Things to Ask Before Choosing a Hardwood Floor
So you’ve decided to get hardwood flooring. Easy enough, right? Decide on a wood and be done with that.
Not too quickly. There are plenty of variables which will determine what kind of hardwood floor your house can accommodate, and what’s going to look best with your existing or planned decor and furnishings.
You have some basic choices: solid hardwood and engineered wood. Strong timber is what you normally think of as a hardwood floor: thick, solid planks of timber. Engineered wood is made of a veneer layer that sits atop a core of plywood. This construction deals with moisture somewhat better and is recommended for concrete slab subfloors. That brings up another point. The building of the floor you’re working with pretty much will dictate what sort of wood you can use.
Here is the way to prepare yourself for picking a hardwood floor for your property.
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1. Where will the timber be moving?
Installing hardwood flooring on another story is considerably different than doing this in a cellar. A space under ground level is what is known as below level. A floor that is even with the outside ground level is on level, and any flooring above this are above standard. Where you’re installing the timber will restrict your recommended choices.
“For instance, you’re not supposed to put solid wood under grade, since the moisture coming up through the ground can cause problems,” states Bob Hagen, that owns Magnus Anderson Hardwood. “So a engineered timber is recommended.”
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2. What’s the subfloor made from?
Find out which kind of subfloor you’ve got. The three most frequent types are concrete slab, plywood and particleboard. This can help you determine whether it’s possible to install solid wood flooring, or if an engineered timber would be best.
Concrete. “If you’ve got a concrete slab floor, you’re pretty much confined to engineered timber,” states Andrew Zheng, director of Unique Wood Floors, that specializes in and boats prefinished hardwood. But do not worry. You can still get any type of timber in an engineered arrangement. And the depth of the veneer engineered timber changes. Higher-end engineered forests “are no less than solid forests in price and performance,” Zheng says.
(Note: The hardest forests, such as Brazilian cherry and hard maple, will ding within an engineered floor if the plywood onto which they are veneered is soft, such as lauan, that is a commonly used base.)
Another choice is to put in plywood over the cement, but you’ll have to cover the further plywood, insulation and labour. “Most people just opt to stay with what they have,” Zheng says.
If you’re not sold on the engineered product, Hagen says there is a way to have solid wood to a concrete slab (provided that it is on tier). It just needs to be glued, rather by an experienced practitioner.
The drawbacks are that you need completely flat boards (difficult to come by in longer spans), and the adhesive is so strong that there is a permanency to it. “If you’ve got a leak or a flooding, getting the material up is unbelievably difficult,” Hagen says. “You’ll also need to check the VOCs [volatile organic compounds, which can be toxic] from the product. And we ask customers about any chemical sensitivities.”
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Plywood. This is most likely the most frequent subfloor and enables the maximum versatility with hardwood flooring. You can nail solid timber on top or use engineered timber.
Particleboard. This substance was commonly used under carpeting in homes built in the 1970s. It’s basically a more affordable version of plywood. For hardwood flooring, you will need to replace the particleboard with plywood. Then you can add solid or engineered wood.
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3. What are your household habits?
Think about how much abuse your flooring will take and find out about specific hardwood species and their durability. Can you’ve got children and pets? Have large parties frequently? Or are you a single individual who travels a good deal?
When you’ve got a high-traffic house, you’re going to want to go with a harder wood. The Janka scale measures how strong a timber is; essentially a BB is fired into a plank and the size of the dent it leaves is quantified. “Red oak is considered the bell curve,” Hagen says. “It’s pretty hard and moderate priced.”
You might also play with grain patterns in addition to with stains and finishes which will hide scratches and dents.
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4. What style is your house?
You may adore the look of hickory but then think differently when you see it covering a floor in a kitchen with contemporary cabinets. That’s because some forests give themselves better to particular fashions.
When picking a wood, consider cabinets, trimwork and door casings to be certain the wood will not clash with other design elements. And organize with the colours of the walls and the amount of natural light. This will influence color choice. In case you’ve got plenty of windows and skylights, then you most likely have sufficient lighting to balance out very dark flooring. In case you’ve got a dark house already, a milder floor choice will help brighten things.
