Difficulty Coupling Tongue and Groove


During a wood flooring installation, difficulty in coupling tongue with groove may be experienced on engineered wood flooring. This problem is more often reported by DIY installers than professionals fitters, who usually find a way to resolve the solution.


There are a number of potential causes that may arise when coupling tongue and groove. These are as follows:

  • When an installer is laying the flooring, he or she may apply too much body weight to the floor. As a result, bending may occur on the installed board creating an issue with the fit system.
  • Another way in which this problem can be caused is by applying excessive amounts of adhesive during the installation process.
  • Additionally, when an adhesive is applied into the base of the groove as opposed to the upper side of the tongue, previously unseen obstacles may appear, causing an increased degree of difficulty during the installation.
  • Having debris, wood-chips, or splinters in the actual groove may also provide a when laying wood flooring.
  • in addition, debris is the cause of other issues in regards to coupling tongue and groove. Another example of how it may affect flooring is when it is found on a sub-floor. This will cause yet more difficulty when it comes to laying the floor.
  • Irregularities of the board shape are another cause for concern. If there is a board that is different from the rest, it is inevitable that the tongue and groove system will fail.
  • Difficulties of this nature may also occur if the conditions of the work site are not suitable. This may result in the flooring going through expansion prior to any installation taking place.
  • Finally, if the tongue and groove fit is too tight, the chances of flooring being laid without any setbacks reduce.


In order to accurately diagnose the problem with the aim to finding the best solution, it is advisable to carry out a number of checks. Firstly, you must check the boards are not bent or twisted prior to any installation.

Once checked, cut a few of the pieces of the board to a shorter length than the others, and attempt to assemble the flooring. If the tongue and groove does fit together correctly, the likely cause of difficulty may be the bending of the board shape, an uneven sub-floor, or debris. If the short pieces do easily not fit together, the tongue and groove fit is faulty, or the product has expanded in-situ.


If the tongue and groove fit is slightly tight, fold a piece of sand paper over the tongue and run it up and down a few times.

Follow this by brushing off the excess dust. This will often ease the fit causing fewer difficulties.

The following step involves the application of an adhesive to the top side of the tongue where the flat part of the tongue meets the vertical portion of the profile.

Difficulty Coupling Tongue and Groove