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huge mistake with heavy bar over floating floor.


yes, i know ive made a whopping mistake. lets get that out of the way right now... its too long of a story as to the why's and how's but contractor and homeowner would not wait til my huge bar was done and went ahead and laid a massive floating floor down in a basement . needless to say, i had to install my cabinets and made a bad decision by not demanding they wait. i may be a good cabinetmaker but i am a rookie in the flooring dept and i admit, i screwed up by not knowing it would buckle. so, of course, it also gets a whopper of a piece of granite and of course, we installed in the winter and of course now its buckled. ok, ill get past the whole contractor/homeowner/ me debate as to who is responsible. its all very civil and it will get repaired, luckily, the customer is a levelheaded decent guy. my question is, we are debating as to HOW to fix it. I had a thought that i would need to cut a footprint relief cut around the bar, therefore seperating it from the rest of the floor. the flooring and the bar cannot all be taken up. its just not possible due to many reasons. the granite alone is 36" x 10 feet in length . anyway, i really dont have a solution yet, i have suggested bringing in an independent flooring contractor to advise. any thoughts, that is, after youve stopped laughing???

7/13/12       #2: huge mistake with heavy bar over fl ...
Marty Member

Gday Tom,
How is you think your cabinets have caused the floor to buckle ?
The word basement could be also associated moisture/dampness/membrane or lack of..........


7/13/12       #3: huge mistake with heavy bar over fl ...
james mcgrew Member

if i throw a large brick on top of my swimming pool over and it all sinks around the brick then it is pretty obvious where the problem is, i have a bar ontop of a floating floor and have never heard another word of it, i am sure if it is obvious then it is a needed fix, yet if the diagnosis is wrong it will happen again. i would pay a good flooring fellow,,,,on your own and i would not tell him the problem let him see it and tell you what he sees.

7/13/12       #5: huge mistake with heavy bar over fl ...

It is common for wood flooring to have 1/4 inch border gap around the outside of the room to allow for movement changes with humidity. If the floor was put in tight to the walls this will cause it to buckle. The heavy cabinet with granite top would restrain the movement allowed by the gap at the edge to some extent. Cutting the floor at the cabinet and cutting out the 1/4 inch gap at the cabinet as well would allow the floor to "float" as it should. Toe trim covers the gap and the floor can slide under it.
Depending on how bad the buckle is, often you can cut the gap at the wall and the floor will lay down.
You can also go to the flooring mfg and find out what is required for underlayment and edge gaps to allow for movement.
If the floor got wet all bets are off.

7/13/12       #6: huge mistake with heavy bar over fl ...

as was said in a previous post, could it be the basement ceiling that cannot support that sort of load? Try putting a long straight edge on the floor around the cabinet and see if it sags or has a hollow in the floor.

7/13/12       #7: huge mistake with heavy bar over fl ...

Like Marty, I'm not at all convinced that the bar caused this problem. It's entirely possible that the floor was incorrectly installed and would've buckled regardless of whether the bar was there. A consult with an independent flooring expert seems like a good idea. Can you post photos of the area showing where it's buckled?

7/13/12       #8: huge mistake with heavy bar over fl ...
Mark Member

The bar on the floating floor issue would really depend on where it is located in the room. Depending on the type of underlayment used if the bar were plunked down in the center of the room it may cause a very slight depression in the floor from compressing the underlayment (if foam was used) but the floor would still be able to move freely in all directions provided the expansion gap was left at the perimeter as it should have been. That said, if the bar is on one side of the room, especially on a wall with the flooring running parallel, the weight of the bar would lock the floor sending 100% of the expansion away from the bar. I have seen similar situations where the thought was the whole floor could/would slide in one direction but usually the drag causes problems and the floor at the least will washboard and worse buckle. Whether its can be salvaged will depend on many issues like what type of floor is it? Snap together? Glue together? Sometimes when the snap together floors buckle it fouls up the T&G and then never lay down again. I would think if the floor is glued to itself (doesnt seem to common nowadays but I like them) I would say its junk because there is likely damage to the joint and it will never lay back down.

