Hardwood flooring has a natural beauty that will give any room a very warm feeling.
When building a new home, or adding on an addition or just taking up old carpeting that doesn't have a hardwood floor underneath, you should look at the wide variety of wood flooring available. Unlike carpet, the 3/4" thick wood flooring can take wear and tear and last well over 100 years.
Maintenance is minimum. Just vacuum, or dry mop at least once a week. Spills can be easily wiped up without the worry of staining. When the surface finish wears, or gets scratched over time, you can sand and refinish the floors to make them new again.
For people with allergies wood flooring is one of the best types of flooring to have. With carpeting dust mites thrive and dirt and pollen build up in the carpet even with constant vacuuming and washing. Dust and pollen are simply cleaned away from a wood surface. With the many varieties of woods and colours of wood flooring, it's easy to find one that will fit most any design option you have.
Hardwood Flooring is also the only floor covering that will add resale value to your home.
2. How do I choose a hardwood floor style that is right for me?
Some options to consider when choosing a wood floor are:
· The style or look of the wood flooring widths of the boards, desired
· The type of wood and
· The grade of the flooring
Also affecting your decision, is what the wood flooring will be installed over and the type of subfloor in the room (i.e. plywood, tile or cement). Wood flooring is manufactured:
· 3/4" solid flooring (unfinished, or pre-finished)
· Engineered (unfinished, or pre-finished)
· Long-strip (pre-finished)
· Parquet (unfinished, or pre-finished)
There are also a variety of specialty products to enhance your room. Products such as borders or feature strips in domestic or exotic woods, crests and medallions, laser inlays and patterns. Wood register covers.
3. What are the types of installation methods?
Nail Down – Typically used with the 3/4" solid products, however there are adapters available for thinner flooring sizes as well. 1-1/4 - 2" nailing cleats are used with a wood flooring nailer and mallet to attach the flooring to the subfloor. Solid Strip floors or Plank floors can only be installed on wooden subfloors or sleepers on or above grade. Our flooring comes complete with a set of easy to follow directions on how to install that flooring.
Staple Down – 1" to 2" inch Staples are used versus nailing cleats to attach the wood flooring to the subfloor. A pneumatic gun is used to drive the staple into the wood flooring and subfloor. This procedure is easier than the nail down for do-it-yourself installations. Not all wood flooring manufacturers recommend the same staple gun. Read our manufacturers installation manual to assure you have the right staple gun and right size staples.
Glue Down – The recommended mastic or adhesive is spread on with the proper sized trowel to adhere the wood flooring to the subfloor. It is not recommended to glue down 3/4" solid.
Engineered and parquet floors – Engineered wood floors can be glued, nailed or stapled; parquets can only be glued down. There are many types of adhesives on the market, please use the manufacturers recommended adhesive when installing their flooring. Not using the manufacturers recommended adhesive and trowel size could void any warranties you may have.
Floating – With the floating installation method the floor is not mechanically fastened to any part of the subfloor. There is a 1/8 inch thick pad that is placed between the wood flooring and the subfloor. A recommended wood glue is applied in the tongue and groove of each plank to hold the planks together. The padding protects against moisture, reduces noise transmission, softer under foot, and provides for some additional "R" value. Some Engineered floors and all Longstrip floors can be floated. This is a very fast, easy and clean method of installation. Please consult the manufacturer installation instructions to see if your flooring can be floated.
4. What can damage a wood floor?
Water - Wet mopping or excessive water causes wood grain to raise and the wood to expand, crack, splinter and possibly, in extreme cases, to discolor or mildew.
Oil Soaps - Do not use Murphy Oil Soap™, Endust™, Pledge™, Future™, Mop’n Glo™, Brite™ or other waxes/polishes. Such products will harm the long-term performance of your floor, and may affect its coat-ability later.
Ammonia Cleaners - Do not use ammonia cleaners or non-recommended cleaners because they will dull or damage your hardwood floor. Never use Fantastik™ or Formula 409™.
High Heel Shoes - Heels that have lost their protective caps or shoes with any sharp exposed nail or stone will exert up to 8,000 lb per square inch of pressure on a floor. That’s enough to damage any type of floor covering.
Sunlight - Exposure to the sun and its UV rays can cause wood floors to fade, change color, or experience surface checking, and even cause color changes in its protective polyurethane finish. To avoid these problems we recommend using draperies or shades to help block out the sun’s harmful rays.
5. How do I care for my new wood floor?
Daily general maintenance is highly recommended to help keep your real wood floor looking its best.
General Maintenance - Immediately blot up spills or spots with a damp cloth.
Biweekly - Vacuum or sweep your floor.
Monthly - Clean floor with Anderson cleaner. Apply the cleaner to a clean, dampened sponge as directed and wipe the surface of your floor. Follow up with a clean, dry terry cloth towel to dry the surface. Never pour cleaner directly onto the floor.
