When is the Low Bid Not Really?

Wood can provide a beautiful, long lasting floor if installed and maintained correctly. There are a few things that can easily be overlooked that can lead to failure, or an ugly floor. The use of a quality installer who understands not just the wood, but the substrate and other conditions is vital to achieving a beautiful, long lasting wood floor.

  • Acclimation – Wood needs to acclimate to the environment that it will live in. Temperature and humidity can cause significant variation in the directional stability of the wood. A 15% change in humidity can cause a 3” piece of red oak to expand nearly 0.2”. In a 15 foot section of those same boards that is nearly 12” in expansion due to humidity.
  • Culling – Wood stock should be culled in order to remove uneven, or unsightly boards.
  • Expansion Gaps – Failing to leave expansion gaps at the perimeter of a floor can cause buckling with moisture changes.
  • Moisture Conditions – Failing to take moisture conditions into account and treat for them properly can cause buckling, cracking, wrinkling, and mold growth.
  • Moisture Retarder – A proper moisture retarder must be used.
  • Joint Stagger – Joints should be randomly staggered increase stability and prevent the appearance of sectioning in the space.
  • Floor Flatness – Rolls in a concrete subfloor can cause disbonding and excessive movement of the wood floor.
  • Not to say that anyone would intentionally use substandard procedures or products, but with the competitiveness of the bid process it is vital that scopes be reviewed properly and the quality of the installer be taken into consideration.