Wood flooring can transform our interiors drastically. While wood flooring is a beautiful choice, it’s not without its drawbacks. What are the different types of wood flooring problems you need to consider? There are several key issues you’ll need to plan for before having a wood floor installed. However, with a little pre-planning and some careful maintenance, you can ensure your wood floor remains and looks its best for years to come.
At Wood Flooring Ireland, we’re industry leaders in the engineered wood flooring market. For more than 15 years, we’ve been providing unique flooring products to customers across the country. Since 2019, we’ve also been leading the pack when it comes to sustainability. All of our wood flooring products are made with material sourced from sustainable forests. Furthermore, our low-impact manufacturing products make our products an eco-friendly choice.
Although the quality of engineered wood is impressive, it’s not to say that problems can’t occur with it. What are some of the issues we can have with wood flooring installed in our homes?
1. Gapping on Wood Flooring
Gapping is a common issue you may encounter. This tends to happen when long plank wood flooring or panels lose moisture. Once this moisture is lost, the boards themselves shrink, resulting in obvious gaps. Some degree of gapping is to be expected, especially if you live somewhere that experiences significant temperature extremes. Thankfully, there are some ways to mitigate the issue.
Before installing wood flooring, it’s best to let planks or panels acclimatise to the environment. After a couple of days of acclimation, your flooring is ready to be installed. One of the advantages of engineered wood flooring is that it doesn’t warp as readily as solid wood. If you’re looking for a low-maintenance alternative, engineered wood flooring is the way to go.
2. Floor Cupping
Cupping is another problem caused by moisture. This occurs when the wooden flooring is exposed to significant amounts of moisture. Once absorbed, this moisture causes the material to warp in places. An uneven surface isn’t ideal when it comes to flooring.
As with gapping, you can overcome cupping by letting floor materials acclimate to their surroundings before installing them. It’s also important to maintain consistent humidity and temperature levels. Avoid using things like humidifiers and be cautious when it comes to cleaning. Understanding how to clean engineered wood flooring will ensure you’re not using more water than you need to.
You’ll also need to think about the sub-floor layer. If the subfloor is exposed to high levels of moisture, it won’t be able to dry out as quickly as the visible flooring layer. This can quickly lead to a noticeable expansion of the topside.
3. Cracking and Fractures
There’s nothing worse than an unsightly fracture spoiling the finish of a premium wood floor. Fractures occur for many reasons. If you’re laying a floor yourself, cracks and fractures can be created when driving in nails. However, fractures can occur during the drying out stage of flooring materials.
To keep fractures to a minimum, always use a nailer when installing floors. This not only makes fitting a floorless energy-intensive, but it also means you can guarantee cleaner lines when driving in fasteners. If your flooring materials arrive with visible fractures, carry out repairs before installing boards and planks. Wood filler can be used on superficial fractures, while finishes can help mask things further.
Crowning is yet another issue caused by humidity. Wood is prone to warping, especially when exposed to significant swings in temperature or moisture. When exposed to high levels of moisture from the subfloor layer, crowning can become a problem. You’ll know if you’ve got a crowning situation if the middle of boards or panels begins to swell.
To stave off crowning, think about moisture control in the room you’re looking to install flooring. If you can limit humidity levels, do so. It’s particularly important to control temperature levels when installing a floor. You should also think carefully about the type of wood you plan on using. Some species do better in more humid environments.
Finally, avoid the temptation to sand away visible crowning. While you’ll have to do this eventually, you need to ensure that planks and panels have dried out before reaching for a sander and stripping away precious millimetres of surface material.
5. Poorly Fitted and Creaking Floorboards
Creaking boards aren’t just a symptom of old floors. If your floor hasn’t been installed correctly, it might only be weeks before you start noticing creaks and loose boards. To overcome the problem, make sure the subfloor layer has been correctly installed. If there are no audible squeaks here, you likely won’t experience issues with the floorboard layer.
You’ll also need to leave some room for expansion. Think carefully when laying panels against vertical surfaces like walls. Flooring material requires a small amount of space to expand into. If it’s not provided with sufficient clearance, you’ll almost certainly experience unwanted noise.
6. Buckled Floors
You’ll know if you’re dealing with a buckling floor. In this scenario, entire planks can lift upwards, resulting in a serious trip hazard. Once again, moisture is a likely culprit. However, you may also be dealing with water intrusion from other sources, such as a burst pipe or concealed leak. In any case, the buckling is occurring because the adhesives used to fit your flooring in place have been compromised.
As with cupping and crowning, you’ll need to always monitor moisture levels. First, focus on the subfloor and ensure you’re keeping humidity levels in check once your flooring has been fitted. It’s also important to keep on top of spillages. Wiping these up as soon as they occur will prevent superficial staining, but also limit the incidence of buckling.
7. Oxidation Issues
When exposed to sunlight for long enough, wood flooring is likely to suffer from the oxidation process. You’ll notice the biggest changes in the first few years, although the process continues for far longer than that.
Oxidation isn’t instantly noticeable. You might only notice a difference in the colour of your wood when lifting a rug or repositioning furniture. It’s more noticeable with darker hues, although you may still spot signs of it with grey wood flooring.
To combat oxidation, you need to protect your floors against direct sunlight. Draping windows is a good way to keep the harsh glare of sunlight from damaging your floors. If you can’t keep every ray out, think about using rugs to cover up larger areas. It also makes sense to reconfigure your rooms regularly. Moving furniture around will ensure all sections of your flooring have received similar UV exposure, resulting in less concentrated areas of oxidation.
Enhance Any Space with Engineered Wood Flooring
Although all wood flooring faces similar problems, engineered wood flooring is a relatively low-maintenance alternative. Engineered wood flooring isn’t just easy to install, it’s also incredibly durable and far more resilient to moisture and temperature extremes.
At Wood Flooring Ireland, we offer an impressive selection of engineered wood flooring products. Keep it simple with long planks or add some elegance to your interiors with Versailles panels. Looking to add some personality to your spaces? We also stock a stunning range of herringbone flooring and chevron flooring.
You can visit our Cork showroom to explore products in person. Alternatively, drop us a line at 021 4629913 or send us a query via the online contact form.