If the floor can be salvaged or the thought is it may lay back down once the restriction is removed, it would seem one would have to somehow rout a channel around the bar and then install shoe molding to cover the gap. Perhaps a laminate trimmer with an offset base, straight cuter, several passes using the bar itself as a guide? Once the channel is cut see if the floor will work down. If so, once flat go back and re-cut the necessary 1/4" gap?

We all make mistakes,

7/13/12       #9: huge mistake with heavy bar over fl ...

well, i cant speak for how it was installed, i just simply wasnt there. It ( thebar) is in a basement on a concrete slab. I really dont know what the underlayment is. I had talked to the contractor a lot while we were both working and the flooring was some sort of bamboo snap and lock. I really think the only underlayment was a simple vapor barrier. I had a piece of the floor and i remember it had alittle soft backing on it. I am curious as to how much gap he left himself, he tells me he " did it right" but i dont know. I do see that some of his 5 1/4" base molding is breaking/popping at the caulk lines already. . I had asked him last night what went in first, floor or base molding and he said base molding. the room is huge, maybe 20 x 40. my bar is smack dab in the middle of it. I do not have any pics of where its buckling yet. I am going back down in a couple days to visit customer. ....and on a side note, the customer calls me last night and kinda lays the blame at the bars feet but in the same sentence asks me to build him a wine cabinet/rack i previously had quoted him for 11k. so, i got a nice job from him coming up but yet i gotta battle on this floor. so, i gotta stay cool here the best i can.

7/13/12       #10: huge mistake with heavy bar over fl ...
norman orsinger  Member


If you haven't called the manufacturer you should, just to get there take on the problem. There might be a problem with the flooring or the installation, but you can't fix the problem until you know for sure what caused the floor to buckle.

7/13/12       #11: huge mistake with heavy bar over fl ...

lets do a little math here. Room is 20 ft wide. Snap lock flooring approx. 6" wide. Will take 40 pieces to go froom wall to wall.(Assuming flooring ran long ways in room) If each piece only expands 1/32", that will be a total of 1 1/4" of expansion. It would take a 5/8" gap on both sides to allow for this much expansion. Most shoe mold will not cover this much space. I doubt this much space was allowed.
In a basement, I would expect the moisture content to cause the floor to expand even moore.
The easiest way to check for the problem is to remove a piece of shoe molding on each wall directly across from each other. If the flooring is tight against the baseboard on both sides, the problem is with the installation of the floor. If there is still a gap at the baseboard, your bar is the problem. Only solution then will be to cut a space around the entire bar and cover with some type of decorative molding. Hope this helps

7/13/12       #12: huge mistake with heavy bar over fl ...

the other guys make a good point. Althought he island should technically not be on top, it may not be the whole problem. And, we have all been in your shoes. Recently a pizza place i visit installed a floating floor. within several months it had expanded and bucked up big time. And there was no heavy funiture on it.
I installed a small island w/ bunn feet on top of a floating floor once and had a bit of shrinkage and had to kick the plank ends back together. I think there is more to it than your island. If you have a moisure meter, that would be a good start.

pergo's web site specifies a 4.5% max moisture content on concrete and specifies a 'vapor emision rate'. They also mention that you may get a false reading during a dry spell. Although not mentioned i thought i once read about the need for an expansion joint in very large floors. Of course, no one wants to see that so it never gets done. Pergo also say's you must use a specific vapor barrier over concrete. I do not think the attached backing pad resists moisture. it is just for sound and comfort. I would be tempted to cut a relief around the island and install furniture base if possible. Then the rest is up to the flooring sub. good luck, mike

