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Engineered Hardwood Flooring Installation Instructions

CFA Engineered Hardwood Planks and Strips can be installed over most sub-floors, and are engineered to be dimensionally stable, making them suitable for installation over all grade levels.  Before you start your installation it is recommened that you remove all current room moldings and wall base, and undercut all door casings with a hand or pawer jam saw using a scrap piece of flooring as a guide.IMPORTANT: Please read all provided information and guidelines before the installation of any CFA Industrial's engineered hardwood floor.

DISCLAIMER: It is the contractor/installer responsibility to decide which of the following method is the most suitable for the chosen engineered hardwood floor based on factors such as, but not limited to, the chosen engineered hardwood floor, subfloor material, humidity level, etc.

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Installer/Owner Responsibility

It is the installer/owner responsibility to inspect ALL materials carefully BEFORE installation. Wood is a natural product containing natural characteristics such as natural variations in color, tone and graining.Some variation in color is to be expected in a natural wood floor. Even though our product goes through many inspections before it leaves the plant, it is the customer and installer’s responsibility for final inspection prior to installation.
WARNING: All CFA Industrial's warranties pertinent to visable defects WILL BE VOIDED once the engineered hardwood flooring is installed.

Suggested Tools

Suggested Tools for Installation

[] Broom or Vacuum

[] Chalk line

[] Tapping Block

[] Hardwood Surface Cleaner

[] Hand or Electric Jam Saw,

[] Table Saw or Miter Saw

[] Moisture Meter

[] Safety Glasses

[] Tape Measure

[] 3M Blue Tape

[] Square

[] Uility Knife

[] If gluing, use Professional’s Choice urethane wood flooring adhesive, towels and trowel.

[] If nailing/stapling, use a 20 gauge, 1” staple, with a power nailer. If you are nailing/stapling a CFA 5" wide product, an 18 gauge, 1 1/4" staple or longer, with a power   nailer is recommended. (Note: You must use a 3/8” or ½” adapter as appropriate.)

WARNING: Improper use of a power nailer can mark the surface of the flooring

DISCLAIMER: This is only a list provided by CFA Industrial that suggests to installer, contracter, buyer...e.g,. tools that he or she may select to use. The list of suggested tools may or may not be sutible for the hardwood flooring installation job. It is at the discrection of the installer, contracter, buyer...e.g to decide whether or not the aforementioned tools and method are appropriate for the hardwood flooring installation job. CFA industrial will not be liable from any damage(s) caused by aforementioned tools and method that may or may not occur to the hardwood floor or to the property that the hardwood floor is being installed to.


Jobsite Conditions

It is the responsibility of the installers/owner to determine if the job site sub-floor and job site conditions are environmentally and structurally acceptable for wood floor installation. CFA Industrial will not be held responsible for any wood failure that results from or is connected with subfloor, subsurface, job site damage or deficiencies after hardwood flooring has been installed.


[Moisture and Humidity Conditions]

Protect your flooring from moisture at all times. The hardwood floor job site should have a consistent room temperature between 60°F to 80°F (16°C to 27°C) and relative humidity between 40% to 60%. The failure to comply with these performance ranges will void any pertinent CFA Industrial's warranty.

IMPORTANT: At least 72 hours prior to the installation of the flooring CFA Industrial's engineered hardwood flooring it must be stored in the room of where it is to be installed to acclimate the engineered hardwood flooring to the room.


[Subfloor Moisture Check]

CFA Wood Flooring Adhesive may be used for above, on, and below grade applications and on all common substrates. On and below grade applications are susceptible to moisture and should be tested for moisture prior to installation in several locations within the installation area.
Acceptable conditions for above, on, and below grade applications are:

  • Less than 3lbs./1000 sq. ft./24 hrs. on a calcium chloride test.

  • Less than a reading of 5.0 on a Tramex Concrete Moisture Encounter (Moisture Meter).

  • Wood Substrates must have a moisture reading of less than 14% when using a Tramex or equivalent moisture meter.


[Correcting Sub-Floor Problems Concerning Moisture]

Wait until the sub-floor dries to meet specifications or use an appropriate moisture barrier.


Subfloor Preparation

Subfloor preparation is VERY CRITICAL for a FLOATING ENGINEERED HARDWOOD FLOOR when compared to a staple or glue down application. The floor must be flat to 1/8 inch in 10 feet.  If the floor requires correction, the high areas can be grounded down and the low areas may be filled by floating latex fortified by Portland leveling compound. The leveling compound must be allowed to dry according to the manufacturers instructions before the floor is installed over it. The use of sand or extra padding to fill low areas is not recommended. Use of sand or extra padding to fill low areas will void out CFA Industrial's Warranties. 


