Custom Engineered Hardwood Flooring Installation Mistakes to Avoid

Installing custom engineered hardwood flooring is not a regular do-it-yourself task. Hiring expert installers like ours is your best move. If you are looking for the stress-free installation of this flooring, we are here to help. From adhesive selection to installation, our dedicated team is there at each step.

Still, many homeowners try this difficult installation themselves. That’s why it’s a great idea to know what problems may come up when installing this flooring. Let’s get started.

Custom Engineered Hardwood Flooring Mistakes (And Ways to Avoid Them) 

Below are some common mistakes that arise when installing engineered flooring.

1. Failing to Keep the Subfloor Dry 

It is vital that your subfloor is absolutely dry. Remember: engineered floors are stable but badly affected by moisture.

Another common installation mistake is the failure to keep this subfloor flat prior to installation. This can lead to hollow spots and the engineered floor popping when people walk on it later. This type of mistake can be avoided if the subfloor is flattened properly prior to installation.

Moisture issues become more severe with engineered flooring than with solid timber. This is because although a solid wood absorbs moisture does not allow water to seep and can be still sanded or refinished. But an engineered floor may be deformed to such an extent that it may lead to complete replacement.

2. Not Gluing the Floor 

Although custom engineered hardwood flooring can be floated, stapled, or nailed, gluing it offers a few benefits including an improved IIC rating. (Impact Insulation Class, or IIC, is the integer rating of how a building’s flooring can soothe impact sounds like footfalls. The higher the IIC rating, the better the sound insulation).

However, some adhesives will etch refinished custom hardwood flooring upon installation. To resolve this issue, many manufacturers have improved their formulations.

3. Fitting on Wet Slabs 

Other common installation mistakes include not testing the moisture level of slabs and laying down wet slabs. This leads to a wide array of issues like buckling, cracking and cupping.

Floating engineered hardwood flooring is a popular installation option. But this method has one big problem. It causes separation due to hardwood’s constant expansion and contraction. This separation happens due to varying levels of humidity.

It is also difficult to install floating engineered hardwood flooring when the planks are both wide and long. In that case, the installers need to nail or glue them down.

Regardless of how well the flooring is installed, it is still susceptible to moisture variations. So, the subfloor must be tested to check moisture level and properly cleaned to allow moisture transmission before installation.

4. Bad Substrate Preparation 

As mentioned, when engineered hardwood flooring is exposed to moisture, it may contract and expand vertically through the plank’s length. This causes lifting at the points where the wood planks meet. This may also expand the wood grain, thus cracking the surface.

This is why substrate preparation is crucial, with longer and wider planks calling for even more attention. A substrate (the floor’s underlying layer or substance) needs to be flattened as well as smoothed as per the standard manufacturer limits.

5. Wrong Method of Installation 

This common mistake occurs when installing engineered hardwood flooring. This type of flooring can be installed on more types of substrates in more ways than solid hardwood flooring, but do not assume that they can be installed in every possible way. Some engineered floors can be nailed, glued, or stapled while others cannot.

6. Applying Adhesives That Have Moisture

Engineered hardwood flooring generally uses adhesives that don’t contain moisture. Silicone adhesives are regarded as the best option.

To avoid problems when installing engineered wood flooring on a cement substrate, voids can be filled using a patch of cement as underlayment. (An underlayment is the layer between the finished floor and the subfloor; it helps with adhesion as well as levelling). An inappropriately prepared substrate can lead to poor installation.

As mentioned, custom engineered hardwood flooring will react in different ways than solid hardwood if exposed to water. This is because engineered hardwood consists of grains that run in different directions. Also, expansion due to the presence of water goes in various directions rather than lengthwise as is the case with solid hardwood floors.

In short, knowing about acclimation is important for installing custom engineered hardwood flooring. For example, a wood product may arrive from a different country with nearly 6 to 7% moisture content. However, it should be acclimated to 8 to 9% before installation to prevent swelling because of sudden expansion.


You can make sure your custom engineered hardwood flooring is installed more easily by avoiding these mistakes. The best way to do so is by hiring our expert installers. They will lay down your flooring quickly and efficiently so you can enjoy it as soon as possible. Call us today to book our services.

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