Hot Topics: Laying Tongue and Groove Flooring

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Sometimes you have one question, but you really need the answer to another. Tongue and groove flooring fits together pretty easily, but reaching the wall brings up an obvious problem. Not so obvious is what’s happening under your floor. Don’t be distracted by putting together the puzzle and miss the foundation it’s resting on. The Forum will help you stay on track, if you listen.

Original Post: Cutting tongue and groove flooring

gary2406 Member

I have six foot tongue and groove planks of bamboo that I plan on gluing down to concrete. If I cut the ends off of planks to stagger the board lengths does that cause problems getting the ends to butt together and stay in place since the tongue has been removed?

Highlights from the Thread

chandler Forum Topic Moderator

Is this laminate? Not sure I would glue it to any surface. It needs to float. If it is 5/8-inch bamboo, gluing the tongues and grooves usually suffices. In either instance it will swell and contract so it must float. You only cut the tongues and grooves off the ends at the walls. It all ties together throughout the field. If you need a shorter piece, cut the first one in the run and proceed. Take the waste you had from that cut and start the next run on the opposite wall. Keep an eye on where the seams land, as you don't want them landing together.

gary2406 Member

This is 3/8-inch strand bamboo.

czizzi Member

What size is your room? I gather from the fact that the boards are so long, you are trying to minimize waste. Traditionally, as Larry mentioned, you stagger (by thirds) each starting board for each row and then you use what you cut to finish the final board on that row. Check to see what the manufacturer recommends, as they will specifically call out glue down as an option in the installation instructions. Otherwise, you glue to each other or click lock and float.

gary2406 Member

The room is 12 ½-feet by 25 feet. Will be kitchen and breakfast area. I missed to obvious when I did not realize how easy it is to stagger the pieces and use the cut-off to finish the row or start the next row. Thanks for making that so clear.

I plan to glue the 3/8-inch stranded bamboo down to the concrete, however part of the original floor is sheet vinyl. I had planned to glue over this also, thinking it would be a great vapor barrier, using Bostik Best Adhesive, however now that I have read the complete instructions for the adhesive it says to not glue hardwood to vinyl. What complications arise if you glue bamboo to vinyl?

chandler Forum Topic Moderator

You don't want to glue the wood to anything but itself at the tongues and grooves. Gluing it to another stratum will cause it to buckle once it starts to expand and contract. This will happen in a basement, for sure. Where you have sheet vinyl, it needs to come up. It will make a distinct demarcation where the wood crosses from one plane to the other.

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