[Concrete Subfloor]

New concrete slabs require a minimum of 60 days drying time before covering them with a wood floor.


[Light Weight Concrete Subfloor]

Light weight concrete that has a dry density of 100 pounds or less per cubic foot is only suitable for engineered wood floors when using the floating installation method. Many products have been developed as self-leveling toppings or floor underlayments. These include cellular concrete, resin-reinforced cementations underlayments, and gypsum-based materials. Only some of these products may have the necessary qualifications of underlayment for wood flooring installations. To test the lightweight concrete, scrape a coin or key across the surface of the subfloor. If the surface powders easily or has a dry density of 100 pounds or less per cubic foot, use only the floating installation method.


Concrete subbfloors must be dry, smooth (Level with 3/16” in a 10 foot. Radius-1/8” in 6’) and free of structural defects. Hand scrape or sand with a 20-grit #3-1/2 open face paper to remove loose, flaky concrete. Grind high spots in concrete and fill low spots with a Portland based leveling compound (min. 3,000 p.s.i.) Concrete must also be free of paint, oil, existing adhesives, wax grease, dirt and curing compounds. These may be removed mechanically but do not use any solvent-based strippers under any circumstances. The use of residual solvents can prohibit the satisfactory bond of the wood flooring adhesives. It is important to ensure a proper bond between the adhesive and the concrete, and planks or strips. CFA Industrial's engineered hardwood flooring may be installed on grade, above grade, as well as below grade where moisture conditions do not exist.

IMPORTANT: To ensure a long lasting bond, make sure that the perimeter of the foundation has adequate drainage and vapor barrier.  


[Wood Subfloor]

Wood subfloors need to be nailed down or secured with screws. Nails should be ring shanks and screws needs to be counter sunk. The wood subfloor needs to be structurally sound and dry. It should not exceed 14% moisture prior to installation. If the subfloor is a single layer, less than 3/4” thick, add a single cross layer for strength and stability (minimum 5/16": thick for a total 1” thickness). This is to reduce the possibility of squeaking. Wood subfloors must be free of paint, oil, existing adhesives, wax grease, dirt and urethane, varnish...etc. Underlayment grade OSB (not the wax side) is also suitable sub-floors. Particleboard is not an acceptable subfloor for staple or nail down installations, but can be used as a sub-floor in glue down installations. When installing over existing wood flooring, install at right angles to the existing floor.


[Radiant Heated Subfloor]

Before installing over a radiant heated floor turn off the radiant heater and wait until the floor has reached room temperature. After installing the floor, you can than return the heat to the previous setting.

WARNING: The slab surface must never exceed 85°F (29°C) in temperature.


[Subfloors Other Than The Aforementioned Subfloors]

Terrazzo, tile and any other hard surfaces that are dry, structurally sound and level, as described above, are suitable as a subfloor for CFA Industrial's engineered hardwood flooring. The surface must be sound, tight and free of paint, oil, existing adhesives, wax, grease and dirt. Terrazzo and ceramic tile must be scuffed to assure adhesion.
WARNING: Perimeter glued resilient vinyl and rubber tiles are unacceptable as subfloors and must be removed. Do not sand existing resilient tile, sheet flooring, backing, or felt linings. These products may contain asbestos fibers that are not readily identifiable. Inhalation of asbestos dust can cause asbestosis or other serious bodily harm. Check with local, state and federal laws for handling hazardous material before attempting the removal of these floors.


Racking The Floors

Whether your choose to install the floor with glue, nails, or staples start by using random length planks from the carton or by cutting four to five planks in random lengths, differing by at least 6”. As you continue working across the floor be sure to maintain the 6” minimum between end joints on all adjacent rows. To not waste material, you can use the left over pieces from the fill cuts to start the next row or to complete a row.

TIP: When installing a pre-finished wood floor be sure to blend the wood from several cartons to ensure a good grain and shading mixture through out the installation.




Glue Down Methods

There are two ways to install when using Professional’s Choice adhesive: Wet Lay & Dry Lay. Wet lay means that the installer lay directly into wet adhesive and dry lay method means that the installer have allowed the adhesive to flash or to tack up before laying down the wood flooring.

DISCLAIMER: Whether you choose to install using the dry or wet method follow all guidelines set by the adhesive manufacturer as well as CFA engineered hardwood flooring. All flooring warranties will be voided if CFA Industrial's guidelines are not adhere to.

Method 1: Wet Lay

You can use 3M Blue Mask Tape to hold planks securely in place as you are installing and as you continue the process through out the installation. Use caution when using a rubber mallet to butt materials together as it can burn the finish and cause marring on the hardwood floor. Make sure to clean any adhesive off the surface before it cures using clean terry cloth towels and Professional’s Choice Urethane Remover.

