Month: February 2022

Why Is My Hardwood Floor Creaking?

Hardwood floors are known for their long-term durability. Even so, they’re not immune to age and general wear and tear. Whether from constant use or just from growing older, you will find that eventually the boards will start to creak. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about creaky floors so you can decide for yourself if you have an issue that needs addressing.

What Causes Squeaky Floors?

There are a wide variety of completely different reasons why your floor could be squeaking. Let’s get into some reasons why this might be happening.

Seasonal Changes

As the seasons progress from one to the next, the temperature changes. In the winter, the air getting colder can cause even brand new boards to squeak a little. This is because as the cold and dry winter air, the boards will naturally contract a bit, becoming smaller. This creates tiny gaps between the boards and even the subfloor.

This contraction results in the boards being able to move more and rub against each other or even the fasteners. Seasonal squeaks are nothing to worry about and typically go away as soon as it starts getting warmer. You can mitigate this issue quite well by just keeping the humidity of the room between 40 and 60 percent.

Joist Problems

If you didn’t know already, joists are basically a small structure that sits beneath both the floor and subfloor. They are horizontal bars that help stabilize your subfloor and help prevent it from moving around. Any issues with the joists can cause the flooring to become looser and create creaking.

Some problems the joists may have include them being too loose, getting warped, or gaps forming between them and the subfloor. The easiest way to verify this is to have access to a basement below the boards and the room beneath the boards.

Subfloor Problems

Uneven subfloors are one of the most common ways that a squeaky floor can happen. When the subfloor is not level with everything else, it creates a gap between itself and what’s above it. This naturally allows for the board above it to move around and create noise. Another culprit may be that the joists and the subfloor are misaligned.

If you think that the joists may be the source of the issue, then the best thing you can do is get it repaired or replaced by a professional. Damaging your subfloor through accidental damage is a mistake you very much don’t want to make.

When you boil all this down to the simple basics, it always comes down to the fact that the board is becoming loose and moving around to some degree.

Are Squeaky Floors a Sign of Danger to the Structure?

Fortunately, creaky floors are basically never a sign that something is about to actually break. Squeaking does not mean that there is structural damage. If the floor was also bending or bowing in some way, then that would definitely be an issue, but by that point, you wouldn’t need the squeaking to see that happening anyway.

Any floor of any type can squeak, but hardwood floors and stairs are usually what it’s happening with. Squeaks happen when the house is settling after a change in temperature and the boards start to dry out and expand. This in turn causes the floorboards to start to rub against each other, the nail casings, or even the subfloor.

Thankfully, creaky floors are also typically really trivial to fix.

How To Fix Your Creaky Floorboards

Creaky Floorboard

source: unsplash

To figure out exactly where the boards that creak are, you will definitely need a second person. The reason for this is quite simple. You can’t both be on top of the boards, walking around to make them squeak, and be on the floor below to pinpoint where the board is.

An unfinished basement or crawl space is ideal for this job since it means that all you need to have on you is some carpenter’s glue or any other construction adhesive as well as a thin wood shim. All you’d need to do is smear some of the adhesive onto the shim and gently tap it into position between the joists and subfloor. If that’s not easy to do, then you can also just jam directly between the bad boards and good ones adjacent to it.

If you end up finding that the gap is too large for a shim to work, don’t fret. There’s another great alternative as well. Get your caulking gun and simply apply the adhesive between the subfloor and the joist. Once it’s all hardened, the squeaking should be a complete thing of the past.

If the cause of the squeaking is because the boards are actively rubbing against the wooden subfloor below it, there is an admittedly more tricky option you can take to fix it. Take a short wooden screw and drive it through the bottom of the subfloor and into the base of it. Take it slow and be careful, you will want to ensure that the screw does not go too far in, as you risk the bottom of the screw sticking up out of the floor where you could step on it.

