5 Common Hardwood Flooring Problems To Avoid – A Prospective Buyers Guide

In one of our previous Home Flooring Pros guides we discussed Flooring with the Highest Return on Investment. Unsurprisingly solid hardwood floors top the list of good flooring investments.

Nevertheless solid wood flooring certainly isn’t your cheapest flooring option so you should take some time to acquaint yourself with some of the common hardwood flooring problems that typically crop up both before and after purchase.

Choosing Plank Width – It’s a fact that solid wooden floors contract and expand with the changing seasons. The wider the width of your plank the more pronounced the effects of swelling and shrinking during changes of temperature and humidity will be.

So if you’re a customer who prefers the aesthetics of wider wooden planks then just be aware that gapping (gaps appearing between planks) is a common characteristic of this type of flooring.

Dents and Dinks – What a customer hopes they are buying is the same floor that they saw in the catalog or showroom. Sometimes after a few months the reality can be somewhat different if they haven’t chosen their wood wisely.

As you will see in our Solid Hardwood Flooring Price Guide cheaper cabin grade wood may have lots of character but it is also much softer than other more expensive grades of wood. The same goes for cheaper types of wood like Pine.

If dents and dinks showing up on your wood flooring are going to disappoint then you should consider either raising your budget or taking a look at engineered hardwood floors and  high quality laminate floors.

Smears and Smudges – A similar issue arises when customers install solid hardwood flooring with a high gloss finish. If you’ve been seduced by photos of highly polished floors in glamorous upmarket homes and apartments just be aware that keeping a floor in this condition requires constant care and attention.

Just like a shiny new car, fresh out of the showroom, soon requires a wash, wax and clean your floors too will need lots of TLC to keep them smudge free.

Bad Floor Care and Maintenance – While on the topic of TLC, customers need to be aware of how to look after their wood floors correctly. Wet mopping a wooden floor or using a steam cleaner are both recipes for disaster.

Setting aside for one moment the actual damage you could do to your floors it is worth pointing out that wet mopping will only dull the finish of your floor. See our Hardwood Cleaning and Care Guide for more information.

Hardwood Oxidation – During the first year your hardwood floor will go through a period of oxidation and, typically, the more the floor is exposed to strong sunlight the darker the wood will become.

Problems sometimes arise if the room is in intense sunshine and then you decide to move an armchair or sofa only to find a lighter discolored area underneath.

Firstly don’t panic as over time the lighter area will also darken. Secondly, if you want to avoid the darkening of your wood, look to protect your floors from direct sunlight as far as possible.

More Online Resources to Help You with Common Wood Floor Problems:

  • Hardwood Flooring Talk Forum – a strong online community for both professionals and DIY’ers to discuss hardwood floors. Get your questions answered.
  • HardwoodInstaller.com – Great site with plenty of great info on hardwood floors including this article on common hardwood floor problems.
  • FlooringBlog.com – More information about hardwood floors and the oxidation process.

Have you experienced any of these problems or any others not mentioned? If so please share your experience using the comments section below. Or go ahead and contact us with your views so that we can continue to help others with their flooring installation.

4 thoughts on “5 Common Hardwood Flooring Problems To Avoid – A Prospective Buyers Guide

  • March 12, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    In a new house we have hardwood flooring over particle board subfloor Several weeks after install the floors started to make noise. Not just on edges but all over, snaps pops crackling in some arease but overall a gritty crunchy sound when you walk on it. It looks good, flat. Builder says it will all settle down in a year.

    • November 11, 2015 at 6:38 pm

      hi Robert,

      i have the same issues,My floor was installed 3 months ago and as time goes by the clacking cracking and “sticky” noises are getting worse (and spreading) i had the installer come and look at it but he poo pooed away saying it’s nothing and the whole thing will settle in time. i asked him to give me a time frame but he would not do that. 3 months down the track and the issue is expanding throughout (what seems like) the whole floor, that’s probably exaggeration
      but that’s what it seems like and my frustration and annoyance is growing. he is coming by again next week to, as he puts it “put your mind at rest”

  • July 22, 2016 at 1:58 am

    Hi!I spilled some water on the floor and the parquet got up a little bit, what can I do to fix it?

  • April 2, 2018 at 6:46 pm

    I have red hardwood pine floors, what is the life expectancy of these floors
    Mine have spots that look like they are dry rotting
    My floor are probably 108 years old


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