Which type of wood floor is right for me, solid or engineered?
It depends on where you want to install it. Both options are made using real wood, so both are environmentally friendly. Solid wood is what you would expect: a solid piece of wood from top to bottom. Solid wood flooring generally ranges from ¾” to 5/16” thick. It can be used in any part of the home that is above ground and one of the great things about solid wood flooring is that it can be sanded and refinished many times. They are ideal for most rooms in your home, and the only place they can’t be installed is in the basement. The solution is Engineered wood flooring. Engineered wood floors are made of real wood, but are manufactured with multiple layers of wood veneers. The layers that you can’t see can be made of the same species, or of a different species. The grain of these floors run in perpendicular directions, making them very dimensionally stable. Because of this, engineered flooring will expand and contract less than solid wood flooring during changes in humidity and temperature. The top layer of engineered flooring consists of high-quality wood. This type of flooring can be nailed, stapled, or glued to a wood subfloor, or glued to a concrete slab. Engineered floors are the ideal type for slab and basement installations. They can also be used in any room in the home, both above and below ground. This type can be sanded and finished, but it cannot be done as many times as with solid wood.
Which species of wood is right for me?
The right species of wood flooring for you is only a matter of your style, budget and preference. There are currently more than 50 domestic and imported species of wood flooring available, with many different styles.
If you want your rooms to appear more open and airy, and enjoy the look of light woods, you may prefer Ash or Maple.
If you want your rooms to appear more warm and cozy, and enjoy the look of more medium woods, you may prefer Hickory or Oak.
If you want your rooms to appear more refined, and enjoy darker woods, you may prefer Mahogany or Walnut.
There are other exotic species that can offer more color options. Bubinga, which originates in Africa, can appear pink, red, or reddish brown with purple streaks or veins. Australian Cypress ranges from cream-colored sapwood to honey-gold heartwood, with dark brown knots holes throughout. Santos Mahogany, which originates in South America, is a dark reddish brown. Purpleheart, which originates in Mexico, has a brown heartwood that will age to a deep purple or purplish brown. Burmese Teak, which originates in Asia, varies from a yellowish brown to a dark golden brown. For an exceptionally unique look, Wenge, which originates in Africa, will age to a very deep brown, almost black, color.
Once you decide on how you would like your floors to look, you should consider how they will be used. Are you a retired couple living alone, or a busy family? Do you have children or pets? The Janka scale is used to rate the durability and hardness of each species of wood.
The rating of the Janka scale gives you a good idea of how likely a wood type is to dent or show other wear. For example, domestic black cherry is ranked at 950 on the Janka scale, while Brazilian cherry is ranked much higher at 2,820, nearly three times the hardness of the domestic species. The domestic black cherry would be a good choice for the retired couple since their floor will see less traffic, while the Brazilian cherry might be a better choice for a busy family with young children and pets.
Is factory-finish or on-site finish better for me?
Each has its own benefits are advantages. Choosing the right method depends on a number of factors, including your personal preference, and the level of customization you want to see in your flooring.
A job-site finish is one that is done on the job site where the flooring has been installed. With this type of finish, you may choose the type of finish to be applied to your floor. The type of finish you choose will impact maintenance, and as the stain, if you choose, the sheen on the final product. This option offers you unlimited possibilities for customizing the final appearance of your floor
In factory-finished wood floors, the finish is already applied in the factory. It does not happen in your home. Many options are available in factory finished floors, but you will not be able to achieve the same level of customization as you would with on-site finished floors. It is also more difficult to get replacement pieces of an exact match should the floors get damaged. A benefit of factory-finished floors is that there is minimal dust and noise while the floors are installed. You will be able to walk on your floors immediately after installation.
My room is 500 square feet, but we’re being billed 550 square feet of flooring. Is this really necessary?
Yes, In general, you should expect to order 10% more flooring than is needed for the installation. This is because much of the material will end up being cut to fit the exact spaces in your room. Once the boards are cut, they likely cannot be used anywhere else in the room because the end tongue or groove will have been removed. After that occurs, the boards cannot adjoin with another board. There is some waste involved in the process. Depending on the room, you may need to order more or less material. If you have to work around fireplaces, stairs, or in closets, etc. you may need to have more than the 10% average extra material. If the room is square with no interruptions, less than 10% extra may work just fine. Your contractor is the best resource to help you estimate the material needed for the job.
I’ve seen different finishes on wood floors. Some are shiny and others aren’t. Which one is better for me?
