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Benefits of Hardwood Flooring

Rich and inviting, hardwood makes a grand statement. Because of a great range of natural variations, from boards with extreme character, graining, and color variation to those that are evenly colored and consistent, real hardwood will create a uniquely beautiful floor. Warm, stylish, and one-of-a-kind.

Beautiful and long-lasting, hardwood floors make an elegant choice for nearly any room in your home. When choosing your hardwood flooring these are the important factors to consider:

Color: The color of hardwood floors ranges from very light to intensely dark and includes every shade in between. As a rule, lighter floors work well in contemporary settings and darker floors are elegantly at home in more traditional rooms, choosing is entirely a matter of preference.

Character: Naturally present in hardwood, grain variations help to determine the “personality” of a particular wood. Dramatic grain lends the wood a rustic feeling. Historically, moderate grain variations are associated with the traditional while hardwood with very little graining is thought of as sleek and contemporary.

Construction: There are two basic choices: solid or engineered. Solid planks are created from a single piece of wood and make a handsome floor that lasts for years. Engineered planks are made from several layers of wood (with a core of plywood or HDF.) They are designed to withstand higher levels of humidity than traditional solid hardwood flooring. This means that engineered hardwood can be installed in some rooms that solid floors can’t.

It is worthwhile to note that there are many differences in finishes—gloss or luster level, scraping degree and technique, wire-brushing, etc. Stop into our Chantilly showroom today to see samples or call us for a free quote!

Care & Maintenance of Hardwood

To protect your gleaming new hardwood floor and preserve its lustrous beauty, there are a few several things you should do. Let us guide you through each recommended step, from using the correct cleaning techniques to putting protective pads under furniture.

For cleaning, make sure you…

  • Use a damp cloth to blot spills and spots as soon as they happen. For tough spots, such as oil, paint, markers, lipstick, ink, tar, or cigarette marks, use acetone/nail polish remover on a clean white cloth, then wipe with a damp cloth. Always avoid allowing liquids to stand on your floor.
  • Sweep, dust, or vacuum the floor regularly with the hard floor attachment (not the beater bar) to prevent accumulation of dirt or grit that can scratch and dull the floor finish.
  • Occasionally wipe the floor with a damp mop or cloth.
  • Periodically clean the floor with R2X Hard Surfaces Flooring Cleaner from Shaw’s line of floor covering care products.

While cleaning is easy, here are a few hardwood DO NOTs:

  • Do not use oil-based, wax, polish, or strong ammoniated or abrasive cleaners.
  • Do not use steel wool or scouring powder.
  • Do not wash or wet-mop the floor with soap, water, oil-soap detergent, or any other liquid cleaning material. This can cause swelling, warping, de-lamination, and joint-line separation, and void the warranty.
  • Do not use any type of buffing machine.

Other routine care instructions:

  • For spots such as candle wax or chewing gum, harden the spot with ice and then gently scrape with a plastic scraper, such as a credit card. Be careful not to scratch the flooring surface, and then wipe clean with a damp cloth.
  • For tough stains, use Shaw’s R2X Hard Surfaces Flooring Cleaner.
  • Do not use any type of buffing machine.

Use protective mats
Good quality entry and exit mats will help collect the dirt, sand, grit, and other substances such as oil, asphalt, or driveway sealer that would otherwise be tracked into your home and onto your flooring. Do not use rubber or foam-backed plastic mats as they may discolor the flooring. To prevent slippage, use an approved vinyl rug underlayment.

Use floor protectors on furniture
Use floor protectors and wide-load-bearing leg bases/rollers to minimize indentations and scratches from heavy objects. As a rule, the heavier the object, the wider the floor protector should be.

Maintain relative humidity level
Maintain a normal indoor relative humidity level between 45 and 65% throughout the year to minimize the natural expansion and contraction of hardwood.

  • Heating Season (Dry): A humidifier is recommended to prevent excess shrinkage due to low humidity levels. Wood stove and electric heat tend to create very dry conditions.
  • Non Heating Season (Wet): An air conditioner, dehumidifier or periodically turning on your heating system can maintain humidity during the summer months. Avoid excessive exposure to water during periods of inclement weather.

Avoid sharp objects
While your new hardwood floor is naturally resistant to wear, sharp or pointed objects can still damage it.

Watch your feet
Do not walk on your flooring with stiletto-style heels, spiked golf shoes, or cleats. These types of shoes can cause indentations in your flooring.

Watch your pet’s feet
Keep your pet’s nails trimmed to keep them from scratching your flooring.

Rearrange your rugs and furniture
Periodically rearranging your area rugs and furniture will allow the flooring to age evenly. UV sunlight will soften the tone of different species of hardwood to varying degrees.

Protect the floor when moving
Use a dolly when moving heavy furniture or appliances. But first, put down a sheet of quarter-inch plywood or Masonite to protect the floor. Never try to slide or roll heavy objects across the floor as this will damage it.

Installation of Hardwood

Follow this pre-installation checklist for a hassle-free installation day.

Make sure you know who’s removing your existing flooring. If you wish, the installer will do it. If not, you should make arrangements to have it removed. Minimize dust by vacuuming your old carpet before it’s removed and, after it’s up, vacuum the floor thoroughly.

Who’s moving the furniture? Decide in advance if you want to take on the responsibility or if you want the installer to handle it. Either way, be sure to remove all fragile items from the room, and don’t leave anything—such as drapery or plants—hanging over the installation area.

In general, your hardwood should run parallel to windows or, in narrow rooms, to the longest wall. Added stability is achieved by installing hardwood perpendicular to floor joists.

Measure door clearances before you have your carpet installed. If the new floor is thicker than your existing floor, door bottoms may rub. Plan in advance to have someone shave or saw the correct amount off the bottom of each door so it does not drag.

Paint first. If you’re planning to paint, wallpaper, or do any other remodeling in the room, it’s best to do it before your carpet is installed. Keep extra paint to touch up any post-installation nicks.

To keep your hardwood flooring look good now and for a long time to come, proper installation is of the utmost importance. Here is the procedure an experienced installation professional will follow:

Current flooring: A professional installer will evaluate your floor and subfloor construction and they will know whether to remove the existing flooring or to install on top of it. If it’s removed, the installer knows how much preparation is needed for the subfloor—like use of a leveling compound—or if a new subfloor should be placed over the old one.

Moisture testing: Proper acclimation and moisture testing of the wood flooring and subfloor are required so that floors won’t cup, buckle, or develop gaps down the line. Your installer will follow this crucial step for either solid or engineered hardwood.

Installation: Using the proper equipment, your installer will nail or glue boards in place, working from multiple cartons to create consistency in the look of the floor. When an experienced installer encounters unforeseen issues, he or she will know how to solve them.

Overall quality: Professional installation ensures that your floor will look gorgeous and perform well over time.

It is a great idea to check with us directly to find out if there are other actions we recommend before installation. Call us today for more information or for a free quote!.