most common floor failures and how to prevent them

Most Common Floor Failures And How To Prevent Them

Investing in new flooring is a significant step in any remodel. Floors are a focal point in the room they complement the other features and make a statement about your style. They're often designed to withstand years of use without issue, so any problems that cause an early replacement can seriously inconvenience many homeowners.

Flooring installation is a complicated process without professional assistance. An improper installation or surprise conditions can lead to floor failures. If you spot a floor failure, you'll need an expert to come in, analyze and correct the problem before it worsens. The most cost-effective step you can take with common floor failures is prevention if you take care to stop potential issues before they happen, you'll save yourself lots of stress and expense.

Common Floor Failures

Understanding what common floor failures look like will help you spot flooring issues early. The sooner you can catch a problem, the faster you can get it fixed, and the less damage you'll deal with. Flooring failures can pop up as late as a year after installation, so it's essential to be on the lookout after a renovation. Flooring typically has a limited warranty contact your contractor as soon as you notice a floor failure to take full advantage of your warranty.

For example, let's look at some typical floor failures for hardwood that could happen after your installation.
  • Cupping:Hardwood cupping makes your floorboards look cupped or curved. The boards' edges will look raised while the center will sit low, making each board cupped-looking. Each board will develop a "U" shape that makes the floor look unusual.
  • Crowning: Crowing is the reverse of cupping each board has a raised center and downward-sloping edges.
  • Gaps: Floor gaps are spaces that appear between your floorboards. They can range in size and even grow over time.
  • Buckling: Buckling is an extreme floor failure issue. Your floorboards will pull up from the subfloor and lift several inches in one or more spots. Buckling is less common than other floor failures but can still occur.
Most Common Floor Failures And How To Prevent Them

  • Squeaking: Occasional squeaks might be nothing to worry about, but significant squeaking and board movement is a floor failure sign. Floor squeaking is intrusive and means you have other issues at play that need correcting.
  • Peaking: Flooring can begin to rise at the joints, pushing the flooring against itself and creating high points or peaks.
  • Mold and Mildew: You can spot mold and mildew by their musty smells and discoloration. Moldy floors might have other floor failures like buckling and squeaking occur alongside them. If you notice hay fever-like symptoms suddenly, it's a good indication you have a mold problem.


What Causes Floor Failures

There are several main reasons you may experience floor failures. Since flooring requires careful installation and the right home and weather conditions, it's much easier for floor failures to happen. Be on the lookout for these potential floor failure causes so you can head them off before they lead to problems post-installation:


Moisture is one leading cause of floor failures. Water is excellent at getting in and underneath the floor, causing gaps, mold, crowing and cupping. If there's excess humidity, wood can warp, cup and crown. Too much sitting water leads to mold.

The flooring installation area must remain dry throughout the process this helps keep water out and prevents moisture-related floor failures.

Improper Installation

Incorrect installation is another big reason for floor failure. If the boards are installed too tightly together, you can get peaking. If the temperature changes too quickly or moisture is present, floors can develop gaps. Excess squeaking occurs when there are moisture, nailing, adhesive or subfloor issues. You can avoid severe floor failure down the road with a thorough, careful installation.

Other factors like exposure and incorrect maintenance may also lead to floor failure. It's vital you take care of your floors according to the manufacturer's instructions to help prevent failure issues from occurring after installation.

How to Prevent Common Floor Failures

The best way to prevent common floor failures is by using a trusted, reputable contractor to handle your installation. A good contractor has the experience and tools to select the right materials, methods and conditions for the job. They'll avoid rushing the installation and check to ensure the area is dry with little environmental changes before installing your floors. The better your contractor, the better the flooring job and the less likely you'll be to experience floor failures.

Some of the issues a good contractor will identify and correct include:
  • Moisture: Contractors will inspect the subfloors, nearby area and materials to ensure they're free from any water or moisture that could interfere with the installation process. If there is moisture, the cause will be remediated and drying will need to happen before installation begins.
  • Temperature: If there are upcoming temperature or humidity changes, you'll probably have to reschedule the installation for better results. Sudden temperature shifts can affect the flooring, making it move and shift and causing floor failure.
  • Subfloor: The subfloor must be flat before the floor installation. If it's not, it can lead to floor failure, and your floors won't hold up as well as they should.
  • Underlayment: Different flooring materials might require additional underlayment. The underlayment can help with sound dampening, impact absorption and humidity.
  • Subfloor/flooring combination: The right subfloor/flooring combination is critical. Not all flooring can be installed over the same subfloor. Additionally, some flooring requires nails, while others need adhesive. Without the proper materials, the installation will not be successful.

Some maintenance problems can cause floor failures. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for maintenance and care to help protect your floors. Some chemicals and even excessive mopping can lead to floor damage and failure. Follow the instructions to protect your floors from harm and keep them in excellent condition for years.
Most Common Floor Failures And How To Prevent Them - by Area Flooring & Tile

Better Flooring From Area Flooring & Tile, Inc.

Area Flooring & Tile, Inc. provides homeowners with durable, cost-efficient flooring and remodeling solutions, no matter their style. Our personalized remodeling services are comprehensive we'll guide you through every remodeling stage to ensure you get the look you want. Managing a new flooring project or completing a remodel on your own can be overwhelming. Instead of keeping track of everything alone, use our expert team to help you design the home you've always wanted.

With state-of-the-art installation methods, thorough subfloor preparation and a wide range of options, you can trust Area Flooring & Tile, Inc. to deliver high-quality remodels at reasonable prices. If you're interested in working with us for your next remodel, contact us online today or explore our gallery for inspiration!

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