Installation questions about Bruce hardwood floors

Hi, All:
I've googled various groups and have tried looking for a FAQ on the subject, all with no luck.
We live in southern California. Our subfloor is a concrete slab. Because a truck relocated the corner of our house by about three feet, and all of the carpet in the living & dining room and adjoining hall has to be replaced, we're considering installing Bruce Natural Reflections hardwood floors in those rooms (using the part of the insurance settlement that would pay for the carpet replacement).
Part of the one of the rooms has vinyl tile under it.
We've taken up the tile, and are going to use a mastic remover to get the floor clean. We've used taped-down plastic and the calcium chloride test to insure that there isn't any moisture problems with the slab (3 g. in 60 hours).
We want to run a four-board border around the living and dining room, consisting of alternating rows of natural and cherry oak. (The boards are 2.25 x 5/16 inches in varying lengths, if my memory serves). The center of the rooms would then be in the natural oak. The hallway would be in the cherry oak.
We have a couple of questions about the installation procedure:
1) What prep/inspection of the concrete slab will be necessary? The slab looks to be pretty level, but we haven't used any method to determine this other than by eye.
2) Bruce specifies a 3/4 inch gap between the floor and the wall. To me, since the floor will be glued down, and not floating, it would amount to almost a 30% increase in size due to moisture. That just doesn't sound correct, but what do I know? (which is why I'm asking here :-) Several Home Depot reps in the flooring department said that the gap only needed to be 1/4 inch, but that 1/2 inch would be a gracious plenty.
To use the molding supplied by Bruce would run about an additional $1,000. The base/shoe molding is .93 inches wide and so would cover the required 3/4 inch gap. I've only been able to find oak hardwood molding in 5/8 inch which would be just a bit too short.
Anybody have any ideas/suggestions about how to cover the recommended gap? Can a gap of 1/2 inch be used safely? Or are we stuck with using Bruce's molding?
3) We are told that the boards are milled with tongue and groove joints on the ends. Since I strongly suspect that boards will have to be cut in order to fit it all together, do we have to cut grooves into the cut ends and use slip tongue?
I'm sure that we'll have more questions as it gets closer to the actual time to lay the floor.
Any and all help and suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
Don Phillips
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You can find better brands than Bruce. Shop at a floor covering dealer.

Sounds nice.

None should be needed. Some flooring brands stipulate that a water barrier be laid down over concrete first. That was about 60 a sq. ft. for mine

Mannington specifies 1/4". That is what I used for a floating floor. YMMV.

Base board plus quarter round would work. Less gap would also. Trim from any of the manufacturers is going to be expensive.

You trim one end and that becomes the starter for the other end. Work in once dirction and you will always have a matching joint. In the rare case of a center, you can get by with a flush joint.
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