This week was kind of slow, at least from a flooring perspective. I spent time putting the finishing touches on my moisture meter webinar for Monday. And I got a couple calls about other house issues. One involved cracks in a slab in a house that is up for sale. There is a question about whether the cracks are structural or just cosmetic. And a couple calls were about some high-humidity issues in houses. One of those calls involves an "expert" that I have crossed paths with a couple times in the past. All I can say is that the flooring world doesn't have a lock on unknowledgeable inspectors that do more harm than good.

I did look at one floor this week, though. It was a wide plank (8-, 10- and 12-inch) floor with wide gaps between the boards. Data indicates that the flooring was installed too wet, which contributed to the size of the gaps. But that wasn't the real problem. The big problem was that the floors were hand-finished at the factory with a dark stain… except the tongues were not stained. Take a look:

unstained tongue in gapping plank wood floor

So the homeowners ended up with a dark floor with bright stripes between the boards. In some places, the gaps were so big that you could see the subfloor-the tongue and groove were disengaged. The manufacturer said that ¼-inch gaps are acceptable with their flooring but couldn't produce anything in writing that would have indicated such to the purchasers. To compound things further, the installer said he had never installed flooring this wide. So about everything that could have gone wrong, did.

My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Japan and others affected by the earthquake and tsunami this morning.

Craig DeWitt, PhD, PE, is president of RLC Engineering LLC in Clemson, S.C. Craig has a PhD in engineering and specializes in wood, moisture and indoor environments. He has provided inspection and consulting services for over 20 years.