WARNING: Never work on top of the flooring when installing with the wet lay method. 

[Step 1]

Select a starter wall. It is recommended to start the installation along an exterior wall; it’s more likely to be straight and square with the room. Measure out from the wall the width of two planks and mark each end of the room and snap your chalk line.

[Step 2]

Spread Professional’s Choice Flooring Adhesive from the chalk line to the starter wall using the recommended trowel (3/16"x1/4"x1/2"v notch). It is important to use the correct trowel at a 45% angle to get the proper spread of adhesive applied to the sub-floor, which will produce a proper and permanent bond. Improper bonding can cause loose or hollow spots.

TIP: Change the trowel every 2000 to 3000 square feet due to wear down of the notches. This assures you always get the proper spread of adhesive.

[Step 3]

Install the first row of starter planks with the tongue facing the starter wall and secure into position. Alignment is critical and can be achieved by securing a straight edge along the chalk line (2’x 4’s work well), or by top nailing the first row with finishing nails (wood sub-floor), or sprig/pin nails (concrete sub-floor). This prevents slippage of the planks that can cause misalignment.

TIP: The planks along the wall may have to be cut to fit since most walls are not straight. Leaving an expansion space is not necessary with CFA engineered hardwood planks and strips.

[Step 4]

Once the starter rows are secure spread 2-1/2 to 3 feet of adhesive the length of the room. 

WARNING: Never lay more adhesive than can be covered by Hardwood Floors within a  2 hours timeframe.

[Step 5: Last Step]

Place tongue into the plank/strip(s) groove and press firmly into adhesive. Use a tapping block to fit planks snug together at side and butt ends.

WARNING: Never slide planks or strips through adhesive.

Method 2: Dry Lay

TIP: You can use 3M Blue Mask Tape to hold planks securely in place as you are installing and as you continue the process through out the installation. 

IMPORTANT: Use a kneeling baord if you are working on top of newly laid flooring.

[Step 1]

Select your starter wall and measure out from the wall. Measure a distance of 27” from the starter wall if installing 2.25” strip flooring or 30 if installing 5” planks. This will allow adequate working space. Snap chalk line.

[Step 2]

Apply adhesive from the chalk line out 2 ½ ‘-3’. Allow adhesive to flash as per the instructions affixed to the top of the adhesive container. The humidity chart will aid in allowing the appropriate flash time based on the temperature and humidity.

[Step 3]

Secure your starter rows with a straight edge (2’x 4’s). 

[Step 4]

 Install planks.
Tip: You secure planks with 3M Blue Mask Tape as you proceed with your installation. 

[Step 5: Last Step]

Once the remainder of the floor has been installed go back to the beginning and remove straight edges and spread adhesive on the remainder of the open subfloor, allow flashing for the appropriate time and lying flooring as instructed.
Tip: It is not necessary to roll the floor when using Professional’s Choice Flooring Adhesive.

Cleaning Up After Any Glude Down Method

Use clean white terry cloth towels to clean as you go, along with mineral spirits. Both are easy and convenient to use. Adhesive that has cured on the surface of the flooring can be difficult to remove and will require the use of a urethane remover. This product has been recommended by the adhesive manufacturer and is safe for the finish of your pre-finished CFA hardwood floor.

IMPORTANT: Light foot traffic is acceptable after at least a 12 hours wait but wait at least 24 hours after installation to remove the 3M blue masking tape. Once the tape is removed clean any adhesive residue left from the tape.




Staple or Nail Down Guideline

CFA Industrial's engineered hardwood floors may be installed over wood subfloors using staples or nailing cleats. When using the nale or staple method to install the  engineered wood planks or strips, it is necessary to use the correct type of flooring stapler or nailer made for installing engineered hardwood floors. Please refer to the Suggested Tools for Installation section for more detailed information. You must staple or nail 1” to 2” from the ends and every 4” to 6” along the edges. This will help ensure correct installation of the flooring. To prevent staples from going through or breaking the tongues, it is recommended that the compressor PSI be set at 80 to 85lbs. Improper stapling techniques can cause squeaks in the floor. Adjustments may be needed to provide adequate penetration of the nail or staple into the nail bed. You want it flush in the nail pocket. Use a scrap piece of flooring material to set tools properly before installation.

