Seven Questions to Ask When Buying Wood Flooring
Wood flooring provides warmth and natural beauty to any decor and creates a timeless style that can increase your home’s value. Homeowners will discover many options for color and finish in hardwood floors, allowing for a variety of looks. If you’re in the market for new wood flooring, ask these seven important questions before making your selection.
1. What are the differences in engineered and solid wood flooring?
Solid wood flooring is a solid piece of wood from top to bottom. The thickness varies from ¾ inches to 5/16 inches. Sawn boards interlock with a tongue on one edge and a groove on the other.
Engineered wood features a top veneer of real wood backed by layers of cheaper plywood. This construction makes the flooring more stable and less susceptible to changes in temperature and humidity than solid wood. The thickness of engineered wood flooring ranges from ¼ to ¾ inches.
Some newer varieties of engineered wood flooring use substrates made from recycled wood fiber mixed with stone dust instead of plywood. This provides more dimensional stability.
2. What is bamboo flooring?
This increasingly popular flooring material is technically a grass and not hardwood. Bamboo strands are glued together to form solid strips or engineered planks, just like hardwood. Bamboo is tough and durable.
3. What type of surface will serve as a base for attaching the new floor?
Solid wood must be nailed to a subfloor. Engineered wood can be nailed, glued, or installed as a floating floor over a cushioned pad and can used with a wood subfloor or a concrete slab. Some manufacturers also sell self-locking engineered wood flooring that installs without glue or nails.
4. What type of finish should I select?
If you choose to install a solid wood floor, it will be finished at the work site and you can choose any sheen or finish. If you choose to install a factory-finished floor, you will be limited to the sheen available for the material you select.
A floor with less sheen will be less likely to show small scratches and other wear that is normal with wood floors. Choices of sheen or finish typically include the following:
- Satin gloss – This finish offers the most shine and will reflect the most light.
- Semi-gloss – This provides some shine and will reflect some light.
- Satin or matte – These finishes offer the least shine and will reflect the least light.
5. Does installation require sanding?
If you are installing solid wood floors, the floors will be sanded and finished in your home. However, advanced dust containment systems can virtually eliminate dust. Solid wood floors also require time for the finish to dry on-site.
With engineered wood floors, the finish is applied in the factory. This means there will be minimal dust and noise during the installation process. You also will be able to walk on your floors immediately after they are installed.
Most prefinished floors have the advantage of an aluminum oxide coating. This special coating makes the top layer super strong and durable. In addition, prefinished floors will have a more uniform finish throughout the entire floor due to an automated process.
6. Will I be able to refinish my floors in the future?
Solid wood flooring can be sanded and refinished up to 10 times during its service life. Engineered flooring sometimes can be sanded and refinished, depending on the thickness of its top layer.
7. How much flooring do I need to order?
The company ordering and installing your floor can provide guidance about how much material will be needed to complete your specific job. As a general rule, you should plan to order 10 percent more flooring than is needed for the installation. Boards will be cut to fit the exact space, and you may need to work around stairs, a fireplace, or closet.
Schedule a Free Floor Consultation
The design consultants at Signature Flooring are available to discuss your flooring project in depth and help you select the hardwood options that best meet your goals, home, and budget. To schedule your free floor consultation, contact Signature Flooring at 919-304-3100 or complete our online request form.
Signature Flooring also has a team of skilled and experienced installation specialists and all jobs are backed by our 18-month labor warranty.