Commonly asked questions about hardwood flooring

The colours of my boards don’t match

Your flooring is made of a natural product and this is just the nature of real wood; each piece of timber used is different, so you would naturally expect to get variations in shades and colours – even if it comes from the same tree! One of the main charms of solid wood and engineered floors, is the unpredictability of nature and that’s what makes your flooring unique and one of a kind.

There are streaks/rays on my boards

If your seeing pale strips along your oak flooring, these are known as Medullary Rays, which are created by plant cells, and are also known as growth rings. These cells allow the transportation of sap through the trunk, making them essential for the growth of trees. As a result, when the trunk is cut for the production of oak products, these cells produce rays, also described as slithers and markings across the sawn area, that become more prominent when polished, varnished or oiled.

I have scratches and dents on my floor

Scratches and dents are very normal and often unavoidable amongst all real wood floors. As a natural product, hardwood can often mark or dent when exposed to every day wear and tear. To avoid getting dents or marks in your floor, we recommend not wearing shoes or particularly high heels indoors. When moving furniture, it is also advisable to lift the furniture instead of trying to drag it across the floor. If you do get a scratch, this can often be remedied with a little sanding and the use of either an oil, stain or lacquer, depending on the finish of your floor. However, if after many years of wear and tear you feel your floor is looking tired, you can always consider getting a professional to refinish your floor.

My floor can be squeaky at times

Real wood flooring can commonly cause squeaking noises when they start rubbing against each other. This is usually down to the condition and the leveling of your subfloor, as the foundation is incredibly important for a flat stable floor. Sudden changes in temperature can dramatically adjust moisture levels and cause your flooring to shrink or expand. Another cause of squeaking can be a sudden surge of damp, which can be produced by painting or plastering. Therefore, ensure that the fitting process of your floor is postponed until the final stages of renovation.

The best way to avoid squeaks and difficulties with your floor is to use professional fitters and gain quality installation. All the little things from acclimatisation, to the gaps left between the walls and your floor can make all the difference, so don’t compromise!

What does Warping mean?

Warping is a term used to describe a plank that has its edges of the board higher or lower than the centre.

Causes of Lifting, Warping and Gaps

Lifting, warping and gaps are often caused by the same issues; these being sudden temperature changes and a rise or fluctuation in moisture levels. These can be avoided by firstly allowing your floor to acclimatise properly before fitting. This will ensure that your floor will have adapted to the climate of your room before it is laid, and will stop it from expanding or shrinking (see our guide to acclimatisation here). Secondly, you should always try to maintain a steady temperature in your room and finally, always ensure you leave an expansion gap at the corners of your room, to allow some space for your floor to expand and shrink naturally throughout the year.

Treating Lifting, Warping and Gaps

If you experience any of the mentioned symptoms with your floor, is it most likely a damp/moisture issue. Thankfully, there are numerous actions you can take to help return your floor back to normal. Firstly, you should try to track and diagnose the source of the issue and prevent it. For example, you could ventilate by opening windows or use a dehumidifier to get rid of the damp. Once the source of moisture is detected and dealt with, your floor should slowly return to its normal natural state. However, if you see no signs of improvement, we highly recommend seeking professional advice or having you area inspected by one of our Surgeons, as further investigations may be needed.

My boards appear to be warped upon arrival

It is perfectly normal for wooden flooring to warp when it comes into contact with a new climate – particularly if that climate has higher moisture. This is one of the reasons why acclimatisation of natural wooden flooring is very important, as it helps to reduce movement and warping of your new floor. It is perfectly fine to install a warped board, as some boards can still be slightly twisted, even after acclimatisation. Staggering the joints of each board during fitting is an important method, which helps to flatten out the floor and ensure it holds its strength. Overall, a professional fitter should have no trouble installing these boards and once your floor is settled, your hardwood will eventually adapt to the climate of your room.