TopInstallers presents Fail Friday #1 – highlighting renovation fails every week

In the premiere Fail Friday post, explores an awesome example of a renovation project gone wrong.

This wood flooring fail example is from YouTube user 0ronrel0 in Florida and hits some of the main challenges both pro’s and DIY’ers can have when installing wood flooring in humid areas.  Without seeing the installation in person, I see three issues that could cause this kind of buckling:

  • Wood might not have been properly acclimatized.  Your contractor should arrive with a humidity tester and it is their responsibility to ensure the relative humidity is within manufacturers range before installing.   This is not a product failure, but rather an issue where the installer hasn’t allowed the wood to shrink or expand to an equilibrium point; usually this takes 2-5 days before installation and depends on the wood species or whether it is hardwood, engineered or laminate.
  • Site preparation wasn’t completed properly – clean, dry, flat concrete is necessary for glue adherence.  Air conditioning should be on for 48 hours before installation and all painting should be completed and fully dried.
  • The installation may have been completed without allowing for proper expansion gaps at the edge of the room.  Wood can seasonally expand and contract up to 1/16″ per board.  This is especially true in temperate climates like Florida…ask your supplier and installer about “Dimensional Stability” to ensure that the product you choose will perform in local conditions.
  • In some cases, moisture from the sub-floor can cause expansion of your wood flooring.  General NWFA guidelines for new home flooring ask for 60 days lead time for a concrete floor to cure; but you should have the moisture tested and documented before laying your first board.  Any installation over concrete (regardless of the age of the building) should be installed over a continuous moisture barrier / underlay.

For more information about the main reasons wood flooring installations fail, check out the 5 sins of hardwood flooring installations.

Share you installation fails or questions in the comments below;  happy to discuss any of your challenges…


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