Problem with tongue and groove floor

18 Nov 2007
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United Kingdom
My lounge was fitted with high-quality engineered wood flooring. The floor was laid on an acoustic underlay and each board is firmly locked side, back and front to adjacent boards by tongue and grooves.

After less than a year, one of the boards developed a bulge at its edge, which became raised slightly above the adjacent boord. The fitter’s solution was to cut out the board with the bulge, remove the underlay from underneath it and then lay a new board in the same position after cutting off its tongue and grooving.

However, there is now a loud, and I do mean ‘loud’, squeaking whenever walking on or near the new board and there is visible movement between the new and adjacent boards.

The fitters solution is now to remove the new board, and then prize up the adjacent boards slightly and squirt or brush glue underneath them as far as possible. He then plans to glue the new boord directly to the floor.

My concern is that, although the new board might be bonded firmly to the floor, he will be glueing only the edges of good boards to the underlay and they will still be able to move up and down slightly as the underlay compresses under load.

I can’t see how the integrity and strength of the floor can be maintained by his solution and I feel that the proper method is to remove all the boards from that section of the floor and re-lay them all so that they are all locked to each other by tongue and grooves. Am I being unreasonable?
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Thank you for replying to my post. Do you mean at the edge between boards or the edge where the boards meet the wall? All the boards are tightly locked together with no gaps between them except for the new board where there is a small gap to the adjacent boards. When walking on the area of the new board, you can see slight movement between the boards and hear a loud squeak or creak.
You need a gap around the edge of the floor covering and wall so the boards can expand. If there's no gap they can't expand adequately and it can lift the boards as you describe. It's less likely in engineered flooring but the current approach by your fitter doesn't sound great.
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The correct way to repair it would be to take up all the boards between the 'lifting' one and where the boards meet the wall. Replace broken board with a new one, (without any trimming of tongue or groove), locked in on all sides and then re-lay the remaining boards back to the wall.
Where the biards meet the wall there should be a 10mm gap between the boards and the wall to allow for expansion. This gap should be around ALL the edges of the floor so none of the boards actually touch the walls. If they do touch the walls it prevents the boards expanding/contracting with changes in the humidity of the room. Seems like this may have been the possible cause of the original board lifting.
One thing you do need, is a professional fitter. Not Jimmy with a jemmy who cuts off the tongue and groove to simply drop it in and hope a dab of glue cure it. He has now created a weak point in the floor and any future problems will emanate from this point. The whole floor needs to be locked solid.
Thank you for responding. You have pretty well confirmed what I thought the correct solution was. I probably didn’t explain it properly but the original bulge was not a board lifting but a small lifting of the top surface of one board in just one place as though it was being pushed up from underneath. The bulge was starting to crack. The edges of the boards where they abut the walls do, I think, have expansion gaps but they are covered by edging strips/beading.

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