The latest trend in wood flooring has definitely been for darker floors and wider boards. Exotic wood flooring has also seen growth in market share. One of the unspoken problems is that when seasonal movement occurs within the boards of the floor some finishes can actually become stretched out during this process and they leave a white line down the seam of the boards. This problem is particularly bad with waterbased finishes that have come to dominate the market with low VOC laws emerging in many states. Waterborne finishes lay across the floor and essentially act as a hardened sheet of plastic that resists traffic.
Using an acid curing conversion varnish or true “Swedish” finish is the best option to prevent this problem. This is because the acid curing finishes will truly break their bond at the edge of each board and stick to the edges of that board during seasonal movement.
If you are planning a flooring project that requires wider boards, dark stain, or both I recommend thoroughly discussing the project with your contractor to prevent this problem. In fact there is so little published information for this problem because the industry doesn’t want you to know that there is a dark side to new technology. When white lines occur across your wood floor they almost always require a full refinish to remove and that is never a fun option for your time. If you would like more information please contact us for a PDF of the problem.