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Signs of Bad Hardwood Floor Installation From Professionals

Written by
Paul Galushkin
Published on
October 31, 2023

Signs Of Bad Hardwood Floor Installation


Hardwood flooring is a timeless choice for beautifying your home, offering a sense of warmth, durability, and elegance. However, the wood flooring installation process is crucial to ensure the lasting beauty and functionality of your floor.

Despite its robust nature, hardwood flooring installation can display signs of poor installation that can compromise not only the aesthetics but also its lifespan.

This blog will guide you through the telltale signs of improperly installed hardwood flooring, so you can address potential issues when you install wood flooring and as you maintain the grace of your home.

Signs of Bad Hardwood Floor Installation

Uneven Flooring

Uneven flooring

One of the most evident signs of a botched hardwood floor installation is an uneven floor surface. This could be due to improper subfloor preparation, where it isn't leveled properly before laying out the wood planks.

It can also occur when the installer incorrectly cuts and adjusts the length and width of each plank during the fitting process. Buckled floors can create a bumpy or hollow-sounding surface, making it difficult to walk without feeling any irregularities.

If this happens, you should immediately contact your installer and have them address the issue.

Visible Gaps

Gaps in the hardwood

If there are visible gaps between planks, then chances are the installation was done in haste or with inadequate planning.

This can occur due to poor subfloor preparation, the wrong type of nails and adhesives used, or even improper alignment while installing hardwood floors.

Visible gaps between boards can also allow dirt and debris to accumulate, making it difficult to maintain cleanliness levels.

Therefore, proper sealing should be done during installation to ensure an air-tight fit with minimal or no gaps at all.

Loose Nails

Loose nails

If you hear creaking noises when walking on your hardwood floors, then it could be an indication that the nails were not inserted properly during installation.

Make sure to check for any loose nails and missing screws as these can create a squeaky floor once stepped on.

Additionally, they may also cause the planks to swell and contract with time, resulting in even bigger gaps appearing between the boards.

Be sure to contact your installer if you notice any of these symptoms so they can take corrective action accordingly.

Warped Wood Floors

Warped and damaged hardwood flooring

Another common issue with hardwood floor installation is warping due to excessive moisture levels. This can occur when the subfloor wasn't adequately dried before installation or if the installer used too much adhesive while fixing the boards. This issue can be avoided if the installer uses a wood moisture meter before installation.

A warped wood floor can easily be identified as it appears to have an uneven surface and will usually feel soft when touched.

If left unchecked, warped floors can worsen over time and cause irreversible damage to your flooring, so it's best to address any warping issues immediately.

Signs of Good Hardwood Floor Installation

To preface, the National Wood Flooring Association hand book details all the best practices for installing flooring, such as these to follow:

Proper Sealing & Fitting

Good installation

If the hardwood flooring has been installed correctly, there should be no visible gaps between the boards. This is due to the accurate fitting of each plank and proper sealing done by your installer.

The planks should also fit snugly together with minimal amounts of glue, ensuring that they stay firmly in place and don't move around when stepped on or in the event the wood expands.

No Squeaks or Creaks

If no creaking noises are coming from the wooden floors, then this could mean that it was installed properly without any loose nails or screws. This is because the installer would have used a nail gun to drive in each nail securely during installation.  

Even Surface

When walking on a properly installed hardwood floor, you should not feel any bumps or hollow spots. This is because the subfloor was prepared correctly and all planks were cut with precision before fitting them together.

A well-installed hardwood floor should have an even surface without any visible irregularities, so you can walk on it without feeling any discomfort.

Nice Finish

Good installation

Finally, a good hardwood floor installation should have a nice finish where the boards are all joined together seamlessly. This means that when you run your hand across the surface, you won't feel any rough edges from improperly cut boards and the entire floor will appear uniform in color.

It's also important to look out for any discoloration or staining, as this could be a sign of inadequate sealing and can affect the overall look of your floor.

Types of Hardwood Flooring

Different types of hardwood flooring

Solid Hardwood Flooring

Solid hardwood flooring is made of a single, solid piece of wood cut from a tree. It's a traditional choice, praised for its durability and timeless appeal. This type of hardwood flooring can be refinished multiple times throughout its lifetime, making it a long-lasting option. However, it's prone to warping in humid environments and isn't recommended for basements or bathrooms.

Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Engineered hardwood is composed of a top layer of real wood attached to multiple layers of plywood or other wood-based materials. This construction makes the flooring resistant to changes in humidity and temperature, making it a versatile choice that can be installed in any room. However, it can only be refinished a few times before the top layer is worn away.

