In today’s slow housing market, it’s more important than ever to think about which home improvements will add value. Whether you’re looking to sell or simply change your look for the future, a new hardwood floor is a great choice. For an experienced contractor, choosing the right flooring is simple. But for the average Do-it-yourselfer, the number of options can often be overwhelming. The following guide will help you find the perfect floor based on your needs.
The subfloor in a room will determine what types of flooring you can install. The first consideration is whether your subfloor is concrete, plywood, or particle board.
The primary type of flooring recommended for a concrete subfloor is engineered, meaning that the flooring is pieced together in layers, as opposed to solid hardwood flooring. Engineered flooring can be glued down or floated over a concrete subfloor. In addition cork, laminates, and bamboo can be installed over a concrete subfloor.
An important consideration with concrete subfloors is the level of moisture. The subfloor should be tested for moisture prior to any installation and, if necessary, treated with Bostik’s MVP Moisture Protection solution.
Our primary recommendation for a plywood subfloor is hardwood flooring, which can be nailed down or floated. Cork, laminates, and bamboo can also be used over a plywood subfloor. In addition, cork tiles can be glued down.
An important consideration in a nail down installation over plywood is that the base must be a minimum of 5/8" thick.
If your subfloor is particle board then a nail installation cannot be used. Your only options is a floated floor, which can include hardwood, bamboo, engineered, and cork.
Types of Flooring
Hardwood flooring offers solid construction, as it is milled from one thick piece of wood. This allows it to be sanded and refinished several times, meaning that the resulting finishes are of the highest quality. Brands include Bellawood, carrying a 50 year warranty, as well as Virginia Millworks and Dura-Wood come with a 25 year warranty.
Engineered flooring is produced by adhering layers of real hardwood with a plywood backing. Since they are bonded together, this type of flooring is less likely to be affected by changes in humidity. Engineered wood floors make an excellent choice over concrete sub-floors, radiant heat or areas with higher moistures. Brands including Schon and Virginia Millworks carry a 30 year warranty, while Timber Top comes with a 15 year warranty.
Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants on Earth making it an ecologically sound choice in flooring. Bamboo is actually a grass and has an extensive root system that creates new bamboo shoots and requires no replanting. Although Bamboo floors can be as hard as Maple there are no known values set for its hardness. That being said, they will still dent, ding or scratch like any other wood. Bamboo is a very dense grass product and should be treated just like a fine piece of furniture. Brands Schon and Morning Star carry a 30 year warranty, while Supreme Bamboo comes with a 15 year warranty.
Cork flooring is durable, acoustical and an insulator. It comes from harvesting the outer bark of the cork tree found mostly in the Mediterranean region. It is considered a green product because the same tree can be harvested numerous times. The primary brand, Lisbon Cork, includes a 25 year warranty.
Laminate flooring is typically constructed with a high density fiber board core, sandwiched between a melamine laminate backing, high quality photographic paper with an image of wood and a ceramic finish, abrasion resistant laminate top. Brands include Dream Home, with warranties from 10 to 25 years, as well as St. James with a 30 year warranty.
Floors are ranked using grades based on appearance, length and size of knots. Higher grades are considered to be of a higher quality and thus, generally carry a higher price.
Select grade has the most uniform color with no knots and the longest average length of planks. Also referred to as Clear or First Grade
Natural grade has some color variation, mineral coloring and small pin knots. Also referred to as #1 Grade or Second Grade
Tavern grade has extreme color indifference, knots, and shorter boards within the flooring.
Rustic Grade has larger tight knots and the most color variation. Also referred to as #2 or Third Grade.
Utility grade will have defects, knots, open knots, missing tongues, machine burns, splits in the wood and short pieces (12"-8"). No returns allowed. This product comes in square-edge or v-groove and may be mixed product.
Types of Wood
All of the species of flooring are broken down into three main categories. Based on color, they are considered to be light, medium or dark. Using these categories, you can select finishes that will best match the color scheme and furniture of your room.
Caring for Your Floor
Cracks Are normal, and can appear and disappear between floor boards during seasons of high and low humidity. Generally, anything less than the width of a dime is considered normal, and will correct itself as seasons change.
If the humidity level increases, the wood will absorb moisture and begin to swell, cup or buckle. Maintaining indoor temperatures at 65-85°F and the humidity at 30-50% will add life to your floors add give you years of problem free service.
