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Hardwood FAQ

How does hardwood compare to other flooring materials?


Hardwood flooring has a natural beauty that will give any room a very warm feeling. When building a new home, adding an addition or just taking up old carpeting that doesn’t have a hardwood floor beneath, you should look at the wide variety of wood flooring available.

Wood floors are an easy, inexpensive way to add value to your home.

They are easy to maintain and last for decades. Long after carpeting or vinyl has been ripped out and replaced, you will still be enjoying your wooden floor. 90 percent of realtors say that wood floors help a home sell faster and for more money.

Wood floors are available in a wide range of species and finishes to complement any decor. They don’t go out of style. Hardwood will outperform and outlast any other flooring material without any additional care or attention. And, of course, nothing can compare to the elegant beauty of a good quality hardwood floor.

What are the health benefits to hardwood flooring?

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.

One of the most common reasons for ripping out old carpets and installing hardwood floors or refinishing the existing hardwood floors is to get rid of the billions of dust mites that infest wall to wall carpet. Dust mites are little bugs that live off of dead human skin cells, which we all shed. The mites’ feces are what humans are actually allergic to. Dust mites love carpets. It gives them so many opportunities to meet other dust mites and breed.

For people with allergies wood flooring is one of the best types of flooring to have. Dust mites thrive and dirt and pollen build up in carpet even with constant vacuuming and washing. Dust and pollen are simply vacuumed or dry-mopped from a wood surface. Area rugs can be removed for more affective cleaning of the rug and the floor beneath.

Does my old floor need to be removed?

This depends on the type of floor you are installing. Many laminated or engineered floors can be installed over other surfaces. If we do determine that a sub-floor is required, this is not a place to scrimp.

Some things to consider:
– If you are installing a solid wood floor, we have to get down to a solid, flat and dry sub-floor that will accept the nails or fasteners used.
– We need to take into consideration the height of the current floor plus the height of the new floor and underlay.
– Laminate or “engineered” wood floors can often be successfully installed over existing surfaces. Our experts can advise you if this is your best option.

Where can I have a hardwood floor?

Hardwood floors have been experiencing a renewed popularity in recent years. As a result of recent developments in the technology of hardwood floor, the once thought to be difficult to care for hardwood floors, now are seen as an easy to maintain attractive, natural alternative to tile, vinyl and even carpet. These new finishes make keeping your hardwood floor looking like new an easy task. Some of these products carry a 15-25 year warranty on the finish.

flooring can be installed almost anywhere in your home. Solid wood, such as site-finished and pre-finished flooring, can be installed on or above ground while engineered and laminate flooring can be installed anywhere including basements. It is not recommended to install hardwood flooring in moisture prone areas of your home, such as the wet areas of a bathroom.

What preparation is necessary before installing Hardwood Floor?

The amount of preparation necessary depends on the condition of your current floor, and the type of flooring you decide to use. With our professional floor preparation, engineered wood and laminate flooring can be installed on almost any surface, even concrete.

Solid wood flooring requires a sound wooden sub-floor in order to hold the staples required for proper installation. If we determine a sub-floor is necessary, we’ll examine your current floor and recommend the most practical sub-floor and material to use. Our experts make sure you don’t make any costly mistakes.

We can help you decide on the best flooring option for your situation. We will make sure your floor is installed properly for years of carefree use.

Why choose Laminate flooring?

Laminate floors are a practical, economical alternative to hardwood flooring while still adding the warmth, value and beauty to your home. Laminate floors are very easy to care for and can withstand lots of abuse from kids, pets, and an active lifestyle.

Laminate floors are available in a huge assortment of colours to compliment any decor. Laminate floors can be installed over virtually all surfaces including wood, vinyl, concrete, ect. Laminate floors are pre-finished so installation does not require any sanding or finishing. This makes it easy to live with while it’s being installed. Some brands of laminate floors have limited warranties for up to 30 years.

How is Hardwood Floors Installed?

Nail Down or Staple Down – Typically used with the 3/4″ solid products. Solid Strip floors or Plank floors can only be installed on wooden sub-floors or sleepers on or above grade. 1″ to 2″ inch staples or nailing cleats are used to attach the wood flooring to the sub-floor. A pneumatic gun is used to drive the staple into the wood flooring and sub-floor.

Glue Down – The recommended mastic or adhesive is spread on with the proper sized trowel to adhere the wood flooring to the sub-floor. 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. We use the manufacturers recommended adhesive when installing their flooring.

