When you are fitting any type of wooden flooring, you must leave an expansion gap. This gap should run the whole way around the edge of the room, including in doorways, pipework and fireplaces. The expansion gap needs to be at least 10mm.
It`s important to keep in mind that wood floors are natural and will be affected by the environment. While there`s no need to panic if you see some gaps develop between boards during dry seasons, if the wood doesn`t shrink back into place during humid seasons — July through August, then you should bring in a certified wood flooring professional to assess the separation.
Whether you`re thinking about adding hardwood floors to your home or just need to take better care of the ones you have, now is the perfect time to put your wood floor knowledge to the test. Consider this your how-to manual on preserving hardwood floors.
Traditionally, hardwood flooring came in thick planks of solid timber. Today, solid hardwood is still widely available, but many companies also offer engineered flooring—planks made with a thinner top layer of hardwood, bonded to other layers designed to prevent the floor from shifting during expansion and contraction cycles. All wood moves in three directions: There`s tangential, radial, and longitudinal movement.
Leave stilettos and tap shoes at the door to avoid puncturing the wood. While you`re at it, consider enforcing a no-shoe policy for all types of footwear to keep things extra clean.
But not all hardwood flooring is created equal, and selecting a product isn`t simply a matter of choosing a preferred color. A range of other factors can have an impact on both aesthetics and performance.