Floor Checklist for New Homeowners

Speedwell Design Center
July 11 2017

Buying a new home is a landmark moment in your life. It might be the single largest investment you’ve ever made, so it’s important to make sure things are just right. Both wood flooring and carpeting can add beauty to a room, but before you close, look for any signs of degradation or excessive wear. Use this brief checklist of potential flooring problems while making your inspection, so you can identify any issues early on.

Wood Flooring

  • Gaps between boards
  • Raised edges
  • Boards lifting from the subfloor
  • Fractures, scratches or other surface blemishes

Wood flooring provides a warm, inviting look. Since it’s an organic material, wood floors can absorb and lose moisture, depending on the humidity level. This can cause the boards to shift and move. Small separations between the boards can be seasonal and are typically not an issue, but larger gaps can look unsightly and may need to be repaired.

If moisture is absorbed unevenly throughout the wood, the edges can rise higher than the center. This is called cupping and can cause the boards to squeeze together and deform. Cupping usually occurs when the flooring is installed over a damp area, and the bottom of the wood is exposed to increased humidity. If the excess dampness is removed, the wood may settle back into shape, but if not, it may need to be sanded into place.

An excessive amount of moisture, such as flooding, can cause wood floors to buckle and lift completely away from the subfloor. If it’s caught early, buckling can be repaired, but advanced cases may require complete board replacement.

Keeping the relative humidity of your home stable is a great way to make sure your wood floors stay beautiful. A dehumidifier can remove moisture from the air during damp weather, while a humidifier can minimize abrupt moisture changes during dry seasons.


  • Noticeable wear and tear
  • Unpleasant odors
  • Fading, staining and other color changes

High-traffic areas usually have visible wear and tear, and using patches to repair worn spots will often create a visible difference between the new and existing sections. Since carpeting is difficult to repair, many home buyers choose to simply replace the existing carpets entirely.

Another problem you might face when inspecting carpeting is a noticeable odor. If not promptly cleaned, spills and messes can seep into the padding, making them tough to get rid of. Pet hair and dander can also get under the carpeting, triggering allergies in those with sensitivities.

Moving into a new home can be the ideal time to install new carpeting, since you may also be painting and redecorating as well. This makes it easy to match colors and patterns to suit your new space. If possible, try to schedule carpet installation before you move in. New carpeting often contains volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can cause headaches and allergic reactions in some people. Most of the VOCs will dissipate within 72 hours, so early installation can help you avoid potential health hazards.

No matter if your new home has carpeting or hardwood flooring, Speedwell Design Center can help turn your new house into a home that you’ll love for years to come. Contact our highly trained specialists for expert advice on your hardwood flooring or carpeting with non-allergenic fibers, or stop by our Morristown, New Jersey location for a consultation regarding your flooring options.

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