Updated: Aug 30
Top tips before buying wood floors - As a consumer, what should you ask and know before making your choice of wood floor?
As a hardwood flooring contractor, every day we have the opportunity to work with this wonderful material, which makes it easy for us to identify, the species, finishes, and different characteristics of wood.
A few years ago, I had a client who had already chosen their hardwood floor with another vendor and contacted us so that we could provide them with our professional installation services.
The first day of the installation our client was a bit confused with their floor purchase. They were expecting a floor without knots, color variation, and free of sap, all of these were imperfections in their eyes.
The wood floor they bought was one of the most rustic we have seen. Unfortunately, they never explained the characteristics of the rustic grade.
We worked together with our client and propose a solution, in the main and most visible areas we placed the cleanest planks, and the rest of the planks were placed in the less visible areas of the house. Understanding what we really want is an art that very few are prepared to do.
Important tips before buying wood floors
Wood is a very versatile material that has been in trend for the last years and has been chosen over ceramics, stone, and carpet.
It is not difficult at all to choose the right flooring for your home as long as you keep the following points in mind while selecting your hardwood floor.
The same way I love you guide our client while selecting their dream wood floor I also love you past our knowledge to you.
As there are imitations of shoes, handbags, and other valuable objects, there are also imitations on hardwood floors, it is not very common but it can happen.
The most important tip before buying wood floors - It is important to know where the product is made, we have seen many floors that come from China that claim to be European oak, but in reality, it is a Chinese oak that tends to be darker in color, have more color variation, imperfections in the finish and many other problems.
If you are looking for a European oak floor, make sure it is made in Europe, or if you prefer American walnut, Hickory or maple then make sure it is made in the United States.
European or American millwork would be the right choice as they have a long history of knowing and working with wood, not to mention that some use the most advanced machines on the market, which guarantees a completely precision-made floor with exquisite finishes.
The grade of the wood is an extremely important aspect to consider when purchasing hardwood floors. This means the number and size of knots, color variation, sap, and cracks in the boards.
A sample of wood will never represent the grade 100%, that is why we recommend that you ask for specific details about the grade. A true wood expert will be able to provide you with details of the floor grade.
There is a wide variety of options, from the Prime grade, which is the cleanest, to the rustic grade, which has the most character, and other grades in between.
3. CONSTRUCTION OF THE PLANKS: Vital tip for buying wood floors
In the world of wood floors there are 2 types of material options, solid or engineered ( tongue and groove system only ) click systems are not trusted based on our experience. If you opt for solid wood flooring, ensure the board thickness is 5/8” or 3/4”. If you decide to choose engineered wood there are many options.
Let's describe the construction of engineered hardwood.
The top layer is what you see (between 3-6 millimeters) and features the real hardwood (species like white oak, hickory, walnut, etc) bonded over layers of birch plywood.
The middle and back are layers of premium plywood for dimensional stability, typically between 7-10 layers of plywood so that the product becomes stable and more resistant to moisture, humidity, or arid conditions.
Select a format between 5/8” and 3/4” thick, with a wear layer no less than 3.5mm, and finally between 7-10 layers of plywood but not just any type of plywood, this must be birch.
4. SHADE, TEXTURE, AND FINISH:
First decide on a color family, e.g, greys, naturals, whites, browns, etc. Then check out various available shades in light and dark tones. The latest trend when it comes to colors is natural hues and if you have kids or pets definitely go for lighter colors.
The texture of the wood highlights the character of the interior and without a doubt, the boards totally change when a texture is applied, there are several options for each type of interior, e.g, brushed, deep wire brushed, aged, smoked, sawn.
The finish is the final layer that protects the wood.
What are the top 3 finishes for your hardwood floors?
#1 oil bases are soaked in by the wood to give a natural feel.
#2 water base polyurethane finish, offers a smooth and lustrous look in a variety of sheens or levels of shine.
#3 hard wax oil, also gives a natural feel but is more prone to wear and tear
It is through the installation that the floor comes to life, therefore it is as important as the floor itself.
You need the service of a professional in the industry who specializes only in wood floors. Wood is a very complex material, only in the hands of an expert your floor can obtain optimal and exquisite results.
Depending on the construction of the material, the installation method will be, but this should never be floating, even if it is recommended by the manufacturer.
As experts in hardwood floors, we know that each site is different and you can find different scenarios such as walls not level, door frames, problems with the concrete slab, etc. Only an expert can achieve solutions with the objective of an impeccable installation.
I hope these tips will help you buy your best wood floors efficiently.
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