Effective 4/1/22, this article has been superseded by improved installation procedures found at: RAINTREE™ LOCKING INSTALLATION SYSTEM
The contents of this article are found in the printed instructions packed in current inventory of Raintree cartons. These instructions will not be packed in future Raintree cartons.
When properly installed according to these installation instructions your Raintree Wood Floors will not cup, buckle swell or crack due to surface water or from subfloor moisture. This product is not intended to be submerged in water, for outdoor use or for use in non-climate controlled interior applications. Mold and/or mildew growth may result from exposure to moisture and are not covered by the warranty.
Read these instructions completely before beginning the job. Pay particular attention to
warnings and notes.
Raintree Wood Floors are a real wood veneer applied to a waterproof SPC (Stone Plastic Composite) core, which is not affected by water or moisture. The wood veneer is encapsulated by waterproof coatings and will not respond to changes in humidity or moisture like a regular wood product. However, wood and SPC are affected by changes in temperature at different rates. For this reason Raintree Wood Floors should be stored in conditions between 55 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit. The floor should be allowed to acclimate to the jobsite temperature prior to installation. Heating and cooling must be installed and activated in the building for at least one week prior to installing Raintree Wood Floors. Raintree Wood Floors are not designed to be installed in environments where the temperature exceeds 85 degrees Fahrenheit or drops below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. In extreme temperature deviations the floor may not be flat until the temperature returns to normal. It is advisable to glue down your Raintree Wood Floor in areas where deviations from this temperature range are possible. This is especially true in front of large areas of unprotected glass where direct sunlight might increase the temperature of the floor. A ¼” expansion space is recommended around the perimeter of the floor.
You are the final inspector as to proper color and product to be installed. Please inspect your Raintree Wood Floors for color match to sample, grade of veneer, finish gloss and any other characteristics that you find unacceptable. If you find any deviation from the product ordered or compliance with expectations, notify your retailer immediately to address the problem prior to installation. A resolution will be sought. Once the floor is installed it cannot be returned for these problems. Manufacturer declines to pay for planks that are installed with visible defects.
Raintree Wood Floors are manufactured in accordance with ANSI/HPVA EF 2019 standards for Composite Wood Floors and this Standard governs what is considered acceptable as to grade, dimension and construction. The Standard allows for 5% tolerance for grading and/or manufacturing error. Five percent should be added to the amount of product purchased for grading and cutting waste. The use of fillers, putty and/or touch up pens is considered normal.
PRE-INSTALLATION JOBSITE REQUIREMENTS
It is the installer/owner’s responsibility to ensure that the jobsite conditions and jobsite subfloor are environmentally and structurally acceptable prior to the installation of any hardwood floor. The manufacturer declines any responsibility for failures or deficiencies of hardwood flooring resulting from or related to sub-floor, subsurface, or jobsite environmental conditions. All substrates must be clean, flat to within 1/8” in 6’, visually dry, and structurally sound. Raintree Wood Floors can be installed over most existing hard surface floors that meet these requirements, but never over carpet.
Flooring should be one of the last items installed in any new construction or remodeling. All drywall, cabinets, trim, and painting should be completed prior to installingRaintree Wood Floors.
Do not install cabinets on top of Raintree Wood Floors. If you have to replace a flooring board it will be very difficult. The flooring manufacturer is not responsible for cost associated with replacing floor boards that extend under cabinets or islands.
CAUTION: WOOD DUST. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified wood dust as a nasal carcinogen. The sawing, sanding, and/or machining of wood products can produce wood dust that can cause respiratory, eye, and skin irritations. Equipment should be equipped with a dust collector to reduce airborne wood dust. Wear an appropriate NIOSH designated dust mask to reduce exposure to airborne wood dust. Avoid contact with eyes and skin. In case of irritation flush eyes or skin with water for fifteen minutes. In cases of severe irritation seek immediate medical attention.
WARNING: Drilling, sawing or machining of wood products can expose you to wood dust, a substance known to the State of California to cause cancer. Avoid inhaling wood dust or use a dust mask or other safeguards for personal protection. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/wood.
WARNING! DO NOT SAND, DRY SWEEP, DRY SCRAPE, DRILL, SAW, BEADBLAST OR MECHANICALLY CHIP OR PULVERIZE EXISTING RESILIENT FLOORING, BACKING, LINING FELT, ASPHALTIC “CUTBACK” ADHESIVES OR OTHER ADHESIVES. These products may contain either asbestos fibers and/or crystalline silica. Avoid creating dust. Inhalation of such dust is a cancer and respiratory tract hazard. Smoking by individuals exposed to asbestos fibers greatly increases the risk of serious bodily harm. Unless positively certain that the product is non-asbestos-containing-material, you must presume it contains asbestos. Regulations may require the material be tested to determine asbestos content and may govern the removal and disposal of the material. See the current edition of the Resilient Floor Covering Institute (RFCI) publication, Recommended Work Practices for Removal of Resilient Floor Coverings for detailed information and instructions on removing all resilient covering from structures. For current information go to www.rfci.com.
Because buildings and adjacent floor coverings expand and contract as well the possibility for Raintree Wood Floors to expand due to higher indoor temperatures, we recommend a ¼” expansion space around your Raintree Wood Floor and any wall, vertical obstruction, wood or ceramic floor. NOTE: Larger rooms may require additional expansion space, 1/16” for every 3’ beyond 25’ up to 40’ maximum. Install an expansion joint with a T-Mold every 40 linear feet.
