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General questions

Should I use unfinished or prefinished hardwood?

Unfinished hardwood is installed in your home before the finish is applied, which can be matched to existing / surrounding hardwood floors. Prefinished hardwood is stained and sealed by the manufacturer prior to installation. Under certain conditions home owners may choose to go with an unfinished hardwood floor particularly when they are opting to go with a custom colour stain that conforms to their unique décor. Unfinished hardwood is easier to customize with border inlays and complex layout patterns. However, prefinished floors come with the advantage of comprehensive warranties on their finishes which out-perform finishes applied on site to unfinished floors. Moreover, prefinished hardwood floors are more convenient to install for home owners and do-it-yourselfers, doing away with the messy staining and finishing process.

What is the difference between solid wood and laminate?

Solid wood flooring is made from one plank and is solid all the way through, with no engineering or gluing. Laminate flooring is a high-density base, with a photographic image of a wooden plank, finished with an acrylic lacquer. Laminate floors feature no solid wood.

What is engineered flooring?

Engineered flooring is made from plies of wood stacked in alternating patterns, finished with a hardwood veneer. These floors provide more flexibility than solid hardwood flooring as they can be used in areas with higher moisture content due to a stronger dimensional stability that resists warping.

Can an engineered wood floor be refinished?

This depends on the installation method of the original floor. If the floor was glued or nailed down it can be re-sanded. However, depending on the quality of the floor, there may or may not be enough of a wear layer of hardwood to sand down and refinish. The higher quality engineered wood will have about 1/8’’ of wear layer. This layer can be sanded and refinished one or two times before the entire floor would need to be replaced. If there are heat registers in the floor, remove the vent cover to get a closer look at the side of the wood to determine the remaining thickness of the finish layer. For best results, hire a professional to sand and refinish the floors.

Are solid wood floors expensive?

Increases in hardwood supply have caused the prices to fall. As more people realize the benefits of solid wood floors – easy to refinish, restore, and renew – more people want them. Though the initial investment may be steep, the return is life-long and therefore makes it an excellent investment.

Can I install a hardwood floor if I have pets?

Yes. Many homeowners with hardwood floors have pets, but the issue lies in the fact that the floors are not really built to withstand the wear and tear pets can create. The pet’s claws will scratch the floor when they walk on it. If they urinate in the home, the chemicals in the urine can permanently discolor the floor. To remove the damage caused by pets, the floor must be sanded and refinished.

Should I expect colour variations in my floor?

Yes. Wood is a natural product and colour variations appear from board to board in all grades of hardwood especially in the lower grades such as Traditional, Country, and Rustic.

Why is my floor changing colour?

A continued exposure to UV light such as sunlight and indoor light will eventually darken your hardwood floor. This is a natural process that occurs even if surfaces are coated with UV protection. UV protected floors just take longer to reach the darkening stage.

How do we stop a solid hardwood floor from gapping?

Gapping cannot be stopped entirely, as wood will swell and contract naturally with the change in humidity of the room. To combat the issue, use a humidifier during winter months to keep the year round humidity relatively stable. Certain species of wood will expand and contract more than others. Using an engineered hardwood floor will reduce the appearance of gapping as these are more dimensionally stable than solid hardwoods.

Can I use throw rugs on my hardwood floor?

Yes, but before using any rug on the floor, be sure to check that the rug is “non-staining” so the colors will not bleed from the rug onto the floor. Check the rug’s backing to make sure it is not rough, as this could cause the rug to scratch the finish when it is moved around on the floor. Lift the rug and clean the dirt, dust, and other debris out from under it regularly, as this could also damage the floor’s surface. Periodically move the rug to help prevent shading of the wood underneath it.

Do I need to use padding beneath the area rugs on my hardwood flooring?

We recommend a breathable rug underlay; mesh or grid patterns work best.

Why is my floor lighter under my area rug?

Areas of floor that are not exposed directly to UV light, such as areas under rugs, furniture, remain lighter in shade. Manufacturers suggest leaving area rugs off your new floor for the first one to two years to ensure an even exposure of UV light. Manufacturers also recommend that you move your furniture around every 3 months to minimize wood discolouration.

When I walk across my hardwood floor, I hear creaking sounds. Why?

Creaking sounds usually occur from many conditions, most often it is because of an uneven/unsecured subfloor or a subfloor made from chipboard. Manufacturers recommend strengthening chipboard subfloors with a plywood underlayment.

Can I roll or drag furniture across my hardwood floors?

No. Furniture should always be lifted into position or else it can mar the finish of your floor.

Installation Questions

What areas of the house can I install a solid hardwood, engineered hardwood, and laminate product?

Solid hardwood can only be installed on or above ground levels; whereas engineered hardwood and laminate can be installed on any level of the house including the basement.

Can a 3/4″ thick hardwood floor be glued down?

No. ¾” thick hardwood floors are strictly a nail down product.

Can I install hardwood floors in any room in my house?

