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  Serving: Greensboro, High Point, Winston Salem Triad NC   


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Tim the Tileman

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How to choose the RIGHT Wood Floor!

There are many things that factor into buying hardwood flooring to make sure the actual hardwood product is right for your specific home or business environment. Factors such as lifestyle, species, color, and construction (solid or engineered) all need to be evaluated before the final decision.

Lifestyle: The important thing to remember is each home is unique and can therefore pose unique challenges. Are you shopping for your kitchen or dining room? Different areas of you home have a considerable impact on the long-term performance of the wood flooring chosen.

Children and Pets: Here the issues are damage, durability, scratches, dents and pet damage. Wood floors in homes with children and/or pets will need to be refinished much sooner. Floor care will be expensive over time so ceramic tile in the kitchen may be a better option.

Wood Finish and Gloss Levels: Higher gloss levels look great but will require more care and can show more visible scratches. Lower sheen levels can help to mask some of the surface damage.

Floor care and protection: Products like area rugs are a must, particularly in the traffic areas and pivot points. The use of area rugs when placed in the proper areas can add a dash of color and style to the décor as well as protect your investment.

Floor cleaners and proper cleaning kits are also vital. Using the wrong products can lead to permanent damage, build-up and dull floors. To prevent this make sure to read and understand the manufacturer’s warranty and floor care information before you purchase.

Species/color: Today, we are seeing new and different species being offered to the end user. It is important that you understand the species because each one requires some education before you purchase.

Hardness: All species of wood will dent or scratch no matter the hardness rating.
Photosensitivity: Remember, all wood is photosensitive and will change in color. Some species can actually lighten, not darken.

Grain/Character: Some species are smooth grained, while others are rough. Species such as Maple are smooth, while Oak and Hickory are rough. The characteristics of both can influence the perceived durability of the product. A scratch is likely to be more dramatic and visible on a piece of Maple than Oak. The graining of some species helps mask a scratch and is less likely to be noticed.

Solid vs. Engineered: Is one better than the other? This can be a difficult topic to answer as both solid and engineered products have their place. The following considerations should help clarify which product is better suited for your individual circumstances.

Grade Level: For below grade installations an engineered product is recommended because of the potential for moisture. The dimensional stability, or the reduced expansion and contraction of engineered products make them more stable when installed over a concrete substrate. Moisture testing should always be done to establish whether there is a higher than recommended level of moisture present.

Glue-down, Mechanically fasten or Float the product? Either method is usually acceptable with engineered products. Direct glue-down is typically the preferred method, but the industry is seeing a tremendous amount of improved underlayment’s that offer both moisture protection and sound deadening. These new products can reduce, or in some cases, eliminate the hollow sound associated with floating installations from years ago.

Solid wood products can be installed on-grade, but because the potential for moisture exists, steps must be taken to ensure that moisture does not become a factor that affects the wood after installation. Additional factors that need to be addressed are the need of installing a plywood subfloor over the concrete. The minimum thickness for a plywood substrate in this application is 5/8″(nominal) and then factoring in the thickness of the wood (3/4″) issues such as height, transitions, added material costs and added labor costs must be factored in to the buying equation.

Moisture: When it comes to concrete substrates: Always check for moisture using the established and recommended methods for testing and limits that are deemed acceptable. Failure to test can often lead to failure, period. The good news is when a concrete substrate is tested and found to have a higher than recommended Moisture Level, there are products available that can reduce the vapor emission rate to an acceptable level. The important thing is to moisture test the substrate and the wood floor product prior to making a purchase. Moisture testing along with proper acclimation (if needed) can greatly reduce the chance of problems such as cupping or gapping.

The more you explore up front can in the end help to ensure the right product is chosen for the right application. It will also help identify and eliminate problems before the installation is completed.

Green Flooring Products   Hardwood Floor options

Marion Tile & Flooring Directions
4719 Pleasant Garden Road  Pleasant Garden  NC  27313
Monday - Wednesday 8-5  Thursday 8-7  Friday 8-5
336-674-8839 Fax: 336-674-3685
Floor sales: Tile  Natural Stone  Carpet  Hardwood  Vinyl  Serving: Greensboro, High Point, Winston Salem Triad NC