Design Ideas

6 mistakes to avoid with hardwood floors

March 21, 2017
 

Hardwood floors are a great investment. Between their timeless beauty, sophisticated appearance and impressive design versatility, it's virtually impossible to regret installing hardwood floors for your home. Despite how convenient and beneficial these surfaces can be compared to other types of floors, there are certain things to keep in mind when choosing, installing and maintaining them. 

Quality flooring demonstrates effortless sophistication.Quality flooring demonstrates effortless sophistication.

Below are some of the biggest and most common mistakes homeowners tend to make when it comes to hardwood flooring. Steer clear of these pitfalls and you'll be able to enjoy the high-quality appearance of your flooring for decades to come.

Mistake 1: Selecting a floor based on appearance alone
Of course, the visual aspect of the hardwood floor is going to play a major part in the decision-making process. Consider that not all species of wood are created equal. Each comes with its own unique characteristics and properties that influence not only how it looks but its durability and performance as well. For example, species like hickory are harder than others, such as maple.

"The properties of wood influence its performance."

Mistake 2: Not considering engineered versus solid
Are you new to the world of hardwood flooring? You may not realize that you have two options: engineered or solid. If you're drawn to the natural and authentic look of hardwood but are working with a tight budget, engineered hardwood is usually the better option. Not only does it fall on the more affordable end of the cost spectrum, but it's also easier to install. Plus, it's nearly impossible to tell the difference between the two after installation.

Mistake 3: Overlooking key steps in the preparation process
As with any major home improvement project, your satisfaction with the final result will largely hinge on how effective and detailed you were in the planning and preparation phases. The first thing to keep in mind regarding installation preparation is the amount of time it will take. Apart from the number of days the installation work itself will take, you also need to consider the length of time you must wait before you are able to walk on it or move furniture onto it. This is particularly important if you want or need the new hardwood floor to be done by a certain date or if it's in an area of your home that's difficult to navigate around. 

Preparation has specific elements too:

  • Defects: Once you have your wood floor boards and materials, inspect them for any defects. You should do this before beginning the installation, as most warranties don't cover products that were installed with existing defects. 
  • Subflooring: If the underlying surface isn't adequately conditioned and flattened in advance, you may end up dealing with squeaky floor boards or overwood in certain areas.
  • Moisture: If moisture and humidity levels aren't checked beforehand, it may lead to the boards warping or expanding. To avoid this, rooms should be kept between 65 degrees and 75 degrees Fahrenheit with a 45 percent humidity level. The hardwood floor materials should be given at least a week to acclimate to these conditions.

For additional installation and preparation guidance for specific types of flooring, download one of our guides.

Mistake 5: Hiring just any contractor
To ensure you get the most from your hardwood floor, it's important to not only use high quality materials and products but service and skill as well. Choosing the cheapest contractor may be easy, but it won't offer the highest return on investment. If installed incorrectly, the floor may end up needing costly repairs and replacements down the line. Rather than hiring any general contractor or handyman, enlist the help of a professional flooring specialist who will bring the expertise and craft​smanship needed to complete the best installation possible.


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