Flooring Resource Center

Investing in hardwood floors will both enhance the beauty of your home and increase its value. Here’s some basic information to keep in mind when deciding which floors to choose.

 

Flooring 411

We think there are plenty of reasons that quality hardwood flooring is the right choice for your home or business. Here are just a few:

  • Hardwood floors cost less in the long run than other types of flooring.
  • Hardwood floors are easy to maintain and can last a lifetime. They can be refinished and can be repaired if damaged.
  • Hardwood floors add warmth, long-lasting beauty and elegance to your home or business.
  • Hardwood floors trap fewer allergens, bacteria and dust mites than other types of flooring.
  • You can choose from a wide range of hardwood flooring to match your décor and style.

 

Choosing solid vs. engineered floors

Both solid hardwood and engineered hardwood floors offer advantages. Here are some of the characteristics of each.

Solid:

  • Both unfinished and prefinished options are available
  • Plank widths from 2 ¼ to 7 inches are available
  • Standard thickness is ¾ inch
  • Typically installed over a subfloor using nails
  • Can be sanded and refinished multiple times
  • Solid hardwoods will last for generations if well-maintained

Engineered:

  • Uses a hardwood veneer on a softwood or plywood backing
  • Both unfinished and prefinished options are available
  • Plank widths from 2 ¼ to 8 or more inches are available
  • Thicknesses from 3/8 to ¾ inches are available
  • Can be installed over a subfloor and on a concrete slab
  • Can only be sanded once or twice, depending upon the thickness of the hardwood veneer
  • Well-maintained engineered hardwoods may last up to 30 years
  • Experience less movement due to seasonal changes, moisture and humidity in your home

 

Choosing unfinished vs. prefinished floors

You can choose to have your new hardwood floors finished on site, or you can choose to install prefinished wood flooring. These options are available for both solid and engineered floors. Here are some of the characteristics of each.

Unfinished:

  • Sanded and finished on site using dust-containment system
  • Color/stain can be customized for your own unique look
  • Both affordable oil-based and environmentally-friendly waterborne finishes are available in a range of sheens from extra matte to high gloss
  • No bevels – each board has a square edge, with no rounded edges
  • Offers the potential for no transitions with other flooring in your home

Prefinished:

  • Sanded, stained and finished by the manufacturer
  • No option to customize color
  • Typically has an aluminum oxide finish
  • Installed with little mess
  • Installation takes less time than unfinished flooring
  • Likely to have bevels (rounded edges)
  • Offers the potential for no transitions with other flooring in your home

 

Caring for your hardwood floors

Daily maintenance tips:

  • Grit is your #1 enemy. Place mats at exterior doors.
  • Dusting with a microfiber mop or cloth is your best daily defense against scratches and surface damage. Avoid lifting your mop or cloth off the floor – that way the dirt stays trapped on the pad.
  • A broom can also be effective, but it only pushes the dirt around. Microfiber cleaners are a better option since they use static electricity to trap dirt particles and other allergens.

Weekly maintenance can deal with areas that are harder to reach.

  • Vacuum cleaners and wet mops can get dirt out of trouble areas like corners and the spaces between boards.
  • If your vacuum cleaner has a beater bar, be careful that it doesn’t hit the bare floor. The wheels on a vacuum cleaner can also damage the floor, so vacuum with caution.
  • When using a mop, remember that water and wood don’t mix. Avoid using excess liquid on your floor; lightly misting the floor with a quality hardwood cleaner will be enough to clean it.

Clean any spills with a damp rag. You can use a Bona cleaner for your specific floor type, or vinegar and water. Never use Murphy’s Oil, Pledge, Orange Glow, etc. Remember that a gentle touch is best when cleaning hardwoods.

And never wear stiletto heels on your hardwood floors!