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Here are some answers to Frequently Asked Questions.
What's the difference between prefinished and unfinished flooring?
Traditionally hardwood flooring was all unfinished and had to be nailed down, sanded and finished by a flooring professional. In the past few decades flooring manufacturers have removed the need for sanding and finishing by adding this step at the factory. The end result is a prefinished floor ready to be installed without any additional surfacing, sanding, or finishing.
Does wood flooring go well with most design styles?
Hardwood is an all-natural product with unique variations built in from nature. With varying color and texturing options available, hardwood flooring is the top choice among leading designers in bringing together an overall design motif that will be an anchor even when trends and tastes change.
Is there an advantage in choosing one wood species over another?
The most common wood species of flooring from North America are used to produce the most durable flooring known. Species ranging from red and white oak, hickory, and maple make up the bulk of flooring known as hardwood in contrast to softwood like pine and fir. The performance of hardwoods such as maple and white oak is due in part due to their hardness while retaining warmth and natural appearance, which makes it ideal for modern homes.
Is hardwood suitable for kitchen and bathroom floors?
In recent years architects and designers have opted for a more open floor plan with fewer walls. Coupled with the desire to not have “trippy” transitions, in the middle of a room, as wood floors are often chosen for living areas and dining rooms, kitchens get them by default. Bathrooms are risky, especially full baths. The increased amount of humidity and moisture from exiting the shower is enough to cause moisture problems in wood floors. Additional care should be taken if choosing wood in bathrooms, for example, powerful ventilation and absorbing bath rugs.
Which installation method should I choose?
There are three primary methods for installing hardwood floors: glue, nail, and float. Gluing down using various formulas of flooring adhesive is the primary method used when an engineered floor is being installed on concrete slab. The nail down method requires a subfloor suitable for a fastener (staple or cleat) to penetrate and hold down the solid or engineered floors. Floating is the traditional method for a click-style or snap together floor such as laminate or LVP. Methods for floating tongue and groove hardwood floors require and added step of gluing tongue and groove joints.
I’m told that wood needs to acclimate. What is meant by “acclimating” a hardwood floor?
Acclimation is NOT time-based! Arbitrary times may have been followed in the past by flooring pros in order to appear knowledgeable about the trade. Acclimation is all about achieving moisture equilibrium in the flooring product to the environment it is going to live. Achieving this may be impossible in some homes without a humidifier. We have written more about this on our resources page https://portercraft.com/resources/
Can hardwood flooring improve indoor air quality?
Yes. Especially when compared with carpeting. Hardwood flooring is one of the easiest surfaces to clean. Dust and dirt are easily observed which can be swept up or cleaned with a microfiber mop. A clean floor does not harbor dust mites and other allergens as does carpet.
Does it harm the environment if I use wood flooring?
Hardwood flooring is an industry that prides itself on sustainability—a fancy word that simply means, we care about our environment, forest, and trees. A very good reason for this is the better maintained and cultivated the forest trees, the healthier those forests become. The industry provides a little know enviro-fact known as carbon-sequestration, or the reduction in carbon into the atmosphere by holding it in the flooring for years to come. FYI, more trees are planted than harvested each year making it possible for the next generation to benefit from this amazing resource.
How long do hardwood floors last?
Hardwood floors can last a lifetime. Most homes that originally had hardwood installed in the 1940’s and 1950’s was covered up by trendy gold and green shag carpet in the 1960’s and 1970’s. These old wood floors were rediscovered in the 1990’s giving rise to a generation of flooring pro’s lining up to sand and refinish those floors. Nothing is more beautiful than seeing an old wood floor get a facelift and come out looking like a new floor. You don’t get that with carpet, vinyl, or tile. Hardwood can last nearly forever.
Why are there gaps between the boards on my floor?
Gapping or what used to be described as “cracks” occur when boards shrink in size due to the loss of moisture. This is primarily observed in the dry winter months when the relative humidity sinks to below normal range of 35% for an extended period. Learn more about this under our Resources section, https://portercraft.com/resources/
Are steam cleaners safe for my hardwood floors?
Steam cleaners, whether named after a fish or president should not be used on hardwood floors. Hot steam may be a great disinfectant and germ killer but is not an acceptable method for maintenance and care for wood floors. Flooring finishes range from durable polyurethane finish to natural wax-oils that are not suitable for the intense wet heat of a steam cleaner. Learn more about the acceptable method for floor care here https://portercraft.com/category/cleaning-care/
Is vinegar and water good to clean hardwood floors?
Vinegar is and acid and is not a pH balanced cleaner. When diluted in water the acidity is less potent. Using occasionally in isolated areas where grease or pet accidents occur are fine as long as the floors are cleaned afterwards with an approved cleaner. Read what we recommend, https://portercraft.com/category/cleaning-care/