How to Choose and Install Hardwood Floors?

If you are renovating your home and looking for flooring options, hardwood flooring is definitely one to consider. Hardwood floors exude elegance, charm and lots of character. The older they get, the more beautiful it looks over time. They are non-electromagnetic, attracting less dust and allergens. The organic origin of hardwood makes it safe for young children and less prone to damage from heavy objects. The thick planks are easy to install and balance the irregularities in floor height better than other laminates.

How to choose?

Choosing the right type of hardwood floor is an important decision. Here are some important questions you must ask before you begin:

  1. Type of wood – solid wood flooring or engineered wood floors?

    Both solid and engineered wood floors are durable and environment friendly. Solid wood flooring involves a single piece of wood applied from top to bottom. They work best in living rooms, dining area and bedrooms (excluding bathrooms). The best advantage of this type of flooring is that it can be sanded and refinished several times.

    Engineered wood floors, on the other hand, consist of multiple layers of wood veneers that are nailed or stapled to the wood or concrete subfloor. It is the best choice for basements, slabs or any place below, above or on ground.

  2. Lifestyle

    If you have a house full of kids and pets constantly in motion, chances are your floors will take a harder beating, than not. Pet nails and sharp-heeled footwear can also leave scratches on the floor or spoil the finishing. For such high activity homes, red oak is a good option as it is strong and moderately priced.

  3. Maintenance

    Hardwood flooring must be maintained properly overtime to keep it durable and lustrous. In a high-activity home, polishing after 3-4 years may be required. Also keep in mind regular protection from water spills and seepage.

  4. Finishing

    There are two types of finishing. Job-site finishing is applied on location, i.e. your home, while doing the installation. You are free to customize the final product controlling the type of finish and appearance. Since the finishing takes place in your home, you can expect some dust, debris, noise and a few small inconveniences. Also you must allow the finishing to dry, making it difficult to walk over it for some time. On the other hand, factory-site finishing is completed at the plant long before it reaches your home. There is minimal dust, chemical fumes and noise during installation. Since it is prefinished, you don’t have to wait for it to dry before stepping on it. Factory-finished floors are durable and come with a longer warranty period. Even though it limits customization options, if you want to save time and hassle, it is your best pick.

Installing hardwood flooring

After taking into account all of the above, you can now follow the steps to install new hardwood flooring.

  1. Estimate all the materials you need and order supplies. From type of wood to finish, keep all the materials ready before you begin the process.
  2. Prepare the subfloor and apply an underlayment of asphalt kraft paper. Make sure the subfloor is clean, dry and free of any surface bumps.
  3. Allow the materials to acclimatize to the room temperature and humidity. Since wood flooring attracts moisture which may allow it to expand and contract, the normal humidity level of the room must be maintained before the installation.
  4. Mark out a layout line for the installation area of the flooring. Having a floor plan can come in handy for this. Also mark the walls for floor joists before poking nails into it.
  5. Layer the first set of strips to the subfloor aligning it with the layout line.
  6. Follow it up with consecutive layers and fasten them all in position.

Hardwood flooring is easy to install, so you can do it by yourself if you have the right materials and some expertise in nails and planks. It can save you a lot of money and you can personalize it as much as you like.

Hardwood flooring is a great choice for modern as well as traditional homes. The choice is classy, cost-effective and easy to maintain, going well with all kinds of furniture and wall paint. The best part is hardwood ages gracefully so if you maintain it well you may never have to change your flooring again. With a re-polish from time to time, hardwood flooring can be the upgrade you seek in your home; resulting in little maintenance or installation expertise, and an easy way to make your home snazzy and seductive.

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