There's nothing more wonderful or luxurious than wood flooring in a home. The look is classic and, if treated properly, your wood floor will probably be the last flooring choice you will ever have to make. But there are more than a few hazards to selecting the right flooring and flooring installers. Here are a few common mistakes that occur when installing wood floors, with tips to avoid them.
1: Understand the Limitations of Wood Flooring
If you want a perfect floor, don't choose wood if your home houses children and/or pets. Wood scratches, stains and chips. You can minimize that by choosing a harder finish, but it will not stay perfect. Many wood flooring lovers don't mind that lived-in look. If you want perfection, there are other choices such as some of the newer tile options that look like wood. Also carefully consider the type of wood. Some woods such as oak and maple are hard and can take a beating. Others like pine are soft and show every heel mark. Decide what you can live with before you make your final choice.
2: Consider Your Climate
Some areas of the country have a climate that can handle any kind of wood flooring. Most companies will tell you to keep the flooring materials on site for a few days before installing it so that it can acclimate to its new environment. But some areas such as the dry desert in the southwest, are not good for wood. In that part of the country, engineered hardwood flooring or a laminate are better choices.
3: Take a Look at Your Subfloor
Like climate, your subfloor may dictate the best wood flooring choice. For example, a concrete slab does best with engineered hardwood. The substructure of this type of hardwood flooring can handle the demands of a concrete base without warping.
4: Installing Wood Floors – Beware of Bargains
You may have heard about the disastrous results when some “Made in China” laminates did not meet the specifications claimed on the boxes. Unfortunately, many countries don't require products to meet the United States standards like truth in packaging.
When you are selecting something for your home that will be a permanent addition, you may want to buy from a well-known and respected firm. Larger purchasing operations such as warehouse stores can often offer you noticeable price discounts.
5: When Installing Wood Floors, Installers Are Key
When it comes to wood flooring, be sure to hire installers with a good reputation. Taking the lowest bid can be an expensive proposition in the long run. Shoddy or inexpert installation can lead to flooring that squeaks or has gaps between the wood. You don't want to feel the subfloor every time you walk across the room. A poorly-installed wood floor is a disappointment that will last as long as you own your home.
6: Baseboards are Part of Installing Wood Floors
Will the installers remove your current baseboards before installing your wood flooring and then re-install them? Are you happy with your current baseboards? The cost of new baseboards is minimal and this is the perfect time to upgrade. And don't let the installers talk you into leaving your baseboards alone and installing quarter-round to cover the edges of your boards. This is a short-cut for them and not an appropriate finish for your wood flooring.
7: Avoid Unfinished Floors in a Finished Home
Is your flooring going into a finished home or a new home? If this is a renovation on a finished home, do yourself a favor and choose pre-finished wood flooring. Installing, sanding, staining and finishing wood flooring in your home, no matter how carefully they seal the room, creates a sawdust disaster in the rest of your home. Today's factory-finished wood flooring (engineered hardwood) is just as lovely and professional as any floor finished in a home.
Choosing the right hardwood flooring for your home involves more than finding the finish you love. Shop smart and you will have flooring to enjoy for decades to come. You can follow the renovations of my new house to learn about my new flooring, and see what we pulled out of the house.
Have you got a flooring project in your future? We'd love to hear what decisions you've already made and how we can help you.