Archive for the ‘Wood Flooring Problems & Solutions’ Category

INSPECTION SAFARI: My New Wood Floors Are Scratched!

Monday, June 15th, 2015

Image of Scratched Wood Flooring

Wood floors scratch. That is a fact of life. All wood floors are stained and then a protective finish is applied over the stain. Unfinished wood floors are stained after installation. Then the protective coat is applied. Once installed, factory finished wood floors are ready to use. While these finishes are hard, they are not scratch-proof. And you’ll notice the scratches more with darker colors and less with lighter colors.
I recently inspected a factory finished solid bamboo floor. The consumers, who had self-installed the wood in a hallway and bedroom, complained to the retailer that the walnut finish scratches too easily.
This older home was located in the dusty backcountry. The family sold turkey and chicken eggs from their front yard.
The couple had purchased and installed a light colored bamboo flooring for the living and family rooms a few years ago. They love the look of the hard surface. When they decided to replace the carpet in the hallway and bedroom, they discovered that this particular bamboo floor is no longer available. So after much searching, they decided to buy and install the dark wood floor that I was commissioned to examine.
I noticed many installation related problems, including the fact that they “floated” the floor rather than attaching it to the subfloor, as was required. However, none of the installation problems had anything to do with the scratching.
The floor was badly scratched through the finish in the bedroom near a dresser and the floor of the bed. The consumer stated that the dresser legs have felt pads to protect the floor. The bed rollers are a hard plastic. She further stated that they were “very careful” when they put the furniture back once the installation was finished so that they would not scratch the wood.
I took an uninstalled board out of a box to examine the finish. An improperly cured factory finish will peel off. Sometimes a thumbnail scraped across the board scratches it. Sometimes a plastic putty knife will damage the finish. Sometimes painters tape will pull off the finish. I was unable to scratch the finish of this board using any of these methods.
I noticed that the scratches went through the finish into the light colored wood below the stain. From the location and shapes of the scratches, it was obvious to me that soothing had been dragged across the floor. Careful observation made its apparent that the felt pads under the dresser were full of grit and sand. The plastic wheels on the bed were also damaged by grit.
It was obvious to me that there was nothing wrong with the finish of this solid bamboo floor. The type of deep scratching that I observed amounted to abuse. Any wood floor would scratch under similar conditions.
You must be especially careful to protect darker wood finishes against scratching. I have even seen toenails from a large, active dog badly scratch a dark wood floor.

Causes of Squeaky Laminate Flooring

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Several months ago, I blogged about a squeaky laminate installation. Numerous in-home and installation errors had caused the floating floor to squeak and snap when walked upon.

I recently inspected a squeaking floating laminate floor. The installers had returned after the initial installation because the homeowner complained about all the noise. They pulled up the new floor and floated (leveled) the concrete slab underneath. When they reinstalled the laminate, they made sure the expansion gaps between the walls and the laminate were to specifications. But the floor still squeaked, so I was called out to see what was wrong. (more…)

Damaged Wood Flooring: Manufacturing or Installation Related?

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

engineered wood flooring damage | Glenn Revere

As a Certified Flooring Inspector, I field inspection requests from consumers, manufacturers, and installers. The complaints range across a wide variety of problems. Sometimes the blame for a problem is obvious. It is clearly one person’s or one entity’s fault. Sometimes things are not so obvious and I cannot clearly deduce who is at fault. Today’s Flooring Inspection Safari complaint falls into the latter category.

In this case, the consumer complained her newly installed engineered wood floors were scratched and chipped. She noticed the problems when she moved furniture into her home after the installation was complete. She called the installers and they returned to look at the damage. Then they filed a complaint with the manufacturer, who called me. I looked at the floor two months after the installation. I have included the body of my inspection report here for you. You’ll notice that I am always required to check the entire installation: (more…)

Cleaning Engineered Wood Floors: Consumer-Caused Delamination

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

The process of layering materials together to form a product is called lamination. Any product made by layering materials together can separate under the right conditions. Engineered wood floors are made by gluing (laminating) several thin plies of wood together to form a board suitable for flooring. By definition, engineered wood is a plied board and can delaminate. That is, any of the layers can separate, including the veneer top sheet.

There is more than one reason why boards delaminate. My job as a flooring inspector is to figure out the exact reason for a flooring failure. Is the cause manufacturing, installation, or site/maintenance related?

Today’s Inspection Safari looks at a maintenance-related cause. (more…)

Engineered Bamboo Flooring Installation Problems

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

bamboo flooring installation

When a wood floor has problems, there are only four causes for those problems: manufacturing, installation, the home’s indoor environment, and maintenance. Sometimes when I look at complaints, I only find one cause relating to the problem. Sometimes I find multiple causes. In today’s Inspection Safari, I share with you an inspection that has complaints with multiple causes.

This engineered bamboo floor was installed throughout a well-maintained two-story inland San Diego home. The main floor had a concrete slab (foundation), while the upstairs subfloor was 1/2” plywood. The flooring was replaced by the retailer after one year because of multiple installation problems. I was asked to inspect the new (replacement) floor. The homeowner complained that the color of the replacement was much darker than the original installation, which she felt was the correct color. She also had concerns regarding the installation. I have reproduced the bulk of my inspection report below: (more…)

Mystery Spots in Engineered Wood Flooring

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

wood flooring spots

When you install new engineered wood flooring, you don’t expect to wake up one day and find spots appearing throughout the floor. But that is what happened to a floor in a suburban home here in San Diego. The homeowner found me on the Internet and hired me to figure out what happened.

The floor had been installed professionally using the glue-down method over a concrete slab foundation. At first, everything was beautiful! The gorgeous natural hickory engineered wood flooring (veneer over plywood) made the family room look great. Then, slowly, over a period of several months, small light gray spots began appearing. At first, they were barely noticeable. The spots slowly grew in size and darkened until they were highly visible everywhere in the room. That is when I was asked to inspect the floor. (more…)

Engineered Wood Flooring Fading From Sun Exposure

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

fading wood flooring
Did you realize that sunshine fades everything — even furnishings in your home that are not in direct sunlight? Yes, paint, fabrics, photographs, and flooring all fade when exposed to ultraviolet rays from the sun. How quickly fading occurs depends on what part of the country you live in, how your home is situated on your lot, and window covering effectiveness. Everything inside your home sun fades eventually. (more…)