Quarter-sawn, flat-sawn, plank, thick veneer or thin veneer hardwood—wood floors of all types have been a mark of excellence in homes for years. Oak, maple, beech, pecan, Brazilian cherry, mahogany — can be installed with staples, square-cut nails, screw shanks, screws and staples and, in some instances, with adhesives.
1. Particleboard Applications
When hardwood and softwood floors, both laminated and solid stock, are installed over particleboard, that is a readily observable defect. This usually occurs in a rehabilitated property because the owner/contractor has chosen not to remove the particleboard. The floor squeaks and the boards actually move under foot. There is no practical way to repair this defect other than to tear up the floor, remove the particleboard and install proper sub-flooring, and then reinstall the hardwood flooring. The National Wood Flooring Association echoes this opinion.
Cupped floorboards indicate a moisture problem. The cupping can be pronounced with wide floorboards, including laminated flooring, or subtle with narrow floorboards. Wood flooring has a sealer on one side, leaving the remaining five sides open to absorbing moisture. All wood is hygroscopic (absorbs water), which causes it to expand when it gets wet and to shrink when it dries; it changes as its environment changes. In new construction, wood flooring is supposed to be allowed to acclimate to its environment for up to three weeks. This environment must be one in which the house has been completed, with walls, windows, roof, plaster, painting, plumbing in place, dewatering completed and the HVAC system operational.