I am called to inspect probably twenty or thirty solid wood floors every year that after several weeks or months have started to spread apart. A quick reminder: the solid wood floorboards are each a piece of wood, while the engineered wood boards are several layers of wood glued together, just like plywood. Occasionally I will see an engineered wood with holes. Either way, it’s a serious and very expensive problem. If you take the time to read the rest of this article, you can be sure that this won’t happen to you, I promise.
“Humidity levels” are very important with solid wood floors. All wood has a certain humidity. When a solid wood floor has been installed, especially if nailed / stapled, then it starts to spread the seams so that there is space between the adjacent boards, it is because they have shrunk. The only other possibility is that your home has expanded, but I’m pretty confident that it never happened and never will. So why did the cards get smaller? Because they lost moisture from the installation. When the wood dries, shrinks, when it gets wetter, it expands. Well, now we are coming to the very important part.
Many people are familiar with the term “acclimatization”. Many people know that wooden floors, even laminates (like Pergo) must be acclimated before they are installed. Usually the instructions say to acclimatise for 48 hours, or 3 days, or other, then install. THAT IS NOT CORRECT. If you acclimatize the product as indicated by the manufacturer for the appropriate time, then install it and therefore it remains empty, it will not be guaranteed or replaced by the manufacturer. The small print on the floor installation is this: when the installer installs the floor, he accepts that the floor and subfloor are suitable for the installation. The problem is that sometimes the wooden floor shows up at the house to be acclimated to 15% humidity and must be installed in a house with 6% to 9% humidity underlay. It is not possible that the flooring can adapt to these conditions in a few days. It will still be too wet. And after installation, it will shrink causing gaps. And the worst part, the floor will have to be pulled up and thrown away. It is not a correctable situation.
I need to intercept a small point here. “”Some” gapping on solid wood floors is very normal, especially if you live in an area with real seasonal changes like I do in eastern Washington. Our houses here will invariably be drier in winter and more humid in summer, causing some small gaps and it is perfectly normal. A sure way to know if the gap is normal is if it disappears practically every year during the wettest weather. But the gap I’m talking about isn’t like that. A lady showed me how some spaghetti that had fallen on the floor had rolled into the spaces. Or if you miss one or more of your favorite pets, this is also a clue.
THE SOLUTION So before this horrible scenario happens, make sure you have done the following before installing your new floor. The floor must be checked with a wooden meter. There are (invasive) and magnetic (non-invasive) pin meters, which will both work. However, these range from $ 200 to $ 300 or more. Insist that the installer has controlled humidity, especially since it will be the BIG problem for installers if you have the gap later on. Why do you know what will happen? The manufacturer will send myself to look at the floor, I will make many measurements of dimensions and humidity levels, and using the tables of the dimensional change coefficient of the Wood Manual, I will be able to determine what the real humidity level of the wood was at that time of installation. I will discover that it was too high (or too high MODE) and the discovery will be that the wooden floor was not acclimated to the normal room environment before being installed. OUCH! This will cost someone a lot of money and it will cost you at least a lot of hassle with the problem of replacement, etc. You don’t want it, and neither do I.
By the way, engineered wood should definitely be acclimated too, although some manufacturers don’t want cartons to be opened for acclimatization and some do, so pay attention to this. Furthermore, the laminates (which are real layers of wood similar to the engineered ones with the exception of the top layer which is melamine (aluminum oxide or similar) must be acclimated, but I have never seen a complaint rejected because the floor was not acclimated laminates and many engineered woods “float”, which means that they connect together and become a unit. Any dimensional change normally does not cause gaps but rather a change in the amount of space (perimeter expansion space) on the walls. I will discuss in another article.
SUMMARY: With any type of wooden floor, but especially with solid wood, make sure that the humidity levels of the wood are between 2% and 4% of the substrate on which the floor is being laid. In my part of the country where the relative humidity of houses is usually between 25% and 40%, the flooring should be between 6% and 9% before being installed. This leads to one of my favorite phrases, “IMAGINE NO GAPPING!”.
Avoiding Flooring Failures – The Best Way to Get the Best Quality Flooring For Your Home
While the majority of homeowners know a few ways to prevent flooring failures, many don’t even know how to go about it. Here’s how you can avoid such a situation:
Before we look at what we can do to avoid flooring failures, let’s look at what can go wrong. These include:
The first mistake that homeowners make when it comes to flooring failures is not checking the type of flooring that they are planning to put up. This means that they either don’t look at the room that they want to put their flooring up in or they don’t take the time to research what type of material it is going to be, including the quality of the flooring. In other words, they just go for the cheapest flooring and they end up with a poorly constructed floor.
One of the reasons for this is that flooring is a lot harder to put up, especially if you have to deal with a lot of stairs, doors and windows. This is why you will often hear of homeowners who don’t bother to have their flooring put up, because they can do it themselves. This is not the best thing to do.
When you are trying to buy flooring for your home, there are a few things that you should look for when you go to a store. The first of which is the cost.
You should never think that cheap flooring is a good idea. You should look for high quality flooring that is going to last for a long time. You can’t expect something to last for only a few years, and you need to make sure that you get your money’s worth when you buy flooring for your home.
If you are buying flooring for your home, then you need to make sure that you buy a proper amount of each type of material. This means that you need to buy the right amount of concrete, for example. This will ensure that you don’t have to replace the flooring often and it will also ensure that the floor is properly laid, which is essential if you want the floor to look great.
Flooring is an important part of your home, so you should make sure that you take the time to get the right flooring for your needs. The above mentioned tips are just a few of the many things you need to know when you are planning to get flooring installed for your home.
One of the things that you should avoid when you are dealing with flooring failures is to use sub-standard flooring. There are many different types of materials that can be used for your floors, but they can all have their own issues. If you don’t take the time to shop around for a good quality flooring, then you are going to end up with a sub-standard floor that you will have to replace quite often.
One of the things that you need to make sure that you buy the best quality flooring for your home is a good grade of concrete. This means that you need to choose a concrete that is very solid and that is in good condition. If you don’t take the time to buy the best grade of flooring for your home, then you are going to end up with a floor that is going to crack and come apart fairly quickly.
You also need to make sure that you buy a good base for your flooring. This means that you need to ensure that the floor is solid and that it is not going to be damaged in any way. There are many different types of flooring that can be installed on a base, so you need to make sure that you have a good base.
You will want to make sure that you get the best possible quality for your flooring, because if you don’t, then you are going to end up with different base types that are not able to support the weight of the floor that you want to put on it. For example, if you have a solid base, then you need to make sure that the floor is going to be strong enough to hold the weight of the material that you are putting on it. If you don’t have the best possible base for your floor, then the floor is going to crack and come apart very quickly.
You will also want to make sure that you get the best quality for your flooring. You should make sure that the floor is going to be able to support the weight of the material that you are putting on it, as well as the weight of the material that you are putting on the flooring. You don’t want to have to deal with flooring failures at all, because if you don’t, then you are going to end up with a sub-standard floor that is not going to be able to support the weight of your flooring.