For stairs, one reliable way to fix the creaking is to access the back of the stairs where you can get under them and then, using the shims and glue we mentioned earlier, tap them into the joints between the treads and the risers. If you are for some reason unable to get under the boards, then you can do this from above as well, but you will want to make sure to trim the exposed parts afterward with a utility knife. If all else fails, you could just try applying adhesive directly on top of the boards, but you will also want to do this carefully to avoid a big mess and an annoying cleanup.

Fixing Creaky Floors From Above

You will notice that we didn’t put much emphasis on doing these fixes from above. The issue is that if you can’t get below the boards, you may have some difficulty that requires more precision than you would need otherwise.

One good method is to buy either ring-shank flooring nails (recognizable from the little rings that cover it) or cement-covered flooring nails, then hammer them into the seams between the bad boards. If what’s causing the squeak is the board coming detached from the subfloor, you can try hammering two nails at opposite 45-degree angles into the joists and filling in the holes with wood filler.

Final Thoughts

The sound of creaking can be rather unpleasant. With proper maintenance, your hardwood floor can stay in top condition for as long as you let it. If you’re in Colorado and you haven’t already done so, you can get a quote on your unique flooring needs by using this link or by calling us at (800) 639-3006.

The Effect of Salt and Snow on Hardwood Floors

At MacDonald Hardwoods, we love everything to do with hardwood floors. It’s our passion and the subject we know the most about. So as hardwood lovers, we do our best to preserve our floors and teach others how to do the same. Something that not many people talk about is the effect that salt and snow have on hardwood floors. That’s what we will be discussing.

Let’s get right into it.

The Relationship Between Salt and Snow

First, you are probably wondering how exactly salt gets onto your floors and why it matters. It’s important to keep our walkways safe during the winter when it gets icy. No one wants to see their mailman trip and fall. With that in mind, it’s become common for homeowners to sprinkle rock salt onto their walkways in advance of snow.

This works great and the walkways become safe to walk on. However, a side effect is that when the snow melts you can no longer see the salt. That is until it is tracked into your home from everyone’s shoes. By the time you realize what’s going on, your floors are already damaged.

How Does Salt Damage Hardwood?

hardwood floor with salt damage

source: unsplash

The crystals that come from calcium chloride are the issue. These crystals can really damage a hardwood floor finish. At a microscopic level, you would see small, rough-edged particles from salt. The rough edges unfortunately are able to ruin hardwood when stepped on or dragged across the floor. Both finished and unfinished hardwood are at risk.

Salt stains often leave a white film or residue. It’s rather unsightly. So if you live in an area where it snows frequently and you have to use rock salt outdoors, you should pay extra close attention to the solutions and prevention section further down.

How Does Snow Damage Hardwood?

snow damage on hardwood floors

source: unsplash

Compared to snow, this is a bigger issue.

When snow gets onto your hardwood floors, it doesn’t cause immediate damage. Snow isn’t the real problem. But once the snow melts and turns into water, the water saturates the entire floor, and this condition is often referred to as cupping. After some time, a lot of moisture is absorbed into the underside of the wooden boards, which then expands the bottom of each board more than the top. As a result, the hardwood takes on a wavy appearance in addition to each course of wood being raised at their seams.

Water-damaged hardwood more often happens due to leaks rather than just tracking in snow. However, snow is still able to cause damage when the source is snow from your roof. On your roof, when the snow melts into water and then freezes into ice, this is a serious problem that can lead to something called ice damming. Ice dams form at the edge of a roof and prevent water from draining off the roof, which leads to the water having to back up behind the dam, leading to leaks inside your home. This happens because the water that gets stuck finds cracks and openings in the exterior of your roof covering which is the entry point into the home.

When dealing with this issue, the most challenging part is waiting for the floors to dry out, knowing that there isn’t much you can do at the moment. If you are lucky and your floors are cupped like a washboard, they have the unique ability of being able to flatten out over time, which means you can avoid replacement. Most people have to wait a week for the water to dry out, which is then a good time to call in a flooring contractor.

