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Wood Flooring Installation: The Common Rookie Mistakes

Wood floors are a highly sought-after investment by homeowners, and we feel a beautiful wood floor is one of THE best investments any homeowner can make. A beautiful hardwood floor will last for decades and add value to residential properties. However, homeowners should consider skipping a DIY hardwood floor installation. At JJ Hardwood, we’ve installed many custom wood floors and fixed many floors that were subject to ineffective installation. There are multiple common mistakes that rookies make when installing hardwood flooring, and we’d like to share some of the most common wood flooring installation mistakes to avoid.

  • Not Preparing the Subfloor

The first step of the installation process should be to clean the subfloor and allow it to dry completely and thoroughly. If there is any moisture in the subfloor, the new hardwood flooring will absorb the moisture, which will cause the flooring to cup and buckle.  If the subfloor is wet during installation, structural damage is likely to result. An unprepared subfloor can lead to loose floorboards that shift and create loud creaking noises. The key to installing beautiful, reliable hardwood flooring is to start with a clean, flat, and dry subfloor. Experienced professionals work for years to develop eyes for problems with the subfloor that many rookie installers would not catch. 

Remember: not only will keeping your subfloor in pristine condition resulting in a better state of your hardwood floor, but it will also ensure that your floor remains in top-tier condition for a longer period of time.


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  • Gaps in the Floor

Improper installation can be very aesthetically displeasing. If boards are installed over a wet subfloor, they are likely to cling to each other initially but later retract and create large gaps once the environment becomes drier. It is not unusual for hardwood floors to shift in response to the environment around them, but proper installation by an experienced professional will ensure that minimal gaps result.

  • Warping and Cupping

It is crucial to check the relative humidity levels of the environment area/room before starting the installation process. It should be between 35% and 50%. You should also check the moisture content of the plywood subfloor- this should be 10% to 12%. And most of all, you need to check the wood floor’s moisture content; it should be between 7% and 9%. Moisture causes planks to expand, and dry conditions cause planks to contract. If boards are installed in conditions that fall into the extremes of either end of this spectrum, issues will definitely arise.

Common problems for wood flooring with too much moisture cause the boards to cup and swell on the edges. Wood flooring in very dry conditions with low relative humidity will cause the flooring to shrink, and this also causes noticeable gaps. 


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  • Improper Racking

“Racking” refers to planning the order in which the hardwood flooring crew will install the boards. If racking is done properly, it makes the installation process easier and ensures that the floor will be aesthetically pleasing once the process is complete. However, if the boards are not racked properly or the process is rushed, disaster can result. The floor can end up having too many joints assembled in one spot or odd placement of differing grain patterns or wood tones. Improper racking can essentially ruin a hardwood floor.

  • Cutting Corners

Compromising the quality of the installation can cause issues throughout the entire life of the hardwood flooring. Don’t be tempted to save time or money. Mistakes can be costly and take up valuable time to correct any mistakes from a hasty, cheap job. Save yourself the hassle – hire a professional with experience. Professionals will properly follow every step, such as measuring multiple times, precise math layout in every room (especially if the room is not completely square), and checking moisture levels.

All of these precautions ensure that your wood flooring installation will result in the best flooring solution for your home! 

 

Contact us to learn more about our wood flooring installation and refinishing services for your home!

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