Caring for Your Engineered Hardwood Floor: Preventing Cracks and “Checking”

When working with a new client, we always want to go over the best hardwood maintenance conditions and practices. Checking — including cracks — and cupping are preventable! Caring for your hardwood will prolong its life and beauty.

Checking is a mild form of cracks in hardwood flooring.

checking cracking cracks hardwood flooring
This results from improper installation and a poor home environment. While there are many benefits to engineered hardwood flooring, plywood-based engineered wood is especially vulnerable to showing movement caused by inconsistent conditions. Shrinking and “face” (or surface-level) checking stem from issues with moisture and humidity.

Keep your space dry and at a consistent temperature.

Your contractor or builder will be able to provide the most accurate sub-floor preparation plan. But for PurezaWood, we recommend a room temperature between 65-75 degrees. If you measure it, ideal humidity is 35-65%. You may need to buy a humidifier or dehumidifier or both, depending on the time of year and where you live. Checking is common with low humidity. Cracks occur when it is very dry, and are even more obvious than checks. Cracking will look like large gaping areas in the flooring, and requires special treatment.

Cupping is certainly more rare in engineered flooring than it is in solid or laminate, but it is still possible. Engineered hardwood was actually designed to avoid “cupping.” This is when the edges of the hardwood plank begin to turn upward. When conditions become extremely warm and moist, your floors are most susceptible. You have to watch out on both ends of the extremes.

cracks hardwood floor surface

Your wide plank engineered hardwood floor is an investment. Take care of it.

A quality premium floor could last you a hundred years. Refinishing, care, and cleaning on a schedule will help. But always follow the advice of the hardwood manufacturer and any contracted installers. Preventing cracks and checking — as well as other possible environmental wear and tear, like cupping — is critical to ensuring its longevity and appearance.

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