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Author Topic: Back to Basics:flooring selection  (Read 5302 times)
robertglines1
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« on: January 06, 2011, 05:25:49 AM »

As we are in a hobby of do it your own way let us discuss differant types of flooring and pro and cons. Recently Joe Camper showed pictures of his beautiful new flooring jobs. He used Walnut on one(thick planks) and tile on another both beautiful. I have done Gray Granite squares with brass strips as grout .1 ft square tiles fastened down with GE Silicone caulk. advantage is easy to clean up and don't stain from spilled juice and doesn't assorb odors from cooking etc.Disadvantages cool to feet. have used Perigo style flooring ;liked the easy install. Problem I didn't leave enough space for cold weather expansion. In new project am using 3/4 inch Oak that I processed from cutting the tree to finishing. Reason I like to join my hobbies  and create a finished product.Plus I have already done the others I mentioned.  So new Ideas and experiences please!   I'm sure I will get new ideas from this post;I learn something new every day.    Bob
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« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2011, 06:13:42 AM »

Expansion is generally a warm weather condition, when the warm air is more humid. If you install any type of wood floor (or plastic or almost anything), it will shrink during the dry winter months and expand in warmer weather. You must allow room for the expansion, usually at the edges, which is usually covered by shoe molding (attached to the wall, not the floor) Real wood will expand more than composites like pergo, etc., and plastic flooring (vinyl) shrinks a good deal over its lifetime. It's a drag, but a fact of life, and it requires thought when planning the floor.
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« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2011, 07:17:46 AM »

Me being in design stage yet.  I wander the big box stores looking at possibilities and have found a Pergo type flooring with a plastic bottom layer and a bamboo skin coat on top.  My thinking is Lite and thin save weight.  It may bite me later being that the Bamboo is a softer wood and being a laminate not very thick as well.  I am thinking on doing a test patch somewhere in my house to test durability.
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« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2011, 07:25:28 AM »

My big concern about any flooring is the temperature and humidity extremes that the bus goes through.  Minus 30 to plus 120, 30% to 100% humidity.  I favor sheet vinyl for those reason, but it ain't all that pretty.

Brian
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« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2011, 03:46:10 PM »

Expansion/contraction is not a problem IF you allow for it. Seeing as how there is usually a molding of some sort bewteen the floor and wall its relatively an easy thing to do.
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robertglines1
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« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2011, 03:52:59 PM »

As others have pointed out floor expansion and contraction is a concern that if thought thru will not be a problem. My experience with the perigo was a brain lapse on my part (cabinet set on top of floor).Then you just kick yourself and call your self Dummy! and try to learn from your mistakes.  Bob
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« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2011, 03:57:56 PM »

so what you are saying is put everything in then do the floor last to allow for expansion/contraction. good to know because i would have no doubt put down the floor first to save on having to cut that many angles and pieces.
now noted, i would be kicking myself for that one later.

Thanks Robert

Mark
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« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2011, 04:05:51 PM »

Mark; floor must be free to move. A cabinet would hold it in place to tightly. Even the granite I did had a 3/8 gap between any thing restricting like walls cabinets etc. The laminates are simple to install and are prefinished. Tile type products in some applications are great also.I like carpet in the bedroom.  We have flooring professionals on the board and I have learned allot from them.
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« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2011, 04:08:53 PM »

So glad to see this post!

Currently, my "Urge" has been stripped down to just the rails, which are in dire need of some welding and paint. Then flooring will be the next step, so any pointers and advice are so appreciated, seeing as I don't have the $$ to learn from my own mistakes at this point!!

SO, I am unfamiliar with this "Perigo" style floor... what is it? Bob, did you lay this down on top of an insulating layer as a finish piece?

I am currently thinking of just laying down my marine ply over the storage units, some insulating layer, then perhaps some more ply because I'm broke. In a perfect world I would love some bamboo both for the durability, the fact that it is light-weight, and also because it is a weed, thus kinder to the environment. Stuff grows like weeds.

Any input?

