Wooden Flooring - things to keep in mind

The author of this blog is Venu, a trained and certified home inspector working at HomeInspeKtor. You can get in touch with him here.

Wood flooring typically adds richness and warmth to the house and can come in various styles, colors, cuts, and species. It makes any room look good and adds a certain amount of elegance. Wooden floorings are durable and will last for years, if well-maintained. Having said, some of the nuances to be kept in mind are as below:

Damage by water

It’s advisable not to fix wooden flooring in a home that has high moisture content. Moisture can make wood swell or get infested with mildew. While mopping wooden floors with a wet cloth is okay, if done carefully, but ensure that no water stays onto the surface for long. It is also important to keep flooring relatively dry, since sitting water/moisture can cause the planks to swell, warp, etc., though some brands are equipped with water-resistant coatings.


A little separation between boards or boards and wall are fine, but abnormal gaps typically indicate improper installation of planks. Wood expands during cold weather and contracts during dry periods, so any excess gaps in the floor will appear larger during some seasons than the others. If boards were excessively wet during fixing, the gaps between them will be wider when they dry, causing an aesthetic issue.

Cupped edges

Cupping is a type of water damage. Cupped boards are those whose edges are raised higher than their center. This typically can happen when wood flooring is installed over a wet subfloor.

Crowning edge

Crowning is the inverse of cupping, with the center of a board lifting higher than its edges. Where cupping often results from moisture beneath the boards, crowning tends to happen when water is left sitting on top of the boards. 

Buckling board

Buckling is the most extreme way that wood flooring may react to moisture. When a floor buckles, the boards lift up by several inches. Buckling most often results from flooding or extended periods of high moisture exposures, leaking pipes and so on but other moisture problems can also cause buckling if the boards were fixed too close together and don’t have room space to expand, or if the boards were improperly fastened to the floor.


The concentrated force of nails can cause unsightly cracking in flooring. Some wood species are more prone to cracking than others, and cracking can happen simply because boards dried too quickly.


It’s due to improper finish of subfloor or improper fixing of foam sheet below the wooden flooring.

Wear and tear

Typical wear & tear occurs on wooden flooring due to the damage that occurs over a period of time and usage. Usually scratches, wear spots or any other damages give an aesthetically unpleasing view of the flooring. It is important to keep wooden flooring clean since dust, dirt, and sand particles may scratch the surface over time, especially more in usable areas. 


General aesthetics of the home is enhanced through flooring & hence it is important to choose the right flooring based on individual lifestyle and preferences.

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