Hardwood is not recommended for rooms containing a shower or bathtub due to the potential for water damage and due to the high moisture content that is usually in these areas.

Can I install a solid wood floor over a concrete slab?

Generally, it is not recommended to install a solid wood floor over a concrete slab, though it is possible and has successfully been done before. Installing a solid wood floor over a concrete slab requires many additional steps compared to installing over other subflooring material. Before beginning the installation, a plastic underlayment must be laid over the slab and taped at the seams. After the plastic film is down, moisture-resistant marine plywood is attached, thereby giving the solid wood floor a wooden subfloor to attach to. Once the marine plywood is down, the solid wood floor may be installed. It is important to double check the manufacturer’s recommendations, as it is possible to void warranties by installing the floor this way. Check the manufacturer’s warranty information to ensure it covers this type of installation before beginning, and check for any recommendations they may have.

What wood floor can I install over a concrete slab?

Manufacturers do not recommend using solid hardwood flooring over a concrete slab, though with improvements in wood floors, most engineered plank floors can be installed over a concrete slab. These materials can be glued directly to a clean, dry, and well-cured concrete slab. Some of the engineered flooring can be floated over the slab with a special underlayment, and then glued at the tongue and groove for installation. Some “hybrid” type engineered hardwood floors may use a floated glueless “click lock” system for installation. Before installing any wood floor over a concrete slab, check the manufacturer’s recommendations for guidance. Ensure that the installation will not void the warranty. Remember, the concrete slab should be clean, dry, and fully cured for at least 60 days prior to the installation, and planks should be acclimated to the room’s climate for at least 48 hours before installation begins.

How do I install a solid wood floor?

Click here for step by step instructions.

How do I install an engineered floor?

Click here for step by step instructions.

How do I install a laminate floor?

Click here for step by step instructions.

Maintenance Questions

Are solid wood floors difficult to maintain and clean?

No, with the urethane coating present on the floor, you have a durable, smooth finish on the wood. As long as you do not clean the wood floor with a damp mop, it is easy to clean. Water should not be used to clean a wood floor because it will seep into the wood and lead to warping. For details instructions on how to care for your floor please click here.

Can I mop my floors using water?

No. Applying water directly to your hardwood floor can eventually cause your floor to swell and warp. Use a hardwood floor friendly cleaner and applicator. For detailed instructions on how to care for your floor please click here.

How can I protect my hardwood floor from scratches?

We suggest using floor protectors on the feet of furniture and chairs, area rugs in high traffic zones and door mats by any exterior doorways to help prevent scratches on your hardwood flooring.

Should I put anything under my furniture to protect my hardwood floor from scratches?

Several furniture stores carry felt pads designed for use under furniture legs to help prevent the furniture from scratching the floor. Follow the directions that come with the pads you purchase for best results. To help prevent further scratching and damage to the floor surface, periodically check the pads to see if they need to be replaced.

Should I put anything under my area rug?

Yes, you should put an underpad designed with air spaces specifically used on top of hardwood floor surfaces. These underpads are also designed to prevent the area rug from slipping out of position which could cause surface scratches to your floor.

How can I protect my floors if I need to move furniture?

To avoid denting your hardwood floor, we recommend lifting all furniture to its desired position.

My hardwood flooring is denting. I thought I was buying hardwood?

With sufficient impact or pressure, any hardwood can dent. We recommend using floor protectors on the feet of heavy furniture and area rugs in high traffic zones of the home to prevent dents and dings.

What do I do to remove scratches in my wood floor?

The exact course of action will depend on the type of wood floor, type of finish, and depth of scratches in the top layer. If the scratches are minor, only in the surface of the urethane finish, purchase a touch up kit from the location where the original flooring was purchased. Always use the manufacturer’s recommended finish products to keep the warranty in good standing. Test the product in a small area hidden by furniture to ensure it will work correctly. If the scratches are deep, it is best to have a professional come in to do a re-sand and re-coat. In this process, special equipment is used to sand the surface of the floor which allows the new coat of urethane protectant to adhere to the surface of the wood. Certain wood floor types are easier to repair by replacing the damaged boards. For best results, leave the repair and replacement of damaged floors or re-sanding and re-coating to a professional.

Can damaged hardwood flooring be repaired?

Yes, repairs include:

• Color-blend filler for minor chips
• Touch-up kit for scratches
• Board replacement
• Sanding and refinishing for worn, deeply scratched floors

Should I wax my urethane-coated hardwood floor?

No. Waxing is not recommended as it can damage the finish and alter your finish warranty.

My hardwood floors have lost their shine? What can I do to restore the shine?

There are Floor Refreshner products available on the market that will temporarily restore the shine to your hardwood floor. These Refreshner products can only be applied to a polyurethane-finished floor and need to be re-applied every one to two years to maintain the floors original appearance. For a more permanent solution you can also have your hardwood floors buffed and re-coated with a durable polyurethane finish.