Prepare Your Home for Hardwood Floors
When purchasing hardwood floors, we sometimes let the excitement of getting new floors distract us from all of the work and preparation that must be done before installation can begin. We want to visualize the beauty that the new floors will add to our home immediately. Often times, what seems like something small, is overlooked just so the flooring can be installed faster. This could lead to permanent damage to your newly purchased floors.
Before installing hardwood floors, it is very important that you check to see if there is a crawl space under your home. This is a space that is often never thought about, but is very important to consider in the hardwood flooring process. If you have a crawl space, you should inspect it to ensure there is no standing water and it is properly ventilated. Check your local building code as this can vary from region to region. Check for under-floor ventilation openings. The minimum net area of ventilation openings should not be less than 1 square foot for each 150 square feet (0.67 m2 for each 100m2) of crawl-space area. Ventilation openings should be covered for their height and width with any of the approved materials, provided that the least dimension of the covering should not exceed 1/4 inch (6 mm) (International Building Code 1203.3) This will help to keep temperatures at a consistent level beneath your homes flooring.
The most important thing to check for in the crawl space is if there is a ground cover over the soil. If there is, you will want to check and see what the material is. If there is not, you will need to purchase the proper ground covering to protect your newly purchased hardwood flooring. Without the proper ground covering, moisture in the soil under your home will rise to the subfloor and then into your hardwood flooring causing it to swell, cup or buckle. The proper ground covering that is recommended by Impressions Hardwood Collection is black 6 mil. polyethylene. The reason we recommended black is to stop the light from allowing plant growth that clear polyethylene allows. This can be purchased at your local flooring dealer or big box retailer. Once you have purchased it, make sure that the entire ground surface under the home is covered. Make sure the edges are fastened to the surrounding walls with a strong adhesive. This will help to ensure the ground covering does not shift or move allowing any moisture to get through to the subfloor.
The crawl space is just one of the many things that you must ensure is in proper condition for hardwood floors. Always be sure to read the manufacturer’s warranty and installation instructions. Often times you will find very important and helpful information there that you may have never thought about when installing hardwood floors.