Check out “5 Sins of Hardwood Flooring Installations” by Hardwood Flooring Magazine

This excellent article from Hardwood Flooring Magazine identifies some of the most common installation issues with wood flooring projects.  Any of these ‘sins’ can result in floor failure and expensive repairs:

>> Read the full article here.

1.  Not checking moisture levels in the floor and sub-floor (and the relative humidity of the room).  Ensure that all other wet trades have been completed and dried so there won’t be other changes in the humidity of the home (paint, windows, concrete can all release moisture as they dry).  Document (take photos) of all readings as part of your process every 1000 sq. ft.

2.  Not preparing the subfloor.  The subfloor should be clean, flat (level), dry and appropriate for your flooring installation.  In most cases particle board sub-floors will only work in a floating floor situation.

3.  Lazy Layout.  Layout takes experience but there are a few best practices that installers can follow to minimize the impact or challenging floor plans.

4.  Bad Racking.  Look for H joints, end joints that are too close together, and “stair-steps” that look like lightening bolts.  Wood should look natural and random so your eyes aren’t drawn t one area in the room.  You can rack from room to room, but also keep the overall look of the entire house in mind.  When possible, a good installer may rack an entire installation before a single board is nailed.

5.  Not Enough Nailing.  Sparse fasteners can cause boards to become loose or noisy.  Boards should have at least two fasteners spaced 1-3 inches from the end of the board.  Always follow the specifications of the board manufacturer (minimum requirements)…

Selecting the right product for your installation is also key:  Engineered products are more stable, but will still exhibit some swelling and contraction in a challenging environment.  Hardwood floors are a natural product some some small seasonal gaps are normal as the humidity in the room changes.

If you are really concerned about humidity, there are many new tile and resilient options that will help you achieve a wood look without having to install and maintain a natural product.

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