Solid Hardwood Floors
Hardwood flooring has been coveted for its timeless beauty and durability for centuries. But as society became aware of how forests play an integral part in keeping our environment healthy, using wood for building became unfashionable for a number of years.
These rightful concerns have now been alleviated by proper management and the treatment of forests as valuable gifts from nature. You can now be assured that each tree used to provide your new flooring will have been replaced by another - or more.
Reputable manufacturers of hardwoods today obtain their timber from mills that practice environmental responsibility. The following are just a sampling of consumer-oriented brands that you can purchase from from both offline and online vendors:
- Floating Longstrip
- Harris Tarkett
Home improvement magazines, television and lifestyle news articles are abundant with information about how you can use hardwood to transform an otherwise drab four walls into an elegant showplace.
Before you make a decision about which type of wood to use in your project, follow the same course you would as when purchasing any home improvement item. Seek reputable advice, and do your research.
Choosing and Caring for Hardwoods
Choosing hardwood for your floor is a major commitment that you shouldn't take lightly or rush in to. There are numerous types, colors and price ranges of hardwoods available for your consideration. You'll want to keep in mind the effect you want to achieve and the daily abuse the floor will receive. Our recommendations and advice will help you avoid making a decision you might regret.
As a knowledgeable buyer, you can rest assured that you've made a choice that will last a lifetime. Then, stand back and be ready to receive compliments for your decision and for the elegance that wood brings to any environment.
You'll be making a wise investment to increase the beauty and value of your living space using wood flooring, but you should first use every available resource - such as the lessons learned on this site - to empower you in choosing, purchasing, installing and the maintaining of your new floor.
The Basics of Installing Hardwood Flooring
The transformation of your home by the magnificent look of a hardwood floor can be an experience to remember fondly. Hardwood flooring is an investment that increases the value of your home when installed properly.
Whether you're thinking of installing a hardwood floor yourself or planning to hire a contractor, you'll need to do some basic research first.
This introductory guide is designed to help you make the decisions to ensure that the installation of your hardwood flooring will progress smoothly and correctly.
Do It Yourself - or Choose a Flooring Contractor?
If you're a committed do it yourselfer and don't mind doing a little research and a lot of exacting work, installing a hardwood floor can be an experience you'll enjoy and take pride in. You'll also save a bundle of money.
There are three types of installation methods used for hardwoods:
- Floated - Layers of plywood or other type of wood beneath the main wood flooring
- Glued - Involves the use of adhesives
- Nailed or stapled - Use when installing engineered or solid woods.
Always consult your manufacturer's instructions before deciding on which installation method you want to use. Certain types of wood may require that a specific installation method be used, and it's best to know that before making a decision.
Besides the actual installation procedure, there are other considerations to make - such as sub-flooring preparation, conditions of your job site and the type of wood being installed.
After thoroughly researching step-by-step procedures for installing a hardwood floor, you're ready to decide whether to do it yourself or hire a professional installer. If your best course of action is to hire an installer, here are a few thoughts to consider:
- Be sure that references are provided and then check them out thoroughly
- Look through the portfolio that your installer should provide you with and be sure that he or she is knowledgeable in installing the type of floor that you've chosen
- If possible, go to a site where the installer is in the process of installing the same type of hardwood that you've chosen
- Read the contract thoroughly and be sure that it includes a time frame to finish the installation and the final cost.
Necessary Preparation Requirements for Installing Hardwoods
Whether you're installing a hardwood floor yourself or hiring a professional contractor, you should know the preparation requirements necessary for the type of hardwood that you've chosen.
Sub floor preparation is extremely important before installing any type of hardwood. For example, if you are installing a solid wood such as cherry, the best installation method is nailed or stapled. A concrete sub floor would be unsuitable for solid wood flooring.
Carpet and vinyl are also inappropriate surfaces to install any type of wood flooring on, whether solid or engineered. Unsuitable flooring must be removed before hardwoods are installed or serious problems might result.
Hardwoods should be stored in appropriate climactic conditions while awaiting installation. The area should be clean and dry and the temperature should be controlled specifically for the storage of hardwoods.
If your hardwood flooring will be installed above radiant heating, remember to turn on the heating before you install the floor. This will ensure that there is no moisture left on the slab that could enter and damage the hardwood.
Since hardwoods are prone to expand and contract with varying temperatures, be sure that the wood you choose meets the standards for installing over a radiant heating system.
Areas of your home such as basements or bathrooms might be inappropriate for hardwood flooring because of exposure to moisture. Kitchens, bedrooms and family areas are great for wood flooring because wood fares well in high traffic areas and will naturally enhance any décor.
If you have questions about the area where you intend to install a wood floor, consult a professional to be sure you're making the right choice.
Where to Find Help
There are vast resources of helpful information, both online and off about installing a hardwood floor yourself or choosing a professional.
Associations such as NWFA (National Wood Flooring Association) and HMA (Hardwood Manufacturing Association) are excellent sources to obtain manuals and advice before you shop for hardwoods.
Purchasing and/or installing a beautiful hardwood floor requires educating yourself about all aspects of hardwoods from types and finishes of wood to installing and maintaining it afterward.