hey, maybe that's our solution to noisy floors over OSB.

:)))))))))

Expert Advice needed! Sika T55?? 27 Aug 2011 13:02 #1837

  • tdmac
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Howard Brickman said it best in my opinion. Installing solid strip and or planks will only work IF the pieces are straight, short and totally dry. That being said. As Howard states, the concrete can and mostlikely will have moisture. So install a sheetvinyl membrane glued to the slab, no matter what!!!
My house has 3/4" solid oak "shorts" straight and herring block design w/ feature strips, all over my concrete slab with the sheet vinyl membrane. 26 years, no problems.
I have installed hundreds of thousands of feet of "shorts" like my own house. Bob Goldstein is also correct with proper, dry straight wood pieces , BUT only over a sheet vinyl moisture membrane. That will always Cover your Aspects ; then no worries!

Expert Advice needed! Sika T55?? 02 Sep 2011 19:21 #1871

I take it Howard will not be teaching the next NWFA school on gluing down solid hardwood and floor prep eh? :\: heh heh
<em>edited by grooving on 9/2/2011</em>

Expert Advice needed! Sika T55?? 13 Sep 2011 10:37 #1929

Thank you to everyone for your insights. I am not an expert nor claimed to be, just a first time home buyer learning more about hardwood floor installation as I am having some major problems with my floors. As I previously posted, Mullican does not recommend gluing their product to concrete, but I doubt that will be sufficient enough to prove that the installation was done incorrectly as according to Sika, concrete can be glued down to as long as it is ground and thoroughly cleaned with industrial vacuum cleaner. (whatever that means) I had assumed the cause was improper installation, at least according to my report. Seems that there just isn't a lot of information on Sika, hence I wanted to ask experts their use with the glue and advice on whether you could glue such a wide board down to concrete without ramifications. Other than that, I would still like to find additional information regarding the moisture content of older buildings and if there is a need to put a vapor barrier for an I.M. Pei building that is from the 1960's.

Thanks again.

Expert Advice needed! Sika T55?? 13 Sep 2011 13:30 #1933

Olivia wrote:
Thank you to everyone for your insights. I am not an expert nor claimed to be, just a first time home buyer learning more about hardwood floor installation as I am having some major problems with my floors. As I previously posted, Mullican does not recommend gluing their product to concrete, but I doubt that will be sufficient enough to prove that the installation was done incorrectly as according to Sika, concrete can be glued down to as long as it is ground and thoroughly cleaned with industrial vacuum cleaner. (whatever that means) I had assumed the cause was improper installation, at least according to my report. Seems that there just isn't a lot of information on Sika, hence I wanted to ask experts their use with the glue and advice on whether you could glue such a wide board down to concrete without ramifications. Other than that, I would still like to find additional information regarding the moisture content of older buildings and if there is a need to put a vapor barrier for an I.M. Pei building that is from the 1960's.

Thanks again.

The age of a slab is moot... any sub-floor should be tested for moisture. See if your contractor tested the slab and if they documented the findings.
Bob Goldstein
Vermont Natural Coatings
Technical Services, Training and Sales
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