Signs of Bad Hardwood Floor Installation and How to Fix It!


Hardwood floor instalation is a popular choice for homeowners due to their durability, elegance, and timeless appeal. However, poorly installed hardwood floors can quickly turn into a nightmare. Not only do they look unattractive, but they can also cause structural damage and potentially cost thousands of dollars in repairs.

In this blog, we will discuss the signs of bad hardwood floor installation and how to avoid them.

Signs of Bad Hardwood Floor Installation

Uneven or Bouncy Floors

Uneven hardwood flooring

One of the most obvious signs of bad hardwood floor installation is uneven or bouncy floors. This can be caused by a variety of factors, such as incorrect subfloor preparation, improper nailing, and lack of acclimation time for the wood.

If you notice that your wood floors feel bouncy or spongy when you walk on them, it could indicate that the flooring was not properly secured to the subfloor. Uneven wood floors can also be a result of improper sanding and leveling before installation.

If left unaddressed, uneven or bouncy floors can lead to further damage and make it difficult to install new flooring in the future.

Gaps and Buckling

A gap in hardwood flooring

Another sign of bad hardwood floor installation is gaps between the boards or buckled floors. This can happen when the flooring is not properly acclimated to the humidity levels in your home before installation.

If the flooring is installed too tightly, it can buckle as it expands with changes in temperature and humidity. On the other hand, if there is not enough space left between the boards, gaps can form as the wood contracts in drier conditions.

Gaps and buckling not only affect the aesthetic of your floors, but they can also compromise their structural integrity. They can also be a breeding ground for pests and mold if moisture gets trapped in between the boards.

Warping and Cupping

Cupping in hardwood flooring

Poorly installed wood floors can also suffer from warping or cupping. Warped floors occur when the wood bends or twists due to changes in moisture content levels, while cupping happens when the edges of the boards curl upwards.

These issues can be caused by improper installation techniques, such as failing to leave enough space for expansion and contraction or not using a moisture barrier.

Warping and cupping not only affect the appearance of your floors, but they can also cause potential tripping hazards and make it difficult to place furniture or rugs on top.

Excessive Noise

People walking on hardwood flooring making noise

If you notice that your hardwood floors are making excessive noise when you walk on them, it could be a sign of poor wood flooring installation. This can happen if the flooring is not properly glued or nailed down, causing the wood planks to rub against each other and create squeaking or creaking sounds.

Excessive noise can also be a result of improper subfloor preparation or the use of low-quality adhesives. Not only is it annoying to live with, but it can also indicate that your wood floors are not as secure as they should be.

Excessive Wear and Stains

stains on hardwood flooring

Lastly, bad hardwood floor installation can also lead to excessive wear and stains on the surface of the wood. This can happen if the flooring is not properly treated or sealed before installation, making it susceptible to scratches, dents, and spills.

Excessive wear and staining not only affect the appearance of your wood floor but can also compromise its durability and longevity. It's important to address these issues as soon as possible to prevent further damage.

How to Avoid Bad Wood Flooring Installation

A team installing hardwood flooring

To avoid these signs of bad hardwood flooring installation, it is crucial to hire a professional and experienced installer to make sure your new floor is installed correctly. They will have the necessary knowledge and expertise to properly prepare your subfloor, acclimate the wood, and use the right techniques for installation to avoid the issues mentioned above.

Here are some additional tips to help you avoid bad hardwood floor installation:

  • Make sure the subfloor is clean, level, and dry before installation.
  • Allow the wood to acclimate to the humidity levels in your home before installation.
  • Use high-quality adhesives and follow the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Leave enough space for expansion and contraction, as recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Hire a professional for the sanding process to level the subfloor if necessary.

By taking these precautionary measures and working with a trusted contractor, who follows the guidelines of the National Wood Flooring Association, you can ensure that when you install wood flooring it will last for years to come.

Solutions to Bad Hardwood Flooring

A team fixing hardwood flooring

Uneven or Bouncy Floors

To rectify uneven or bouncy floors, it might be necessary to revisit the installation process.

Reexamine the subfloor: The subfloor needs to be flat and free from imperfections. Should you find any high spots, these can be sanded down. Conversely, any low spots may need filling with an appropriate floor-leveling compound. Feel free to contact us for any help you may need in selecting the right floor-leveling compound or any other assistance you may need in this process.

Reinstall the hardwood floors: In severe cases, you may need to pull up the existing hardwood and reinstall it. During this process, ensure the planks are adequately secured to the subfloor using a high-quality adhesive or the correct nailing technique.

Engage a professional: If the issue persists, hiring a professional flooring contractor would be the best option. They have the expertise to diagnose and correct installation-related flooring issues. Here at Floor & Tlies in Style we source only the highest quality meterials at competitive prices and we only hire professionals in their field of work, weather its tile work, hard wood floor instalation, or vinyl floor instalation our team can get the job done. Feel free to reach out for any questions or help you may need.

Remember, fixing a bouncy or uneven floor can be a significant undertaking. It's crucial to address the root cause of the problem to prevent it from recurring.

Gaps and Buckling

To address gaps and buckling, it's essential to stabilize the relative humidity in your home. Additionally, you can take the following steps:

Reduce moisture levels: If there is too much moisture in your home, use a dehumidifier or air conditioner to reduce the humidity levels.

