Facts ( or advice) about Hardwood Flooring



Color of the Hardwood

A strained floor gives a unique feel to each room. But be sure to select strains that will match the different decors, since your wood floor will outlast  any trend in home fashion.

Consider:
With prefinish hardwood floors, you can choose to install different colored boards to frame a room or accent a particular feature of your decor in a contrasting color.

Grade

Grading is a means of rating boards according to variations of the wood's natural color. For example: "select & better" grade woods are more uniform in color than "exclusive" or "traditional" grade, which presents greater, more pronounced natural color variation.

Consider:
Understanding the grading system - compare two samples of the same species with different grades. Remember to ask for samples from different boxes. Products graded in third category are not guaranteed. And may have manufacturing or finishing defects.


Positioning

Your wood flooring should ideally be installed in opposite direction of your sub-floor joists.

Consider:
The shape and size of your room. For example, installing the boards lengthwise, will make a "long room look longer," and it may be more flattering to lay the diagonally, or even trying a "herringbone" design for your flooring.


Species
 
Each species of wood has its own 1) grain, 2) color, and 3) veining. Your choice of species depends on your personal preferences. The most popular species are oak, and maple followed by birch, ash, cherry, and walnut.

Consider:

Using exotics such as Brazilian cherry, mahogany, sapele, and tiger 1)  which are very warm in color and 2) extremely hard. But keep in mind for home use, the hardness factor in not really a serious issue. Always test by asking to see a sample.



Gloss

Consider:

There are
three main glosses on the market today.

High gloss: A very bright, smooth finish that tends to highlight scratches or marks of any kind and makes dirt and dust more visible.

Semi-gloss: This medium-bright finish is the standard for prefinished hardwood floors.

Low gloss: More and more popular, low gloss finish minimizes the appearance of scratches and marks. It stays looking new longer than glossy finishes.


Width

Boards are generally available in standard widths of 2 1/4, 2 1/2, and 3 1/4. Widths are becoming more and more popular, some up to 5" in width. Your choice will depend on the effect you want to create.

Consider:
Narrower boards make a room look longer, while wider boards make it appear shorter.


Accessories

Installing a hardwood floor usually requires much more than just pre-finished hardwood boards. You'll surely need edgings, stair nosings, and moldings to join with the walls.

Consider:
Make sure you can get these basic accessories in the same stain and gloss as your flooring. Ask retailers if they have all the accessories needed for the complete of the hardwood floor installation.


Humidity

Unlike other floor coverings, wood is a living material. That means you have to be particularly careful of the humidity level in your home before, during, and after installations.

Consider:
To avoid stressing your floor, you should always keep the average relative humidity level at about 45%.


Maintenance

Your floor's worst enemies are 1) Water, 2) Soap, and 3) Sand.

Consider:
Don't use a wet mop or commercial soaps. All you need is a damp cloth, or use the care products recommended by the manufacturer, and vacuum regularly.


Installation

Don't hesitate to hire a professional!

Consider:
Remember, your floor may last a hundred years. Invest judiciously in proper installation, so you;ll be fully satisfied with the results.



Choosing a Retailer

A number of variables come into play when choosing a hardwood floor. But you most find out about the various retailers and CHOOSE WISELY!

Consider:
Buy your Hardwood floor from a specialist  -- One who not only sells flooring, but can also give you advise and help you complete you project according to your project and budget.