Hardwood floors can be the perfect upgrade for your space. They are strong, durable, long-lasting, and can elevate the natural beauty of your home. Before you reap some of these benefits, it’s crucial to be aware of common hardwood flooring installation mistakes so you can avoid backtracking and costly issues down the road. Let’s explore some of these in more detail.
Selecting the Wrong Wood
The first step to installation is choosing your hardwood floor. Different types of wood have their strengths and weaknesses. It’s essential to understand what you need from this upgrade as you decide. For example, do you have kids and pets running around? Strong wood with lighter colours, such as hickory or maple, can resist scratches and conceal blemishes more effectively than darker ones.
Improperly Preparing the Subfloor
Subflooring is an essential part of your flooring system. It typically covers the joists and sits just below your hardwood or beneath an underlayment, and provides support for your planks. Improper subfloor preparation can lead to structural damage and squeaky, loose, or gapped boards. These issues most often occur when this layer is wet during installation. To bypass these problems, clean all dirt and debris and ensure all moisture has dried before proceeding.
Forgetting to Acclimate the Wood
Wood expands with humidity and contracts in dry environments. It’s crucial to acclimate your planks to the moisture in the air by letting them sit in the installation area. Ensure your air conditioning and heating systems remain at their usual settings.
As a general rule of thumb, your wood is acclimated when it no longer gains or loses moisture, which you can determine with moisture meter tests. Some types of hardwood can take a few days, while others need up to a week. Because of this variation, research your specific type of flooring and turn to manufacturer instructions for details.
Overall, the acclimation process helps prevent costly problems, such as structural damage, warping, and excessive shrinkage or expansion.
Not Considering Your Layout
There’s no question that when we install new hardwood flooring, we want it to look good. But when it’s time to place the planks, have a plan in mind. Here are some things to consider:
- Knowing which way to run your boards can impact the look of a room. For example, laying the flooring lengthwise to mirror the flow of natural light from windows or entryways can capture the beauty of the wood. This approach can also make your space feel bigger and airier.
- Each floorboard has its own natural details and, sometimes, shade variations. A planned layout can make your floor look more organic and avoid unintentional jarring patterns. A good technique is to select boards from different boxes to randomize the look.
Installing Without an Expansion Gap
As mentioned above, wood expands and contracts with humidity. If you install your floorboards too snugly, this leaves no room for expansion, which could lead to wall damage or buckling and lifting in the middle of the floor. The type of wood you select determines how much space you should leave around all the walls and fixed objects, like kitchen islands. Generally, this gap ranges from 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch or 12 to 19 millimetres.
Even with these common hardwood flooring installation mistakes in mind, transforming your home can be challenging without the proper knowledge and tools. At Rome Flooring, we’ve been trusted professionals in this industry for more than 50 years. Leave the work to us! Contact us to schedule your estimate today.