Laying engineered and solid wood flooring can elevate the aesthetic of your home, adding warmth and a touch of nature to your living spaces. However, even the most seasoned DIY enthusiasts can encounter problems during installation. Here are the five most common issues and how to fix them.

1. Gapping and Cupping

Problem: Gaps and cupping in wooden floors can be a significant issue, often caused by fluctuations in humidity and temperature. Gapping occurs when the wood shrinks, leaving spaces between the planks. Cupping happens when the edges of a plank rise higher than the centre.

Solution: To prevent gapping and cupping, ensure the wood acclimates to the room’s conditions before installation. Store the wood in the installation room for at least a week. Use a moisture metre to check the wood and subfloor moisture levels. Keep the indoor environment stable by using dehumidifiers in summer and humidifiers in winter.

2. Squeaking Floors

Problem: Squeaking is a common issue, especially in older homes. It occurs when the wooden planks rub against each other or the subfloor due to movement.

Solution: Secure the flooring properly during installation. Use glue and nails to keep the planks in place. For existing floors, locate the squeak and drive a screw through the wood and into the subfloor, being careful not to damage the surface. Applying talcum powder between the boards can also help reduce noise.

3. Buckling

Problem: Buckling is when the wood flooring lifts from the subfloor, usually due to excessive moisture. It can lead to severe damage and unsightly floors.

Solution: Address moisture issues immediately. Ensure a vapour barrier is installed between the subfloor and the wood. Maintain proper ventilation and use moisture-resistant underlayment. If buckling occurs, you may need to remove and replace the affected planks and fix any underlying moisture problems.

4. Discolouration

Problem: Discolouration can happen over time due to sun exposure, spills, or improper cleaning products. It can make your beautiful wooden floors look worn and dated.

Solution: Protect your floors from direct sunlight by using curtains or blinds. Clean spills immediately and use wood-friendly cleaning products. For existing discolouration, sanding and refinishing the floor can restore its original look. Regular maintenance, like polishing, can also keep your floors looking vibrant.

5. Expansion and Contraction

Problem: Wood is a natural material that expands and contracts with changes in humidity. This can lead to uneven floors and structural issues.

Solution: Leave an expansion gap around the perimeter of the room during installation to allow for natural movement. Use spacers to maintain this gap, which can be covered by baseboards or moulding. Choose engineered wood, which is more stable and less prone to significant changes compared to solid wood.

Final Thoughts

Laying engineered or solid wood flooring is a worthwhile investment that enhances the beauty and value of your home. By being aware of these common problems and taking preventive measures, you can ensure a smooth installation and long-lasting floors.



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