Thanks!
-DRT Smiley
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robertglines1
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« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2011, 04:21:44 PM »

really don't think you need the marine plywood. Maybe overkill. Obs would do. two layers 1/2 each with felt between them or 1 layer and the thicker hardwood flooring on top of the felt. Your old floor should be 2 layers of 1/2 inch.  Make sure to put sheet metal back over area behind last bay. Fire protection and impact resistant in this area.You have followed my fire experience with this and that thin piece of metal kept fire from inside coach. Perigo is a trade name and is a prefinished flooring that floats on a thin foam pad. Available in most designs even Bamboo. It's prefinished and goes down easily and is durable and cleans easily.
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« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2011, 05:03:22 PM »

AWESOME! Reeeally good to know. "OBS" ?? what is this?

Had to rip out my old floor due to the wood rotting out - I don't think the marine ply is overkill in this case, IMHO. :}

-DRT
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« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2011, 05:13:45 PM »

OSB is chipped up wood (not ground) that is chemically bonded into a sheet. If your exposed in bay areas are not in contact with massive moisture marine plywood isn't needed. It's a cost thing.If you have it use it but compare prices.OSB is used in subfloor and roof underlayment in home construction.  Bob
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« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2011, 05:25:38 PM »

DRT, I believe it stands for omni strand board or more commonly OSB. used in housing subflooring. I think marine ply is overkill because of the cost of it. for where you are planing to use it you shouldn't need that much lbs per sq ft rating and it shouldn't be exposed to that much moisture. just my thoughts here but myself plain ole plywood will do. i think osb tends to be a bit flexable where plywood is more solid and not as costly as marine ply.

Mark
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« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2011, 06:10:21 PM »

Have any of you used or thought about using cork flooring? Right now that is the leading contender for reflooring my rig. I know two Newell owners who have installed some of the higher end stuff over radiant heating and they are very happy.  Wickanders was the brand they used.
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« Reply #14 on: January 06, 2011, 06:12:31 PM »

I would think installing cabinets on top of the floor would be a lot easier then going around them, you just have to attach the cabinet in a way that will allow the floor to expand and contract. It's the same principal used when building a solid wood table, that table top has to move independently from the aprons, this is often done using whats called buttons  

http://www.woodworkforums.com/f11/how-do-you-make-your-table-buttons-49571/

Depending on the type of construction of the cabinets you may be able to just cut a slot in the cabinet frame and use a screw with a washer, the slot will allow the screw to move with the floor and the washer will aid by letting the screw head slid on top of the cabinet frame.
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Mike
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« Reply #15 on: January 06, 2011, 07:13:46 PM »

Quote from: RichardEntrekin
Have any of you used or thought about using cork flooring? Right now that is the leading contender for reflooring my rig. I know two Newell owners who have installed some of the higher end stuff over radiant heating and they are very happy.  Wickanders was the brand they used.

We did two bedrooms in our house with an engineered cork flooring, similar to what you would see at any of the big box stores. The top layer (maybe 1/8") is cork with a hard finish on it, then some engineered wood/plastic/whatever in the middle, and they actually put cork on the bottom for a sound deadener, but that bottom layer is very thin and unfinished. It is a tongue-and-groove, so just pound it together and cut the end piece. We put it over a red paper over the sub-floor.  We got ours from a flooring store. Very nice, very easy to work with, more expensive than pergo, etc., probably because of the cork. They had several patterns and colors of the cork for us to choose from. We are very happy with it, and I think it would look great in a bus.

FWIW & HTH,

Mike
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« Reply #16 on: January 06, 2011, 07:20:45 PM »

I personally wouldn't use OSB (oriented strand board) it is not an approved underlayment for flooring.
In houses they use it for a subfloor then use 1/2 ac plywood over it or approved particle board. I would suggest AC ply or some stores may call it ACX. This will not delaminate and bubble. Also it is lighter than OSB or particle board. I don't use OSB for anything when building houses. If it ever gets any moisture it swells, rots, and falls apart. Far as the flooring goes there are lots of good flooring out there. Go with a good quality and you will be fine. The size of our buses it won't cost a lot more. My self my personal favorite is Kahrs. This is a very good quality engineered wood flooring. I've had very good luck with it holding together at the seams. It just locks together just like laminate does. Keep in mind it is real wood so you can ding it if you drop or drag heavy things on it. But it looks very nice.
Just my thoughts
Gary Seay
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« Reply #17 on: January 06, 2011, 07:22:01 PM »

Mike 802  problem in our coaches is in Indiana we deal with 10 below zero in bus to sitting in sun in summer 140 degrees. best to just cut around cabinets and corners. usually furniture does not experience these extremes. plus we want cabinets and all we can bolted solid to floor.       Bob
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« Reply #18 on: January 06, 2011, 09:50:09 PM »