[Step 1]

Before the installation of the engineered flooring begins, install a 6-mil polyethylene layer over the sub-floor. This will retard moisture from below and may help prevent squeaks. Keep in mind there is no complete moisture barrier system for staple or nail down installations. Install the polyethylene parallel to the direction of the flooring and allow a 3” overhang at the perimeter. Make sure each run of polyethylene overlaps the previous run by 6” or more.
TIP: 15lb roofing felt or resin paper may be substituted for the polyethylene and installed the same way that you will install the Polyethylene.

[Step 2]

Layout the job. Measure out from the ends of your starting wall, 2 ¾” when installing 2 ¼” strip flooring or 3 ½” when installing 5” planks and mark both ends. Where possible lay the flooring at 90° angles to the floor joists. Make a chalk line along the starting wall using the marks you made.

[Step 3]

Begin the installation. Place the planks with the tongue facing away from the wall and along your chalk line. Use brads or small finishing nails to secure the first starter row along the wall edge 1 to 2 inch from the ends and every 4 to 6 inch along the side. Counter sink the nails and fill with a Professional’s Choice Filler that blends with the flooring installed. Place the nails in a dark grain spot in the board. The base or shoe molding will cover the nails when installed after completion of the installation. Blind nail at a 45° degree angle through the tongues.
TIP: For easier installation, you can pre-drill the holes in the tongues.
Nail 1 to 2 inch from the ends and every 4 to 6 inch along the sides. It will be necessary to blind nail the next 2 rows. A Stanley BT35 brad nailer with 1 to 1 ⅜ inch brads can also be used to blind nail, no pre-drilling is needed. Continue the installation using a sutible wood flooring stapler. Please only use staples or nails that recommended by a wood flooring professional. Nail or staple the flooring 1 to 2 inch from the ends and every 4 to 6 inch along the edge tongues.

Note: Expansion space is required along the perimeter of room(s) of intended installation, expansion space is dictated by the thickness of the product, for example,
⅜ inch thick floor requires ⅜ expansion space, ½ inch thick floor requires ½ inch expansion space.

[Step 4]

Install proper trim molding at the doorways to achieve an even transition and along the walls to cover the edges of any gaps along the wall due to irregularity. Complete the job by using Professional’s Choice Flooring Filler that blends with the installed flooring to fill any gapping along the joints.

Cleaning Up After Any Glude Down Method

Use a wood flooring professional recommended hardwood surface cleaner  and a terry cloth flooring mop to to clean the floor after a staple or nail down method.

Floating Floor Installation Guideline

IMPORTANT: Only engineered hardwood styles with 5 plies or more are approved for floating installation.

DISCLAIMER: Using the floating floor method to install engineered hardwood styles with 4 or less plies will void all CFA Industrial's warranty.


Underlayment requirements are very critical in the floating installation. Floating installation of CFA engineered Hardwood flooring requires the use of Arostep MG padding. CFA does not recommend the use of any other underlayment product. Excessive pad compression or compaction is a common cause of seam failure.   
IMPORTANT: In applications where the floor is installed on or below grade over a concrete slab, the Arostep MG pad must be used or in lieu of that a 6-mil poly sheet must be laid between the concrete and the Arostep pad.


[Expansion Space]

An expansion space of at least ½ inch must be maintained around the perimeter of the room, all pipes, counters, cabinets, fireplace hearths, door frames and any other fixed vertical objects in the room.


[Glue and Glue Placement]

Laminate glue is recommended for floating installation is Laminate Glue. Glue placement is very important. The glue must be placed along the topside of the groove and the full length of the grooved sides and ends. This can be accomplished by inverting the plank and applying a line of glue (3/32”) to the topside of the groove (side of the groove nearest the face of the plank), when the plank is turned back over the glue will run down the back of the groove giving total coverage. 
TIP: For the glue line, use a width no more than 3/32” wide. If the groove is filled with glue it will be difficult to close the seam not allowing a tight fit.


[Getting Started]

The installation begins with three rows of flooring glued together and held in place with blue painters tape with the groove side facing the wall. Spacers must be used to establish the minimum ½” expansion space from the walls. These three rows must be straight, square and in rack because they establish the alignment of the rest of the floor. After putting these three rows together allow the glue to set (15 to 45 minutes) before proceeding with the installation. With the tongue facing out the planks can be tapped together with a tapping block on the tongue to make a snug fit.  After installing 8 or 10 rows of flooring stand back and check for crowning or heaving due to tension strapping or any damage caused by improper tapping.


[Cleaning Up]

If any glue squeezes out of the seam between the planks allow it to dry for 10 to 15 minutes and then lightly scrape it away with a plastic scraper or putty knife, any glue left may be cleaned with a damp cloth or other method recommended by the adhesive manufacturer.  Do not allow the glue to dry on the face of the flooring; it will be very difficult to clean off.

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