14 Sep Tips to Choose & Install the Right Hardwood Flooring
No matter how many rugs you pile up, a damaged, unappealing floor will not brighten up. And, undoubtedly, without a gorgeous hardwood floor, your expensive artifacts and colorful walls will not matter much either.
Are you wondering about getting a hardwood floor for your place? Must say, excellent decision.
But wait, do you know how to pick one among so many hardwood flooring options available? This can be a cumbersome task for you, especially if you are new in the field.
Well, don’t panic! We at Big Bro Hardwood will help you out; from tips to types and more.
Let’s begin with the types of hardwood floors…
#1 Type of Wood Flooring
It is essential to know how many types of hardwood floor is available to choose from before considering how to choose.
Majorly, there are two types:
- Solid hardwood
- Engineered hardwood
Solid hardwood is precisely what its name suggests; each one of the boards is made of a single plank. The best part is, they can be refinished or sanded down, time and time again (when needed).
The other kind is engineered hardwood, which is basically man-made wood. Generally made of natural wood from different species and the top and bottom layers are about 4mm thick. Interestingly, each plank’s middle comprises five to seven layers of manufactured plywood, making them resilient or firm.
Now, when it comes to choosing one among both types, it is imperative to know that both have some advantages and disadvantages, based on your needs, like whether it is commercial or residential. If it is residential, where your home is located, and at the same time if it is commercial, estimate how much foot traffic your hardwood floor will be subject to. Engineered planks are versatile; perfect for installing in areas having high moisture content. Such floors are ideal for basements and apartments with concrete subfloors, whereas solid planks are generally installed over one or two layers of plywood that can raise the height of a floor.
After learning the types, let’s focus on some factors to keep in mind that affect the durability of the floor, which is again an important clause to consider while choosing a hardwood floor.
#2 Factors To Consider Concerning Durability
Durability is one of the major factors that should be focused on while choosing hardwood flooring, but it isn’t easily defined. It can be defined as resistance to dents, moisture, or scratches, or it can even refer to longevity. The durability considerably depends on species, type, finish, and manufacturing process.
Let’s learn different aspects of durability:
Water resistance –
Surely, hardwood is not known for its water-resistant properties, but some of the collections are pretty spill-friendly; they are engineered to perform beautifully in places where hardwood flooring is not usually an option.
Commonly seen scratches are more like actual dents into the wood. Hence, if you want to prevent dent-like scratches, it is essential to select a plank of wood with a higher density. It helps to avoid scratches and unwanted blemishes.
There are tests available to measure the durability, hardness, and density of the wood. The tests deliver the hardness rating of wood, based on its resistance to wear and indentation. However, you can also choose the trusted flooring company that assures you with at least the hardness of flooring.
Indeed hardness is enough to find out about permanence, but significantly fewer people know that the excellent finishing determines the floor’s durability. Various finish options are available in the market; you can ask the trusted supplier for the polyurethane or UV-cured oils products; both can be applied for a solid top layer. Again make sure you choose the finish based on your requirements as both offer different benefits and limitations.
It is a high gloss hardwood floor that gives a pristine appearance to your place and also assures the quality of the wood. But it requires more maintenance to keep the high sheen wood floor looking great. And, most importantly, the gloss of the flooring determines the overall possible durability. A matte finish and/or texture is better at hiding everyday scratches than smooth, high-gloss floors.
These are some factors that you must look at while making a purchase. Let’s discuss another aspect related to the hardwood floors viz. Finishing.
#3 Prefinished V/S Site Finished Floors
You can either buy planks with raw face and get it sanded and finished by professionals after installation or prefinished floors, which are ready to install; arrive with top-coat already applied. Both options are outstanding; depending on your needs, you can pick the right one. With prefinished planks, you know exactly what you’re getting to install in your home. Such floors take comparatively less installation time as there’s no need to apply stain. But, when you choose site finish, you’ve full control over the design and sheen level. It typically depends on the skills of flooring contractors; whether they are competent to achieve your desired outcomes or not.
#4 Wood Types and Grain Patterns
Oak species are considered the king of wooden flooring because it’s long-lasting, looks naturally appealing, and is widely available, leading to low prices. Other popular choices include Ash, Walnut, Maple, Hickory, Mahogany, Teak, Pine, and so on. You can cherry-pick any based on your personal preferences (budget constraints and existing interior decor).
When it comes to grain patterns – plain-sawn, rift-sawn, and quarter-sawn – are major patterns available to you. A plain or flat sawn pattern is the most common yet inexpensive pattern that you will come across. Simply, this lumber usually has a cathedral-type pattern on its face. Quartersawn is a mid-grade board with an amazing straight grain pattern; perfect for making stylish furniture and for flooring purposes. And, rift sawn is the most expensive but less known option, in which the annular rings range from 30-60 degrees to the face of the board.