Parquet Flooring

Parquet flooring consists of geometrically arranged pieces of wood to create a distinctive, patterned floor. This type of flooring offers a unique aesthetic and is available in a variety of woods and stains. It can be refinished multiple times but requires careful maintenance to preserve the intricate patterns.

Reclaimed Hardwood Flooring

Reclaimed hardwood flooring is made from wood salvaged from old buildings, barns, or other structures. This eco-friendly option offers a rustic, vintage look. The wood's age gives it a unique character and makes it harder and more stable than new wood. However, availability can be limited, and it may require more effort to install due to its aged nature.

Commonly Asked Questions

What Is the Best Way to Clean Hardwood Floors?

The best way to clean hardwood floors is to use a slightly damp mop with a cleaning solution designed specifically for wood flooring. Avoid using too much water as this can cause damage, and don't scrub excessively or use abrasive materials like steel wool as it can place deep scratches on the surface.

Does Hardwood Flooring Require Special Care?

Yes, hardwood flooring requires special care to preserve its life and keep it looking pristine. Make sure you use doormats at entrances to avoid outside dirt from entering the house, as well as area rugs or furniture pads for extra protection.

You should also regularly clean your floors using the right products and avoid mopping with too much water. To keep your hardwood floor looking its best, use a wood cleaner specifically designed for cleaning these types of surfaces. It is also important to occasionally apply wood filler or refinish the floor in order to protect it from damage caused by wear and tear.

Finally, make sure to take off your shoes before walking on your hardwood floors to avoid scratches.

Is Hardwood Flooring Worth the Investment?

Yes, hardwood flooring can be a worthwhile investment as it adds value to any home and provides a timeless look that never goes out of style. It is also very durable if properly installed and maintained, so you won't need to replace it for a very long time.

Furthermore, hardwood floors are also hypoallergenic, making them ideal for people with allergies or respiratory issues. In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, they can also help increase the resale value of your home in case you decide to sell it in the future. All these benefits make hardwood flooring worth the initial investment and a great option for any home.  

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Hardwood Flooring?

The main advantage of hardwood flooring is its timeless appeal, durable nature, and ability to increase the value of a home. It is also easy to clean and maintain compared to other types of flooring such as carpets.

However, there are some drawbacks to consider as well. Hardwood floors can be expensive and tend to fade in direct sunlight, so they may require periodic refinishing or waxing depending on the type of wood used. They can also be easily scratched or dented if not treated with care, making them unsuitable for homes with pets or young children.

Despite these drawbacks, hardwood flooring remains one of the best new flooring options available due to its longevity, ease of maintenance, and aesthetic value.

Is Hardwood Flooring Good for Dogs?

Yes, hardwood flooring can be a great option for households with dogs as it is very easy to clean and maintain. Since wood floors are not deep or cushioned like carpets, there is no risk of doggy odors building up over time.

Additionally, Many hardwood floors are also scratch-resistant and can be waxed or refinished if they become damaged. With the right care and maintenance, a hardwood floor should serve as a safe and comfortable option for your pup.

What Are the Best Hardwood Flooring Options?

The best hardwood flooring options vary depending on your needs and budget.

Solid hardwood floors are the most popular choice as they can undergo the sanding process and be refinished multiple times, making them very durable.

Engineered wood floors are also a good option as they are less prone to warping or cupping due to changes in temperature or humidity.

For those looking for a more budget-friendly option, laminate flooring or vinyl floors are an excellent choice as they resemble real wood but are much cheaper. Ultimately, the best hardwood flooring option depends on your individual needs and preferences.

How Much Does Hardwood Flooring Cost?

The cost of hardwood floors can vary greatly depending on the type of wood chosen, the size of the area being covered, and whether or not installation is included.

On average, solid hardwood floors can cost anywhere from $5 to $15 per square foot while engineered wood floors may be slightly more expensive at around $7 to $12 per square foot.

Additionally, you may need to factor in additional costs such as underlayment or installation fees if those are not included in the total cost.


Overall, hardwood floors can be a great addition to any home, both aesthetically and financially. For those looking for a timeless, durable flooring option, hardwood is an excellent choice.

Just make sure to find an experienced flooring professional to have your wood floors installed, use the right cleaning and maintenance products, and take extra precautions to protect your floor from scratches or damage.

With the right preparation and attention, your hardwood floors can provide you with years of beauty and value for your home.

Contact Floor Care Installation

If you have any questions or concerns about what flooring you should use for your space please reach out to us via Phone number (916) 802-5454, Email floorcareinstall@gmail.com, or if you have a floor installation or refinishing job feel free to reach out through the top right corner on our page with the yellow get a free estimate button.

Our Floor Care Installation team would love to help.

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