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From Our Readers:

Hickory Floor Splitting

Question: We had some hickory flooring sold to us two years ago. It’s looked great until this winter, but now it’s showing cracks and splitting inside the boards. Any idea what could be happening?

Reply: Two years and it’s now happening? That’s unusual because you’ll generally notice any problems with flooring within the first year after installation. Some kind of external or internal force is at work here. It could be as simple as moisture that got soaked up when the weather was warmer. Once your heating system got cranked up the moisture within the pores of the wood evaporates. The more moisture and heavy dry heat cause the wood to contract, and exhibit the symptoms you refer to.

Stain New Hickory Floor?

Question: I’d like to custom stain a hickory floor I’ve been dreaming of but all the local guys aren’t interested in doing the work. They claim hickory is awful when it comes to staining. Any ideas?

Reply: Tough situation. Some professionals have had success by water popping the floor before the application of a stain. This simply means the floor is wet ragged, allowed to dry then stained. The pores of the wood open more to accept the stains, but it’s not a cure all for the problems associated with staining Hickory.

Another option is choosing a unfinished distressed Hickory; preferably rough sanded. Something that has enough distressing where any slight misses will not be as visible. The distressing will also soak up more stain.

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