Need to Know
Are wood floors expensive?
Hardwood floors are very competitively priced and represent an excellent value when compared to other flooring options. Hardwood floors last a lifetime and increase the value of your home should you decide to relocate.
Is it cost effective to select wood flooring over less costly materials?
Yes! According to the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) & Residential real estate agents, say homes with wood floors hold their value better, sell faster, and fetch higher prices, according to a recent nationwide survey commissioned by the trade organization. By a three-to-one margin, real estate agents said that a house with wood floors would sell faster than a carpeted house. Some 58 percent said a house with wood floors would bring a higher price.
What species and colour should I choose?
There are several species, colors and grain variations to consider. Other than the walls, the floor represents the largest expanse of color or pattern in a room. Your floor should complement the fabrics, furnishings and accessories already present in the space, as well as enhancing the unique personality of the room as a whole.
The most popular colour: red oak natural, maple natural running second, but with today’s eclectic decoration styles, anything goes.
Darker colors – Formal or traditional interiors,
Lighter colors – country, casual and contemporary settings.
There are many choices when selecting the right floor for the rooms in your home. There are several many species, colors and grain variations to consider. See Wood Floor Species, Grades & Cuts.
Which rooms can I install a wood floor in my home?
With the variety of products available and a choice of installation options, hardwood flooring can now be installed in most rooms of the house, with the exception of the laundry room and bathroom. A major consideration is whether the floor will be installed on-, above- or below-grade. Due to potential moisture problems, solid hardwood is not recommended for installations below grade, such as in a basement. Engineered products, which are inherently dimensionally stable, are better choices for this type of area. All types of wood can be installed on- or above-grade.
Does a wood floor go well with most design styles?
Yes. In a recent survey commissioned by the NWFA, more than three-quarters of interior designers find that wood flooring works well with many decorating styles. “It’s the most versatile floor covering there is,” says one designer. “Wood goes with contemporary and traditional and everything in between.” Designers rated natural materials as superior to man-made materials in beauty, prestige, style, maintenance, and durability.
A variety of woods and finishes are available to complement the decor and style of any room. Oak and maple are the most popular woods, but some homeowners are investing in exotics such as Brazilian cherry and Purple heart.
Engineered floors versus a solid wood product?
Engineered products, available in planks. The strips are manufactured of hardwood using a cross-directional laminated construction (3 to 5 layers), with a top layer of premium hardwood. This construction counteracts the natural tendency of wood to expand and contract with seasonal changes in temperature and humidity, making engineered products inherently dimensionally stable. Solid products, available in planks, strips or parquet, are manufactured from a solid piece of wood.
In general, engineered products can be installed in any room in the home, whether on-grade, below-grade or above-grade. Engineered products, can be glued down, stapled down or some can be “floated” over most subfloors without the use of nails or adhesives, making it ideal for remodeling. In some applications solid products are not recommended for below grade installations.
Should I use prefinished or unfinished product?
Most hardwood floors sold today are prefinished. Factory finished with several coats of UV-cured polyurethane or aluminum oxide are applied. These factory finishes are tough and durable. Installing a prefinished floor minimizes the time, the dust and the odors associated with the on-site sanding and finishing of an unfinished product. A prefinished floor can be installed in a day. An unfinished flooring installation may require 3 to 4 times as much time for the same area.
What about installing wood in high traffic areas like kitchens?
The urethane finishes on most new wood floors stand up to water and traffic, bringing wood flooring into kitchens, and other higher-traffic areas. The new finishes today resist wear and stains better than other finishes of the past and require no stripping, no buffing and no waxing. High traffic areas include exterior doorways, hallways, mud rooms, and the areas in front of the sink, stove and refrigerator. To protect the floor just inside exterior doorways, use walk-off mats or small rugs to catch tracked-in dirt and grime. Place small rugs or mats at other high traffic locations. Watch for grit or pebbles that might be brought in on waffle soles of athletic shoes and collect these with a hand-held cordless vac. This should be done a regular basis.
Is there a difference between square edge and ease edge designs?
Yes. With a square edge, the sides of each plank or strip are square. An eased edge, more commonly known as a beveled or micro-beveled edge, features a slight angle on the top edge of the plank or strip. An eased edge can help mask slight subfloor imperfections, and can be felt if walking on the floor in bare feet.
Which installation method is best?
The method used for your hardwood installation will depend upon the type of product you have chosen, where the flooring will be installed and the type of subfloor. Nail down, glue down & floating are the three type of installation. For instance, if you are remodeling your kitchen, some products can be “floated” over most subfloors, including vinyl or ceramic tile, eliminating the mess and cost of tearing up the existing floor and installing a subfloor. Engineered products, which are dimensionally stable, are ideal for basements and can be nailed, glued or stapled down. Your flooring retailer or contractor can help you to determine the best method for your situation. See Installation methods & details.
Which types of wood floors are best for in-floor radiant heating systems and are some wood species better for radiant systems than others?
Engineered hardwood floors–in planks, strips are the best floors to use with radiant heating systems. These floors are manufactured of hardwood using a three-ply or five-ply laminated construction, making them inherently dimensionally stable. This means they are less susceptible to changes in temperature and humidity. Of the engineered flooring options, with a floating installation as the best choice, because it can be “floated” over the subfloor, without the use of nails or adhesives for a permanent installation.
It is important to note that when installing any hardwood floor over a radiant heating system, the maximum temperature of the subfloor should never exceed 80º (F). For the correct water temperature inside the heating pipes, refer to your manufacturer’s guidelines.
Oak is an ideal species for in-floor radiant systems. We also recommend ash and merbau. We do not recommend that you use maple or pecan for an in-floor radiant heat system. If you have a question about your species choice see Radiant Heat & Wood Floors.
Are wood floors hard to maintain?
No. A hardwood floor finished at the factory features three to seven layers of a UV-cured polyurethane. This finish gives the floor a tough, durable and smooth no-wax surface that is both luxurious and easy-care. See Maintenance and Do’s & Don’ts for your wood floor. DO NOT damp mop – Water and wood do not mix. Therefore, we suggest that you use the maintenance products and procedures recommended by the manufacturer of your floor. Maintenance kits can be purchased from your retailer or contractor.