#5 Color and Plank Width
Board width plays a vital role in achieving your design vision; narrow strips can make a smaller room look more spacious. Wide-width planks are a popular choice to introduce elegance and the feeling of openness. When it comes to stain color, you’ll have so many options to choose from. Considering your interior and furnishings, you can pick the right one or we can also custom mix different shades to provide you with a unique hue.
No matter which design you choose, we recommend trying a sample first. Maybe your lighting is different from what you see in a store or online or the planks may not be perfect for installation in your space. Ask your retailer for a sample, and try it once.
#6 What to do if you have pets at your home?
You can consider hardwood floor installation even if you’ve pets at your home. However, you have to take a few measures to keep your floors in good shape. Like, trim their nails regularly, clean them each time you take them out on a walk to prevent tracked-in dirt, and try placing rugs on the areas where your furry friends mostly play and sit.
Now, decide whether you want to install floors yourself or hire a pro.
Choosing DIY helps you save money, but are you sure you’ll get the durability that a professional installation service offers? Obviously, no! Installation requires sufficient time and knowledge to make the hardwood floors look and work at their best. Here’s why to hire professional installation services.
- Your and your family’s safety matters the most, that’s why it’s better to leave the job for professionals. They wear all the safety gear while performing the installation task, which you may not be aware of.
- Professionals hold good experience; they can foresee the potential problems that may arise while proceeding with the project.
- Although you’ve to pay them a certain amount, you’ll get high-quality work by hiring professionals.
- Experts will help you save time which you could invest in doing other major tasks.
- People working in the field have all the right tools and pieces of machinery. On the other hand, DIY projects often cost you more because you aren’t equipped with the appropriate tools and may lack technical knowledge.
- You’ll get guaranteed yet long-lasting solutions when you choose to hire a professional.
How does Hardwood floor installation take place?
You require different tools and raw materials depending on the type of hardwood floor you’ve chosen. Check out the steps one by one:
- Measure the Room
It is essential to measure the length and width of the room and multiply for the square footage. It will help you when ordering hardwood flooring. It is advised to allow 10-15 percent extra for irregular or boards you may waste due to cutting mistakes.
- Identify the Installation Method
Firstly, you’ve to determine the right installation procedure; it may vary depending on the width, thickness, plank construction, and where it’s being installed. Usually, solid boards are nailed or stapled to a wood subfloor. Engineered hardwood can be mechanically fastened or placed as a floating floor.
- Remove the Old Floor (If Any)
This step is not for all. But if there is any flooring, you just simply begin by removing the existing flooring. You might find layer after layer of flooring that needs to be rid of. Sure, you have assumed this as a simple project, but you might feel it is a bit complex at this step. Of course, pulling up the old flooring isn’t easy, and afterward, disposing of the waste can be more difficult. You can ask for professional installers’ help as they know how to do the work to save you the task of stripping off each layer of flooring, and they will even help clean up all the trash further.
- Prepare your space
Read all the installation instructions on the product, then prepare your subfloor accordingly. Most wooden floors can be installed over existing ceramic tile, terrazzo, or marble, with proper underlayment or other preparations. If your subfloor is not perfect—or if there is unevenness or other flaws—the installers will begin their work by fixing such imperfections. They will ensure your subfloor remains utterly flat and firmly secured to the floor joists. It’s important for top-class and flawless results. Also, make sure your subfloor is immaculately clean and dry. You must take suitable precautions to keep your subfloors dust-free.
- It’s time for Installation
Now is the time for underlayment, but only if it’s required. You can simply lay floor pieces parallel to the wall, which is the longest in the room. Keep in mind that putting the first few boards plays a vital role in laying a hardwood floor well. That means if you adequately set such initial boards, you have already started your work in the direction of an easy, smooth installation process.
Besides that, make sure that solid hardwood always ends up experiencing some natural expansion and contraction as humidity and temperature fluctuate. So, to account for the expansion and contraction, you must leave at least a 1/4″ of space all around. Plus, your baseboard will cover the extra allotted space. That means you’ll encounter cupping as the floor expands if you don’t leave extra room.
- Applying stain & Finishing
The finishing step matters a lot as it can create a break or make a situation. So it is recommended not to cut corners beforehand. You can simply do it when you are about to finish. Even in the last phase, use the installation guide and trace for contours to be cut and fitted. Attach trim and moldings after removing the spacers when all rows are installed.
Get in Touch With a Specialist at Big Bro Hardwood
With the proper preparation and tools, installing the hardwood flooring can be easy, and it can be done quickly.
All you need to do is be sure that your flooring does not have gaps and lay evenly. If you are not sure how to do it all, don’t panic; reach us. Being in the industry for years, we know how to address all hardwood floor-related concerns. Our installers have both the required skills and knowledge to ensure every piece of flooring is laid perfectly. We are known for offering floors which you have been dreaming about for years.