There are few elements that enhance the elegance and beauty of a home more than hardwood flooring. The aesthetic choice can also be a practical one, as hardwood floors are among the most durable and, despite the occasional requirement for hardwood floor refinishing, they are relatively easy to maintain on a day-to-day basis.
However, hardwood flooring installation is a significant undertaking, regardless of whether you intend to hire a contractor or tackle the project yourself. Before you decide to proceed with a custom hardwood floor project, there are four important questions you should ask yourself.
1. Are You Prepared for the Upkeep and Maintenance of a Hardwood Floor?
When you think about the upkeep and maintenance, you need to consider both day-to-day upkeep and long-term maintenance, such as hardwood sanding and refinishing. The good news is that, typically, hardwood floors can go 20 to 25 years before they need to be sanded and refinished, and you may be able to extend the life of your floor by taking good care of it on a daily basis. However, sooner or later, your floors are going to start showing their age and you will need to refinish them, which can be inconvenient and costly.
Day-to-day upkeep of hardwood floors is relatively easy but requires adherence to certain guidelines. For instance, exposure to moisture can cause your floors to warp, so you need to clean up any spills or puddles right away.
To protect your floors, NEVER use the following items to clean them:
In addition, hardwood floors can be vulnerable to scratches from furniture and pets' claws, condensation from potted plants, and discoloration from certain rug underlayments.
It’s really simple, after all. Day-to-day upkeep of hardwood floors usually involves no more than running a broom or a dust mop over them, but if the idea of constantly protecting your floors from scratches or spills is unappealing, you should consider another flooring material such as Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) or ceramic/porcelain tile.
2. What Kind of Wood Should You Choose?
You may think that the most important consideration of your project is choosing the type of wood (walnut, oak, maple, etc.) however, it’s important to first make the determination between engineered flooring and solid hardwood.
One of the disadvantages of solid hardwood is that it can expand and contract under varying conditions, potentially causing your floors to shift. Engineered flooring is designed to correct that problem by bonding a thin layer of hardwood on top to lower layers more resistant to expansion and contraction.
Another advantage of engineered flooring is that it can easily be installed in places where solid hardwood cannot, such as over a concrete subfloor. The trade-off is that with some brands, the top layer is so thin that it cannot be sanded or refinished, meaning that you would need to replace the floor entirely when it eventually wears out. However, many of the brands available in our showroom are "naturally aged flooring" and come with a wear layer thick enough that can be sanded up to three times.
3. Do You Have the Tools You Need?
If you're hiring a professional to install your floor, this may or may not be a consideration to take into account before beginning your project. If you do decide to choose a contractor, they will generally supply his or her own tools. However, if you intend to install the floor yourself, you need to ensure that you have access to the necessary tools, which include the following:
Saw (either table, miter, or circular)
Drill with bits
Pneumatic flooring nailer
In addition, you obviously need your hardwood flooring material, as well as transitions, floor moulding, and other accessories. You should also wear protective gear like safety masks/glasses, knee pads, and work gloves.
4. What Are the Pros and Cons of Hiring a Contractor Versus DIY Installation?
Homeowners who decide to install hardwood floors themselves often seek to complete the project for less money than it would take to hire a contractor. It's undeniable that you can save money on a DIY hardwood floor installation, but only if you install it correctly the first time. On the other hand, if you botch your first attempt and have to call in a professional to repair the damage, you'll end up spending more money than if you hired a contractor in the first place.
Another advantage to hiring a contractor is that you can save time on your floor installation. A DIY installation project can take days or even weeks to complete, disrupting your home life and causing undue stress in the process.
Answers to Your Flooring Questions
If you find yourself overwhelmed and confused about starting your hardwood flooring project, then you need an expert like Blue Ridge Floors to give you the clarity you’re looking for. Our products and services not only include hardwood floors; we can help you determine what you need to know about selecting materials, maintenance and upkeep, and more. Learn about how we make the process of enhancing the elegance and beauty of your home quick and simple - Call us today at (828) 280-3221 to discuss your custom hardwood flooring project.