28 April 2010

Hardwood Flooring Installation Problems

Q. My floor has colour variations - is this normal?

A. Hardwood flooring is a natural product, and will therefore have naturally occurring variation in the grain over time. In most cases, this adds to the character of the floor, and is highly desirable. Lower grades of flooring will have a larger number of character blemishes, but you can expect colour variations in all grades, even Select and Superior.

Q. The floor beneath my rug is lighter than the exposed floor, what can I do?

A. It is normal for hardwood floors exposed to sunlight to lighten over a period of time, leaving darker areas where there has been less sunlight exposure. To prevent obvious tone differences, it is best to rotate rugs and furniture so that the flooring gets an equal amount of sun exposure. Most differences in colouration from light exposure will eventually fade away.

Q. I have a scratch in my hardwood floor - can this be fixed?

A. This is one of the toughest questions in hardwood floors because the answer is generally "No". Floor finish does not lend itself to be "spot repaired" similar to that of a scratch in the paint of your car. The correct way to fix scratches is by repairing the area and recoating the adjoining floors (which often extends into many other rooms).
The reason for this is that new finish will be different in colour and sheen that the old finish due to the natural effects of time and wear, and could look worse than the scratch did initially. By adding more finish in only a specific area, a flow or finish line will also inevitably be created that can be seen and felt. Spot fixes should be applied more artistically than mechanically, as they are by no means an exact science.

Since recoating entire floors is not always an option and spot repairs can be a tricky prospect (and don't guarantee perfection), the best idea is to contact us as hardwood professionals, for the best solution in your case.

Q. My floor squeaks - what shall I do?

A. Hardwood floors will all eventually develop some sort of squeak in them at some point. This is because they are nailed to a subfloor - a wooden structure made of underlay, wood and joists. The nails are an efficient and cost effective way of fastening but - when wood expands and contracts with the various seasonal humidity changes, the holes around the nails can also expand and contract. As we use and walk on the floors we continue to loosen them by jiggling them ever so slightly each time we use them.

Your floors may squeak more in one season than another, like winter as we use more heating, causing the hardwood floor strips to dry out and shrink. In newer floors it can sometimes be the result of your floors shifting due to changing humidity. This can be avoided by maintaining an equal humidity level throughout the year.
Sanding and finishing will not cure a squeaky floor, however, certain steps can be taken to remedy it:

• Humidify the house during the heating season and dehumidify during the summer, humid months.

• Shims can be driven between the sub floor and joists to create a swelling at the spot that the squeak occurs.
• In some cases the floors can be secured by adding screws underneath the floor in problem areas.

Q. What potential moisture problems should I look out for?
A. Cupping and crowning are caused when water is trapped between the wood floor and the sub-floor. This effect causes the board to warp creating convex or concave shaping. When this imbalance in moisture occurs, it is essential that the boards dry evenly; if not, cupping or crowning can appear. It is also recommended therefore that you do not install hardwood floors in bathrooms for this reason.

1 comment:

  1. We had hardwood floor installed.The guy did not accclimitize the wood and now the floor makes crunching sound. On top of that he has not left any gaps between the hardwood floor and the wall. Hiw can we fix the sound problems?