A Look at Hardwood Floors

Considerations when Installing Hardwood Floors

By Mark J. Donovan

Before deciding on installing hardwood floors consider first what the subflooring material will be. If it is a wood subfloor you’re good to go. If it is a concrete slab or a basement floor, then you need to think twice. If after thinking twice your still wetted to the notion of installing hardwood floors then get prepared to do a little more work for the installation.

When installing hardwood floors on concrete slabs it is important to first build a wood subfloor crib on top of it. This way the hardwood floor can be fastened to the raised subfloor. Also, prior to installing the crib network you’ll need to seal the concrete to ensure moisture doesn’t percolate up through the concrete floor.

In a basement application, or moist area, you’ll also need to control the humidity level in the room via a dehumidifier. If you do not, the hardwood flooring will buckle during the summer months and dry out and crack in the winter months.

Also when installing hardwood floors it’s vital to leave about a 1/4 inch space around the perimeter of the floor, near the wall edges, to allow the floor to expand and contract with the changes in temperature and humidity levels. Similarly, prior to installing hardwood floors its important to let the solid hardwood flooring material “soak” in the room it is to be installed in to allow it time to acclimate to the temperature and humidity levels of the room. The hardwood flooring material should sit for 2 to 3 days in the room it is to be installed in prior to actually installing it.

When selecting a hardwood flooring material type keep in mind that red and white oak, maple, cherry, and ash are some of the most common types of hardwood floor materials. Thus they are often the most affordable.

Solid wood floors are categorized into three main types, plank flooring, strip flooring and parquet flooring. Plank flooring, as the name suggests, consists of fairly wide boards. Plank flooring is typically sold in 3 and 8 inch widths. Strip flooring, on the other hand, is sold in narrow strips ranging from 1-1/2 to 2-1/4 inch in width.

In regards to thickness, strip flooring ranges in thicknesses from 5/16 to 3/4 inch. Parquet hardwood floors include geometrical patterns that are imbedded into the main hardwood floor area.

Also, if you elect to use solid hardwood flooring stock lumber you’ll be able to refinish and re-coat the wood floor many times throughout the flooring’s life.

Veneered types of engineering hardwood floors on the other hand can typically only be refinished once or twice in their lifetimes, due to the fact that the final top layer of finished wood is very thin. Engineered hardwood floors are, however, more stable and less apt to contract and expand compared to solid hardwood flooring. Thus they’re better for moist rooms.

Hardwood flooring can be purchased with or without a pre-finished top surface. Most people today elect to go with a pre-finished top surface as it makes the flooring installation go much faster and neater. It also eliminates dust and strong odors in the home that are common issues when installing non-prefinished hardwood floors.

Hardwood floor maintenance is easy. Simply sweep the floor periodically with a dust mop to keep it clean of debris and looking like new.

Wood Flooring Installation Bid Sheet

A vacuum cleaner can be harsh on a wood floor as it can grind dirt and grit into the wood floor and scratch it. If any liquid spills on the hardwood flooring wipe it up immediately as it may otherwise stain the wood floors.

In high traffic areas also consider installing carpet runs and welcome mats. They can help protect the hardwood floor’s finish as well as accent the flooring. Finally, always use rubber or felt pads on furniture legs to prevent from scratching or gouging the hardwood flooring.

For help on finding a wood flooring installation contractor, see HomeAdditionPlus.com’s Wood Flooring Installation Bid Sheet. It will help ensure that you find and hire the right flooring installation contractor for your wood flooring project. In addition, it will help to ensure that your wood floor installation is completed on time and on budget.

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Additional Flooring Resources from Amazon.com

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