7/13/12       #13: huge mistake with heavy bar over fl ...
Jim Herron

First call would be to the manufacturer.
As stated earlier, all large flooring areas require an-EXPANSION JOINT, for (insert drumroll here)-EXPANSION.
Why is the cabinetmaker the default fall guy in every construction situation.
This conversation should have been squelched at the first mention of it.
Seems most people assume we're the only trade that cares and will step up.
For the record, every manufacturer I'm aware of specifies 3/4" quarter round at perimeter-1/2" shoe moulding will NOT be accepted.
I wouldn't accept liability automatically. Where is the FLOORING guy on the radar? Did he recommend against the install? Provide any direction or recommendation? Is it installed according to mfr specs for the given room/environment?
I'd wager the flooring was installed incorrectly- no vapor barrier, no expansion provision in the field or insufficient at the perimeter.
To the surprise of most flooring installers, they do make a toekick flooring saw, specifically for the situation you've described, but for the majority of flooring installers, that's an unneccesary expense against the adult beverage funds.
Personally I think you're not thinking clearly with the " I had a thought that "I" would need to cut a footprint relief cut around the bar"- let the homeowner get his "flooring professional" to step up and drag out his toekick saw and bring with him an armload of 3/4" quarter round.
Let us know how this works out.

7/14/12       #14: huge mistake with heavy bar over fl ...
Mark Member

In my opinion the fact that the bar is smack in the middle of the floor is an extremely good thing for you. Due diligence aside, and of course just in a forum conversation, my gut feeling would be your end of it is looking better and better. It sure sounds like the potential is there for less than adequate expansion gaps and or moisture control.

Its a nasty situation regardless for whoever's fault it is and while its great not to be the one to blame it would seem whether compensated or not your are going to have to be a part of the solution for the area around your work. Im sure some may not care but for me I would rather be the one doing the cutting around my hard work rather than leaving it to someone else.

Whether the floor is to be salvaged or replaced, figuring out the best option for relieving around the bar would be something I would want to be a part of. Call it crazy but if it were my bar (its the customers now, but if I built it) I would want to be the one doing the cutting around my work whether its going to be compensated or not. My concern would be anyone else damaging the base with the sole of a saw or something whacky like riding a multi-master along the face.

It will be very interesting to hear the outcome but if it were me Id be resting a little easier.


7/15/12       #15: huge mistake with heavy bar over fl ...
james mcgrew Member

another good question is who is responsible for a deck which cannot take the weight of the bar and the sceduling of the install, was it foreseen and the flooring people or the GC wanting thier money so they proceeded any way, was the flooring provider aware of a bar on thier deck

7/15/12       #16: huge mistake with heavy bar over fl ...

thanks for all responses so far. good stuff here. I went down to see floor and talk to customer today ( a sunday). after sealing the deal on a another nice job for this customer, we got into the floor. I tried not to play the blame game but i did ask and got permission to remove some shoe molding so we could take a peek. well well well. floor was so jammed up against base molding, the base molding was sitting out on an angle with the caulk joint so cracked and split you could stick a finger behind it. clearly, something is up with install here. since my new job will be sitting on top of same floor ( well, actually no, i will remove what floor i need) I asked homeowner if i could pop off 1 row of flooring closest to wall. we ripped about 15 ft of flooring out (2 rows actually) and within 5 minutes, 1 major hump fell back down about 75% of the way. I tell homeowner, " theres your answer right there ". i just proved it. I found it interesting that the last piece of flooring was not ripped in anyway, it still had a full tongue on it. Now the contractor either got really lucky with it ending up that way or he got real lazy and never ripped the final piece with proper gap. I think the latter. so, i leave somewhat in a good mood and i call contractor to tell him i hve some good news. he proceeds to not be happy i did what i did and insists (and i quote) " thats all fine and well but its still your bar thats holding everything down, you still have to cut around it" . so, we shall battle, the homeowner gav e me permission to get an independent flooring guy to inspect so Ill just wait and see. what a mess.

7/15/12       #17: huge mistake with heavy bar over fl ...

I had this same thing happen to me a few years back. I brought my dehumidifier over and set it in the middle of the floor for a couple of days. The bubbles went down without any damage to the floor. We found that the moisture was coming through the concrete. she chose to buy a dehumidifier rather than pull the floor and seal the concrete.

