Choosing Hardwood Floors for Your Home 101, Part 2 – Understanding The Needs of Your Space.

The selection process of Hardwood floors can be a bit overwhelming for anyone. The first step in the selection process for your home is knowing the facts. This starts with the very space (room) you intend to install the Hardwood flooring in.

Room Location is Very Important

As an example, you may be planning to install wood flooring in a bathroom or basement and those have special considerations. In most cases, you’ll want to choose an engineered wood floor, and you may want to consider a type like White Oak or Teak. Perhaps it’s a living room you want your wood flooring to be installed in. In this case, if the room is bathed in sunlight, you may want to consider a color change before purchase. Some woods change dramatically when exposed to sunlight and if you choose the wood floor for its color you may be disappointed over time. Radiant heating is another thing to consider. Some woods will do fine when installed over radiant heating others will not. A general rule of thumb is that no wood floor should ever be installed over rating heating system with a maximum temperature that exceeds 85°.


Understanding Your Subfloor

Once you have a good understanding of your space you then need to consider the subfloor upon which you will install the flooring. There are different types of subfloor, but before installing wood flooring over any type, you must ensure that the subfloor is flat and even. Most subfloors are either wood or concrete. If your subfloor is concrete and it is a new home the concrete slab should be allowed to cure for at least 6 to 12 weeks before wood flooring is installed. You may not think about moisture when considering concrete but this is a very important factor. Using a moisture meter will help you determine whether or not your concrete meets the flooring manufacturers recommendations.

Even if the moisture content is low, you really should consider using an underlayment with a moisture barrier when floating directly onto concrete. If your subfloor is wood, keep in mind that wood subfloors are often installed over concrete slabs on the ground floor, to perform the same moisture test to be sure the subfloor is suitable for wood installation. You should test the floor for squeaks and weak spots. Some repairs can be made by simply nailing down corners or tightening screws. You may need to replace wood over mushy spots and possibly even level the concrete beneath when needed. Make sure to look for anything that protrudes – staples, nail or screw heads and corners that aren’t level are common.

Determine Which Way to Run Your Hardwood Flooring

Part of the interest in traditional hardwood floors comes from the sense of direction and flow that the orientation of the board joints creates. It’s important to keep in mind that not all spaces have the same conditions and no single exact formula exists for determining which way to run your flooring boards. There are certainly a variety of factors to keep in mind when making the final decision about board direction. A good place to start is to find out which way the floor joists run by looking up from the basement, running a stud finder along the floor, or by consulting the houses architectural plans. The rule of thumb is running floorboards perpendicular to the direction of the joists allows the joists to more equally support the boards. Measuring the dimensions of the space is important as well. Installing floorboards in the long direction typically create uniformity, whereas installing floorboards against the long direction often obstructs the sense of flow through the room. Consider the main entrance to this space, you may wish to create continuity by laying the floorboards perpendicular to the threshold. In this orientation, boards will run the same direction as the foot traffic going in and out of the space. Finally, assessed the architectural feel of the room. For extremely “boxy” rooms, consider laying floorboards on the diagonal. Diagonal boards will add a contrasting dynamic and directional flow.

Understanding Your Space Helps You Understand Your Budget

In our first article (Why Choose Hardwood Flooring?) we spoke about budgets and prices. Here is a small excerpt from that article:

Installing hardwood flooring in your home comes with a price, but you should not let the price alone determine your choice of which flooring to install. The price should be a factor because you have a short-term budget to consider. But quality flooring is a long-term investment, adding value to your property as a whole which often justifies the short-term expense. When Hardwood flooring is installed properly and in the right environment, you will actually save the cost of replacing flooring in the future of an inferior quality.

It’s important not to let your budget get out of control. But when considering such an important investment in your home make sure you adequately budget for your space so you don’t compromise the investments you’re making in your property.

At Unique Wood Floors we understand how important this decision is for your family and your homes overall value. Feel free to give us a call or email anytime at 952-994-9696. We will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have about the space you are considering installing your wood floors.