Wood Flooring Durable Enough for High-Volume Areas AltruWood

Is Wood Flooring Durable Enough for High-Volume Areas?

We’re often asked if wood flooring is durable enough for high-volume areas, such as the family room, kitchen, and bathroom. The short answer is Yes!

Think back to your high school gym days, when your mom made you take tap dance, or when you saw the last must-see musical at the city’s theater hall. What do these three popular places have in common? Hardwood floors that take a daily beating from b-ball practice, foot stomping, and stage props. So, it’s safe to say that a hardwood floor would survive in your active family room, busy kitchen, and the “wet” bathroom.

However, hardwood floors, though durable, are not fail safe. Read on to learn more about the precautions you should take when considering hardwood flooring for your family room, kitchen, and bathroom, starting with the basics.

The basics to hardwood flooring in high-volume areas

Whether you’re considering installing hardwood flooring in your family room, kitchen or bathroom, be sure to consider these basics before buying:

• The best wood flooring types for high-volume areas are hardwoods that have a tight grain pattern, such as oak flooring with its heavy grain pattern. CVG Douglas fir. though a softwood, has an exquisite grain pattern, making it the toughest softwood around.

• Select an unfinished hardwood that can be installed, sanded, and finished on-site.

• Consider installing a flooring acoustics underlay or floor muffler above the subfloor and below the hardwood flooring. An underlayment or muffler absorbs noise in active family rooms and is an additional source of moisture protection in kitchens and baths.

• Do not wet-mop a hardwood floor nor use harsh chemicals on its surface. Daily sweeping will prevent dirt and debris from scratching the surface.

These basics will ensure a durable hardwood floor in your family room will last a lifetime, adding warmth, comfort, and easy maintenance from accidental spills and dirty feet. However, there are additional things to think about before installing hardwood flooring in the kitchen and bathroom. We’ll go over the most common, starting with the kitchen.

Wood flooring in the kitchen

Wood flooring is a popular option in today’s modern kitchen. Hardwood, such as antique oak flooring. adds warmth and charm and is a great choice for homes with open floor plans, creating a seamless space among different areas of the home. A wood floor is also a smart choice for homeowners wanting to add value to their biggest investment.

There are basic precautions homeowners should take into consideration before installing wood flooring into the kitchen:

• Opt to have the hardwood floor nailed down onto a subfloor rather than glued down in case of any localized water damage occurring near the sink or dishwasher. Individual floor boards can be replaced more easily when the entire kitchen floor is nailed down to a subfloor.

• Test the moisture level of the subfloor with a moisture meter, assuming the subfloor is wood-based (concrete subfloors is another topic in itself). Taking moisture readings does require knowledge of your region’s equilibrium moisture content (EMC) and familiarity with how to use a meter specific to the plywood species. If this sounds doable, read Moisture Meters & Douglas Fir on our sister site. If this sounds not-so-doable, hire a certified wood-flooring contractor.

• Acclimate the floorboards until the average moisture content (MC) reading between the flooring and subfloor are within 2% of each other. This requires moisture testing with a moisture meter, as noted below.

• Ensure all water pipes and water sources are in good-working order before installing hardwood floors. This includes that water line to the oh-so-convenient icemaker in the freezer.

Wood flooring in the bathroom

Though not as common as hardwood flooring in the kitchen, wood flooring in the bathroom is still doable. Here’s what we recommend prior to installing hardwood flooring in your bathroom:

• As with water sources in the kitchen, check all pipes and plumbing in the bath. Have a professional plumber double check all nooks and crannies and repair any questionable pipe connections.

• Test the moisture level of the subfloor and acclimate the floorboards until the average MC reading is within 2% of the subfloor’s MC.

• Opt to use the glue-down installation method over the nail-down method. Gluing down the hardwood creates a pocket-less seal between the subfloor and the hardwood, acting as a moisture barrier. Read all flooring acoustics underlay and floor muffler manuals before using the glue-down installation method.

• Ventilate the bathroom. An air-fan or an open window and door should suffice.

• Remove all damp towels and bathmats promptly from the floor and make checking the floorboards around the bath, sink, and toilet a weekly habit.

• If you have a half-bath, install hardwood flooring here first, testing out its durability over a period of time before installing in the full-bath.

So, even though you may not house a professional basketball team or song & dance troupe under your roof, take comfort in knowing that your durable hardwood floor will stand up to the pitter-patter of feet and the humidity from a well-used bathroom. Rest assured, on those days where it feels like there’s a game going on, your hardwood floor can take the beating.


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