Prevent Flooring Issues

Many people see flooring installation as a do-it-yourself project. Regardless of whether you installed your flooring yourself or had the help of a contractor, issues from improper flooring installation will cost you a lot of money in the long run. Learn how to install floor covering properly and avoid costly issues in the future.

Types Of Floor Installation Problems

Many problems may show themselves after you install new floors in your house. If proper steps weren’t taken before installation, you could find yourself dealing with these issues.

Mold Or Mildew

Certain areas of the house have high moisture content. Bathrooms and kitchens may have a problem with mold or mildew in areas around the shower, sinks, or dishwasher. If you have a basement with a concrete floor, water can be absorbed through the pores of the material. This can lead to mold or mildew buildup underneath the floor. Mold may cause discoloration or deformation. If the mold is growing under the sub-flooring, you likely won’t be able to see it. You will smell a damp, musty earthy, odor from your floors. Mold contamination can carry health risks. Long term exposure could lead to congestion, sore throat, a dry cough, wheezing, irritated eyes and skin, and, in extreme cases, severe infection of the lungs. This problem can occur if the renovated area was not tested for mold or mildew beforehand, or the improper type of floor covering was used for the environment of the room. Mold remediation, or removal, should be the immediate next steps after realizing that your sub-floor may be contaminated with mold. Water damaged floor repair A part of this process may include removing the flooring and/or sub-flooring and disposing of it completely in order to treat the room before re-installation.

Uneven Or Faulty Base Floor

No matter what type of floor covering you are putting down, whether it be hardwood, laminate or tile, you will run into problems if the base floor is uneven or faulty. The base floor should be measured and checked to see if it is level. If you install flooring over an uneven base floor, this will cause destruction over time. Telltale signs your floor is uneven after floor covering has been installed is blistering or buckling. You may hear pops or cracks or feel pockets of air when walking across the surface of the floor. Depending on how the base floor is distorted, it will need to be treated before you can begin installing a new floor covering. A thick layer of sub-flooring should support the underlayment and subsequent layers.

Improper Underlayment

The purpose of flooring underlayment is to provide a cushion between the floor covering and base floor. Different materials are used to serve a wide variety of purposes, such as:

  • Quieting the sound of footsteps
  • Providing structural and support and stability
  • Smoothing the floor covering
  • Creating a barrier to block or prevent moisture
  • Enhance the floor covering’s ability to stay bonded to the ground
  • Resistance to compression
  • An insulation barrier

Without an underlayment below certain flooring types, such as laminate, the floor covering is more likely to experience warping, distortion, mold or water damage.

Wrong Materials Or Floor Covering

Certain types of floor covering are cost-effective options and may seem like a good idea if you are renovating your home on a budget. However, if you choose the wrong floor covering option or materials for the room you are renovating, the expenses will add up in time. Floor coverings such as laminate, vinyl, or linoleum are all good options for home improvement. They are easy to maintain and clean and come in many designs and colors. However, these materials are more susceptible to damage such as warping, water damage, blistering, or tearing. If laminate, vinyl or linoleum floors are improperly laid or are not supported by the right underlayment, their average lifespan (around 25 years in lightly used areas) may be significantly decreased. Since they are a type of “floating floor” covering, they may become easily damages in areas that experience high traffic, fluctuating temperatures, or high moisture content.


Before installing any type of floor coverings, especially materials like laminate or wood, it is essential you let it acclimate. To acclimate floor coverings, the materials should be unpacked and allowed to sit in the room it is to be installed in. This allows the floor covering to reach the same or similar moisture content of the room. If the flooring is installed without acclimating first, hardwood floor planks can expand or contract drastically. Depending on the size of the room, moisture content, floor covering and sub-floor type, installation may take a while. Flooring experts recommend allowing a couple of days to a week for acclimation to avoid cupping, bowing, and overall structural damage.

Water Damage

Different floor coverings are more prone to water damage than others. To preserve the look and health of your floors, you must recognize the signs and take the proper steps to prevent water damage. Ensure the material and floor covering being installed is suitable for a wet area. Ceramic and porcelain tile and vinyl are good options for areas in the home such as bathrooms, kitchens, and basements. Ceramic and porcelain are designed to hold up against consistent exposure to water, making them one of the best options for chronically damp areas. Other materials that will hold up, but are not quite as sturdy as tile or vinyl, are engineered wood, laminate, linoleum, and bamboo. If installed correctly, these will resist moisture and work well in areas such as that see less water. A poor choice would be solid hardwood. Hardwood is prone to deformation and staining in areas of high moisture.

Flooring Done Right

Flooring installation and repair is no easy task. If you have experienced any of the above problems with your floors or are looking to prevent future complications, book an appointment online with us for an in-home consultation.

About the Author: Jim Yeager, Owner

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