Hardwood FlooringWhen remodeling any room, one of the first elements most homeowners choose to change is their flooring. New flooring can make a huge difference for the look, feel, and value of any room.

Why Hardwood Floors?

Although there are many different choices, one of the most popular flooring with homeowners is hardwood floor. This is not a new choice as it started in the 1630’s when homes transitioned from earth floors to the first flooring: hardwood. Today, when deciding between options such as carpeting, tile or hardwood floors many choose the latter as they can be installed swiftly, add value to your home while enduring daily use, and can give you a different range of appearances.

Choosing Your Wood

Among the many “looks” of hardwood floors there are endless choices of what types of wood to use such as Oak, Cherry, Maple, Brazilian redwood, and the beautiful Koa wood.  With all the choices available, you are sure to find one that has the desired appearance within the constraints of your budget. Similar to hardwood flooring, engineered laminate wood flooring can also be a great choice for the durability and budget friendly characteristics. Also, for a more ecological choice, many choose to use other types of woods like bamboo stranded hardwood floors or cork flooring; both are considered a renewable resource.

Installation of your Flooring

The first step in any successful installation of hardwood flooring is to prepare the sub floor, or the floor your hardwood is going to be installed on top of. It is important that the floor be properly prepared by being level, flat, and smooth. If there are any gaps, spaces, rotten spots, raised seams, high spots, or ridges, these need to be repaired before installing the flooring. If this preparation is not done you may have uneven flooring, bubbles, soft spots, floor ridges, pieces of hardwood that don’t join properly, and other unsightly problems with your flooring.  After these spots are repaired, you need to clean the sub floor extremely well. Even the smallest amounts of debris can leave visually obvious imperfections in the new hardwood floor. Once the sub floor is prepared, cleaned, and ready for installation, the next step is to install a felt underlayment.

Another important factor of installing your hardwood floors is to note that they expand and contract with variation in temperature and humidity, so it is extremely important to make sure it is acclimated to the right moisture level and to the right temperature.  Also, the ends of the hardwood flooring cannot be placed against the walls, as the wood must have a small space to expand and contract. This gap should be small enough that it can be concealed beneath a piece of shoe molding.

The most popular, modern, hardwood flooring installations are the floating floor system, as it is durable, cost efficient, and a less labor-intensive installation than older style wood floors.  Unlike older styles where wood floors were nailed in one plank at a time, the floating floors snap together and stay floating above the sub floor as it heats and contracts. It is like a permanent hardwood  ‘rug’ over your sub floor, but much more durable than any carpet.

The case for a professional installation

Although more and more homeowners initially see hardwood floor installation as a project they can complete themselves, most usually opt to have their floors installed professionally after researching the process. It is easy to underestimate the amount of time, work, tools and products necessary to install your own hardwood floors.  No matter how comfortable you feel with the installation method, it is a time consuming and detailed process that can determine the overall look and value of your home.  Also, it is important to note that some flooring products need to be installed professionally to be warrantied.

When installed professionally, your floor will be laid more quickly and with a better quality of work. A trained professional’s eye and opinion is invaluable. For example, when inspecting your sub floor, the contractor is trained to note every imperfection and prepare the sub floor properly; he can install new sub flooring if needed, or even take the necessary steps to eliminate a squeaky subfloor before installing the new hardwood.  This alone can ensure that you have a beautiful floor. Your home is an investment and it is important to find a licensed, insured and experienced contractor who guarantees their work to protect and enrich that investment.

For more information about hardwood flooring installation contact Philip Hatter @ (540) 569-6351.