Hardwood install issues: dents, no expansion gap
Yesterday my installer started putting in wood floors. As per my other thread, I decided on a diagonal install, and I think it looks great. I don't have any pictures yet (rooms are still too dusty to bring the camera out!), but I will post some when I'm able.
I'm wondering if I had unrealistic expectations about wood floors. I know wood will pick up dents, nicks, and scratches, over time. But in the one room that the installer finished so far, I've found a number of planks with noticeable dents. All told, I found about 4 dents greater than 1/2" long, maybe another 4 between 1/4"-1/2", and many (maybe 20?) smaller dents and nicks. Also a handful of scratches, some greater than 1" long. This is in an area of about 300 sqft.
Is this typical, so I shouldn't worry about it? Is it atypical enough that I should withold the 2nd 1/2 of the payment until the installer replaces the planks with dents? My installer offered to replace a dented plank that is noticeable and right by the room's main entrance. Should I avoid that since the new plank will only be glued down, not nailed? Should I ask the owner of the company to come out and look at the anomalies?
Another thing that seemed strange to me is that many (a majority) of the planks have no expansion gap at all -- the short ends just butt tightly up against the bottom of the drywall. This is mostly in the 2nd room where the less experienced of the two installers has been working.
I don't want to be that annoying customer who complains about trivialities that are an inevitable part of wood floor installations. Then again, maybe it's perfectly legitimate to expect something a little closer to perfection. Please help me calibrate my expectations. :)