I don't know about using OSB as an underfloor, but today's OSB is much more moisture resistant than it used to be.  I have a semi trailer on which I used a couple of sheets of OSB as tire covers.  I keep meaning to paint them, but they have been out in the weather for over a year now and seem to be doing fine.  Yes, this is a desert but we have had enough rain to challenge them.  I remember getting OSB years ago that fell apart when wet though.
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« Reply #19 on: January 07, 2011, 06:34:17 AM »

If it helps when discussing the subfloor, I dragged out some of the specs from when I was buying bus fleets.  These go back to the late 70's up to the mid 80's.  

From the UMTA White Book (Advanced Design Transits, like the RTS and Flxible 870):  "The floor, as assembled, including the sealer, attachments, and covering shall be waterproof, nonhygroscopic, resistant to wet and dry rot, resistant to mold growth, and impervious to insects.  Plywood, if used, shall be no less than 3/4 inch thick American Plywood Association, Exterior Grade, A-C special, and shall be installed with the A side up and all edges sealed."  

From a 1986 spec for midsize transits --- "The floor will be either made of 3/4 inch thick Douglas Fir, Premium Grade exterior plywood, DFPA Grade AC or 14 gauge steel panels flanged on each side and supported by steel bars on each side.  The steel flooring is covered with 5/8 inch thick, five ply, Douglas Fir, Premium Grade exterior plywood, DFPA Grade AC.  The Grade A side of the plywood floorign is always on trhe upside."  "All edges of the plywood will be sealed with waterproof sealer and treated with chemical wood preservatives to inhibit rot, mold, and the attack of termites."  "The floor will be attached to the understructure with flush bolts or self tapping screws."

I can't immediately lay my hands on a spec I wrote in 1979, for a fleet of fishbowls, but what we see is consistent --- 3/4 inch waterproof, non-hydroscopic (won't absorb water" plywood, with the A side up.

I suspect, if you go on line and read the specs for transits and commuter coaches being purchased now, you'd probably find the same thing.  My thought is that if the original flooring was durable, and intended to be durable enough for a long life of abuse, it should be replaced in-kind.  I wouldn't personally use Oriented Strand Board, or anything else - but folks who know more may be aware of newer products.  This really is a job that should only be done once in the life of our coaches, and should be worth a few extra bucks to be sure it won't need to be redone.

For our 4107, we're trying to keep the coach as original as possible, so we're retaining the original RCA Rubber floor.  However, if we were to replace it, or when I get around to doing the floors in the house, I think Pergo is a good choice.  Here's some more information on Pergo ---http://na.pergo.com/  I think Pergo is more dimensionally stable than solid wood, but I'm not sure.  In any event, you have to allow for wood movement, remembering that wood swells and shrinks across the grain, but - side to side, but not lengthwise.  It also cups opposite the tree ring pattern, so the rule of thumb is "Inside of tree, outside of project" - to keep the joints flush.  (Robert, I still wouldn't chamfer the edges -- inside joke)

Robert, as to the cabinet you mentioned, set on top of your floor, there's a product called "slick strips" - a high density slippery plastic. http://www.woodcraft.com/Search2/Search.aspx?query=slick%20strips If you can anchor the cabinets laterally and longitutionally, I wonder if putting this under your cabinets may solve the problem.  If you want to drill down and also anchor them to the floor, elongated holes through the flooring material would still let the floor move.
    
Arthur
« Last Edit: January 07, 2011, 09:38:10 AM by Runcutter » Logged

Arthur Gaudet    Carrollton (Dallas area) Texas 
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« Reply #20 on: January 07, 2011, 09:44:03 AM »

Just keep in mind if you decide to use Pergo or any other laminate. It is still just laminate glued to Masonite (pressed sawdust) very hard but it doesn't like moisture. I have had many warranty claims with it bubbling at the seams. Engineered hardwood floors like Kahrs are multiple layers of wood glued together like plywood. It won't curl or buckle at the seams as one would think. You can Google Pergo and Kahrs and look at the reviews.
FWIW

Gary
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« Reply #21 on: January 07, 2011, 11:00:34 AM »

Gary, I'm not familiar with Kahrs, but laminated real wood makes a lot of sense.  Thanks for helping out with your knowledge.

