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Engineered wood expansion/gaps

When fitting engineered wood I've been told that it would expand and contract between summer/winter.

1. Does engineered wood flooring expand in winter or expand in the summer?
Logic would indicate that it would expand when warmer, but someone told me that wood expands in the winter (I'm now confused).
2. if the flooring has been pinned/secret nailed to the ply subfloor, then how does this impact the expansion and contraction of the engineered wood?
(if it was a floating floor then clearly it could move with the expansion and contraction, however, given that it has been pinned to the subfloor - how does this now work?)
3. My concern is that I might not have sufficient expansion gaps where the flooring meets the skirting and now that we're on October, what is likely to happen in the winter and following summer?
4. Given that the flooring has been secret nailed to the floor - am I worrying about nothing?

I welcome your responses.

** Clarification **
Thank you for the responses so far.
What I still don't understand is this...
How much does engineered wood actually expand and contract by? 10-15mm seems like a very large gap to leave all around. Surely the flooring doesn't expand by that much.
Many people recommend the best way to fix engineered wood flooring is with secret nails - in which case the nails would come loose and the flooring would get damaged if it did expand.

What is your experience if the ngineered wood flooring has been secured with the secret nail method?

4 Answers from MyBuilder Carpenters & Joiners

Best Answer

If sufficient expansion was left all around the walls and under door frames at least 10mm preferably 15mm then you will be totally fine.. engineered floors expands and contracts very little if any at all.. The exact reason why engineered floors was introduced to the market to eliminate this problem. years ago all that we had was solid wood floors and these boards have a mind of there own.. if solid wood is not fitted correctly then expansion and contraction can be a real problem. engineered floors no such problem however still a natural product so if excess water or moister gets to the boards then its going to give you problems.. seasonal weather will not cause issues as long as it was fitted correctly..


Answered 12th Oct 2019

You should always leave at least a 10mm gap. Use shims/ packers to keep the joints tights. Also strap clamps and keep measuring so it stays square


Answered 11th Oct 2019

1. The more moisture in the air the more moisture in the timber flooring. Hence why in the winter when it’s cold and damp the flooring swells and in summer the warmer drier weather drys the floor and reduces the swelling.

2. The forces of nature laugh in the face of nails and screws, if your subfloor is above a solum/ground level the chances of your floor expanding and contracting are much high than if you have heated rooms or space under your level, however that said if you have a decent quality engineered floor the expansion and contraction will be far less than your solid timber or mdf crappy laminate.

3. How much was the floor? I’m sure a damn sight more than removing the skirting and adding timber packer along the back before refitting and putting them on top of your floor to allow its to expand.

4. Iv been a joinery for 13 years and if it was my floor I would remove and replace the skirtings


Answered 11th Oct 2019

When a tong & grove floor is layed at the
Time of construction on a building site
It is delivered as loose boards in a pile
Of wood out side if it is a worim summer
Moisture content is low because of
Worem whether so the provider of
The wooden floor has got to get moisture
Content right on pacaching all down
To the supplier of floor to get it right


Answered 15th Oct 2019

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