The flooring contractor will perform a moisture test, and depending on the result, you may have to wait a few extra weeks because of how long it takes the water to dry. There isn’t much of anything to be done during this time. But after the moisture readings are consistent throughout the whole room, the process of repair or refinishing can begin.

It’s very important that your contractor doesn’t sand your floors before the floor is completely dry. If they do it anyway, you will unfortunately be left with something called crowning, which is basically the effect of cupping but in reverse.

If you don’t address potential water damage to your hardwood, the structure of your home can be at risk due to the growth of mold. Mold grows and spreads very quickly and will eat away at anything in its path.

Solutions and Prevention

It’s not the end of the world (at least not yet!). If you’re quick enough to react, you can usually get away with not having to pay for replacement hardwood when there is damage from salt and or snow.

Put a heavy rug in front of your door and in the doorway. Rather than salting the outside of your door, having rugs in place is extremely valuable. Wipe your shoes on the rugs.

Knock snow, salt, dirt, and other particles off your shoes before entering. Most people have something near the door that they can kick a few times. The force of the kick is able to get rid of most unwanted things.

Remove shoes upon entry. In most of the world, this is common sense. But here in America, most people wear their shoes anywhere in the home. With respect to the longevity of your hardwood, this is a big no-no.

Have waterproof mats available at the door. Once you’ve kicked nasty things off your shoes, and wiped them on the rug, you should then remove your shoes and put them onto a waterproof mat where they are able to safely dry out.

Have water-absorbent cloths nearby. The entrance of your home is where most issues start, so you should have cloths or towels at the door ready to wipe up any excess snow, dirt, water, etc., as needed.

Vacuum your hardwood floors regularly. You already are familiar with vacuuming carpet, but hardwood can also be vacuumed. This is a great way to get rid of salt, sand, dirt, and even water in some cases. It’s best to have a vacuum made for hardwood floors.

Have a roofing contractor come by during the winter. Your roofing contractor will easily be able to identify ice damming or the potential of it and find solutions with you so you don’t have to worry about leaks. And if there’s no issue, which there often isn’t, it won’t cost much at all for them to come by and just spend a few minutes with you finding that out.

Use hardwood floor cleaning products. A popular DIY solution that totally shouldn’t be used is vinegar, which often leaves a residue of its own. Be careful about the products that you use!

Contact your flooring contractor for advice. Your flooring contractor will be able to figure out if replacements are needed or if sanding, refinishing, and filling in splintered or corroded areas is possible.

Final Thoughts

Overall, hardwood floors are extremely durable, especially when compared to their carpet counterparts. There are only a small amount of drawbacks, and dealing with salt and snow is one of those drawbacks. The best way to manage the issue is by preventing it from happening in the first place. And if you follow the tips in this blog post, you will definitely be able to do that.

If you’re in Colorado and you haven’t already done so, you can get a quote on your unique flooring needs by using this link or by calling us at (800) 639-3006.


Blackgum, also called black tupelo, tupelo gum, or just tupelo, is a tree that loves to grow in water and water-soaked soils. In fact, the genus Nyssa is the name of a water nymph. The tree grows throughout the eastern states, from Maine to Texas. Tupelo, Miss., (Elvis’ birthplace) was named after this tree. A close relative is water tupelo (Nyssa aquatica) which has nearly the same characteristics. Honey from water tupelo is highly prized. The tree in the forest is often 3 feet in diameter and 80 feet tall. Some of the trees are more than 400 years old. Unlike most trees, the tupelo trees are either male or female, with flowers being abundant on the female trees. It is not unusual for the larger, older tree to be hollow due to decay fungi; yet the tree can live with this condition for hundreds of years.