This one is based on your preference. If you choose to install a finish on-site floor, you can choose any sheen you like. Satin gloss finishes offer the most shin and will reflect more light. Semi-gloss finishes over some shine and will reflect some light, while Satin or Matte finishes offer the least amount of shine and light reflection.
In general, the less sheen you have, the less that you will notice small scratches and other normal wear. If you choose to install factory-finished flooring, you will be limited to the sheen available for the material selected. All sheens offer the same protection to your floor, so preference is the deciding factor with sheen.
I’m concerned about pets scratching my floors. Is there anything I can do to prevent this?
There are many things you can do to minimize scratches from your pets on your wood floors. Place rugs at all doors to minimize the amount of dirt and grit being tracked in. This is especially important if your pet likes to dig. The best thing you can do to minimize scratches is to trim your pets nails regularly (every 6-8 weeks, depending on the pet). We use only quality finishes, so generally keeping nails trimmed and rugs in place is enough prevention. Scratches often occur even if pets do not live in the home. These scratches are likely only in the floor surface and not in the wood itself. If this happens, consult with us for specific recommendations about how to repair and minimize scratches.
How do I keep my floors looking new?
Hardwood floors should be cleaned regularly. You may accomplish that by either sweeping, dust mopping, or vacuuming the floors (with the beater bar off) to remove dirt and grit from the floors. Place rugs at all entrances, but avoid those with rubber backs, which can discolor wood floors. Scratches can be prevented by this, and by placing floor protector pads on the bottoms of the legs of any furniture that comes into direct contact with the floors.
When spills occur, clean them immediately with a dry or slightly damp cloth. Do not allow spills to sit or use a wet mop on hardwood floors. Avoid walking on you floor with sports cleats or high heels in disrepair is this can damage the finish and could damage the wood as well.
When the floor begins to look a little dull, use a wood flooring cleaner recommended by your installer to renew the luster. Be sure to use the product as directed, and use only products that are compatible with your wood floor as using the wrong type of cleaning product could damage the finish, and possibly damage the wood as well.
How long will it take before they are installed?
It depends on the type of floor you choose. On-site finish will take longer since the finish will need to be applied and dry on site. Depending on the finish used, you can expect multiple coats will be applied, and each coat will also need to be sanded before the next coat is applied. The floor will also need to dry thoroughly before it can be walked on. Whether your flooring is site-finished or factory-finished, the materials will need to be delivered to the job site and allowed to acclimate for a period of time before installation can begin. Depending on the material you choose, this could take several days. This is one of the most important parts of the installation process because the wood needs to reach equilibrium moisture content with the job site conditions to ensure that you get a long-lasting, high-quality installation.
I’ve seen instances where wood floors fade over time. Is there anything I can do to prevent this?
At Guardian Flooring, we only use the best products. This is one of the main ways to keep floors from fading over time. Wood floors are one of the few flooring options that gain beauty with age. Wood floors experience subtle color changes as they age. This is a natural process that is referred to as patina and will add beauty and character to your floor. Different species of wood flooring experience color change differently and at different rates. More common species like Oak and Hickory experience minimal color change over time, while less-common species like American Cherry and Brazilian Cherry will show more change over time. This is natural, but can be minimized with prevention.
The two main factors that influence color changes in wood floors are sun exposure and the finish you choose to apply. Over time, sun exposure will cause wood floors to change color, much like your skin will change color over time when exposed to sunlight. You can minimize this effect by periodically moving rugs and furniture to reduce exposure. The finish used will also contribute to color change. Oil-modified finishes will amber over time and give the floor a more yellow appearance. Water based finishes, on the other hand, remain clear over time and minimize color changes.
Installation is so expensive. Why can’t I just do it myself?
Installing wood floors is a lot more complicated than it seems. You will be spending several thousand dollars on materials, so if you damage it, it isn’t easy to just go out and buy some more and start over. Wood flooring also requires special tools that you would likely have to rent and have little experience using. You need to make sure the room you’re working in is flat, that the subfloor will work for wood flooring and there isn’t any issues with moisture that would damage the wood long term. Testing for moisture also requires special tools, and both the subfloor and flooring must be testing to ensure success. You will also need to know how to center the room, how much space should be left for expansion gaps and how to work around obstacles (fireplaces, closets, staircases, etc.). If you make cutting mistakes, you may end up running short on material. Sometimes, you may not be able to exactly match the lot and if you run out of material, might get a slight color difference with replacement material. The bottom line? Installing wood flooring isn’t a recommended DIY project. You will save money, time and stress by using a professional. Give us a call today.