7/15/12       #18: huge mistake with heavy bar over fl ...
Jim Herron

Hate to say it, but I see this every day.
Everybody's got the cabinetmaker putting shoeleather into someone else's job.
I thought that's what the GC was for (yes I know, 30 years ago), yet now he's throwing his turbulence in the mix.
Mainly because he knows his floor guy will likely slip off the radar.
I don't feel the floor needs to be cut around the bar, but I'd go ahead and amuse everyone and be done with it.

7/16/12       #19: huge mistake with heavy bar over fl ...

You had your answer a few posts back before you even had to remove the baseboard. Flooring guys says he did it "right", next thing he says is he put baseboard in first.....which means he did it wrong and has no clue!!!

As mentioned throughout this thread wood needs to move, knuckleheads who think it can be trapped tightly between baseboards on 4 sides of a room have no idea what they're doing and should find a new profession. It really ticks me off b/c we're always the first to blame when some other jackass makes a mess of things!

I haven't dealt with floating floors so not sure how much trouble they bring. In general though if you install your bar parallel to the flooring and the flooring has room to move in both directions I can't see it being a problem. Now if the bar is long and running perpendicular to the flooring, that may be an issue. In which case there are ways of installing which would take longer, but negate the issue.

good luck,

7/16/12       #20: huge mistake with heavy bar over fl ...
Mark Member

Good to hear Tom,
Only thing I may have done a little differently would have been to arrange a meeting with the contractor and the homeowner with your flooring guy or not, and at that meeting explain the issues of the needed gap around the perimeter with documentation and then let the contractor pull up the shoe to reveal his own issues to himself and the homeowner. That said, you got your point across it just may not ease the battle with the GC at all.

For all anyone knows he/his crew, put the floor down because in this HGTV world everyone thinks this snap-together flooring is an afternoon project for a housewife in between breast feeding her newborn and while her hubby is at the office.

Regardless, an absolute rookie mistake and at least you know your not to blame. Now you'll just have to argue the minutia of a large load centrally located on the floor.

I have no direct knowledge but I can only guess the flooring manufacturer may suggest that the unit be isolated but maybe not.


7/20/12       #21: huge mistake with heavy bar over fl ...

its GC fault not yours or floor guy, floor guy did not know there was a big arse bar going there GC did,

we go 3/4 gap at all vertical surfaces, plus mid span if over 16FT.

get a multi master trim 1/2 out of the floor around the bar next time you are there doing the install on the next item, trim with mold and be done with it,

you look like the hero, GC looks like a arse and floor guy well his a floor guy so he already looks bad enough.

7/20/12       #22: huge mistake with heavy bar over fl ...

The expansion/contraction issue with wood products comes up all the time. Few people are actually aware of how much wood moves. Designers don't care, they want everything flush and tight. Not their problem!
GC's also don't care, never their problem either. The recommended test for a concrete floor is taping down some plastic and seeing if moisture condenses under it. Catch here is whether it's rainy season or dry.
I think you've proven to the home owner where the problem lies, now it's someone else's turn.

7/28/12       #23: huge mistake with heavy bar over fl ...
Thomas Love Member

When you refer to the caulk joint , are you saying the shoe mould / base was caulked to floor, if so this is also a no no.

1/4/14       #26: huge mistake with heavy bar over fl ...
michael moore

Agree with some above. This is in no way on you. I built an island and laid a bamboo floor out of town last summer. I used a high quality underlayment left the recommended spacing around the room and everything thing was groovy. When I came back two weeks later to start another project in the house, the floor was buckled. I pulled the base, and it was tight on both sides of the room. Especially on a slab, they should have taped every joint on the underlayment and the perimeter. Even with that done, I would leave a larger spacing next time. Provide the client with some print-outs of research you find about your problem. It will show him that you took the matter seriously and you have done due diligence to find the cause. I doubt the GC will do the same.

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