Your Raintree Wood Floor has an attached pad and additional underlayment is not generally required or recommended.
Inspect your flooring boxes to determine if you have more than one manufacturing lot number to contend with. (The lot number is found on the carton label.) Do not lay one manufacturing lot on one side of the room and another manufacturing lot on the other side of the room. Any variation between manufacturing lots will be accentuated. Instead, work from several open boxes to blend any color or gloss differences from manufacturing lot to lot. If there are any objectionable characteristics to the owner, grade those out or cut them out when making starter pieces. Use the objectionable pieces in a closet or other inconspicuous place.
Undercut doorjambs before starting to install the floor. If possible raise the baseboard so that the planks can be inserted under them for best appearance. If the baseboard is already in place you will need to cover the expansion gap with a piece of trim.
BEGINNING YOUR INSTALLATION-FLOATING METHOD
Look over your planned installation to determine the most logical starting point. Generally this is a long exterior wall because these walls are usually the straightest and the job will run from one side to the other, clicking planks into place as you go. For best aesthetic results you usually run the planks parallel to the longest direction of the room. Chalk a line on the subfloor, one plank width, off the starting wall. If the starting wall is not straight it may be necessary to scribe and rip the first row of planks down their length. Getting this first row of planks straight is critical to a successful job. Make sure you allow for ¼”, or more, expansion space in your measurements.
Use spacers along the starting wall to maintain the proper expansion space as you lay in the first row of planks with the tongue facing the wall. Align the first plank.
Install the second plank in row one by aligning and dropping the end tongue over the end groove of the first plank. Apply light pressure to join the two planks together. Continue adding planks until the first row is in place. If needed use a rubber mallet to fully engage the short side of the plank by lightly tapping the plank about one inch from the joint to engage, and sit flush, with the adjacent plank. Never tap directly on the joint.
Start the second row by cutting a plank to the desired length or select a short board from the carton to use as a starter board. Keep in mind that the board should not be shorter than 6” to achieve the best appearance.
Install the first board in the second row by inserting the long side tongue into the groove of the first row plank. Maintain light pressure into the side seam as you rotate the plank to the subfloor. Repeat the process with additional planks as you complete each row. Very little force is needed to seat the tongue into the groove. You should feel the tongue lock into the groove.
It is critical to keep the first two rows straight and square as they form the “foundation” for the rest of the installation. Check for straightness and squareness often.
Continue installing planks and make sure to achieve a random pattern of the end joints by “racking” out the floor. You should stagger the starter boards by at least 16” to achieve this random effect. The last boards in each row will need to be cut to length. You can use this left over cut piece to start the next row. Check that all boards are fully engaged. If gaps are found you can tap them together by using a tapping block and a scrap piece of flooring to cover the tapping block and prevent damaging the tongue and groove.
When fitting under door casings a flat bar may necessary to assist in locking the planks into place. When fitting obstacles or into irregular spaces a sharp utility knife can easily cut the planks. You may need to scribe a cardboard cut out and transfer this pattern onto the plank for a cutting guide.
Protect all exposed edges of the floor by installing wall moldings and/or transition strips. Make sure that no plank will be secured in any way to the subfloor. The floor needs to be able to move some. Nail the trim pieces to the wall.
In areas where moisture is expected caulk the outside perimeter with a silicone caulk.
Protect the finished flooring from direct sunlight to reduce fading and thermal expansion.
GLUE DOWN METHOD
Use only an adhesive recommended for an attached IXPE pad application and for the subfloor at hand. Not all adhesives are compatible with the IXPE pad.
Follow all the glue manufacturer’s instructions including for trowel notching and spread rate.
Install the floor using the instructions for Floating Method above but before installing the planks, trowel out enough glue to do no more than two rows of planks. To avoid getting glue on yourself and on your Raintree Wood Floor you need to be able to easily reach across the glue spread on the subfloor to engage and lay the planks. Some trial and error may be necessary to find the appropriate amount to put down ahead of engaging the planks.
Raintree Wood Floors can be installed over radiant heat by using either the floating or the glue down method. When gluing the floor use only an approved adhesive over the substrate in use. Radiant heat systems must have a ½” minimum separation from the product. Maximum operating temperature must never exceed 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Use of an in-floor heat sensor is recommended to prevent overheating.
Turn the heat off for twenty four hours before, during and after the installation when installing over radiant heated subfloors.
Failure to turn off the heat may result in significantly shortened open time for the adhesive.
Floor temperature must never exceed 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Once the installation has been completed, the heating system should be turned on and gradually increased in 5 degree increments until it returns to normal operating temperature.
Failure to strictly follow the adhesive manufacturer’s guidelines may result in failure and void the warranty.
WARNING: Electric Heating Mats that are not embedded into the subfloor are not recommended for use underneath Raintree Wood Floors.
COMPLETING THE JOB
Sweep of vacuum the floor and remove all trash from the job site.
Clean the floor with proper hardwood floor cleaner.
Install transition pieces; thresholds, stair nosings, T-Molds, baseboards, quarter rounds, etc. Nail molding to the wall and not to the floor itself.
Inspect the floor for nicks, splinters, gaps and repair with colored putty, stain pens and/or filler.
Unused material should be left with the owner to affect future repairs if needed.
Chair and furniture protectors should be applied to all items that might damage the floor in the future. Avoid dragging heavy objects or appliances across the floor.