Whether you’re renovating your current home, buying a new one or building from scratch, investing in good quality flooring is always a worthwhile idea.
Thinking about investing in hardwood flooring in 2021? Well, it’s easy to make certain mistakes while purchasing and installing hardwood flooring. Let’s find out what they are.
9 Common Hardwood Flooring Mistakes to Avoid
Knowing how to avoid these common mistakes can go a long way towards ensuring your floors look great and last long.
1. Choosing the Wrong Type of Hardwood or Finish
Buying the right flooring material for your home is crucial to ensuring it lasts. Different materials of course respond differently to external factors such as sun exposure, spills, and wear and tear from pets and children. For instance, if you have a large dog, choose harder wood that is more scratch-resistant than softer varieties. Similarly, lighter wood flooring with long graining patterns will show fewer scratches. Alternatively, glossy flooring in high traffic areas will show scratches more easily.
2. Falling for Advertising Gimmicks
Beware companies offering free installation or buy-one-get-one-free deals. Chances are the money you are meant to save is hidden in other charges, like labour. Instead, get estimates from multiple companies to find out who is offering true value for money.
3. Not Following the Proper Order
There’s a method that needs to be followed when it comes to installing hardwood flooring. Failing to do so can lead to costly mistakes that can undo the whole project.
If, for example, you’re planning to install new cabinets or paint existing ones, it’s best to do so before installing the flooring.
Or if you’re purchasing flooring that requires a floating installation and also want to put in various appliances, it’s best to install the flooring first. Otherwise, it will be difficult to get the appliances out when they need to be serviced, and it won’t be possible without tearing out the flooring.
4. Not Preparing the Subfloor
Another common mistake homeowners make when installing hardwood flooring is not taking proper care to condition their subfloor. The most common type of hardwood flooring installation is the floating floor which often goes through deflection and other problems that can damage the material beyond repair.
Additionally, it’s vital to avoid situations where you might have overwood .
You might also have a squeaky strip floor below. These make it necessary to have the subfloor flattened properly. Failing to do so can result in numerous other problems.
5. Installing Wood in Unsuitable Areas
In a perfect situation, hardwood flooring is a beautiful material that is durable, economical and practical. In imperfect ones, it can fail to perform. Some inappropriate circumstances include:
- Rooms with high levels of humidity (e.g. bathrooms, cellars, steam rooms): This makes it the installers’ responsibility to ensure that the subfloor’s moisture and humidity levels – and on the site in general – are suitable for hardwood flooring. It’s typically recommended to install hardwood flooring with a moisture content between 8 – 10%. Only the installer can determine this as they have the necessary equipment.
- Rooms that experience high traffic.
- Areas that need to be mopped regularly, such as nurseries and playrooms.
- Rooms that are subject to excessive heat.
- Spaces that have abrasive materials; for instance a nursery with a sand play area.
6. Not Knowing How to Maintain it
Hardwood is one of the most durable flooring options, and can be sanded and refinished numerous times. Not knowing how to maintain it can result in damage and require more frequent repairs. Here are some of the most common mistakes and what to do about them:
- Using Household Cleaners
Most homeowners use ammonia or vinegar-based cleaners for more or less everything, but they can harm hardwood. The chemicals, including acid, can eat away at the surface and damage the protective coating. Even natural homemade cleaning products can do harm to hardwood. Your best bet is to choose oil-based cleaners as these won’t harm the wood and will prevent premature aging.
- Mopping with Too Much Water
As hardwood flooring is porous and can absorb and hold moisture, it’s best not to use too much water when cleaning hardwood floors. This can discolour or buckle the wood depending on the type of wood you’re using. While there’s no way to avoid spills altogether, it’s best to clean them as soon as they happen. Use a dry mop or a slightly damp one for regular cleaning.
7. Choosing the Cheapest Option
When purchasing hardwood flooring, it’s never a good idea to buy the cheapest option as you may end up with the poorest-quality product. Also, what you’ll spend to maintain, repair and potentially replace it will eliminate any cost savings. So, choose quality over price if you want your flooring to last. Remember, having to replace flooring is a big investment and not something you want to do every few years.
8. Not Acclimating the Hardwood
Have you ever noticed shrinks or wells on wooden floors? These can happen when the planks haven’t adjusted to the environment. This is why it’s recommended that planks are left inside the room they’ll be used in for about two weeks before being installed.
9. Not Leaving Enough Space for Expansion of Planks
Since hardwood is a natural material, it’s sensitive to fluctuations in humidity levels and temperature. This results in the hardwood expanding and contracting depending on the weather and makes it important to leave space between the planks. Homeowners who install the flooring themselves may not leave sufficient space so it is best to hire a professional.
Now that you know what common mistakes to avoid, you’ll be able to invest in hardwood flooring confidently. If you’re unsure about any of the points mentioned here, contact your hardwood flooring provider.