The wood itself is characterized by interlocked grain (the grain swirls every which way), which leads to warp when drying, warping in use when the MC changes, and difficulty when machining. In the past, blackgum was used for oxen yokes and chopping bowls due to the toughness resulting from the interlocked grain. Today, although this is not an outstanding, beautiful appearing species, it still is widely used for furniture, cabinets, caskets, and railroad ties. Carvers of duck decoys also appreciate this wood.

Processing suggestions and characteristics

Weight: Blackgum has a dry specific gravity (SG) of 0.52. The weight, when dry, is 32 pounds per cubic foot or about 2.6 pounds per board foot.

Strength: For dry wood, the ultimate strength (MOR) is 9,600 psi, stiffness (MOE) is 1.20 million psi, and hardness is 810 pounds. Interlocked grain means that splitting is very difficult. Nailing is also difficult, as the interlocked grain wants to change the nail’s direction. Pre-boring holes for nails and screws can be helpful.

Drying and stability: The wood dries with considerable difficulty due to warp, especially twisting. End coating is suggested, even with 4/4 stock. Shrinkage in drying is moderate. Overall shrinkage from green to 6 percent MC is 6.2 percent tangentially (the width in flatsawn lumber) and 3.5 percent radially (the thickness of flatsawn lumber). Once dried, the wood does move slightly if there are large RH changes or if the MC is not matched to the environment’s EMC conditions. A typical, desired, final moisture range is 6.0 to 7.5 percent MC. Once dry, it takes a 4.5 percent MC change to result in 1 percent size change tangentially and 8 percent MC change radially. 

Machining and gluing: This wood machines moderately well, with some chipped grain due to the interlocked grain. If over-dried, the wood appears to be quite brittle. Sharp tools are essential. This wood glues without much difficulty if surfaces are perfectly flat. However, if the MC changes and the pieces warp a small amount, it is difficult to obtain high-strength joints.

Grain and color: The wood, which is mostly heartwood, is grayish brown to a light brown with hints of yellow at times. The finished surface is smooth, but without natural luster. If the lumber is quartersawn, blackgum exhibits a very attractive figure. The wood is odorless. However, when the tree is bacterially infected, sawn wood will have a putrid odor and is noticeable (and objectionable) in dry wood products especially when the humidity is high.

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Anticipated Hardwood Flooring Trends for 2022

As 2021 comes to an end, so too starts a new year. Hopefully we all have some goals in place. Since many people are spending lots of their time indoors, remodeling projects and home sales have skyrocketed. Many people are investing in comfortable living. There are some labor shortages and supply chain challenges, however, the flooring industry is expecting roughly 3-8% in growth for the year even in the face of all the uncertainty in the current global market situation.

With 2022 comes tons of opportunities for new flooring trends. This blog post will cover everything that is anticipated to happen this year in the flooring industry.

Let’s get started.

Bold and Varied Colors

Varied Hardwood

Source: Unsplash

Rustic Textures

What does rustic really mean? It’s actually a pretty broad term that a variety of different designs fall into. In this context, it describes a rough, aged, casual, and natural feel.

Rustic designs used to be a thing in the past but their popularity died down. Now, it’s back again! Rustic textures like wire-brushed, distressed planks, and hand-scraped planks are what we are seeing being used the most.

They have a unique beauty that can be easily appreciated by anyone. What’s cool about distressed planks in particular is that the dents and scrapes point towards a life in the past which adds a lot of personality to the room.

Rustic Hardwood

Source: Pinterest

Engineered Wood

It was popular last year and it will be popular this year, too. The closest thing that you can get to natural and solid hardwood is engineered hardwood. There is actually a very thin hardwood veneer layer that goes on top of the fiberboard or plywood, which is man-made. A great bonus of engineered wood is its durability since it’s technically real wood.

Oftentimes, the veneer is UV-cured which makes the floor more durable and stronger compared to the real thing. Therefore, it’s much less likely to take on any scratches, dings, and dents, even in popular places in your home where it sees the most use. In addition to that, engineered wood has much more resistance to moisture than natural and solid hardwood.

