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10 Common Wood Flooring Issues & How To Prevent Them

Close view of wood floor and stool.

One of the greatest strengths of good hardwood floors is their potential longevity. With careful installation, quality materials, and proper upkeep, they’ve been known to last for a century and designed to last half that. But to reach such a vulnerable age, it’s important to understand what can go wrong with your floors.

Today, we’ll look at 10 common issues with wood flooring and how to prevent them.


When the top of a board is dry and the bottom is damp, cupping occurs — a warping of your hardwood floors where individual boards create a ‘cupped’ shape with the edge of a board higher than the middle.

This usually happens because of moisture leaking up from a damp basement or crawl space, though it can also be due to moisture getting under the boards from somewhere else. Correcting the moisture problem and then sanding if it remains necessary is the best solution.


If the center of a board is clearly higher than the edges, it can be due to swollen boards pushing each other at the edges, raising the center of the board since there’s nowhere else to go.

For the most part, it’s resolved the same way as cupping. Just make sure you get your moisture situation completely under control before any sanding for either issue.


If your wooden floors are becoming faded, it means something is getting to them that shouldn’t be. That could be caustic cleaning chemicals, unfiltered sunlight and UV rays, or impact and wear from walking.

The solution to all three problems is straightforward: Make sure your floors are properly coated with a high-quality finish, use blinds or UV film to keep UV to a minimum in the first place, and use gentle cleaning products designed specifically for wood floors.


Gapping is yet another moisture-related issue, which will be a trend for hardwood floors — in this case, it’s usually caused by a loss of moisture, which shrinks boards and leaves gaps between them.

Some gapping is expected in any home without strict humidity control, but prevention is all about the installation.


When a plank lifts up off the floor, it usually happens because there’s moisture under the board in large amounts, and the adhesives or fasteners used for your floor have worn out. High moisture, allowing flooding or spills to soak into your floor, and leaks from pipes in your walls or floor can all lead to this.

Once the underlying issue is resolved, buckled boards can often be resecured by a professional.


Fractures or cracks in a finished board generally occur during installation, though they can result from board defects. Minor fractures are fairly easy for a professional to correct with appropriate repair kits, while major fractures may warrant a complete replacement of the damaged plank.


Squeaking floors can result from many imperfections — loose fasteners, gaps, etc. Making sure everything is firmly fit together can resolve the issue, which often means getting a professional involved to track the source and resecure everything.


Scratches are usually caused by something heavy or sharp traveling across your hardwood floor — furniture is a common culprit. Wood fillers and touch-up markers can work wonders, but severe enough scratches may require a refinish.

To avoid scratches, dents, cracks, and even outright fractures, be careful with heavy objects that impact a lot of force in one area.


Stains usually occur when finishes aren’t in good shape, spills are left unattended, or moisture levels get too high. Caustic, high-acidity spills can be particularly troublesome here and need fast attention, preferably with a cleaner matched to the task. Pets can be a major source of hardwood stains.

The solution will depend on the depth of the stain; simple cleaners, sanding and refinishing, or replacing the damaged boards may be necessary.


Peeling finishes usually happen because of poor conditions before the finish is applied. The problem might not always show itself immediately, but once it does, there’s usually one proper solution: sanding and refinishing.

To avoid this, make sure the finish is applied under ideal circumstances, with no excess stain residue or poorly prepped surfaces.

Choose AG Construction for Wood Flooring Services in the DC Area

When it’s time to replace your hardwood floors or you need professional assistance with repairs or adjustments, residents of the greater DC area can always turn to AG Construction for the best service, materials, and outcomes.

Affordable pricing and the direct involvement of the owner in every project ensure a superior experience for every AG Construction customer.

Learn more about our hardwood flooring services by calling (240) 246-4561 today.

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hardwood staircase with iron spindles
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