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Question DetailsAsked on 7/2/2014

Is my contractor responsible for floor boards separating when he removed the baseboard to replace the trim?.

The brazilian cherry floor boards separated leaving gaps between the boards. Contractor says the floor wasn't installed correctly. The baseboard was installed first and held the floor boards together. The contractor didn't notice the boards had separated. We pointed it out along with dirt that had been caught in the gaps between the board and he said he isn't able to push them back when he installs the new trim. What options to we have for fixing this?

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2 Answers


It sounds like your flooring was installed incorrectly. And the baseboard definitely was. While most wood floors are to be nailed to the subfloor they are supposed to have an expansion area for the floor to move with the changes in humidity. Even the floors that float have a gap between the wall and the flooring and that is covered by the baseboard. If this space is not provided the floor can buckle or even at times push the walls out at the bottom.

With out seeing the floor it is hard to say what the fix would be but it could be that part or all of the floor may have to be removed and reset. Depending on the floor this may or may not be possible. As I said there is a space at the edges and the last few pieces are face nailed, sometimes these will open up as the face nails do not hold quite as well as those driven in through the tongues. The finish nails used there are thinner than the flooring nails used for the main part of the floor. If it is just the edge you may be able to remove just that and reset them but they should be cut to the proper size to allow the gap.


Answered 6 years ago by ContractorDon


I agree with Don's comments.

As to the contractor removing the baseboards being responsible for the problem - unless he was REALLY rough with the flooring, which I can't visualize and would be evidenced by gouges and such in the flooring, he is not at fault - the original flooring contractor is. Don't know how long the floor has been in - if under warranty, time to make a warranty claim - and this woull be installer warranty, not manufacturer warranty as the defect is in the installation, not the product, in my opinion.

When this happens - and not uncommon with snap flooring I am sorry to say - sometimes, but only sometimes, you can pull the joints back together ok - he has to put laminate board pullers like this but with hole for binder straps -

at the two ends of the room near the side but leaving nailing room, then (after gluing if glued joints) pull the joints back together with strap tighteners with stiffner boards under the strapping so the flooring does not buckle up, then if not glued joints use heavy duty cable staples of right length at the ends of the boards at each joint (if floating floor) or heavier nails (if nailed floor) to hold them together. Then the baseboard goes over it, covering the staples - may require a thick-based baseboard to cover them. OBviously, best way is to remove and relay the flooring right, ithat is possible.

Hopefully floor is under warranty and then it is that contractor's problem.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD

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