5 Things to Remember When Choosing Your Wood Floors
There’s a saying in the world of design that suggests we add nothing to our homes that isn’t useful or beautiful. Wood floors happen to be both. Even so, you want to make the choice that’s right for you and your lifestyle. Our Top 5 questions cover the most common questions hardwood floor experts hear everyday:
- Solid or engineered?
Engineered wood is real wood, not a synthetic substitute. So both choices are natural and environmentally friendly. But there are differences that can play a role in your decision-making:
- Solid wood is just what the name implies, a solid piece of wood. Thickness can vary, but the wood is the same variety throughout.
- Engineered wood is made from multiple layers of real wood. The layers can be the same species or they can vary.
- Solid wood can be sanded and refinished multiple times.
- Engineered wood’s layers run in perpendicular directions making it very stable. This means it will expand and contract less than solid wood during normal fluctuations in humidity and temperature. Depending upon the thickness of the top layer of high quality wood, many engineered floors can be sanded and refinished, but not as many times as solid wood floors.
- Oak, Walnut, Maple…?
This one comes back to your budget, lifestyle and personal preference. Each of the more than 50 domestic and imported wood species has unique characteristics, including grain, differing degrees of durability and hardness and other aesthetic variations. For more information check out this species gallery from the National Wood Flooring Association.
- Factory Finished or Site Finished Flooring?
This comes down to the level of customization you desire and the amount of noise, potential dust and disruption you are willing to accept.
Factory-finished flooring is ready for install after a short acclimation period to adjust to your home’s temperature and humidity. Because there is no on-site stripping, staining and finishing, the installation is fast, virtually dust free and you can walk on your floors immediately after they’re installed.
Site-finished flooring allows you to customize your stain, finish and level of sheen. The possibilities are unlimited. But the process requires more time, the potential for more disruption to your daily routine and a short period of time after finishing (usually 24hrs) spent away from home or ensuring you do not walk on your floors.
- To Shine or Not to Shine?
If you choose factory-finished flooring, you will be limited to the sheen options available. For site-finished flooring you can choose from:
- Matte – low to no light reflection with a natural appearance. Matte floors mask unsightly footprints, scratches and somewhat conceal built-up dust.
- Satin – also low light reflection with a bit more sheen or luster than matte. The satin finish is the most popular factory-finish option because of its mass appeal and low maintenance.
- Semi-gloss to High-gloss – generally the higher level of gloss the more sanding required to eliminate the imperfections that high-gloss can expose. High-gloss floors can offer a more elegant appearance but they are also known to be higher maintenance and to show wear more quickly in high traffic areas.
- How Do I Keep Them Looking New?
Every surface benefits from regular cleaning and wood floors are no exception. You’ll want to sweep, dust mop or vacuum (with the beater bar turned off) to remove dirt, dust and debris.
Stay away from wet mopping your hardwoods as it can leave a film and lasting damage over time. Also be sure to wipe up spills as quickly as possible to avoid damage to the finish.
Rugs placed at entryways can capture much of the dirt and grit that would otherwise scratch across the surface of your hardwoods. Keeping your pet’s nails trimmed and staying off the floor in cleats or high heel shoes can also prevent dents and scratches.
When your floor begins to look dull, use a wood floor cleaner recommended by your installer. Be sure to use a cleaner compatible with your floor and designed especially for hardwood.
ProSand Flooring is Indianapolis’ trusted expert in wood floors refinishing, installation and repair. For more than 30 years, founder Carl Padron and his team of ProSand installation experts have specialized in adding value and beauty to homes in Indianapolis, Carmel, Zionsville, Noblesville, Fishers and Geist as well as Lafayette, Columbus and Bloomington. ProSand specializes in hardwood flooring, carpeting, ceramic tile and laminate.