Installation is also the key, with anything.  A local Chinese Buffet that I patronize has some kind of fake plank flooring (Armstrong, Pergo perhaps?), and it was installed wrong.  Each "board" has buckled so bad that it looks, and feels like you're walking on a rubber mat.

Arthur
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Arthur Gaudet    Carrollton (Dallas area) Texas 
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« Reply #22 on: January 07, 2011, 11:05:45 AM »

I second what Gary stated about laminate flooring. A lot of people jump all over it due to ease of installation and price. What they fail to think about is you get what you pay for.
A lot of buses leak in one way or another and laminate flooring do NOT like water of any kind including high humidity.
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« Reply #23 on: January 07, 2011, 06:31:38 PM »

My mom installed a laminate flooring in her kitchen and as kitchen sinks are known to due, she had a plumbing failure, the floor got wet and it ruined it. 
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« Reply #24 on: January 07, 2011, 07:42:37 PM »

Also I almost forgot, you can put the flooring under the cabinets if that's what you want. Just leave enough room on the other side of the bus for expansion. Our buses are narrow enough that your not going to get that much expansion.
Just my thoughts,

Gary
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Gary Seay (location Alaska)
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« Reply #25 on: January 07, 2011, 08:06:24 PM »

If you do install your cabinets on top of your flooring, just remember we all like a change after awhile
And if you get tired of your flooring guess what, your cabinets have to come out. Shocked
Good luck

Gary
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« Reply #26 on: January 07, 2011, 08:22:41 PM »

Ok, let me get this straight and also how it pertains to body flex.

It is best to lay the sub floor, then mount the cabinets to the wall over the sub floor but not connected in any way and then lay down the tile or wood top surface around the cabinets and add some skirting mounted to the walls to decoratively cover the gaps made around the furniture for expansion? Essentially making the cabinets hover over the floor. How much of a gap is preferable to compensate for most scenarios?
This also applies to the interior walls does it not? They should be mounted to the walls/ceiling and never the floor correct?

If the original wood floor was torn out should there be a gap placed to the side walls or tight to the walls as was original - at least on mine? I don't see that the sub floor makes any difference does it?

To simplify, if I'm understanding everything I've read on this and other threads is that nothing should mount to the floor but carpet/wood flooring/tile and floor furniture in order to compensate for flex and expansion right? Nothing to lock the sides and floor together. Should the vanity mount only to the wall too?

-Dave 
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« Reply #27 on: January 07, 2011, 09:53:13 PM »

Ok let me try and sum this up for you the best I can.
This thread pretty much is about finished flooring and expansion from heating, cooling, and humidity.
Also types of subfloor. If you are starting from scratch and need to do your subfloor. You need to use 3/4" or thicker marine grade AC plywood. No need to leave gap at walls. Then build your walls, install all your cabinets and fasten them all to the subfloor. Then when you install your finish floor you leave a gap all the way around everything (approx 3/8") then you install your trim fastening it to the wall and cabinets and not the floor. This let's the finish floor float so it don't buckle under humid conditions or under flex. If I'm forgetting something or I'm wrong, someone please chime in and correct me.

Gary
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« Reply #28 on: January 08, 2011, 06:34:49 AM »

What determines "marine" grade has generally been the waterproof glue and fir plywood. Yellow pine  FIVE PLY exterior sheathing grade  5/8" or better is suitable for the subfloor in most cases, though I prefer 3/4". You should coat it liberally with a waterproof sealer and (in my opinion) oil based exterior paint before installing it as a REPLACEMENT subfloor. If you leave the existing factory floor in, the paint isn't necessary, but the sealer is always a good idea, especially on the edges. Sit the cabinets on the subfloor, attach to the walls. I use a 1x3" cleat screwed to the subfloor behind the toe kick board and screw through the cabinet toe kick to anchor the base of the cabinets to them. They can be removed if you change or otherwise want to remove cabinets. Never hang the base cabinets from the walls only; it will make them sag and they won't be adequately secured to the bus. Finish flooring edge gaps can be between 1/4 to 3/8 inch and will be covered by shoe molding or similar, nailed to the WALLS or cabinets, not to the floor. Your floor will be able to move with the seasons and everything else will be right where you left it last time you parked the bus. Wood flooring expands more across the grain that parallel to it; if you install it across the floor, side to side, the expansion will be minimal along the side of the bus, but if you have a 15 foot long salon, expansion in the front-to-rear dimension will be much greater,  and the floor joints will open up a little in the winter (dry) months. If you don't allow room for expansion and install in the winter, you will have a washboard effect when the air becomes humid. Sealing the edges and unfinished sides of the floor is the only way to minimize these effects. It isn't done in homebuilding, but the climate changes within our buses is more like the weather in an outside porch.
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« Reply #29 on: January 08, 2011, 09:44:35 AM »

