Learn about common mistakes when installing hardwood flooring

9 Common Mistakes When Installing Hardwood Flooring

Are hardwood floors worth the cost? Yes! They are a great investment that adds value to your home, provides durability, and more.

Still, the cost to install hardwood flooring for a 1000 square foot space can range from $6,000 to $12,000. Many people will attempt to do their hardwood flooring installation as a DIY project to save a bit of money, but this can lead to many mistakes. 

Do you want to learn more about installing hardwood flooring and common mistakes with flooring installations? Keep reading this guide for the top mistakes you need to be aware of when installing hardwood floors. 

1. Choosing the Wrong Wood

Choosing the right type of flooring is one of the most important parts of the hardwood flooring installation process. Rather than selecting your flooring based on its looks, you need to determine how a specific type of wood would function in your home. 

For example, if you want wood flooring in a high-traffic area of your home, you should avoid choosing a soft wood that would easily show scratches and other types of wear. 

If you want wood flooring in a more humid area of the home, like a bathroom or kitchen, it is best to choose something like engineered hardwood. This way, the moisture in your home will not affect your flooring. 

2. Not Acclimating the Flooring

Once you have selected the right type of flooring for your home, you need to acclimate it to the space. This is the biggest mistake people make with hardwood flooring and can lead to expensive problems.

Acclimating the hardwood flooring will allow it to reach equilibrium when it comes to expanding or contracting from the moisture in the indoor environment. Proper acclimation can prevent shrinkage, expansion, warping, and more in your hardwood floors.  

3. Forgetting to Prepare the Subfloor

As the wood flooring is acclimating to your home, it is essential to prepare the subfloor before you begin the installation process. Having a poorly prepared subfloor can impact your installation and can lead to loose floorboards that creak, flooring that buckles, and more. 

You must clean your subfloor and allow it to completely dry before you start installing the subfloor. Any amount of moisture can cause structural damage to your new flooring.

Having a high-quality subfloor will ensure that your flooring remains in perfect condition for longer! 

4. Failing to Check Moisture Levels

Hardwood flooring is greatly impacted by the humidity in a space. This is why it is important that you acclimate the flooring before installing it! However, failing to check moisture levels in a room can greatly impact the installation of your new flooring. 

Too much moisture will cause the planks to expand and not enough moisture will cause them to contract. 

Make sure you measure the humidity levels in a room before you start the installation process. 

5. Not Installing Expansion Joints Properly

When you have too much moisture in a room, it is common for the wood flooring to cup and swell as it expands. This is something that will happen as the humidity changes in your home. 

Learning how to properly install expansion joints can prevent this humidity from damaging your flooring. Instead, it will accommodate the wood's expansion and contraction to prevent buckling. 

6. Improperly Spaced Nails or Staples

Next, failing to space your nails or staples properly can greatly impact your wood flooring installation. This spacing is important and will ensure that the boards are held down properly. 

If the staples are too far apart, it can lead to loose boards, creaking, and movement in your flooring. 

Typically, wood floors should have nails or staples every 10 to 12 inches. 

7. Leaving Gaps in the Floor

Leaving gaps in the floor is another sure sign of poor flooring installation. This often happens when hardwood floors are installed over a wet subfloor. Not allowing your subfloor to dry completely will cause the wood boards to cling to each other and retract over time as they dry. 

If you have these large gaps, you may need to fill them with wood filler. To avoid this problem completely, it is best to hire a professional installer to ensure that there are minimal gaps in your flooring. 

8. Improper Racking

Racking a floor is the process of determining the order in which you want to install the flooring boards. This needs to be done to ensure that the flooring looks aesthetically pleasing after it is installed. Plus, it will make the installation process much smoother. 

If you don't rack your boards or don't take your time when racking the boards, it can result in flooring that looks poorly designed. 

For example, you may want to rack your floor to ensure that there are not too many joints in one area. It will also allow you to have a better flow of wood tones and grain patterns that do not look oddly placed. 

9. Not Hiring a Professional

Finally, it can be a huge mistake to not hire a professional for your hardwood flooring installation. 

Professional flooring installers have the right training and experience to install flooring properly and can avoid many of these common mistakes. Rather than cutting corners and installing it yourself to save a bit of money, you can hire a professional that will do it right the first time. 

Hardwood floors can be a huge investment for a homeowner, so it is best to pay a little extra to ensure that it is installed properly and doesn't cause any problems in the future. 

Installing Hardwood Flooring? Find a Professional

Learning how to install hardwood flooring may be able to save you a bit of money, but it can also cause more problems in the long run. To avoid these mistakes when installing hardwood flooring, it is best to hire a professional flooring installer! This way, your hardwood flooring will be an investment that will last for years to come. 

If you need other hardwood flooring installation tips, National Floors Direct can help!

Contact us today to learn more about our services or to get a free in-home estimate for your new hardwood floors.