The flooring of any space is one of the biggest pieces of furniture you will buy, so it is important to make wise and educated decisions. We want to make sure you get the best option for your space, so we've compiled a list of the top questions you should ask when choosing a wood floor. Hopefully, we can provide you with some information to answer those questions.
1. Should I choose an engineered hardwood floor or a solid hardwood floor?
Depending on where you want to install your new floor and where you are located will determine which option will work best. Both options are real hardwood, the only difference is the construction of the base.
Solid wood floors are just that, one solid piece of wood and need to be installed over a subfloor. While engineered wood floors have a thinner layer of wood (lamella) which is glued to a plywood base and can be installed directly onto the slab.
Engineered floors are a better fit in damper climates and can be installed below grade (I.e., in a basement). Solid wood floors often do better than engineered wood floors in drier regions. If you want to install wood flooring in a room susceptible to water (i.e., a bathroom, kitchen, or laundry room), an engineered wood floor will tend to be a safer option.
2. What wood species should I choose?
This comes down to the look and toughness that you want. Some woods are harder / denser and handle traffic better than other species. The denseness of the wood is measured on the Janka scale, the higher up the scale it is, the harder the wood.
Depending on what color you want, will also affect the choices you have. Some species, like Walnut, are naturally dark, so achieving a light grey floor with Walnut would be virtually impossible. White Oak is a popular choice for many people as it is a hard wood and handles traffic well, it also takes stain well making it possible to create a wide variety of finishes.
3. I have pets, should I reconsider getting a wood floor?
Every year, WoodCo manufactures many wood floors that are installed in pet-friendly homes and buildings and they do just fine. The more traffic you have walking across your floor, be it kids, adults, pets, etc. the more wear and tear your floor will have. Wood flooring is typically not an issue with most standard household pets. However, you may want to reconsider using wood flooring if you have a very large pet or one that isn't well house trained.
4. What grade should I choose?
The grade of the wood refers to how the wood looks. Select grade will be very clean, even coloring, few knots, etc., whereas a character wood floor will include a lot more natural markings including knots and interesting grain patterns. It is important to note that the grade of the wood does not impact the quality of the material, it is strictly a visual preference. The raw lumber will have multiple grades in one board and the knots etc. are either left in or cut out depending on the grade required. Select grade will be your higher cost option as it creates the most waste to make. If you are wanting a wide plank or a really long length floor, you may have to go with a more character option; as the bigger the planks the harder it is to achieve a select grade floor.
5. How can I minimize wear and tear, specifically scratches on my floor?
No wood floor is immune to standard wear and tear, including scratches. Selecting one of the harder wood species will minimize this a lot, but there are other things you can do to help, including the grade, finish, and textures. The more broken up the surface of the floor is, the less noticeable any wear and tear will be. This can be achieved by choosing a more character grade floor, or by adding a wire brushed texture to the face of the planks.
The color you choose will also impact this; a very dark floor will tend to show scratches a lot more than a neutral color. Remember that if you get a deep scratch, the natural color of the wood will show, so the closer in color the floor is to the wood the less they will show.
The type of finish you use will also make a difference. Some are designed for high-traffic areas and are often used in busy public places like museums and airports.
Placing rugs at door entries and high traffic areas can also help.
6. Is prefinished or unfinished the right choice for me?
With a prefinished wood floor, all the sanding and finishing are done off-site, keeping the smells and mess out of the building. With an unfinished wood floor, the floor is laid, then sanded, and finished directly in the room. One of the main differences between prefinished and unfinished is the bevel. With a prefinished wood floor, you must have a micro bevel on the sides of the boards to accommodate for any slight differences in the slab, as it isn't being sanded on site.
With a prefinished wood floor, the finishing is done by machines and is more controlled. With a site-finished floor, the finishing is done by hand and reflects the skill of the finisher. Some finishes and techniques are only possible when done on-site and vice versa.
Another difference is with a prefinished hardwood floor, you should be able to walk on your new floors almost immediately after they’re installed.
7. Do we need to order additional material?
As a general rule, you should plan to order 10% more material than is needed to complete the installation. The material will be cut to your exact space so you may find that you require more material than originally thought. If you have a space with stairs or a fireplace to workaround, you may have to order a little more than 10% extra material – and the same can be said for custom patterned floors like herringbone or chevron.
8. How do I clean my new hardwood floors?
Maintaining your new wood floor is a breeze. To keep your floor looking good as new you should sweep regularly and dust mop or vacuum the floor when necessary. Always avoid using a wet mop or any type of steam or harsh chemicals as this can damage the finish, stain, and possibly even the wood of your floors. If your floor begins to dull, use a floor cleaning that is compatible with your wood floor finish. You can also use rugs at door entries and high traffic areas to minimize dirt and other debris from getting on your floors.
We hope you've enjoyed reading and learning with us! As always, if you have any questions or concerns feel free to reach out to us by emailing email@example.com or calling (210) 298-9663.
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