It’s ready when it comes out of the box and it’s very easy for homeowners to install themselves if they choose to do so. It doesn’t require any extra finishing/refinishing. It’s affordable, and best of all, engineered wood looks great with almost anything.

Engineered Wood

Source: Forbes

Bleach or Whitewashed Floors

Bleach and whitewashed floors are extremely popular. They go best in contemporary spaces where a smooth, wide, and light hardwood floor goes perfectly with the theme. Over time, hardwoods naturally will develop a patina and darken when they age, however, with floors that have been whitewashed or bleached, this doesn’t happen.

Lighter wood is known for brightening up spaces while providing a relaxed vibe. The floor appears less occupied and therefore works especially well in a minimalist theme. It complements quiet and subdued spaces while also acting as the backdrop for a more vibrant room.

When bleached or whitewashed, floors lose their color and become truly white. Just don’t use it on red oaks or exotics because the red oaks will retain a light pink and the exotics will just be distorted.

They are stylish and provide a fresh, airy, and light look for modern, coastal, and contemporary themes. The white gives a great touch of color while highlighting the natural beauty and graining of the wood.

Bleached Floors

Source: Pinterest

Matte-Finished Wood Floors

While satin has been a very popular finish throughout the past few years, matte is predicted to rise in popularity this year dramatically. Some people think that matte floors can appear dull or flat, but in reality, it makes your floor look eye-catching and contemporary. It just depends on the quality of the floor that the matte finish is being applied on.

Matte-finished wood floors also appear natural and rustic. They don’t shine and have a realistic color which allows people to see the details of the grain. Matte floors were just featured in Vogue Magazine, which has spiked a serious interest in the concept.

With a matte finish, you get a very durable floor, hiding any wear and tear much better than traditional hardwood or its glossy finished flooring counterpart. Matte-finished hardwood provides a nice camouflage to hide messes and dirt. It’s very forgiving and allows you extra time to finally take out the broom.

Regardless of whether or not there are pets or kids in the house, floors aren’t perfect, but a matte-finish is a great way to go for durability and style. If you’re not into glossy finishes but are on the fence about whether you want to go with a matte finish, a satin finish is the next best thing.

matte finish hardwood floors

Source: Pinterest

Smokey-Toned Wood Floor

A few years ago, the color gray made its mark in homes and offices alike. Now we’re seeing another trendy gray look. Smokey-toned wood floors add some character and drama to traditional solid hardwood. The look is very appealing and unique.

A lot of people like the edgy and rustic look that it offers while it still speaks to the traditional warm undertone that is seen in modern hardwood flooring options. One of the coolest parts about smokey-toned wood floors is that almost any species of wood can go through the process that gives the smokey design.

There is no need for applying stain because the color comes through the process it undergoes, which involves putting the planks in an isolated chamber where ammonia is released in the air, reacting to the wood, and creating the change in color. The dark tone is very pleasing to the eye.

Varied Hardwood

Source: Shaw Flooring

Final Thoughts

We all love our homes and want to make them look their best. Your flooring is one of the first impressions that people entering your home will have, so why not strive to impress? If you’re interested in adding or updating hardwood flooring into your own home in the Denver area, our team at MacDonald Hardwoods is here to help. Contact us today to see how we can help.

Hottest Hardwood Flooring Trends of 2021

Hardwood flooring may not be something you may be used to seeing as “trendy”. A theme for one year is often pretty much the same as the year before and the year after, right?

As it turns out, that’s not the case. Hardwood, in particular, continues to grow in popularity year after year, as cheaper quality flooring of various different types continues to degrade, forcing their owners to start looking for replacement options. More often than not, they will turn to hardwood flooring.

In this article, we will discuss the various leading trends for the year 2021 that people went with.

