Solid & Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Well-kept hardwood flooring can last over 100 years.

Installing and Caring for your Hardwood Flooring

When the topic of hardwood flooring is mentioned, homeowners often think this only refers to actual solid wood flooring. However, these days, engineered wood flooring also tends to fall into this category. Below is some information regarding how you can make the best possible choice when it comes to having hardwood flooring installed anywhere in your home.

Most Common Types of Solid Hardwood Flooring

Although there are several types of hardwood flooring available, those listed here are the most commonly used options:

1. Walnut

This provides a deep and dark brown color, while also being a lightweight and strong variant of solid wood flooring. It is also extremely resistant to photosensitivity, so it will not fade as much as some other varieties of wood.

2. Cherry

Cherry hardwood flooring is a lovely red-brown or even pinkish-white color. It’s smooth texture and ultra fine grain means that it can sometimes be more susceptible to staining than some other types of wood. This flooring may fade easier than other types of wood.

3. Maple

Maple wood flooring can be tan colored or even a creamy white hue. It’s straight grain and uniform texture enables it to be highly resistant to fading over time.

4. Oak

Different types of oak flooring range from golden brown to lighter wheat-like shades. This wood is quite hard and dense, and it is relatively resistant to fading.

5. Hickory

This is one of the most durable and hardest wood types, making it ideal to use as flooring. It is also relatively resistant to fading over time and colors most commonly seen are reddish brown and a lighter blonde.

Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Although this type of flooring does an excellent job when it comes to mimicking the look of solid wood, it is available at a fraction of the cost. Most types of engineered hardwood consist of a thin plank of real wood that has been mounted atop several layers of more cost-effective plywood.

As with solid hardwood floors, the top layer of engineered planks can be stripped, sanded and refinished. It’s important to remember though, that this can only be done a few times because of the top layer on this flooring being thinner than solid wood planks.

This flooring is normally more affordable than solid wood and it has the ability to be installed over an existing solid wood or even concrete floor – meaning that labor costs could potentially be reduced as well.

Long-term Care for your Hardwood Flooring

Although hardwood flooring has the ability to last for more than a century, this will only happen if it is correctly maintained over time. Adhering to the advice below will help keep your solid hardwood or engineered wood flooring looking good for many years after it has been installed:

1. Prevent Gouging and Scratching

Install carpet coasters or offcut pieces of firm carpeting underneath furniture legs. This prevents scratches or gouge marks from appearing each time chairs or tables are moved across the floor. This also makes it easier to move heavier pieces of furniture if the need arises.

On another note, it’s also recommended to walk carefully on solid wood flooring if you are wearing high-heeled shoes.

2. Reduce the Risk of Fading

Wherever possible, try to avoid having your wood flooring exposed to too much direct sunlight. If required, install window film, blinds or curtains to prevent sun damage from occurring.

3. Avoid Moisture wherever Possible

Any type of wood flooring that is exposed to too much moisture will warp over time. As a result, it’s recommended to place rugs by kitchen and bathroom sinks if there is wooden flooring present. This will help catch any accidental splashes that might occur.

4. Area Rugs are your Friend

Over time, areas that experience high levels of foot traffic will wear more than those that don’t. Placing area rugs at room entrances and in hallways will prevent this from happening. Rugs should also be moved regularly to prevent uneven wear on flooring.

5. Regular Cleaning is required

Although hardwood flooring is a natural surface, it doesn’t mean that it will never need to be cleaned. Vacuuming or sweeping it once a week will prevent dirt from causing damage to the surface, and working over it with a slightly damp mop and mild cleaning solution will retain the shine as well. Spills should always be wiped up as soon as possible.

Hardwood Flooring Installation

It is strongly recommended that hardwood flooring only be installed in areas that are relatively free of moisture and dampness, as prolonged exposure will result in buckling or warping. This is one of the main reasons why installers will leave small gaps between walls and the flooring.

If a home is in an area that experiences high humidity levels, homeowners may want to opt for engineered hardwood instead. This is not susceptible to contraction and expansion, unlike solid hardwood. Before having any of this flooring installed, it is recommended that the wood being used should be allowed to acclimatize for several days, as this will prevent any expansion, buckling or other types of damage from occurring.

Hardwood Flooring Refinishing

When hardwood flooring starts to look shabby or show signs of wear and tear, it is usually a sign that it could do with being refinished. In most cases, it is recommended that hardwood flooring be fully refinished every three to seven years. The amount of time required between refinishes will depend on the levels of foot traffic experienced in a home and whether there are pets living indoors or not.

When refinishing is taking place, many deep scratches, gouges, stains and blemishes also end up being removed. Homeowners can then choose whether to use the same color finish as before or try something else to achieve a different end result. An additional layer of protective coating can usually be applied as well, allowing the flooring to look as good as new for a long time.

In cases where flooring has faded badly, stained or become damaged, it is recommended that professional advice be obtained from a licensed and experienced installer. They will be able to determine whether the flooring can be saved or if replacement will be required.

Choosing a Hardwood Flooring Contractor

Before agreeing to have and solid or engineered hardwood flooring installed, homeowners should ensure that they perform extensive research where contractors or installers are concerned. Failure to do so could result in a poor quality installation being done or incorrect types of wood being used.

Never choose a flooring installer or supplier based on pricing alone either – this will often end in heartache because many fly-by-night companies and individuals may obtain deposit upfront and disappear before the work is ever completed.

It is recommended that references be obtained from installers or companies ahead of time, and if possible previous jobs should be visually inspected. This will enable homeowners to see whether they will be happy with the quality of work being done before signing on the dotted line.

If you are a homeowner and you’re keen to have sold or engineered hardwood flooring refinished or installed, get in touch with our friendly Empire Flooring America professional today.

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