Q: I am in the process of renovating my house. One of the improvements is the addition of pre finished “Aztec Cherry” floors. I had a few people helping the day that we started the floors. The guy that had experience installing hardwoods was working on the 1st room while I was working on something else. This room is roughly 10′ by 15′. My concern is that, he didn’t leave a gap on the wall that the first strip of wood went down on.
For the two walls that the wood runs perpendicular to, some of the pieces were cut to leave 1/4″ for expansion, but some run right up to the wall. On the wall where the last strip was installed a 1/4″ gap was left. I am wondering if you think that this will cause problems in the future? Is there anything that I can do to correct this problem? Also, should an expansion joint be left in all of the doorways? I would prefer to have all of the wood seamless, but want to install it correctly.
A: This likely won’t be a problem unless you have climate control issues in your home with very humid summers. If that is the case, you could always remove the first or last row of boards and run them or new ones through a table saw. 1/4 isn’t really enough of a gap for 3/4 thick flooring. 1/2-3/4 is what some manufacturers recommend. Whatever, some gap should be left along the walls, just in case. I would not worry about doorways.
Follow-up Q: What about the boards that run perpendicular into the wall? Should I worry about those?
A: No. The wood only expands and contracts from side to side.
Expansion gap around the perimeter of the room is not needed?
Related Q: I am having a builder install 3/4″ white oak flooring. He is claiming that an expansion joint around the perimeter of the room is not needed. Everything I see on Youtube says have an expansion joint.
A: There should be a gap along the side walls to allow for possible expansion.