Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Do I Need To Order?
1) Measure the length and widths of each room, then multiply the two measurements. For example if a room is 12’ long and 12’ wide, multiply 12 x 12 = 144. The square footage for that room is 144 sf. If a room has an area that will not require hardwood, like a fireplace hearth, just measure the hearths length and width and deduct it from the room’s original square footage.
2) After all areas have been measured, total all the areas for a total square footage. Always allow between 5% to 10% waste when placing orders. Most contractors will figure for the middle number of 7% waste. If your areas that will need wood flooring total 700 sf., add 7% waste (49 sf.) for a total of 749 sf.
What is the difference in flooring types?
Solid Hardwood Flooring
Solid hardwood flooring is made of planks milled from a single piece of lumber. The thickness of solid wood flooring can vary, but usually ranges from 5/16” to 3/4”. Within the category of Solid Flooring are two subcategories: Unfinished and Pre-finished.
Unfinished Solid Flooring
Unfinished flooring is exactly what it implies. It is a raw product meaning that nothing has been done to it. It can only be installed on grade or above grade meaning it will not work in a basement due to moisture issues. After the unfinished product is installed it still needs to be sanded, stained and finished with either polyurethane or a wax product.
Unfinished flooring has been losing popularity because of the “mess” of sanding and staining. Usually a professional is required due the tools that are required and the time involved.
Unfinished flooring defiantly has its place when debating its use. Customizing colors, patterns, designs and looks are easily accomplished. Or if you need to match an existing floor that has been in your house for years, unfinished is probably your best choice.
Pre-finished Solid Flooring
Pre-finished Solid Flooring is exactly what it implies. The main advantage of pre-finished hardwood floors, over unfinished, should be pretty obvious: Comfort and Speed. It is a lot faster and cleaner to install a pre-finished floor and end up with a finished floor than having to sand and finish after the install.
Pre-finished solid flooring has come along way in the past 5 years. You can find just about any color, width or style (hand-scraped or distressed). Pre-finished flooring usually comes with 3 to 12 coats of an aluminum oxide finish that is superior to almost any finish that a flooring contractor can apply. Most pre-finished floors come with a 10 to 50 year wear through warranty which means that they will last for a very long time.
When considering solid wood floors most people ask if the wood is hard and durable. While this is a consideration it might not be the most important. Most woods will dent when something is dropped on them. Most finishes will scratch if something is drug across. The severity of each will depend on the “hardness” of the species and the “durability’” of the finish. Pre-finished will defiantly hold up better to scratches.
Another consideration is the sensitivity of the wood to moisture. All solid product will expand and contract depending on the amount of humidity in the air. Contraction occurs when the air is dry leaving “gaps” in your floor between boards. Expansion is due to increased humidity. To much expansion can cause your floors to cup and even buckle if they are not installed properly.
Solid Hardwood Flooring definitely has its advantages but if tackling the project by yourself prepare yourself for hard work and sore muscles. If sanding and finishing the floor yourself, be sure to consider the cost of renting the equipment that can do the job right.
Engineered Hardwood Floors
Engineered wood floors are real wood floors that are manufactured using multiple layers of different wood veneers. The grain of each layer runs in different directions, which makes it very stable. This means that the wood will expand and contract less than solid wood flooring during fluctuations in humidity and temperature. This type of flooring can be sanded and finished, but it cannot be done as many times as a solid wood floor. Engineered wood flooring can be installed above, on or below grade. Meaning it can be used in basements, main areas or upstairs.
Engineered floors can come in unfinished or pre-finished the latter being the most popular. Engineered floors usually range in thickness form 1/4” to 9/16” but some can come up to 3/4”. Then majority of engineered floors will be manufactured with a “beveled” or “eased” edge to hid any imperfections in the manufacturing of product. Pre-finished engineered floors are coated with an aluminum oxide finish, which give them a flawless finish that will last from 10 to 30 years.
The choices in choosing an engineered floor are almost endless. Any type of wood or species can be used (domestic or exotic) as well as being stained any color, hand-scraped or distressed and almost any width is possible.
Another great advantage to engineered floor is the height difference when installed next to another flooring surface. Whether it be tile or carpet there will not be much difference in height reducing the chance of tripping over an uneven surface.
Engineered wood floors can be installed several different ways. They can be glue to concrete, nailed to a subfloor or floated over any surface. Engineered wood floors are also a great choice if installing over a radiant heat system.
As with any wood floor, engineered wood floors should always be acclimated to the environment in which they will be installed. Three to five days is usually recommended but in extreme climates whether be extra dry or humid more precaution should be taken. It is also important that the moisture content of the concrete slab or sub-floor be within 2% to 3% of the flooring that will cover it. If gluing to a concrete surface where moisture could be an issue, such as a basement, it is recommenced that glue be used that has a moisture barrier mixed in.
Pre-finished engineered wood floors are dominating the market. Consumers are choosing them because of the benefits of stability; wear ability and the ease of installation. Maintenance of an engineered wood floor is also a great feature as well as the health benefits.
Many consumers get confused and call this type of flooring Laminate Wood Flooring, but the visual face of the floorboards are not real wood. It is actually a high quality photograph of a wood bonded to a melamine center core. Several layers of a protective finish are applied over it making it very durable.
Laminate flooring is a great product to use in high traffic areas. They are hard to dent and difficult to scratch. For this reason, you see a lot of Laminate flooring in commercial settings. Just about any wood species can be achieved with laminate flooring. They are easy to install. Simply click them together.
Some laminate flooring comes with a pad and moisture barrier glued to the bottom of each piece. Other laminate requires that a pad be rolled out underneath then taped together to prevent moisture from coming through.
Laminate flooring is usually going to be the least expensive. However it has it place due the durable nature of the product and the ease of installation.