- Which type of wood flooring is right for me, solid or engineered?
That depends on where you want to install it. Both solid and engineered wood floors are made using real wood, so both are environmentally friendly. Solid wood flooring can be used in any room that is above grade but not basements. Engineered wood floors are real wood floors that are manufactured using multiple layers of wood veneers. This means that they will expand and contract less than solid wood flooring, which makes them ideal for slab and basement installations as well as above grade.
- Which wood species is right for me?
Choosing the right species of wood flooring is strictly a matter of your style, budget and personal preference. Ash or maple generally make a room appear more open and airy. Hickory or oak generally make a room appear more warm and cozy. Walnut or mahogany make a room appear more stately and refined. Exotic species can offer even more color options. Each wood species is rated for its hardness and durability (Janka Hardness Rating).
- Factory-finished floors or site-finished floors?
Each method has its own benefits and advantages and choosing the right method will depend on the level of customization you want to achieve. A job-site finished wood floor offers you unlimited possibilities for customizing the final appearance of your floor. However you should expect noise and dust and should also allow time for the finish to dry on site.
Factory-finished wood floors, while available in many options, will not allow you to achieve the same level of customization as job-site finished wood floors but are installed more quickly and easily.
- My pet’s scratching my floors! Is there anything I can do to prevent the damage?
Your best defense is to trim your pet’s nails regularly, however, there are several things you can do to minimize scratches from pets on your wood floors. Place scatter rugs at all doors. Keep in mind that the scratches will most likely be on the floor surface only, and not in the wood. Consult a professional wood flooring contractor for specific recommendations about how to repair these surface scratches and minimize them in the future.
- How do I keep my floors looking new?
All hardwood floors should be cleaned regularly. To accomplish that, simply sweep, dust-mop or vacuum the floors. Avoid using a wet mop on hardwood floors as it can dull the finish or even damage the wood over a long period of time. Place scatter rugs at all entrances, avoiding those with rubber backs; which can discolor wood floors.
- Hardwood installation is so expensive. Why can’t I just do it myself (DIY)?
Installing wood floors is a lot more complicated than painting your walls or replacing the hardware on your kitchen cabinets. First of all, you will be spending several thousand dollars on materials alone, so if you damage them, it’s not as easy as buying another $30 gallon of paint. Wood flooring also requires special tools that you will likely have to rent and will have little experience using. The bottom line is that installing wood floors is not recommended as a DIY project. In the long run, you will save money and time by using a professional.
- When I walk across my hardwood floor, I hear creaking sounds. Why?
There are a number of reasons that could be behind this. Usually it is caused by an uneven/unsecured subfloor or a subfloor made from chipboard. Manufacturers recommend strengthening chipboard subfloors with a plywood underlayment. In most cases, the problem is easily solvable.
- Are there any rooms in the house where I should not install hardwood floors?
We do not recommend installing hardwood floors in full bathrooms that have a shower or bathtub. These rooms have the potential for standing puddles of water that can damage wood floors.
- What is the most durable hardwood floor available?
Usually hardwood floors are treated with up to 10 coats of an aluminum oxide finish. While this will certainly help the durability of the floor, it is the hardness of the floor that will give the best indication of durability. Refer to the Janka Hardness Rating for a true indication of hardness (For example, domestic Red Oak and Hard Maple range from 1250-1450 while South American species, like Brazilian Cherry and Walnut, range between 2300-3600).
- Why my floors have color variations?
Hardwood floors are a natural product, therefore, you should expect there to be natural color variations in the wood. Although lower grades of flooring will have a larger number of unwanted characters or shades, you can expect color variations in all grades.
- My carpet is buckling, what causes this?
Several things can cause buckling. Improper installation, the wrong cushion, moving furniture or high humidity. When having your carpet re-stretched, be sure all the furniture is removed from the room and the carpet is power stretched very tightly in all four directions.
- How will carpeting affect my dust and pollen allergies?
People that have allergies should vacuum their carpet at least twice a week and have it cleaned the way the manufacturer specifies; approximately every 12 to 18 months. A good carpet is an asset for allergy sufferers as it traps the dust much better than a hard surface. We recommend using a vacuum with good dust containment and performance and good quality, low pile Carpets.
- How often should you get your carpets cleaned?
That depends a great deal on how many people live in the home; their age and number of pets. If you have young children then you already know how fast things like rugs, carpets and upholstery can get dirty. Pets can also bring in quite a bit of dirt, dust and other pollutants in to your home. We would suggest having your carpets cleaned every six to eight months if you have children or pets. If that doesn’t apply to you, then you should have your carpets cleaned once a year.
- How is laminate flooring constructed?
Laminate flooring has 4 layers, a wear layer, a design layer, an inner core layer and a backing layer. The wear layer protects the floor from stains and fading and resists scuffs and scratches, even those from pets’ nails. Beneath that, the design layer is a photographic image of wood, stone or other visuals, glued to the next layer – the inner core. The inner core has a plastic resin for structural strength that keeps the laminate stable and flat. The final layer – the backing – creates a moisture barrier that protects the floor from warping. It’s this 4-layered construction that makes laminate flooring remarkably durable.
- Are laminate floors pet-friendly floors?
Laminate flooring is a great option for households with pets. Pets’ nails won’t scratch or wear down a laminate floor that easily. Our furry loved ones, however, have different habits, and sand and pebbles may stick to their claws. As a precaution, it’s always a good idea to keep pets’ nails trimmed and wipe up spills as soon as they happen. The beauty of laminate is that if something happens to one of the pieces, it’s easily replaceable.
- What’s the best way to maintain my laminate floor?
To maintain your laminate floor’s durability and beauty, just sweep and use a microfiber mop along with a cleaning product recommended for laminate. Guard against abrasions by placing a mat outside entrance doors to collect excess moisture, sand and grit. Use protective pads or castors under furniture and appliances. Another good tip is to periodically rearrange furniture to resist indentations.
- How long can I expect my laminate floor to last?
First, that depends on the quality of the product you buy. Most manufacturers carry a 20-30 year guarantee on their products against defects. “Quality” laminate floors are not easily scratched or dented and so how long your laminate floor lasts depends on how you maintain it and the degree of wear placed on it.
- What is the difference between a real wood floor (solid or engineered) and a laminate floor?
The main difference is that laminate flooring is not made of real wood. Laminate is easier to install and more resistant to stains than real wood. It will not expand or contract as much with seasonal changes in humidity and temperature either. All this makes Laminate floors very popular for high trafficked areas like Kitchens. Laminate flooring cannot, however, be sanded and refinished like real wood flooring and would have to be replaced when worn out or scratched. Alongside its reparability, Hardwood flooring is the only floor covering that will also increase the value of your home.
- Can cleaning products for vinyl or tile floors be used on wood floors as well?
No. Never use sheet vinyl or tile floor care products on wood floors. And never use self-polishing acrylic waxes on wood floors either. These waxes cause wood to become slippery and dull which require it to be sanded and refinished.
- Does it matter to select wood flooring instead of less-costly materials like laminate or vinyl?
Yes. Residential real estate agents say homes with wood floors sell faster and fetch higher prices. According to a nationwide survey commissioned by the National Wood Flooring Association, real estate agents-by a four-to-one margin-said that a house with wood floors would sell faster than a house without wood floors. Some 90 percent said a house with wood floors would bring a higher price.