If your style is contemporary: Natural maple lends itself nicely to contemporary fashions. “It’s more of a Norwegian-looking design with a clean look rather than a lot of variation,” Zheng says. Gray-stained walnut and planks without knots produce a fresh aesthetic that also functions in contemporary settings.
If your style is traditional: Go with something such as hickory. “It combines lighter and darker bits, and it is similar to a traditional cottage feel,” Zheng says. Additionally, boards with wider and knots boards fit a more traditional style.
Of course, designers do incredibly creative things with mixing new and old, so don’t dismiss a timber simply because it is considered more suitable for a certain style. Playing with grain pattern and stains may yield all sorts of interesting results.
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5. What’s important to you?
Is funding the biggest variable? Or is the look all that you care about? Determining what is most important to you will help you determine the ideal wood for your floor.
Cost. Engineered wood isn’t always the cheapest route, so don’t believe you can’t have solid wood floors on a budget. Zheng states you can buy generic bamboo floors in various stains for $3.50 to $4 per square foot, while lower-end engineered flooring start at $2.50 to $3 per square foot. Stunning hardwood such as the favorite acacia species are often as large as $6 per square foot.
Maintenance. If you would like something which will hold up with time, you’re going to want to check at the harder forests (with greater Janka ratings). Also look closely at the blot.
The traditional way of staining wood employs a foam end, which generates a high sheen. If the floor gets dinged or scratched, light bouncing off the semigloss finish can exacerbate the appearance of these defects.
Oil finishes are increasingly becoming more popular nowadays. They soak into the wood and supply a matte finish. This might help hide wear and tear; also, they last longer. While the up-front price is high, you won’t need to restain the floor too frequently, saving you money in the long run.
You can play around with finishes also. Hand-scraped or wire-brushed remedies rough up the look, making a worn look so that if something will not scuff it, the mark is not as noticeable. Note that the depth of the veneer on an engineered floor affects how frequently it can be sanded down and completed.
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Appearance. Everybody’s taste differs. Some people are attracted to walnut more than walnut, and vice versa.
Acacia, shown here, is an exotic timber from Asia which Zheng states is a hot seller at this time, due to its mix of lighter and darker tones; also, it is harder than hickory. The price ranges from approximately $4 to $6 per square foot at his warehouse. The exceptional look is well worth the higher price for a few.
Pay attention to knots and grain pattern. Patterns from hickory and walnut are distinct than in walnut. You may want to spend the excess money for a exceptional grain pattern, or you may want to save money and proceed with a less-expensive hardwood with a better blot.
Contemplate plank width, also, which changes the look of your hardwood flooring. Wide-plank walnut and 7-inch European walnut are popular in traditional homes right now.
The very best thing you can do is see and feel the timber in individual. “Wood is a living species. You need to feel what you’re drawn to. You’re the one living in the house, not the designer pushing you,” says Ilan Zamir, CEO of Amber Flooring.
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6. How will you stain and finish it?
A blot adds color to the wood. The finish protects the flooring from getting dirty. Any stain or finish may be applied to almost any timber. Some people like the color of walnut but want the grain pattern of walnut. That’s where staining can become involved.
Some people can’t tell the difference between unstained black walnut and white oak that has been brewed. Others can look at these forests and their grain patterns and instantly know the difference. Everything depends on what is important to you.
A finish affects the maintenance. A solid wood that has been scraped for a lower-sheen matte finish is easier to maintain, because you won’t see as much wear and tear. But perhaps you would like a semigloss look.
Additionally, purchasing wood that has been prefinished will provide you a good idea about what it will look like and will spare you the time and effort of finishing the flooring onsite. Engineered timber is usually prefinished.
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7. How will you test it?
This step is incredibly important. The very last thing you need to do is install 800 square ft of walnut based on a photograph or miniature sample you saw in a showroom only to find it is overpoweringly dark and contrasts poorly with your furnishings.
Always ask for a two- by 2-foot sample of what the floor will look like with a stain and finish on it. Use this to check it together with your paint colours and decor to be certain it’s exactly what you would like.