Hardwood – Before You Buy
Before you purchase hardwood, know this.
Nothing motivates people to learn about something than when they have to invest a sizeable sum to purchase it. Buying hardwood flooring is no exception. It pays, today and tomorrow, to know not only the basics but some of the specifics. Hardwood flooring is both beautiful and durable. It is a lifetime investment that increases both the value and aesthetics of your home. In the journey to finding the right flooring for your home, understanding things like hardwood characteristics, traits and quirks can be invaluable.
The different hallmarks of hardwoods.
Each species of wood has its own unique characteristics. Color is determined by what part of the tree the wood originally comes from. The grain pattern is determined by the species and how the wood is cut. Natural variations in the color and grain are normal and to be expected. Similar to natural stone, these variations create the beautiful and unique look of a wood floor. They make your floor close to one of a kind.
Hardwood flooring characteristics.
Hardwood floors are hygroscopic. Wood floors will expand and contract due to moisture and temperature changes, causing hairline cracks, slight height variations or both. Hardwood does not expand or contract equally in all directions. This is not considered a defect, but a natural result of nature. It should also be noted that the wider the flooring, the larger the expected gaps will be. So, in dry climates, you may want to consider the use of a whole house humidifier to help minimize shrinkage and hairline cracking. The key is to keep the humidity in the home between 35% and 65% year round. Hardwood flooring is photosensitive. All hardwood floors will fade, darken or change shades over time. Exposure to sunlight will greatly increase this process. Window treatments are recommended as well as rotating area rugs and furniture regularly to allow floors to age evenly from UV exposure. Hardwood floors will dent and scratch. It is important to choose the correct wood for your application in order to minimize denting and scratching issues, keeping in mind that ALL wood floors will dent and scratch.
Here are the facts about subfloors.
No subfloors are perfectly level. You may also hear hollow sounds where your subfloor’s surface dips and ridges. This does not affect the integrity or installation of the hardwood. Hollow sounds are normal and are not considered a product or installation defect.
Pre-finished hardwood pre-buying notes.
A work of natural art, the elegance of a pre-finished hardwood floor adds beauty and value to any home, easy care and durability to any lifestyle. Each species of wood has its own unique characteristics and the conditions of nature that the wood matured in make each floor exceptional and individual. Hardwood flooring is not intended to look like a table-top. Flooring is manufactured from a lower grade of wood than that which is used for furniture. Pre-finished hardwood floors are sanded, screened and stained in highly efficient manufacturing plants. Several coats of urethane or aluminum oxide are sprayed on the boards and then they are UV dried for a very durable finish. Pre-finished floors may be screened and recoated to rejuvenate the finish and revitalize the floor’s natural beauty.