Busy morning!  I'm in the process of doing my permanent flooring now, two layers of 1/2 plywood, i'm not using OSB.....(to much moisture in this bus environment), I'm using 3M adhesive then using 1 7/16ths self tapping screws, I did also use stainless metal over the rear drive and tag areas, again for combating long term exposure to water!   (Prevost used this too).  Where the tile floor goes I'm using one layer of 1/2" plywood and one layer of hardybacker  also 1/2"  I've also sealed the edges along the outside walls with 3M sealant to prevent moisture problems.  Carpet and tile......will finish this off!  I personally think water is the enemy of bus floors, and anything you can do to stop this will give a much better and long term floor.
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« Reply #30 on: January 08, 2011, 09:55:41 AM »

Probably overkill but my subfloor is marine plywood cut to fit then primered bottom and edges and painted with bilge paint; $30 a quart but designed for fuel, oil and salt water. All the steel framing was then beaded with 50 year polyurethane adhesive/sealant and the subfloor screwed down with 1/2" gap between the subfloor and bus wall. That gap was filled with 'Fire Block' expanding foam.
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« Reply #31 on: January 08, 2011, 10:03:02 AM »

Lee there is no such thing as overkill........do what makes you comfortable!
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« Reply #32 on: January 08, 2011, 03:01:45 PM »

Just wanted to add one more thing before this goes into archives. For those that are replacing your subfloor and treating it with some kind of sealer. There are a lot of sealers out there for treating wood for rot. Some for interior some for exterior and some are poison. Just do your homework and know what your using.
Some of our buses are sealed real tight and the wrong stuff could be bad.
Just my thoughts, FWIW

Gary
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« Reply #33 on: January 08, 2011, 04:56:24 PM »

Was impressed with replies and reasons behind all of them.  That said everyone will weigh all the info and make their decisions with money and utility in mind. Allot depends on your coaches past use and abuse. Each type of flooring has it's disadvantage so decide what works best for you.   Good discussion!    Bob
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« Reply #34 on: February 09, 2011, 10:49:47 PM »

I thought insulation of the floor was of great import.  One floor design I read of was to use 1/2 inch ply and then lay down 1 inch thick foam board and then to finish with another 1/2 inch ply.  They didn't mention gluing the foam to each surface but that should certainly be done.  My Winnie roof has 2 inch of foam sandwiched between what looks to be 1/4 inch ply and it is incredibly strong....incredibly.

Then there is SOUND.  Forgiver mew for raising my voice for dramatic affect.  Prevost solves this by laying down 1/16 inch thick lead sheeting.  I hear (pun intended) they are eerily quiet and you can't tell if the engine is running.

I asked for "exterior grade" at the lumber yard the other day and was told that ALL PLYWOOD IS WATERPROOF today.  Seems they tired of changing between waterproof glue and Elmer's.  I don't imagine that applies to marine grade but I don't think that is a valid requirement.

Use of lead sheeting is even more critical over and around the engine compartment and Pre uses 1/8 inch thick lead in that area and even more foam where the structure allows.  That was presented as an "option" I think but I ain't in the bus racket.

Good luck with this Bob

John
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« Reply #35 on: February 10, 2011, 06:35:40 AM »

 Doesn't the bus itself expand and contract along with the wood installed with it. I think it does. The way the outer skin of the bus buckles between the rivits on certain mornings was scary the first time I noticed it.

I do not see any gaps in the 2-3/4 in layers of plywood prevo uses for the factory floor it is butted up TIGHT.

As for flex I know that our Prevo does not flex enough do bust any grout lines in our marble as of yet. It would not suprise me if it were a factor on other chassis or older ones thou.

I pulled everything up because I wanted it corner to corner front to back. If we ever change things or sell it the new owner can do so without needing to redo it again.

If I were starting from scratch the floor would defiantly go down before the rest. I concour with gapping the edge and covering with trim in an attempt to prevent squeaks and such.

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