FAQ Hardwood Flooring Hub

FAQ Hardwood Flooring Hub

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Are hardwood floors expensive? 

Hardwood floors are very competitively price and represent an excellent value when compared to other flooring options. Hardwood floors never have to be replaced and will enhance or even increase the value of your home should you decide to sell. When compared to other flooring products, hardwood floors provide long-lasting value, as Real Wood Floors are Beauty that last a lifetime.

Is it cost-effective to select wood flooring over less costly materials?

Yes! According to the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) & Residential real estate agents, say homes with wood floors hold their value better, sell faster, and fetch higher prices, according to a recent nationwide survey commissioned by the trade organization. By a three-to-one margin, real estate agents said that a house with wood floors would sell faster than a carpeted house. Some 58 percent said a house with wood floors would bring a higher price.

What species and color should I choose?

There are several species, colors and grain variations to consider. Other than the  walls, the floor represents the largest expanse of color or pattern in a room. Your floor should complement the fabrics, furnishings and accessories already present in the space, as well as enhancing the unique personality of the room as a whole.

The most popular color. red oak natural, maple natural running second, but with todays eclectic decoration styles, anything goes.

Darker colors Formal or traditional interiors,

Lighter colors country, casual and contemporary settings.

There are many choices when selecting the right floor for the rooms in your home. There are several species, colors and grain variations to consider.

Which rooms can I install a hardwood floor in my home?

Any room except a full bath. With the variety of products available and a choice of installation options, hardwood flooring can now be installed in any room of the home. The only consideration is whether the floor will be installed on-, above-, or below- grade. For example, because of potential moisture problems, solid hardwood is not recommended for installations below grade, such as in a basement Engineered products, which are inherently dimensionally stable, are better choices for this type of area. All types of hardwood can be installed on- or above-grade.

Does wood flooring go well with most design styles?

Yes. In a recent survey commissioned by the NWFA, more than three-quarters of interior designers find that wood flooring works well with many decorating styles. Its the most versatile floor covering there is, says one designer. Wood goes with contemporary and traditional and everything in between. Designers rated natural materials as superior to man-made materials in beauty, prestige, style, maintenance, and durability.

A variety of woods and finishes are available to complement the decor and style of any room. Oak and maple are the most popular woods, but some homeowners are investing in exotics such as Brazilian cherry and Purpleheart.

Engineered floor versus a solid hardwood product?

Engineered products, available in Planks, Strips are manufactured of hardwood using a cross-directional laminated construction (3 to 5 layers), with a top layer of premium hardwood. This construction counteracts the natural tendency of wood to expand and contract with seasonal changes in temperature and humidity, making engineered products inherently dimensionally stable. Solid products, available in Planks, Strips or Parquet, are manufactured from a solid piece of wood.

What Is there an advantage engineered products over solid products?

Yes. In general, engineered products can be installed in any room in the home, whether on-grade, below-grade or above-grade. Engineered products can be nailed down, glued-down or stapled down, depending upon the situation. Engineered product,  can be glued down, stapled down or some can be “floated” over most subfloors without the use of nails or adhesives, making it ideal for remodeling. Solid products are not recommended for below grade installations and must be nailed down or glued down.

Should I use a prefinished versus unfinished?

Most hardwood flooring sold today is prefinished. Factory finished with several coats of UV-cured polyurethane are applied. These factory finishes are tough and durable. Installing a prefinished floor eliminates the time, the dust and the odors associated with the on-site sanding and finishing of an unfinished product. A prefinished floor can be installed in a day. An unfinished flooring installation may require twice as much time for the same area.

What about installing wood in high traffic areas like kitchens?

The urethane finishes on most new wood floors stand up to water and traffic, bringing wood flooring into bathrooms, kitchens, and other higher-stress areas. These finishes resist wear and stains better than other finishes and require no stripping, no buffing and no waxing. High traffic areas include exterior doorways, hallways, mud rooms, and the areas in front of the sink, stove and refrigerator. To protect the floor just inside exterior doorways, use walk-off mats or small rugs to catch tracked-in dirt and grime. Place small rugs or mats at other high traffic locations. Watch for grit or pebbles that might be brought in on waffle soles of athletic shoes and collect these with a hand-held cordless vac. This should be done a regular basis.

Is there a difference between square-edge and eased-edge designs?

Yes. With a square edge, the sides of each plank or strip are square. An eased edge, more commonly known as a beveled or micro-beveled edge, features a slight angle on the top edge of the plank or strip. An eased edge can help mask slight subfloor imperfections, and can be felt if walking on the floor in bare feet.

Which installation method is best?

The method used for your hardwood installation will depend upon the type of product you have chosen, where the flooring will be installed and the type of subfloor. Nail down, glue down & floating are the three type of installation. For instance, if you are remodeling your kitchen, some products can be “floated” over most subfloors, including vinyl or ceramic tile, eliminating the mess and cost of tearing up the existing floor and installing a subfloor. Engineered products, which are dimensionally stable, are ideal for basements and can be nailed, glued or stapled down. Your flooring retailer or contractor can help you to determine the best method for your situation.