Floating –There is a 1/8 inch thick pad that is placed between the wood flooring and the sub-floor. 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. This is a very fast, easy and clean method of installation.

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.

Will my floor change color over time?

Yes. You can expect to see shade differences in your floor over time. The cause is usually from exposure to the ultra-violet rays of the sun, whether direct or indirect. This color change will be more noticeable in lighter colors, which will darken over time. In addition, certain species, like Brazilian Cherry, will naturally darken over the years. These changes are due to the natural characteristics of wood and are not covered by most manufacturers’ warranties.

How much Flooring Should I Buy?

Measure each room, multiplying length by width. You will need to buy extra material to compensate for waste when boards are trimmed or when damaged material must be cut from a board. Waste is much less with the better grades of wood. Usually, you will need 10% to 12% extra. Laying the floor diagonally or using other special patterns can increase the amount of material required by another 10%.

Don’t forget that you will also need to buy moulding, transitions and thresholds. We are happy to provide you with an accurate estimate of the material you will need when we prepare your quotation.

Should I choose pre-finished or unfinished material?

The major difference between pre-finished and site-finished flooring is the custom, tabletop look you get with a site-finished floor. Pre-finished often has those gap-grooves between each strip, which some folks find unsightly. As always, if you choose a pre-finished floor, you will not be sanding and therefore it is paramount that the sub floor is close to PERFECT before you start installing. If the sub floor is not perfect, you will see it in the finished floor.

Pre-finished Floors: Modern pre-finished floors are a much better option than in past years. Properly installed quality pre-finished floors are less messy to install and can be walked on immediately after installation. Factory applied finishes can use industrial finishing materials, such as Aluminium Oxide, that are more than twice as durable as site applied finishes.

Pre-finished floors can be installed faster, since you do not have to allow for finishing and drying times. Your home can be occupied while the floor is installed. Pre-finished floors are less costly to install than site finished floors.

Site Finished Floors: Site finished floors give you more finish options and, since the entire floor is sanded, it can offer a smoother surface with all boards sanded level. If we need to match an existing floor, we can finish the floor for a compatible match.

Site finished floors are sanded flat as an entire floor surface. There will be no bumps or irregularities where the wood surfaces meet. Site finishing fills all cracks and joints with the finish. Material costs are lower, but installation costs can be higher. Some site applied finishes use materials that emit strong odors until they dry. They must be applied by workers using respirators while the site is unoccupied.

When is it time to re-coat or refinish my floor?

In spite of all their advantages, modern wood floor finishes will not last forever. Hardwood floors should be recoated when the original finish shows signs of wear, but before it has worn through the finish to the bare wood. Bare wood can be stained by dirt and grime, resulting in the need for re-sanding.

Many hardwood floors can be sanded and refinished at least once and as many as three times or more. The exact number depends upon the total thickness of the product or the thickness of the top layer of premium hardwood, as in an engineered product. While sanding and refinishing a floor may be costly and disruptive to the household, it is usually more economical than replacing the 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. If the water soaks right in, it is time to re-coat or re-sand and refinish your flooring.

What is the difference between re-sanding and recoating?

Re-sanding a floor: When we re-sand (or refinish) a wood floor, we bring in large sanding machines that strip all of the old finish and stain off the floor, exposing a layer of new wood. This new layer can then be stained (if desired) and finished with anywhere from 2 to 5 coats, depending on the potential wear and the type of finish used.

With this process, we sand the entire finish off the floor, and then rebuild the finish surface. This procedure can take up to five days or longer, depending upon the size of the space.

Re-coating a floor: When we recoat a floor, we use a light, low speed sander that only lightly scuffs the top layer of finish. This scuffing or abrasion aids in the adhesion of the new finish, which is than applied in one or two coats. Typically, the cost of recoating is less than half that of re-sanding.

Why does my floor squeak?

Usually this is due to a poor sub-floor like those found in many older homes. Some older flooring reacts to the humidity changes by expanding and contracting, sometimes causing 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. 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.

Hardwood floors, all of them, will eventually develop some sort of squeak in them. The reason behind this is that they are nailed to a wooden structure called a sub floor made of wood underlayment and joists.

When the wood expands and contracts with the various seasonal humidity changes, the holes around the nails also expand and contract. As we use and walk on the floors we continue to loosen them by jiggling them ever so slightly each time we use them. Your floors may squeak more in one season than another. For most homes, they squeak more during the heating season, which tends to dry out and shrink the hardwood strips.

If you have any question not answered here let us know and we will be happy to help you. Contact Us today for a Free Estimate on your flooring project.

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