Increase moisture levels: If the humidity levels are too low, consider using a humidifier to add moisture to the air.

Use a wood moisture meter: Measure the moisture content in the affected boards to assess the severity of the issue.

Replace the flooring: In severe cases, you may need to replace some of the affected boards or even the entire floor if necessary.

Warping and Cupping

A team working on hardwood flooring

To address warping and cupping, follow these steps:

Eliminate the source of moisture: Identify and eliminate the source of moisture, whether it's a leak or excess humidity in your home. Remember, wood expands when exposed to moisture.

Repair or replace any damaged boards: If there are only a few affected boards, you may be able to repair them by sanding, re-staining, and sealing them. However, if the damage is extensive, it may be more cost-effective to replace the affected boards.

Reinstall the floors: In severe cases, you may need to have your wood floors installed again using proper techniques and ensuring adequate spacing for expansion and contraction.

Excessive Noise

To address excessive noise from your hardwood floors, try the following solutions:

Use a lubricant: If the noise is coming from rubbing between two boards, try applying a small amount of powdered graphite or talcum powder between the boards.

Reinforce the subfloor: If the noise is coming from an uneven or inadequate subfloor, reinforcing it with additional plywood and screws may help reduce the noise.

Make adjustments to furniture: Sometimes, excessive noise can be caused by furniture rubbing against the floors. Try adding felt pads or rearranging furniture to avoid this issue.

If these solutions do not work, it may be necessary to consult a professional flooring contractor for further assistance.

Excessive Wear and Stains

Routine Upkeep: To maintain the quality of your floors, it is important to clean your wood flooringregularly. Sweep or vacuum the floors frequently to eliminate dust and debris that may result in scratches. Promptly wipe up any spills to prevent stains.

Re-sealing: If your floors are not resisting stains effectively, it might be time to reseal them. This will provide a protective layer against moisture and stains. Consult a professional to select the appropriate sealant for your floor type.

Use of Rugs and Carpets: High-traffic areas are more susceptible to wear and tear. Consider using rugs or carpets in these areas to reduce the impact of foot traffic.

Furniture Pads: Attach felt pads to the bottom of your furniture. This prevents them from deep scratches on the floor surface when they are moved.

Refinishing: Over time, all wood floors will show signs of wear and tear. When this happens, consider hiring a professional to refinish your hardwood floors. This process involves sanding down the surface and applying a new finish.

Remember, the best way to maintain your wood flooring is through consistent care and maintenance. Always consult professionals and do research for significant repair and refinishing tasks. Check out our blog page for other helpfull information.

Hardwood flooring

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I install hardwood floors over my existing flooring?

In most cases, it is not recommended to be installing hardwood floors over existing flooring such as hardwood over tile or hardwood over hardwood. The reason behind this is that it is best to remove the old flooring first to ensure a clean and level subfloor. By starting with a fresh foundation, you can ensure a more durable and long-lasting hardwood floor installation.

How long should I wait for the wood to acclimate before installation?

The recommended time for acclimation varies depending on the type of wood, including vinyl floors, and your specific climate. For solid hardwood, it is generally best to wait for 3-5 days to allow it to adjust to the environment.

On the other hand, engineered hardwood typically requires a shorter acclimation period of 1-2 days. Taking the time to properly acclimate the wood, including vinyl floors, will help ensure optimal performance and longevity.

How do I maintain my wood floors?

Regularly sweeping or vacuuming your hardwood floors is crucial for keeping them clean and free of debris. Additionally, it's important to promptly wipe up any spills to prevent staining or damage. for tips and tricks checkour or blog "How To Clean how to clean prefinished hardwood floors"

To further protect your floors, consider using furniture pads to prevent scratches and dents. As time goes on, it's recommended to periodically reseal and refinish your hardwood floors to maintain their beauty and longevity.

How do I know when it's time to refinish my wooden floors?

There are various indications that suggest the need to refinish your wooden planks. These signs comprise of noticeable scratches, a faded finish, or an overall lackluster appearance. If you're uncertain about the condition of your floors, it's advisable to seek guidance from a professional.

They can give a thorough assessment and recommendation before making any decisions about refinishing or installing new flooring. Taking the time to properly evaluate and address the needs of your wood planks will help ensure a long-lasting and beautiful floor.


Wood flooring is not only a beautiful addition to any home, but it also offers durability that can last for years to come. However, like any other material, it requires proper care and maintenance to ensure its longevity. By following the tips provided in this comprehensive guide, you can effectively prevent and address common issues that may arise with wood flooring. These issues include moisture damage, warping and cupping, excessive noise, and wear and stains.

Remember, for significant repairs and refinishing tasks, it is always recommended to consult a flooring professional. Their expertise will ensure the best results and preserve the beauty of your wood floors.

With the right care and attention, your wood floors will continue to enhance the aesthetic appeal and value of your home. So, don't hesitate any longer - give your wood floors the love and care they deserve!

Contact Floors & Tiles in Style

If you have any other questions or concerns with your Hardwood flooring do not heasatate to reach out to our hardwood flooring specialist team. you can reach us via phone (206) 472-8573 email [email protected] or directly from our site contact page our team would love to help and suport you.

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