Which types of hardwood floors are best for in-floor radiant heating systems and are some wood species better for radiant systems than other?

Engineered hardwood floorsin planks, strips are the best floors to use with radiant heating systems. These floors are manufactured of hardwood using a three-ply or five-ply laminated construction, making them inherently dimensionally stable. This means they are less susceptible to changes in temperature and humidity. Of the engineered flooring options, with a floating installation  as the best choice, because it can be floated over the subfloor, without the use of nails or adhesives for a permanent installation.

It is important to note that when installing any hardwood floor over a radiant heating system, the maximum temperature of the subfloor should never exceed 80º (F). For the correct water temperature inside the heating pipes, refer to your manufacturers guidelines.

Oak is an ideal species for in-floor radiant systems. We also recommendash and merbau. We do not recommend that you use maple or pecan for an in-floor radiant heat system.

Are hardwood floors hard to maintain? Can I damp-mop my floor?

No. A hardwood floor finished at the factory features three to seven layers of a UV-cured polyurethane. This finish gives the floor a tough, durable and smooth no-wax surface that is both luxurious and easy-care. DO NOT damp mop Water and wood do not mix. Therefore, we suggest that you use the maintenance products and procedures recommended by the manufacturer of your floor. Maintenance kits can be purchased from your retailer or contractor.

Whats the difference between engineered flooring and laminate flooring?

Lets start with the original term laminate flooring. Before plastic laminate flooring became popular in the mid 90s those in the hardwood flooring business called todays engineered flooring laminate. Engineered flooring is constructed in layers similar to plywood with an actual finished hardwood veneer layer on the surface.

Todays laminate flooring is a photographed image of finished hardwood and cannot be refinished, whereas many engineered products can be refinished. How many times will depend on the thickness of the veneer, or top wear layer, and finding someone knowledgeable enough to handle the work.

Can I have a solid 3/4 hardwood glued to concrete?

Youll find some retailers will say yes. However, those that have dealt exclusively in hardwood flooring for some time will say no. In recent times some of the big box stores and adhesive manufacturers have been advocating this procedure. Only time will tell if its a viable procedure, but its safe to find an alternative.

What kind of hardwoods can I place on concrete subfloors then?

If moisture conditions are acceptable, two of the most widely used applications would be engineered hardwood floors glued direct with the proper adhesives, and floating engineered flooring types. The latter typically glued by tongue and groove and floated over a foam cushioned underlayment. Floating floors are also available in the click together or lock and fold style that require no gluing.

More traditional 3/4 solid hardwoods on concrete can be accomplished with the addition of a plywood subfloor, used as a nailing base over the concrete. However, this raises problems with door entries and other items. Overall vertical height of the new floor will increase by 1 1/2 inches. Unfinished engineered hardwood floors eliminate vertical height issues and can be stained or finished to any desires.

I have a particleboard subfloor. Can I have nail down hardwoods installed?

Many confuse particleboard with OSB (Oriented Stand board). True particleboard commonly used in some manufactured homes does not have the holding power of hardwood flooring fasteners and will loosen over time. There are certain types of OSB that can be used for solid nail down hardwood floors. It is best to consult the manufacturers warranty specs.

When should hardwood floors be installed?

If youre having a home built or making some renovations it is highly suggested to have the hardwood flooring work scheduled very near the end. Unfortunately too many times, builders rush hardwood flooring projects and dont realize the consequences until its too late and major repairs become necessary or moisture problems caused by other work rears its ugly head.

It seems everyone is selling hardwood floors. Who knows what theyre doing?

Ah, welcome to the new century. In the last five years alone weve noticed the yellow page ads explode with so called hardwood specialists. Our suggestion is to look far and deep for the right installer. After all, hardwood flooring doesnt come cheap and replacing gets very expensive should installation problems occur.

A few suggestions to ask installers right off the bat would be; what kind of moisture meters they use. Other useful questions would be; how long should the flooring be acclimated? Some arent aware of the need to acclimate material. This is especially important with solid hardwoods and not as much with engineered.

What to choose? Prefinished hardwood floors or ones that are installed and sanded in place?

Todays prefinished hardwood floor finishes are vastly improved and are finished in controlled settings. Many offer more than six coatings whereas a normal site finished (sanded in place and finished) floor would be two or three. Prefinished warranties are exceptional but cannot be passed on from the original owner. There are advantages and disadvantages of both. Nearly all solid prefinished hardwood floors are beveled to some extent. On the other hand, a site finished hardwood floor that has been installed in its raw unfinished form, then finished will have a flawless uniform appearance upon completion. However, maintaining the appearance requires close attention to climate control during seasonal changes.

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