You’ve decided to get the floor of your dreams; wood. Wood floors have been the rage for years, and with improved scratch resistance, are quite practical. They are still not “bulletproof” and may incur scratches if you have a large dog. If this is the case, it’s wise to discuss it with your flooring professional.
In addition to looking amazing, should you decide to sell your house, it will add to the value. According to realtor statistics, wood flooring adds considerably to the resale value of your house.
Wood floors should be installed by professionals. It is suggested that you have the installation done by the retailer who sells you, the flooring or someone they recommend. This way, you will have a warranty on the flooring as well as a warranty on the installation.
Installing wood flooring is different from installing carpet. It should not be kept in the warehouse or garage prior to the installation but acclimated in the room where it’s to be installed. This is not an option. The purpose of the acclimation process is to allow the wood to stabilize so that it can adjust to the temperature and humidity in the room. It needs to expand and contract before the installation; if this process is not adhered to, there can be serious problems after the installation. It doesn’t matter what season, if the garage or warehouse is heated this procedure must be followed. Wood is naturally hygroscopic and expands and contracts to meet the conditions of the room where it is installed. It may expand or contract depending upon the conditions.
The installer will measure the moisture in the wood as well as the subfloor. (This is the floor underneath your new wood floor.) This tells the installer how much room is needed around the perimeter for expansion and contraction of your new floor. This is considered Best Practices for wood installation and will automatically be done by your installer. If you are planning on doing the installation yourself, you will need what’s called a moisture meter for these measurements. This tool is rather expensive, and unless you’re planning on installing other wood floors, its best left to the professionals.
There are unusual conditions where the moisture level in the subfloor is out of the normal ranges. When it is out of the normal range, the condition must be corrected before the new floor can be installed. When this is discovered the installer will be looking at the floor and around your house to see if there is a leak under the floor or outside the house. Sometimes this repair can’t be completed by the flooring professional, and a building contractor must be called before the floor can be installed.
This moisture problem can come from a broken pipe, a drainage problem or a wet concrete slab. Often times a concrete floor addition to your house, such as a kitchen or porch may not look damp, but the moisture meter will indicate that it is. This dampness is leached by the subfloor under your floor installation and must be repaired before the installation.
Having this problem prior to the installation will prevent more serious problems with both the floor and your home.