Hardwood Flooring FAQ
Q. Where can I/can't I install hardwood in my home?
A. Hardwood floors have made vast advances in style, durability, maintenance and care, making them more widely usable throughout the home. With the variety of products available and a choice of installation options, hardwood flooring can now be installed in any room of the home, although full bathrooms are NOT usually recommended.
Generally, the only consideration is whether the floor will be installed on, above or below ground because of potential moisture problems, solid hardwood is NOT recommended for installations below ground (such as basements). Engineered flooring products are better choices for these areas.
ALL types of hardwood can be installed on or above grade.
Q. Can I sand and refinish my floor?
A. Many hardwood floors can be sanded and refinished at least once and as many as three times or more in their lifetimes. The exact number depends upon the total thickness of the hardwood or the thickness of the top layer of premium hardwood (in engineered floors) - you should seek this information from the supplier.
To refinish wood floors, the existing finish must first be sanded off COMPLETELY, and then the floors smoothed out and flatten. Repair work and filling is then done if necessary and a stain or finish is then applied
Q. When should I re-coat or refinish my floor?
A. If your floor is lacquered, when your floor begins to look worn, dull and/or scratched it may be time for a recoat or refinish. A simple test to indicate which process you need done, is to pour a tablespoon or two of water onto your floor. If the water 'beads', your floor is simply a little dirty or tarnished from wear and tear. The solution in this case is just some cleaning and stain removal or a recoat.
If over a few minutes the water slowly soaks into your floor, then your floor is partially worn and will probably need to be refinished in the near future, but for now just take a little extra care.
If the water soaks right in, then it is time for a full sand and refinishing of your wood floors.
While this home test is helpful to determine the state of your hardwood floor, it should be left to the discretion of a hardwood flooring professional as to which process you need, so you should always seek advice for your individual requirements.
Q. Why does my floor have cracks/gaps in them?
A. In is common for cracks to appear in floors, especially with wider planks due to shrinkage and expansion over time. Small cracks are not harmful to the floor and most will only appear seasonally due to changes in moisture levels, if at all.
Any article made of wood is subject to expansion and contraction resulting from changes in humidity. Wood is a hygroscopic material, which means it will absorb moisture in a wet environment and give off moisture in a dry environment until the wood has reached equilibrium. This applies to hardwoods more than soft woods though Maple (a hardwood) is especially susceptible to dimensional change relative to moisture content.
During the winter months, the interior relative humidity of homes drop significantly as the heat is turned on, and air becomes dry. Wood flooring (as well as wooden furniture and any other wooden objects) will shrink as a result of this decrease in relative humidity. This shrinkage will manifest itself in the form of slight cupping, cracks or gaps in the floor. These kinds of seasonal changes in wood flooring are normal, and not defects. Try to maintain a regular humidy level of around 50%.
Wood flooring should be stored inside the enclosed structure or residence after heating and cooling systems are operational, near where the flooring is to be installed. Wood flooring must NOT be stored in a garage or other unheated structure, as the relative humidity in an unheated structure will be significantly different than that of the interior of the structure.
Q. How can I stop a wood floor from getting gaps?
A. Gapping in solid wood floors cannot be stopped completely, as wood naturally expands and contracts with changes in humidity. This is less of a problem in the UK than other countries, but you can use a (de)humidifier should you wish, to fully regulate levels in your home.
Some wood species may expand and contract less than others. Engineered wood floors are much more ‘dimensionally stable' than solid wood floors and will show little or no gaps between planks. Bear this in mind when considering where your hardwood floor will be installed.
Q. What should I use under furniture legs and pressure points?
A. We supply recommended felt pads for use under chair legs and other furniture. The felt pads come in various sizes. Modern pads just stick on the bottom of the legs.
Clean the felt pads often to prevent debris, dirt and small particles from being trapped in the pad, which may cause scratches in the wood floor's finish. If the pads spear to have become flattened over time, thus reducing the effectiveness of the floor protection, you ought to replace them.
Q. My sub floor is bumpy and uneven; will this cause a problem for my wood floor installation?
A. No, it won't, you will simply need to apply a suitable preparation before laying the floor.
Sub-floor preparation is as important as fitting the floor itself. Levelling compounds are used to make sub-floors sufficiently flat, so that the floor does not bounce and no unsightly gaps appear.
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