You’ve decided on engineered hardwood floors for your home. The traditional beauty and remarkable durability have caught your eye, and now it’s time to install. However, as with any home project, it’s important to take care when choosing, installing, and maintaining your hardwood floors. From installation issues to not cleaning up spills, there are a few common mistakes that can make your flooring experience less than grand. Don’t worry too much, though. With the right information and preparation, you can sidestep the most prevalent issues and ensure your floors stay beautiful and useful for decades to come. To help you make the most of your home renovations, here are seven hardwood flooring mistakes to avoid.
Choosing the Wrong Wood
When choosing the right engineered hardwood flooring, the first thing you should consider is how each option will fit the rest of your home. Consider both the function and style of your room. If you’re putting the floors down in a high-traffic area of the house, a harder wood like hickory or maple would work the best to resist scratches and other day-to-day wear. Lighter-colored options also help hide scratches. If you have pets or kids, lighter hardwood might be the best way to keep your floors looking nice. On the other hand, if the room has a lot of natural light coming through, darker colors will hold up better against sun damage. Be sure to do your research to find which hardwood option works best for your home and lifestyle.
Cutting Corners in Installation
Quality should be your main priority during the installation process. Mistakes during this step can cause trouble throughout the life of your hardwood flooring. Save yourself the hassle by making sure you do the job right from the beginning. Be careful when trying to save time or money. For example, while installing engineered hardwood flooring can certainly be a DIY job, you probably don’t want to do it yourself if you don’t have the necessary experience. Additionally, if you do hire someone to install your new floors, make sure they’re reliable and certified. You also want to take the time to measure (and remeasure) the floor, take advantage of samples to choose the best color and style, and figure out the best installation method for your room. The more research and effort you put in initially, the better your results will be both now and throughout the life of your hardwood floors.
Not Preparing the Subfloor
One part of the installation process that deserves special attention is the subfloor. Before putting down your new hardwood, you need to make sure the subfloor is ready to provide a sturdy and dry foundation for your floors. An unprepared subfloor can lead to loose boards that shift and squeak. It can also cause more severe structural damage if your subfloor is wet during installation. The first step of your installation process should be to clean the subfloor of any dirt and debris, then allow it to dry completely. A clean, flat, and water-free subfloor is key to a solid installation and sturdy, reliable hardwood flooring.
Gaps in Floors
Hardwood floors tend to move with their environment. If you install your floorboards incorrectly, they might shift and expand over time. Most of the time, this is a result of placing your floorboards down over a wet subfloor. The moisture and humidity cause the boards to cling tightly to one another. Then in drier seasons, the boards retract and reveal gaps. These gaps can also come from a subfloor that is too hot or dry, such as the space around a heating duct or a part of the floor that gets a lot of sun. While gaps aren’t unusual in your hardwood floors, ones that are very large and irregularly spaced will create an aesthetic issue you don’t want in your room.
Warping and Cupping
Warping is one of the most common hardwood flooring issues. Like many wood flooring problems, warping comes from too much moisture or humidity in your floorboards. This often happens because of water damage or a change of seasons, so it’s important to keep an eye on your foundation and flooring to make sure you catch any potential moisture issues. Warping can cause a few different aesthetic and structural issues. If your individual floorboards warp so the edges curl up while the bottom sinks down with moisture, this is called cupping. You can often fix cupped floorboards by simply fixing the humidity levels in the room. With all warped flooring issues, the most important thing to do is to find the water damage that’s causing the problem. If you don’t identify and fix the leak, spill, or humidity levels, the damage will continue even after you’ve replaced your flooring.
Finishing a Dirty Floor
Refinishing your floors is a great way to keep them looking shiny and new over the years. However, like any other part of your hardwood flooring, you have to do this process correctly to achieve the right results. If you finish a floor without properly cleaning or preparing it, the finish won’t stick and might make it look even worse than before. Prior to finishing your floors, make sure you clean them thoroughly to prevent hair, dirt, and other debris from getting caught in the finishing coat. You should also make sure you’re using the right finish for your floors. If the materials you use aren’t compatible, the finish can peel and flake, ruining that beautiful, gleaming look you want your floors to achieve.
Not Cleaning Properly
Many of the hardwood flooring mistakes to avoid are the result of mess or moisture. This means that the best way to prevent these mishaps is by establishing a cleaning and maintenance routine for your floors. Stay on top of spills and make sure you dry any water damage that occurs. Keep an eye on the humidity levels of your home as well to prevent excessive moisture from damaging your floor. Even the simple act of sweeping regularly can protect the top coat of your floors, keeping them gleaming and gorgeous for years to come.
Whether you’re replacing your floors or installing for the first time, From the Forest has your back. Our catalog of American-made hardwood flooring is the perfect addition to your home, no matter what lifestyle you’re trying to complement.