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Harris Tarkett Vanguard Taptight

Posted by Don C. Faith on February 7th, 2003 04:03 PM
In reply to Harris-Tarkett floating wood floors by Charles Bissell on July 27th, 1998 10:42 AM [Go to top of thread]

4 of 4 people found this post helpful

Moderator Post (s) for this thread:
> Instructions Online PDF : by doug seibert on 01/23/2005
> Dirt floors by Billhart on 06/23/2007

We installed this product, obtained from Home Depot. Overall, we're pleased with the result.
But it was a fair amount of work.

Some caveats: Taptight is a misnomer - as is their video that shows it going together fairly easily. It should be wailtight, whamtight, or whacktight. It takes a fair amount of force and strikes to get the gaps to close up (at least with the lot # we had). Also, Home Depot was selling the old installation kits (for the type you need to glue), with the newer taptight. The newer, correct installation kits have a thinner, solid block that can handle the blows needed to get the taptight variety to close up (which our store is now carrying, in a grey box). The old style kit block broke after about 8 boards. Also the 'pull' tool for the last piece in the row or the final rows, is marginal (but it does generally work). I ended up making my own pool tool out of angle iron and channel that was a bit longer and much stronger (held together w/ countersunk 1/4-20's) and equipped with felt pads to protect the flooring.
(Just don't drop it as it could mar the flooring).

Some have complained about the unevenness of the product, but we didn't feel it was excessive and acknowledge that is is a natural product with some variations. The actual variation (when there are variations detectable) is probably only a 32nd to 64th of an inch or so, but you can feel it on some boards. Similarly, there are variations in the color of the oak used (they don't 'color match' the oak strips), but the wood has that level of variation naturally. ( we think it looks really good).

As with a Pergo type material installation, you'll need more shims (lots more) than are provided in an installation kit. I made shims using wooden shims that I stapled or glued together at the desired thickness.

With regard to the foam that Home Depot is selling with the Taptight: In one bedroom, we used the Shaw 2 in 1 (blue foam w/ film) material which may be all that they are selling now. It worked OK, but it doesn't appear to support the flooring that well and that room continues to creak a bit (as do other original wood floors we have downstairs). For the other, larger bedroom (both upstairs), we were given some coworker's excess Pergo SilentStep premium foam underlayment, then bought another roll to have enough (it costs about 2x+ of the Shaw material cost / sq. ft.). We are much happier with using this other material: The stiffer, higher quality foam does a better job of supporting the flooring, and as a result it doesn't creak. Though not necessary, I used a polyethylene film under the foam (mainly to prevent tracking of the asphaltic adhesive from between the old vinyl or lineoleum tiles). Film is only required if installing below grade (e.g. on concrete flooring).

Procedurally: I generally 'detailed' each board as I opened a package before use (don't open extra in advance). Although the little residual chips and such are basically out of the way of the mating surfaces, I had a concern that if the many little chips near the grooves / tongues were left there, they could potentially interfere with getting a good tight fit. This also provided a means and opportunity to inspect all surfaces of the board and the mating edges of the oak (Oak Wheat 5904, in our case), tongue and groove, to insure there wasn't excess glue or varnish drops, edge defects or visual defects on the main surfaces of the board (top, bottom). When I had defects, I often was able to select a later location for the board where the defect was not a problem (e.g. I only used the good half or 3/4 of the board, or the edge with a problem was the edge cut off when finishing against the wall).

Lastly, I found that there were some procedures that helped get good end to end fits (minimal gaps). The first thing to remember is that once the long axis edge is all or nearly closed up with its mating surface, it is almost impossible to get the board to move to close up the end gap further. Similary, once nearly closed up on two edges, the piece can be very difficult (e.g. near impossible) to separate/remove. Thus it is important to close up the end gap early, and routinely return to 'tapping' (wacking) the end of the board as the long axis is being closed up. When installing a piece at the end of the row (last piece on row), though my pull tool helped, it also helped to apply a very tight shim after closing the end gap as much as possible, before trying to close up the long axis gap fully. This helped avoid the end gap from working open as the long axis edges were 'tapped' together. Otherwise, the end piece would tend to have the largest gap of a row.

Some boards would have a slight arch and it required that they be compressed downward a bit in order for them to go together.

Also remember to watch where your shoelaces, clothing, etc. are with regard to the board gaps as they are closing: I managed to have a shoe lace caught as I was 'tapping' a board in place and it took a bit to work it free... :)

Don Faith; Madison, WI

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