Whether finished or unfinished, all wood can change color over time due to oxidation and when exposed to light. Some species darken in color over time, while others tend to lighten. There is no known set value for “color fastness” of a species, so contractors and or customers should be aware of this normal condition.
Finally, keep your wood floors looking their best by properly maintaining them. Use a cleaning product that’s recommended for your floors and use it regularly to keep them looking beautiful for years to come. Our finishes are Water based Urethanes so whichever product you choose to use, ensure its compatibility with your new flooring.
This article was provided by Lumber Liquidators. For more information on flooring installation, visit the flooring 101 section 101 of the Lumber Liquidators website.
With the holidays quickly approaching, many people are already feeling the crunch of the season. Many families prepare for the holidays several months in advance in order to plan the perfect event or even just to maintain their favorite family traditions. This year, hosts can go above and beyond typical holiday decorations and create a beautiful scene inside their home.
From the trendiest bag to the shoe-of-the-moment, many people never leave the house without being accompanied by unique accessories. And, with a full range of unique home accessories, homeowners can now also express themselves equally as much in their home. Just as the fashion seasons change, the home can get some stylish and often inexpensive updates as well.
The sun is shining, the grass is green and the flowers are once again in bloom. So why do you feel so miserable? Seasonal allergies affect an estimated 40 million Americans, but there are ways to find comfort in your home. You can keep the sniffs, sneezes and itching at bay with some simple suggestions for updating your home that can significantly reduce the number of allergens roaming through the air – ACHOO!
What to look for when buying bamboo flooring. An increasing number of homeowners are seeking out eco-conscious and sustainable materials for their homes. As a result, retailers are expanding the number of options available them. That is no more evident than in flooring. Bamboo, one of the fastest-growing plants on Earth, is becoming a particularly popular and ecologically sound choice for homeowners and builders. The United States Green Building Council’s LEED program …
As the housing market continues to slump, more and more Americans are opting to remodel their homes. A recent poll conducted by Angie’s list*, a popular online source and magazine known for reviewing and rating home services, found homeowners will spend 13 percent more on home improvements and maintenance projects in 2008, averaging $11,250. Projects that are most likely to provide a return on their investment are proving particularly popular with consumers this year. …
As 2008 arrives, many people will be making New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, quit smoking, and eat healthier. Improving the home will also be a New Year’s resolution that some homeowners will set. And, installing new hardwood flooring is one such project that will not only add beauty and elegance to a home, but will also help increase a home’s value. What styles of flooring will be in hot in 2008, and which ones will still stand the test of time? …
When it comes to do-it-yourself (DIY) home projects, people either love them or hate them. While homeowners look to freshen up their homes in 2008, many must discover which projects they can tackle on their own and which projects would be better handled by a professional. With the rocky real estate market and baby boomers “aging in place,” DIY projects are on the rise. Many consumers are avoiding high costs when it comes to home improvement and remodeling. "While …
Homeowners with hardwood floors are often concerned about damaging their floors during the winter season. Without proper care, winter’s harsh elements – slush, snow and salt – can dull the varnish of hardwood floors and even cause warping and gapping. Most movement or shifting that occurs in wood flooring is due to moisture and will realistically happen with all wood floors. Trying to avoid winter elements is almost impossible. After all, what would the season be without …
In today’s fast-moving, highly scheduled society, it seems there are never enough hours in the day. And for homeowners who are trying to improve and add value to their home, a lengthy remodeling project may deter them from taking it on. But there are some projects that won’t take months to complete. In fact, there are some that can be done in a few hours or over a weekend. Here are five easy projects that can improve your home’s look, feel and even value. 1. New …
New options offer more variety for those looking to spice up their home. As solid hardwood, bamboo, cork, engineered and floating flooring trends continue to grow in homes, so do the selections available to those wanting to install new floors. And while traditional colors continue to be successful, some not-so-traditional styles and colors are starting to brighten up floors in homes across America. Bringing color to your flooring is a great way to change the focus of …
Hardwood floors are a timeless treasure for homeowners. They can add beauty, character and value to any room of the house. Traditionally, the living room and dining room were the areas of a home where a homeowner would most often find hardwood floors. But as hardwood has become more available and versatile, and homeowners have become more creative about home improvements, hardwood floors are popping in rooms all over the house where you’d usually find carpet. Carpet …