Installing hardwood floor in your home or office can be one of the best design decisions you ever make. It’s durability, warmth and beauty are timeless and can increase the resale value of your home. What’s more, because there are so many different wood types and plank widths from which to choose, you’ll have no problem incorporating hardwood into any design aesthetic.
All these benefits of hardwood flooring are undeniable, but in our decades as flooring contractors in Toronto and across the GTA, we’ve seen how improper installation can diminish an otherwise sound investment in the beauty and value of your space.
The best thing is to know these\ mistakes before they happen. Being an informed homeowner or do-it-yourselfer goes a long way to enjoying gorgeous flooring today and years from now.
1. Neglecting Your Subfloor
If your subfloor — the surface underneath your floor that provides rigidity and strength to your space — is in rough shape, then you are in for a host of problems when you try to install your hardwood overtop. Loose and creaking boards are just a couple of the lesser problems: others include warped flooring and cracked planks.
Spend time on getting your subfloor right. Subflooring usually consists of a couple of layers of moisture resistant plywood. If you already have subflooring, make sure it is in good condition, clean, dry, straight and properly fascended. If you don’t, be sure to have it put down.
2. Consider the Climate
It doesn’t matter that you’re laying your hardwood flooring inside: the climate can affect the integrity of your installation. When it is humid, the moisture in the air causes the wood planks to expand. When the air is dry, the planks will contract, becoming smaller.
For these reasons, it’s best to allow materials to acclimatize to your space. Allow it to sit in your home or office for a few days prior to installation.
3. Poor Layouts
Measure rooms and angles before the floor goes down. Chances are not all corners are exact right angles and that planks cannot just be laid down down and have them fit.
Once you know the size of the room, the angles and the size of the planks, the layout can be planned and planks can be cut.
4. It Wasn’t Racked
Racking refers to the process of laying out the planks prior to fastening to ensure you like the layout. Plank lengths should vary and end-joints should be staggered. This step is especially important with patterned layouts like herringbone or chevron, where focal centerpoints and plank direction need to be perfectly set. Remember: hardwood flooring planks are long and won’t all begin and end at the same point since your room is not going to be perfectly angled and you may have to cut to account for doorways, fireplaces and staircases.
5. Not Enough Fasteners
Each hardwood plank needs to be nailed down firmly to the subfloor. It doesn’t matter if it looks like it’s fitted snugly — overtime and with traffic it will shift, creak and even lift. Nails should be spaced 10 to 12 inches apart and each plank should have at least 2 nails.
Finally, remember to consult a professional when in doubt. Hardwood flooring is an investment in your home and you want to make sure it looks its best. While many people can lay their own floors, hardwood flooring installation is not a DIY project for beginners. It takes patience, experience and a meticulous eye for details.
We’re here to help. Whether you have a question about installing your own flooring or are interested in having our specialists do this job, we offer free consultations to help you make the best decisions for your budget and your space.Contact us today.