6. How do I figure out how much hardwood to purchase?
Most flooring is sold by the square foot. The square footage is the actual measurement of the area to be covered by flooring. A waste factor of 5% must be added to the amount of square footage of flooring needed to allow for cutting waste.
For example, a 10' x 10' room = 100 sq. ft. 5% of 100 is 5 so you will have to purchase 105 sq. ft. in order to have enough flooring.
The cutting waste also allows for some minor defects if any in the wood to be cut out.
7. Is hardwood flooring more expensive than carpeting?
A high quality wall-to-wall carpet costs more than most of the hardwood flooring products sold at The Hardwood Flooring Stores.
Looking at flooring as a purchase that will last for generations with proper maintenance, it is clearly a better value. Once hardwood flooring is laid down it doesn't require expensive steam cleaning and may only need an inexpensive re-coating after a generation of use (depending on wear and tear).
Comparing this to carpeting which needs expensive deep cleaning every year or two and replacing after only a few years, hardwood is obviously the better value and much less expensive in the long term.
8. I have heard there are health benefits of hardwood flooring. Is this true?
This is true. Whereas carpets gather dust, animal dander, mildew, mites, pet urine, pollen and other irritants that can cause respiratory difficulties and are also harmful to those suffering from asthma or allergies, properly maintained hardwood flooring is extremely resistant to penetration from irritants and is the doctor recommended flooring choice.56
9. On what surfaces can hardwood flooring be installed?
Hardwood flooring can be installed on any hard surface, including: ceramic, vinyl, marble, concrete, plywood, wooden sub-floors and old hardwood flooring. Different types of hardwood flooring may be needed for different surfaces, so consult with an expert at The Hardwood Flooring Stores before deciding.
10. When do I know it's time to re-coat or refinish my floor?
When your floor begins to look worn this is a sign that it may need sanding or refinishing. A simple test to tell what you need to do is to pour a tablespoon or two of water onto your floor. If the water beads, your floor is simply a little dirty or tarnished from wear and tear. The solution in this case is just some cleaning or stain removal. If over a period of a few minutes the water slowly soaks into your floor, your floor is partially worn and will need re-coating or refinishing soon, but for now just take a little extra care. If the water soaks right in, it is time to re-coat or re-sand and refinish your flooring.
11. Can I re-coat my floor instead of re-sanding?
If your floor has not been waxed or oiled, re-coating is a great option. It takes less time, is significantly less expensive than re-sanding and creates less of a mess.
The new aluminum oxide finishes last for about a generation before any major re-coating or refinishing is required unless the floors have been abused.
If you re-coat your floors every few years, before the finish has worn through, you will prolong the life of the surface of your floor and reduce the need for re-sanding.
12. Why does my floor have cracks in it?
In is common for cracks to appear in floors, especially with wider planks, due to shrinkage and expansion over the year. Small cracks are not harmful to the floor and most will only appear seasonally due to changes in moisture levels.
In order to reduce or eliminated the chances of getting cracks in your floor, make an effort to maintain a humidity level between 45% and 55% throughout the year. Air conditioning or a de-humidifier in the humid summer months, and an humidifier during drier seasons helps to keep the humidity level more stable year-round.
13. Why does my floor squeak?
Usually this is due to a poor sub-floor like those found in many older homes.
The old 3/8" strip flooring reacts to the humidity changes by expanding and contracting, sometimes causing a cupping or crowning effect on the strips. When you walk on the floor, the pieces might flatten out and cause a rubbing effect that gives a creaking sound. It is best to avoid using any solid 3/8" flooring if possible.
In newer floors it can sometimes be a result of shifting of your floor because of changing humidity. This can be avoided by maintaining an equal humidity level throughout the year.
14. Are there different ways I can install my floor?
Most floors are designed for a specific installation method. These methods include: nail down, staple down, glue down, floating or the "click" system. Consult an expert at The Hardwood Flooring Stores to know what method is best suited for your floor and if there are any alternative methods.
15. How do I control contraction and expansion of my floor?
This is a very common question with a very simple answer. To ensure your floor stays in place and has a long life free of damaged caused my extreme contraction and expansion, maintain the humidity in your house at a level between 45% and 55%. This is a simple and efficient step to increase the longevity of your floor. An added benefit of maintaining humidity is your personal comfort.
16. What can cause damage to hardwood floors?
Excessive water can seep into the floor and cause the wood grain to raise and the wood to expand, crack, or splinter.
Excess wear and tear or abuse caused by not protecting areas that lead onto the floor directly from outside can also damage hardwood floors. Keep shoes clean and use mats at entrances to wipe grit off your feet.
Hard cleats should also not be worn in the house. High heals should be in good condition to be worn on hardwood floors. If the metal part of the heel is exposed it will cause damage to any floor it's on.
Oil-based cleaners and other waxes or polishes can harm the surface of your floor and make it difficult to re-coat it in the future.
Ammonia cleaners are too abrasive for hardwood floors and might dull the finish.
Over exposure to sunlight - as with anything else, the sun and its UV rays over time will cause your floors to dull or discolor.