Answers to Your Room Design Questions
Looking for advice from an expert? We can help you find the right design solution for your flooring project.
- Q: Which type of wood floor is right for me, solid or engineered?
Solid wood (¾” thick) can be used in any room that is above grade. It cannot be installed in basements. Solid wood flooring can be refinished many times. Engineered wood floors are real wood floors that are manufactured using multiple layers of wood veneers. The grain of each layer runs in perpendicular directions, which makes it very dimensionally stable. Engineered floors can be nailed or stapled to a wood subfloor, or glued down to a wood or concrete subfloor.
- Q: Is a factory finished floor or a site finished floor better for me?
With factory finished floors, the finish is applied at the factory long before it reaches your home. You will not be able to achieve the same level as customization as you can with site finished floors. However, a major benefit to factory finished floors is that there is minimal dust and noise during the installation process. You can walk on the floors immediately after installation. With a site finished floor, you can select the type of finish to be applied to the floor, which will impact the maintenance, as well as the stain, if any, and sheen of the final product. Since your floors will be sanded and finished in your home, you should expect noise, dust, and some disruption to your home. You will also need to allow time for the finish to dry on site, during which time you cannot walk on the floor.
- Q: Do I need to order more material than my net square footage?
Yes. As a general rule, you should plan to order 10% more flooring than is needed for the installation. Much of the material is cut to fit the exact space.
- Q: What sheen level is best?
It is a matter of preference. If you choose to site finish a floor, you can choose any sheen that you like. Gloss will offer the most shine, and will reflect the most light. Semi gloss offers some shine, and will reflect some light. Satin or matte finishes offer the least shine, and will reflect the least amount of light. Generally speaking, the less sheen, the less you will notice small scratches and other normal wear. If you choose a factory finished floor, you will be limited to the sheen available for the material you select.
- Q: Can I prevent my pets from scratching my hardwood flooring?
Your best defense is to trim your pet’s nails regularly.
- Q: How do I keep my floors looking new?
All hardwood floors should be cleaned regularly. Simply sweep, dust mop, or vacuum the floors to remove dirt and grit from between the boards. Avoid using a wet mop or a steam mop on hardwood floors as water and steam can dull the finish. When spills occur, be sure to clean them immediately with a dry cloth. Use a wood cleaner such as Glitsa Clean to renew the luster.
- Q: Can I prevent wood floors from fading?
Like all natural things that experience change over time, wood floors will experience subtle color changes as they age. Oak and hickory floors will experience minimal color change over time. American cherry and Brazilian cherry floors will show more change over time. Two factors influence color changes. They are sun exposure and the finish that is applied to the floor. You can minimize the effect of the sun by periodically moving rugs and furniture. Oil finishes will amber over time, giving the floor a slightly yellow appearance. In contrast, water borne finishes generally will remain clear over time, minimizing long term color changes.
- Q: Why is installation and sanding flooring so expensive?
You need to make sure room you are working in is flat, the subfloor material will work for wood flooring, and that no moisture issues are present that will damage the wood long term. Testing for moisture requires special tools. You need to know how to center the room, how much space is needed for expansion, how to work around obstructions like closets, fireplaces, bay windows, staircases, and cabinets. Installing and sanding flooring requires much skill. You will save money and time by using a professional.
- Q: How does humidity influence hardwood flooring?
Wood flooring will perform best when the interior environment is controlled to stay within a relative humidity range of 35 to 50 percent and a temperature range of 60 to 80 degrees fahrenheit. Gaps between boards are a typical heating season issue, caused as your floor becomes dryer and shrinks. If cupping occurs, the floor has taken on moisture from any number of sources typically from a wet basement or crawl space, a structural or plumbing problem, or too much humidity.
- Q: How do I inspect a wood floor?
Because your wood floors are intended as flooring, the accepted point of view from which to inspect a wood floor is from a standing position under normal lighting. Looking for minor imperfections on your hands and knees is not a valid means of determining acceptance of a hardwood floor.
- Q: What is a janka Rating?
The Industry Standard for Hardness
The hardness of a wood is rated on an industry wide standard known as the Janka test. The Janka test measures the force required to embed a .444 inch steel ball into the wood by half its diameter.
This test is one of the best measures of the ability of a wood specie to withstand denting and wear. It is also a good indicator of how hard a specie is to saw, mill and nail.