When you are doing some renovation, choosing the type of flooring to use is one of the most important choices that you can make as a homeowner. While there are many types of flooring that you can use, hardwood is the best and most renown kind that you can consider. There are many types of hardwood flowing, which might make it tricky to choose the best one for your house. So, you have to consider various factors to help you determine the most suitable hardwood flooring to use. In this article, we look at the best ways to choose the most suitable hardwood flooring type and also how to install it expertly.
How To Choose the Right Types of Hardwood Flooring
Solid or Engineered Flooring
Most companies these days produce solid hardwood, which then makes it easier to access. However, you can also find some engineered flooring that is usually planks made with some thin top hardwood layer. Also, the planks on engineered flooring are typically attached to other layers to prevent your floor from shifting during contraction and expansion cycles.
If you want some flooring for your apartment that has concrete subfloors or basement, then engineered flooring might be what you need. Why? Engineered flooring allows you to glue it directly to the concrete or over some soundproofing mat. Also, you can install engineered flooring over radiant heat, thus making it more reliable and effective.
Solid flooring, on the other hand, allows you to install it over two or even one layer of plywood. Doing so can enable you to raise your floor’s height. However, you have to make sure you do it right to avoid interfering with the existing doors.
Both solid and engineered flooring have their unique advantages. Therefore, you must research more first to help you determine the best and most suitable for your house.
Pre-Finished or Site Finish
You can buy hardwood planks with a raw face and get a professional to finish working on them after installation, or you can purchase the pre-finished planks. The pre-finished hardwood planks arrive when the topcoat and stain have already been done for you, so the only thing you have to do is install. The best thing about purchasing the pre-finished hardwood planks is that they allow you to see their final phase. For instance, you can get a sample before buying, showing you of the different colors available that will match with your house’s design. Doing that makes it easy to decide on the best to buy for your home.
When it comes to pre-finished flooring, it saves you a lot of time since you do not have to paint or make any further adjustments. It also saves you some money since you do not have to pay extra cash to a professional to help you customize it. However, choosing to use on-site finish allows you to decide how your flooring should be customized. Doing so enables you to determine how the result will look like. Therefore, the best between these two methods depends on what you need and if you want to customize your flooring a lot. If you want more customizations, then the on-site finish is what you need. However, if you just need a high-quality flooring that does not have much customization, then you can go with the pre-finished flooring.
Choose the Finish Type That You Want
There are many finishing products that you can use. Some of these finishing products include:
- Penetrating oil
- Oil like hybrids
- Pre-finished UV-cured urethane
- Site-finish polyurethanes
All of these finishes fall into to categories: polyurethane and oil. The oil finishes penetrate the wood and have a unique look and feel that it is usually natural, matte, and very soft. However, the oil finishes are not as impervious to damage and stains compared to the polyurethane type. Polyurethane finishes create a hard top coat on your wood’s surface. Also, this coat is more resilient to wear and tear. So, if you have children who love playing a lot on the floor, then the polyurethane finishes are the best for you.
On the other hand, oil finishes are more vulnerable to scratches. However, it is usually hard to notice the scratches on these finishes. Also, these finishes are generally easier to repair specific parts when you see an issue compared to the polyurethane type that forces you to replace a buff or board and recoat the entire floor section.
When it comes to maintenance, the oil finishes are easier to maintain. However, you have to make sure you do maintenance more often. For the polyurethanes, the harder they are, the lesser the need to do often maintenance. But, when you need maintenance for the polyurethanes, it might cost you more money. So, you have to conduct thorough research since both of these finishes have some factors that you should consider before purchasing to help decide exactly what you need.
Consider the Wood Type
In most places, a significant percentage of people who prefer using hardwood flooring choose the one made from Oak. Hardwood flooring from Oak is usually more durable compared to other kinds, and it does not get stains quickly. Also, this flooring has some incredibly appealing grain, and you can get it in most shops. The easy availability also makes it cheaper, thus making it a great option if you are on a budget, and you need quality. The White Oak is usually more popular compared to regular Oak since it does not have some pinkish tones.
Walnut is another excellent and popular choice that you can use in your flooring. Even though Walnut is softer than Oak, it has a deeper color. Therefore, if you want flooring that will provide a darker finish in your room, then Walnut is the kind you should look for. Also, Walnut is an excellent choice if you are looking for more natural flooring that will provide a warmer and richer tone. Other hardwoods that you can use are maples, ash, and hickory. The choice you make in the wood type depends on your personal preference when it comes to grain and color. So, take some time to determine the exact grain and color you need to help choose the most suitable wood type for your home.
Picking the Grain Pattern
Hardwood logs are usually cut in different ways- rift-swan, quarter swan, and plain-swan, which result in three varying grain patterns. The plain-sawn type produces traditional wood grain that has undulating patterns called cathedrals.
