Here we’ll cover some instances of poor installations of wood flooring. We’ll show you what a poor installation can look like and give some guidance on how to avoid it. This topic is very broad and we only cover a small part of it, so if you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments section at the bottom of this page or send us a message directly.
Poor fitting is one of the absolute main reason for failed wood floors in the industry, closely followed by poor maintenance. A floor that looks great when it’s installed may not in years or even months down the line. Here we see a brand new installation. The contractor that left the floor like this even had the cheek to charge! There’s just no excuse..
The pictures show a generally low standard of finish, however, the main issue with poor fitting as always is, expansion. If adequate expansion isn’t left during an installation of any wood floor, the potential for problems further down the line is huge. It’s fair to say that some climates can be more stable than others, but with today’s weather, these are few and far between.
Any type of wood based floor will strive to get an equilibrium with it’s environment. So, as the air humidity rises, wood will expand. As the air humidity lowers, wood will contract. This is a simple formula to know when thinking about installing a wood floor yourself or discussing an installation with a fitter.
It’s worth mentioning the ice rule! This adds another element to our knowledge of expansion. If the air humidity of a room/property rises, this may not immediately have an effect on a wood floor. However, while the air humidity is high and so to is the moisture content of your floor, should there be a cold snap, this can increase a floors expansion considerably. Put a glass of water in the freezer and watch what happens after an hour. You’ll find the water will expand as it turns to ice. This is a common cause of expansion failure across all genres i.e. Roads, buildings, rocks etc. Now think about this analogy when the moisture content of wood is high and the atmosphere becomes cold. Expansion!
The overall fitting of any floor should be carried out with the end cosmetic result in mind. Unsightly gaps as shown above are a no no! This wasn’t even down to contraction as it was a newly laid floor. There is never any need for an exposed gap to be visible. Fair enough, we can’t go cutting into heating pipes and we can’t go butting up to them for obvious reasons as mentioned above, but there are flexible coloured fillers available. However, this should be kept at an absolute minimum and only used when essential. Door frames can be cut into, skirtings can be removed and re-installed, expansion beading can be used, radiator rosette’s can be purchased. Do not except a sub-standard finish to your floor!
Sub-floor preparation is key. We concede that not every sub-floor in the land is going to be water level perfect. However, for a solid long lasting floor, all efforts should be made to level a sub-floor within most manufacturers specifications. Which tends to be around 2 mm per linear meter. Any large undulations can cause your new floor to feel bouncy, creak and cause locking system or tongue and groove abrasion. Not to mention rocking furniture!
Door divides or door threshold plates should be used! There’s a reason to separate two rooms when both have had a wood based floor installed. The reason is climate change. As one room may be kept at a nice snug temperature, an adjacent room may be left cold. This in turn also has an effect on air humidity levels resulting in the two floors expanding and contracting at a different rate. Potentially resulting in a conflict between the two and ensuing creaks, compression failure or buckling/lifting. Cosmetically, a door bar installed doesn’t look as pleasing to the eye as a floor flowing from one room to the next without a break. Over the years we have been instructed by customers to not separate their floor. The ensuing results have differed. We estimate around 80% of floors installed in this manner have been fine. Extra caution should always be taken when it is obvious that an adjacent room has a differing climate i.e. A large hallway where a lot of heat is lost into the above level as the hot air rises and through opening the front door, hence, keeping them a lot cooler than say a snug lounge. Be careful when deciding to carry through without a break, consider the likely hood of future problems and/or consult your fitter. Strictly manufacturers will always instruct two rooms to be divided.
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