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A few days ago I had a guy come out to install engineered oak hardwood flooring in my living room. It is installed in a floating style with nails holding it down on the edges of the outer walls and a threshold joining it to the vinyl in the kitchen. I don't recall seeing him measure if the subfloor was level, and the only thing I saw him put down was some kind of thick brown paper. It acclimated to the house for about 4 days before being installed.

There are several spots that visually look ok but depress down quite a bit when you step on it. It feels flimsy and cheap and is surprising to me because the same guy did several laminate floors for me and I never once experienced this. He swore to me that this hardwood floor was a better quality product than the laminate and that I would love it but I have serious doubts now. It was much more expensive.

On separate occasions I expressed my concern to him that perhaps this is happening because the subfloor needed to be leveled first, and he insisted that the floor would "settle" after about a month and that this bowing/depress thing when I step on the floor will go away. I haven't read anything about this with engineered hardwood floors so I am skeptical.

I was thinking of giving him the month and if it isn't any better I was going to ask him to pull the boards up and level the floor before replacing them, salvaging as much material as he can. Is this normal and will the floor settle?

  • Is it locking engineered wood or tongue-and-groove engineered wood? – Chris M. Jan 30 '18 at 20:26
  • @ChrisM. Tongue and groove i think. Some mill in NC. He said it was 12mm but i measured a scrap piece and it is only 3/8" thick – maple_shaft Jan 30 '18 at 21:46
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If it is a floating floor design it should not be nailed down. This impedes the movement that occurs due to temperature and humidity changes. As the floor expands it will create "ridges" in the floor. The brand/type of flooring would help.

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    I agree. A floor is either floating or not. Whether this caused the issue or it's a result of depressions in the subfloor is uncertain. I would give it time. – isherwood Jan 30 '18 at 21:17
  • @isherwood You think it might settle with time? – maple_shaft Jan 30 '18 at 22:01
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    Yep, if the nailed perimeter allows it to. – isherwood Jan 30 '18 at 22:09

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