Rift-sawn boards produce a linear, long, and consistent grain without any cathedrals. Quarter-sawn boards look quite similar to the rift-sawn kind, but they have more irregular figuring. Also, quarter-sawn boards have some 3D rays that strike out from the plank. These rays can be very desirable and satisfying for most people.
Most of the time, hardwood flooring is usually sold as plain sawn or a combination of rift and quarter sawn. The mixture of rift and quarter-sawn is excellent as it provides you with an outstanding figure without overdoing it, thus promising quality results. However, you can also purchase rift-sawn or quarter sawn wood separately if you want. That way, you have more options to choose from depending on your preferences.
When it comes to the exact wood grain that you can use, there isn’t good or bad as it all depends on where you want to use flooring and your taste.
Determine the Plank Width
In the past, most people used hardwood flooring that was about 2-3 inches wide. However, things have changed nowadays, and people are starting to use wider planks. Although a wider plank might be quite more expensive compared to the standard size, it is usually more luxurious and comfortable.
The minimum and standard plank size that you should go with is 4-7 inches. However, you can also choose a bigger plank since it all depends on the size of your home and personal preferences too. If your floor has wide planks, then it might have fewer seams compared to a floor with thin strips. But you should be aware that those seams might be become more prominent as your wood contracts and expands. Since changes in your wood are not distributed all over like many boards, the movement might appear a little exaggerated.
Cost us one of the biggest factors that you should consider before purchasing hardwood flooring. There are different types of hardwood flooring, which means that there are also varying prices in the market. So, you have to make sure that you do some research and evaluate the costs of the different products available. After doing that, you can now sit down and see which one suits your budget and can also offer quality. You also have to consider whether the hardwood flooring you choose will need more maintenance that will cost you more money in the future.
How To Install Hardwood Flooring
Tools and Materials
The kind of materials and tools that you will need when installing depends on the type of hardwood flooring that you have. You might need a drill and drill bits, nails, a hammer, pneumatic flooring nailer, saw, and pry bar. The best way to make sure that you have all the tools is checking all the instructions that came with your hardwood flooring.
Choose an Installation Method
The first vital thing you need to do is determine the correct procedure to use when installing the floor that you just purchased. The installation method that you can use might vary depending on factors like the construction of the hardwood product, thickness, width, and where you are installing the hardwood flooring.
Typically, when you are installing hardwood flooring, what you have to do is staple or nail it to a wood subfloor. When it comes to engineered hardwood flooring, then you have to mechanically fasten it, glue it and then install as a floating floor depending on the exact type that you bought. However, it is essential to note that you should not install solid hardwood below grade to ensure you get the best results.
Using glue or nails can sometimes be pretty challenging, even if you are an experienced homeowner. Hardwood floors are usually a significant investment. Therefore, you have to ensure that you install them correctly and with much care. Installing hardwood flooring can take some time and needs a lot of experience to do right. So, if it is your first-time installing hardwood flooring, then you shouldn’t do it online because you might mess some things up, which might cost you more money. You should hire a professional who specializes in installing hardwood floors to help you install it in the best way. Choosing to work with a professional has some advantages since he or she can help you with some tips and advice that you can use to ensure that your hardwood flooring lasts more. Also, you can learn from the professional and be an expert, too, thus need no help in the future when you are installing hardwood flooring again.
Let the Floors Acclimate
You should not start installing the hardwood flooring immediately it arrives. It is good to give it some time to adapt to the room’s climate. To properly acclimate the hardwood flooring, move your packaged boards to the place where you will be installing them and let them sit there for some time. Remember to open the cartons first and make sure you raise them off the ground. Why? Doing so allows the moisture content of your hardwood flooring to adjust to the room’s climate more effectively.
When it comes to engineered flooring, they do not need any time to acclimate. However, it is good that you store it in your environment for a little time before installing it. It’s also crucial that you keep your house’s relative humidity level between 35 and 55 percent or what the manufacturer recommends. Doing that allows you to avoid any movement in the hardwood flooring later after installation, which can be annoying.
Prepare the Space And Install
Before you begin installing your flooring, you must go through all the provided instructions to ensure that you do it right. After reading the instructions, get all the tools you need and clean up the floor, ensuring that it’s dry and flat. If you are installing your flooring over an already existing one, then make sure you check that your doors are still opening afterward.
You also need to measure the room, adding about 5 percent to the square footage for great cutting allowance. If you are nailing the hardwood flooring, then mark your wall to show the points where the floor joists.
To install, start by rolling out your underlayment if you need it. Make sure you start on the left side, heading to the right with the small tongue side facing you. Doing so enables you to lay the floor pieces parallel to your longest wall. Use spacers between your walls and boards to create room for expansion and follow other provided instructions to ensure you do it right.
Above are all the things that you need to know about hardwood flooring installation. So, ensure you understand them properly to enable you to buy the best flooring for your home and also install it correctly.