Timber flooring is an investment in your home's appearance and even its cleanliness, as solid timber won't hold as much dust and dirt and thick carpet fibres. A high-quality timber floor can last many years, if not even decades, before it needs replacing, and it may even increase the overall resale value of your home. When you are ready to install your new timber flooring, however, or are ready to have your contractor install those floorboards, you might note some mistakes to avoid, so that the floors look and feel their best for years to come.
Not preparing the subfloor
Many homeowners today choose interlocking, floating timber slats, which are easier to install than hardwood slats that get nailed or glued to the subfloor. Because floating slats don't get attached to the floor under it, this allows for some defects on that subfloor surface.
However, trying to install a floating floor over a very uneven surface can mean timber that cups or tends to shift when you walk over it. Putting this flooring over a bare concrete floor can also mean a very loud surface! It's good to prepare the flooring that will be under the timber slats by adding flat plywood or a cushioning underlayment, so that the timber floors are secure and much less noisy.
Not preparing the layout
Before installing your timber floors, think carefully about their layout. Stand in the entryway of a room or hallway, and note the overall footprint of the space. If the room is wide from left to right, for example, you want the timber slats to be set out from left to right, otherwise they may make the room's floor look "choppy."
Note, too, how rooms and hallways flow into each other. If you're running the timber from a hallway to adjoining rooms, it's easy to assume that you want the slats to go in the same direction in those rooms as they're set out in the hallway. However, certain rooms might have a layout that is slightly crooked or uneven; in turn, the flooring will then look crooked and uneven! Set out the slats in each space before you install them, or ask your contractor to do the same, and then note how the flooring looks overall, given the footprint of each area. Don't be afraid to turn the slats so that they go in a different direction in each room or hallway, as this can actually help to differentiate each space, and make the flooring look more attractive overall.