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Old 01-24-2015, 03:24 PM   #1
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1989 25' Excella
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New Vinyl Flooring Problem

OK, I just installed new vinyl planking which is floating, and installed it in 70 degree tremperature. All looked well with tight joints, as I was using locking joint planks that are 5mm thick. No glue or nails in the installation of the planks, except nailing the trim through the flooring and into the subfloor. Had a freeze two days later and four of my end joints toward the rear of my 25 ft trailer opened up from what was originally a tight joint.
I was told by the supplier that the vinyl would not be affected by temperature swings, one reason I chose the material. Now the supplier says the material is prone to constriction and expansion and I should not have nailed the trim, but glued it to allow a true float.
Anyone have advise or experience with similar situation?
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Old 01-24-2015, 03:37 PM   #2
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Since the supplier has told you completely opposite things, you could return the product and look for one that works better. But, everything is subject to expansion and contraction, even ceramic tile.

The trim should not be nailed through the new flooring as it will not allow it to float or it may expand so much that it raises up in the middle. Nail trim to walls and furniture only.

I used "loose lay" panels from Karndean and glued with a type of glue that only holds it in place, kind of, but I could still lift each panel. This glue just makes it tacky. While it shrinks during winter and opens up spaces, I can move the panels in the spring and they mostly stay in place. Then I can check out the condition of the subfloor and see if there are any leaks. When you have the floor up, it is good to seal the subfloor with a spar polyurethane in case you get a leak someday (and you will).

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Old 01-24-2015, 04:00 PM   #3
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Once you fastened the trim through the flooring, it was no longer a "floating" floor. Kind of like a skin stretched out on a rack - as the floor changed dimensionally, with the edges "pinned" so to speak, something had to give.

Remove the trim, use a thin piece of cardboard as a spacer between the trim and floor and then reinstall the trim using horizontal fasteners or glue (I used brass screws). Should be good to go.

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Old 01-24-2015, 05:10 PM   #4
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Did you tell the supplier you were intending to install the materials in an RV subject to periods without heat and wide temperature change? Their stock answer for 'home' applications is "dimensionally stable" but typically that is within highs and lows of a range roughly between 60-85. The install instructions, their fall back position, clearly states leave expansion/contraction room and to not secure it to the subfloor. If you do secure through the flooring (like under the couch) an oversize hole is necessary and do NOT cinch down the fastener.
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Old 01-25-2015, 01:03 PM   #5
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Also, leave about 1/4-3/8" between the edge of the flooring and any wall, cabinet or other obstruction. Since most trim is around 5/8-3/4", it will cover the expansion/contraction space.

In our trailer I had to remove the seat on one side of the dinette. I screwed the seat back down over the new flooring trying to make sure it only covered one panel. But the panels were not quite wide enough, so a part of another was also under the leg (not rally a leg, but a long piece of metal with two legs going up to the seat). Since the panels underneath have plenty of room to expand otherwise and no other panels are captured by anything nearby, this has not been a problem. Another place where you put some downward pressure on the flooring is at transitions between types of flooring—maybe between a hallway and bedroom, or a hallway and bathroom. A transition piece, usually a metal threshold, is screwed down to the subfloor and the new flooring goes under it. If you don't screw it down too tightly, the flooring will move under it without a problem.

Before I replaced the cheap vinyl sheet flooring, it was developing bumps in the middle. This has been reported frequently in people who live in cold climates such as Canada and Colorado. You would think contraction would be a problem then and I have never quite figured this out. When summer came, it might flatten out, but not entirely. The OEM vinyl was not glued down and was captured under cabinets and walls. They put it down in the trailer before they install anything else. This saves labor, but is a bad practice. I can only guess that this type of vinyl has develops bumps when temps go below 0˚ F; maybe a chemistry or materials expert can explain this. The OEM vinyl is thinner than any other vinyl I could find when I was researching flooring. Cheap indeed.

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Old 01-25-2015, 05:55 PM   #6
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Great feedback and advice, all of which I should have asked for pre- install. Hopefully the contraction of the vinyl did not damage the interlocking feature that allows for tight joints on this particular vinyl. Will pull all the trim tomorrow and assess at that time.
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Old 01-25-2015, 08:08 PM   #7
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I carefully put peel and stick 2mm in mine in the summer. With temps down to nine degrees, it has contracted a bit leaving small consistent gaps. I am sure it will expand somewhere between here and Arizona this summer.
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