Welcome to your newly re-done home! Now imagine this:
You just had brand new, beautifully crafted hardwood floors placed all throughout your home. Walking through the front door, you stare in awe at the dark, rich beautiful planks of Cherry wood that bleed into your living room. But, all of a sudden, your floor seams are greeted by an unsightly foe. Between each piece of pine, you notice a white, filmy line rising from the seams.
Welcome to White Line Syndrome (WLS). WLS is an unfortunate, RARE, byproduct of some hardwood installations. It's a weird, strange occurrence that can't be traced back simply to poor construction work or inexperience.
It can, however it presents, all be traced back to your hardwood's finish.
WLS often appears from 2 differing happenings: finish film stretching or finish film lifting. Factors like changes in temperature and humidity can make your film act strangely. Now, let's see how these cause the 2 types of WLS.
Much like wood itself, it's film is not impenetrable to fluctuations in temperature or humidity increases. When these factors are at play, hardwood film can stretch instead of break off, like it's supposed to do.
It's important to note that this occurrence of WLS does not compromise the quality of your new floors. It is, however, not the best complement to your dark hardwood floors, so changes to film stretching are often cosmetic and aesthetic in nature.
Unlike stretching, this occurrence of WLS can affect the longevity of your floors. Film lifting from below, causing a more visible problem, is traced back to the application of film where solvents are not properly aerated.
At its worst, film lifting can compromise the hard work of your contractor and create gaps. Even more, film lifting can call for a total re-sanding, as it can force the film to crack and peel away.
What can you do?
If you happen to be a home-improvement-hypochondriac looking into the pro's and con's of hardwood flooring, do not let the fear of WLS stop you! This is a rare occurrence for hardwood floor installation, and WLS is most often a cosmetic issue!
As a prospective customer looking to get hardwood flooring, the best thing you can do is work closely with your contractor. Keep an open line of communication, and if anything you see during construction is worrying you, just let them know! If you feel it's necessary, you can also talk with your flooring installers about WLS specifically.
If you have already noticed the signs of WLS, it's important to contact the flooring company who completed your project. This is not a new issue, so all flooring contractors should have plans in place for you.
Do not try to hack a DIY to get rid of it. Let the professionals take care of it!
All in all, WLS is a fairly rare occurrence that the professionals should be able to solve for you!
Let those beautifully rich hardwood floors shine!