Buying Hardwood Flooring In General

For a long time, hardwood flooring had fallen out of style as people went with cheaper alternatives, such as notoriously cheap laminate wood and plastic tiles. It may have seemed like a good idea at the time to the buyer, with a rich number of ways to customize these that far exceed what wood is capable of, and the incredibly simple installation, but it came with a hidden cost.

As the years went by, the flooring would take the same wear and tear that any other type would, but much less well. In the case of the laminate flooring, made of nothing more than various cheap materials tightly pressed together, the beautiful design that they had printed onto it would often completely wear down and come off. Those fancy zebra stripes don’t look quite as good when they’re faded, peeling up, and covered in grime.

Water damage would also cause it to badly warp and even snap, with no real repair options besides tearing it all up and replacing it. These days, buyers have begun to rightly conclude that it isn’t worth all the hassle to continually replace it every decade or so.

MacDonald Hardwoods Showroom


Engineered Hardwood

The first big trendsetter continues to be one of the newest ones. Engineered wood has a big appeal for many reasons. Unlike standard wood, it doesn’t have a tendency to warp, split, or crack over time.

Not only is it cheaper than using real wooden planks, it often exceeds the durability of unmodified wood. While it’s made of hardwood on the outside, it uses a special trick to increase the durability, where the wood is hydraulically pressed together under intense pressure, with a layer of veneer added afterward to seal the deal. This layer is built on top of a base of plywood going in opposing directions. Thanks to all this, when the wood does begin to show imperfections and wear down, you can simply sand it down to a new layer, just like regular planks. All this engineering can produce a floor that can be up to twice as strong as natural wood.

More than just cheaper, more durable, or environmentally friendly, engineered hardwood is also much, much easier to care for and maintain than real hardwood. While some do feel that they take away the “warmth” of wood, its benefits tend to outweigh that, at least for most who choose to use engineered hardwood.

Throughout 2021, the options for the different finishes, colors, and materials continued to increase. It continues to see increased use in parts of the house that would normally be forced to use a different material, particularly in kitchens and in bathrooms where moisture damage was typically a concern. Going into 2022, expect to see this trend continue.

Engineered Wood

Source: Forbes

Reclaimed Wood

Reclaimed wood sounds as straightforward as it is. It’s just old wood that’s been given new life and purpose. It is often taken from old buildings that were recently torn down or remodeled, like abandoned farmhouses and barns. Sometimes, the wood is actually existing engineered wood that’s been given new layers and treatment.

As of late, this wood has become harder to find through traditional means, so the producers have started using a clever trick, where they use the wood from just about any source they can find. The most popular source these days is to take it from old wine barrels that have fallen into disuse. Don’t worry, your floor won’t be smelling like wine!

This wood tells a story that can’t be easily replicated through artificial means. Each plank is potentially completely different from the other, ensuring that no two rooms with it employed appear the same. Not only are you saving the environment by using them, but you’re also giving your house a look that nobody can hope to match.

Reclaimed Wood

Source: Whole Log Lumber

American-Grown Wood Flooring

There was a period of time when it was just expected that the material used to build your home would come from the same country you’re building it in. As the world became more interconnected and international trade became even cheaper than producing at home, that began to fall away.

Now, there are a growing number of people who go out of their way to buy flooring that they know was created right here in this country. The reasons people would want this are numerous, but among the most popular are there’s a certain expectation of quality coming from American-made goods that you wouldn’t necessarily expect from foreign providers. You also get a sense that you’re supporting your local businesses, which is quickly becoming a big trend of its own.

There is no reason to suggest this trend will be slowing anytime soon. As Americans continue to rediscover their love for their own backyard, we expect this trend to continue to explode in popularity.

American Wood

Source: Superior Flooring

Final Thoughts

2021 was a great year for trends. The pandemic forced many people to be in their homes far more than they had ever been before, which forced them to really take a good look at their surroundings. As a result, we’ve seen more radical changes in the past couple of years than we normally do in a full decade. As we begin to open up again, you can expect that urge for change in the environment to fade somewhat, but the lessons learned aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

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