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Why are my hardwood floors separating?

Michigan Hardwood Flooring expands and contracts.

Hardwood flooring expands and contracts, this happens in Michigan more often than not. With all the new wide plank hardwood flooring being sold and installed this should be of high topic in Michigan as we enter the winter months. At 1woodfloors.com our company educates our customers prior to purchasing a hardwood floor. In some situations a certain type of hardwood flooring may be better than others. Even though we all know a big part of our decision is based off of cost, we try to avoid giving you a floor just based from this because if that floor fails you may spend more trying to fix a problem that could have been prevented. All hardwood floors should be acclimated prior to installation. Why should hardwood flooring be acclimated we will cover on another post later. In the winter months we all turn up the heat in one way or another in Michigan. It is our job to make sure we keep the air in our homes with the correct level of humidity if we would like to protect our hardwood floors from severe gapping or separating. Here are some quick tips.  Remember if your floor is separating it usually takes just as long to try to close up as it took to separate.

 

  • Get a humidifier on your furnace and make sure it is working.
  • Purchase a hygrometer and place in the area your flooring is.
  • Notice the setting on your humidifier may not tell you the true RH% this is why a hygrometer is required.
  • Keep your levels around 45-50% if possible
  • Avoid shocking your floor or house, meaning if its to dry slowly adjust your humidity rather than spike the levels up or down.
  • Summer requires the same type of attention to humidity levels.
  • As summer comes you usually will need no help from your humidifier and this will most likely be turned off all together.
  • This is when people forget to either turn on or off is when the seasons change
  • The wider the board the more it will move
  • Do your best,  its all you can do. You cannot control this perfectly.
  • Always talk to a pro when choosing flooring some work better than others in certain situations
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Hardwood flooring installation methods

When you are looking for hardwood flooring in Michigan it is important for your wood flooring installation company to understand the construction of your home. Homes built at different times and in different areas all have different materials used as base flooring. There are many things to consider when it comes to selecting the installation method to be used when installing your floor if you expect it to last a lifetime. You may receive information from many sources regarding installation method and it is always wise to refer to your manufacture for instructions. However I will talk about 1woodfloors.com preferred methods of installation. It is important that subfloor type is considered before choosing your hardwood floor. For instance CDX plywood does not provide the same hold as some OSB types of subfloor. Refer to our subfloor types page for more insight.  Now this does not mean a whole lot until you consider you may want a wide plank hardwood floor. If you have a subfloor that does not hold a fastener as well as the other then install a floor that uses less fasteners then this could have a effect on the way your floor hold together. Installing hardwood flooring in a state like Michigan can present many challenges because of changes in the climate. Unfortunately most of the issues result after the installation of your Michigan hardwood flooring project is completed and the first seasonal change has taken place. Now if you have a 4 inch wide plank floor installed over OSB using nail down method with cleats would the floor hold together under climate changes as good as a old 2 1/4 oak hardwood floor nailed over cross plank into the floor joist with spiral nails? Have you seen a house from the 1950′s or earlier with a floor that stays together better than that floor in your new home? Have you ever heard from your parents saying “I never had that problem with my floor”? The short answer is most people we know have not had wide plank hickory flooring installed in a new home and that less has been done to see the test of time. Did you know that selecting Hickory is also selecting a product that is more prone to movement than Oak hardwood flooring. You can see very easily that the type of floor you select, installation method you choose, area your home is in and your subfloor type can play a big part in how long your floor withstands the test of time. I hope this information is helpful for those who would like the floor to withstand the test of time.

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