Can I screw down a floating floor?

17 Jun 2012
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United Kingdom
We recently refurbished our house and installed solid bamboo flooring, floating over a cork underlay on top of floorboards (and concrete in the kitchen).

Unfortunately the builder has botched the ground floor: he laid the floor then built the kitchen on top of it so the floor can't expand and move as it should. I also suspect he hasn't left enough of an expansion gap around the sides (but this is hidden under the new skirting), so the floor is now bowing upwards in several places.

The builder is refusing to come back and blaming materials (saying the floorboards are warping because cork isn't waterproof - as if it wasn't used to stop wine bottles!). We don't want to take up the whole floor as that would involve breaking it (the builder glued all the uniclic boards together) and dismantling the kitchen so we're looking at alternative solutions.

Another builder whom we called to get a second opinion suggested screwing down the boards into the wooden subfloor or joists, countersinking the screws and plugging the holes with a mixture of floorboard sawdust and PVA glue to colour match the floor. Is this really an alternative? Or will it just cause further problems such as the floorboards splitting when the floor tries to expand and contract? The builder wasn't sure - he said he'd try it because the alternative is destroying the floor anyway - so I am asking the DIYnot hivemind.

Thank you for your wisdom!
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If a floor is screwed down it will expand and contract within its own space, but that assumes there is an expansion gap so each board will act independantly of its neighbour.

Uniclic has no gap which makes the whole floor act as one, I suspect screwing it down will just make the boards buckle up at the screw heads.

Cant you remove the skirting and cut a bit off with a multitool?

Under the kitchen plinth maybe a multitool turned sideways would cut through the floor enough (im guessing i dont know if there would be enough room.
Failing that maybe stitch drill using an angled cordless drill.

If there is enough expansion gap, naybe you just need to drill around the kitchen cabinet feet to allow the floor to move

Not great ideas but hey........
Thanks Notch7. Two little issues are that:
a) the bamboo is REALLY hard! Yes, a multitool will cut it but the blade will need to be replaced every three feet or so!
b) we also have a kitchen island (sitting on the same floor) which would be almost impossible to cut around without dismantling. I mean, we'll dismantle it if we need to but I just wanted to see if the screwing down method was feasible instead!
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Problem is using builders to do a floor layers job.

The areas where units have been built on top, the bamboo can be cut with a multi tool under the units and removed, you may be able to re-adjust feet to the subfloor or leave flooring under the feet and remove the rest. See how the floor settles and go from there.

If you have other areas of issue, remove skirtings and trim more of an expansion gap with your multi tool and replace skirtings. The expansion gap should be 10mm, not 2mm

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