DIY Flooring Installation Gone Wrong: 5 Horror Stories to Avoid

A new flooring installation can significantly improve the visual appeal and value of your space. You can update old carpets, scratched hardwood, cracked linoleum, and more for something more sturdy, beautiful, and long-lasting.

Many homeowners look into DIY flooring installations to save money and to tackle their project right away. While the upfront cost of materials alone vs materials and a contractor can seem like a good deal, there are some pitfalls you may encounter along the way that can cost a great deal in the long run.

Avoid unexpected delays, costs, and damages by checking out 5 DIY flooring installation mistakes and what to avoid when you get new flooring for your home makeover. 

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5 Examples of DIY Flooring Installation Gone Wrong

1) Neglected Subfloors Causing Water Damage and Warping

The most common DIY flooring installation mistake is not inspecting the subfloor for water damage or uneven surfaces. Without properly testing and leveling your subfloor, you are at risk of water damage eroding through the plank boards or carpet fibers. Unevenness left alone will worsen over time, creating dips and divots that are unsightly and can cause tripping hazards in your home.

When doing a new flooring installation, it is critical to not neglect your subfloors. Rushing into the new flooring installation without addressing imperfections on the subfloor can lead to disastrous consequences in years or even just months. Uneven surfaces, moisture issues, or debris left unattended can compromise the durability and longevity of your flooring, causing warping and moisture damage that ruins your new floors.

It is important for all new flooring that you level uneven areas, address moisture concerns, and remove any debris. A well-prepped subfloor ensures a solid foundation for your flooring, preventing future headaches and the need to redo your flooring in just the span of another few months or years. 

2) Improper Materials Leading to Water Damage or Flooring Destruction

Not every room in the house can handle every flooring material. Not adhering to these guidelines can lead to disastrous mistakes over time. Selecting the right flooring material requires consideration of various factors, like how much moisture your living space encounters, the amount of foot traffic it sees, and more.

A common DIY flooring installation mistake is choosing an aesthetically pleasing flooring option and not considering the restrictions of that flooring material. Whether it’s hardwood, laminate, or vinyl, each material has unique characteristics and limitations.

Consider factors like moisture resistance, durability, and maintenance requirements when choosing your new flooring. Knowing your material inside out ensures a seamless installation process and enhances the overall performance of your flooring that is long-lasting and worth the investment. 

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3) Incorrect Measurements and Too Short Materials Leading to Higher Costs

Errors in flooring measurement are a far too common and costly mistake when it comes to DIY flooring installations. Improper cutting of flooring materials can result in misaligned pieces, unsightly gaps, and an overall unprofessional finish. If your flooring isn’t flush, it can warp, get water damage, or crack over time. This can cost more in materials and repairs over time.

Adhering to the timeless adage of “Measure Twice, Cut Once” is crucial in flooring installation. Double-check measurements, factor in any irregularities in the space, and invest in quality cutting tools. Precision at this stage guarantees a flawless installation and a visually pleasing end result.

Some flooring-cutting tools can be loaned or rented from your local hardware store, while other materials may require specialized equipment like wet saws. Investing in these tools helps greatly with a professional, finished look. 

4) Forgetting To Factor Expansion Gaps Due to Fluctuations and Having an Unfinished Floor

Temperature and humidity fluctuations are inevitable no matter where you live or what room you are remodeling. Failing to account for these fluctuations during your flooring installation can be disastrous. Many DIYers overlook the necessity of expansion gaps, leading to buckling, warping, and an overall compromised flooring structure.

As the temperature and moisture in the air throughout the seasons interact with new flooring materials, your floor may expand over time. Without the proper amount of gap to accommodate this, your flooring will buckle and warp over time. Leaving too large of an expansion gap, however, leaves room for water damage and tripping hazards.

You will want to think about expansion gaps along walls, doorways, and between flooring sections. These gaps accommodate natural movement, preventing unsightly deformities and ensuring the longevity of your flooring. Embracing the gaps is a proactive measure that pays off in the long run. 

5) Installing Your New Flooring Before It Has Acclimated and Using Damage Materials as a Result

Each new flooring material reacts differently to environmental conditions, and neglecting the acclimatization process can spell disaster for your new floor. Rushing into installation without allowing the flooring to adjust to the room’s climate can result in warping and instability.

Before laying a single plank, let your flooring acclimatize to the room for the recommended duration. This simple yet often overlooked step minimizes the risk of future problems, guaranteeing a stable and visually pleasing end result.

Be sure to read all of the manufacturer’s guidelines and consult with your local hardware store for info on how to prevent damaged flooring that isn’t accepted for returns or replacements, putting you out thousands of dollars in new material. 

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Feel Confident With Professional Flooring Contractors

DIY flooring is a great route for those with experience, confidence, and time to devote to their flooring installation. If you’re new to contracting, limited on time, or have a strict budget, DIY flooring could be a more stressful endeavor.

Get a free quote from flooring contractors near you to see if the guarantee of quality work is worth the investment. Don’t worry about water damage, improperly cut boards, unfinished gaps, and more.