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6 Questions to Ask Before Installing Hardwood Floors

When it comes time to replace your flooring, hardwood is a preferred material to choose from. It will enhance the look of your home and add a sense of elegance and warmth that other types of flooring simply can’t provide.

It’s also versatile, low maintenance, durable, and cost-effective. It’s also really good with acoustics, so if you’re musically inclined, this is definitely the preferred choice for you. Hardwood is a favorite choice for homeowners as it can help to raise the value of your home. If you come to a point where you’re going to sell your home, studies have shown that prospective home buyers certainly value a natural hardwood look as opposed to carpet.

6 Questions to Ask Before Installing Hardwood Floors

However, there are questions you should ask potential contractors before installing hardwood floors in your home. Here are a few to get you started on the search.

First, what’s the best type of hardwood flooring for your home? While contractors may have a range of opinions on this, various types of hardwood offer an array of attributes for you to enjoy. And, the type of subfloor you have can be a factor on which choice you want to make.

Different species of wood, such as hickory and maple, offer various designs and performance values. For example, Hickory floors don’t absorb water the way other types of wood do, so they can be easily mopped. As for maple, it’s known to be the most affordable and easiest to maintain. Like any substantial purchase, the potential contractor should be able to weigh the pros and cons of each option with you before you start installing hardwood floors. Make sure you do some research on your own too and be prepared with questions. That way, you can make the best decision for you and your family in the long run.

Next, ask about the validity of the company you are thinking about working with. By that I mean you should vet the contractor. Make sure they are licensed and insured. Heaven forbid an accident were to happen during work, they should be covered on their end. If you don’t ask these questions up front, you could be liable in the wake of an accident. The last thing you need is a personal injury lawsuit on your hands when all you were looking for was to install hardwood floors.

Also, ask for references and call them before committing to any work with the contractors you’re considering. Also, go online and do a search. If you find negative stories, ask the company about your concerns. Remember, there are two sides to every story. But, at the end of the day, if you don’t find yourself completely comfortable with the contractor, they probably aren’t the best fit to be installing hardwood floors in your home.

Ask about the cost. When we say that, we mean all of the costs. Sometimes, contractors charge for an estimate. You should know that ahead of time. Depending on the scope of the project, a lot of furniture may need to be moved to accommodate the work. Is there a cost associated with that? What about the old flooring? How does that get disposed and who pays for that? A true professional who’s been operating for a long time should know how to present the cost. Nobody likes being surprised with hidden fees. If a contractor comes across as secretive, move on and instead work with a company who is upfront about the cost of the project you request.

Ask what your warranty covers, and make sure to have those details before a company begins installing your hardwood floors. Different companies offer different protections, and you need to make sure you’re covered in the event something goes wrong. While some companies offer ten-year warranties, others offer a shorter timeframe with an option to buy additional time.

Also, remember that these contractors want your business, and it’s a competitive work environment. You may be able to negotiate some costs associated with the warranty.

Ask about the required timeframe. While each project differs, contractors should be able to provide you with a rough estimate, as there are factors, such as Mother Nature, which can delay work. Before installing hardwood floors, they should detail exactly what work will be performed and when each aspect of your project will be completed. And, once started, if any surprises should arise altering the timeline, they should keep you informed.

Make sure to ask about matching mold and trim. While this may or may not be an aspect of your project, homeowners often opt to replace their trim when their floors are replaced. For this reasons, it could also be a great opportunity to update your molding as well. While you may hear people use these terms interchangeably, trim is found near the bottom of the wall and often hides any sliver gaps between your flooring and your wall, while molding, often called crown molding, appears at the top of your wall, touching your ceiling.

While some companies are simply flooring experts, they will often replace your trim as well. However, if trim or molding is not their area of expertise, they should at least be able to direct you to another recommended company who will be able to complete this next step for you.

The bottom line is you need to ask questions when speaking with a potential contractor before they are selected to install your hardwood floors. This list should include how long the project is going to take, the costs associated with the work, and references surrounding previous work.

You’re about to make a rather large, important purchase and you want to make sure everything goes down without a hitch. If you put in the time and effort now, you will soon have a home with brand new hardwood flooring that you and your family will enjoy for years to come.

How to Repair Damaged Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors are generally a very popular choice for use in the home, whether that means a house, apartment, or condominium. Often times the hardwood floors are used for cosmetic purposes because the occupant of the property simply prefers the way they look. However, hardwood floors can also be preferable because they do not often require as much work to put in and take out as carpets.

If hardwood floors are your preference, though, and your hardwood floors get damaged, it is extremely important that you attend to that damage and fix it right away. You want to avoid at all costs seeing this damage becoming disastrous and permanently ruining the look and texture of your floor. When it comes to how to repair damaged hardwood floors, there are several things you need to know.

How to Repair Damaged Hardwood Floors

(1) Make appropriate replacements – one thing you will likely need to do when it comes to how to repair hardwood floors is replacing chipboards, a task best completed with a circular saw. Likewise, if you have to replace old square-edged boards, they do not have interlocking edges so they are relatively easy to switch out, but you need to make sure you are extra careful in evading damage to pipes and cables underneath where you are working. Use a pencil to outline the damaged area and use a pry bar to raise the board up and avoid it falling and causing damage below.

Make sure the wood is held up securely and then mark the new material for the replacement board and cut it to size with the saw. Once you have the new board appropriately sized, lay it in where the damaged wood was and nail it into place. If you need to remove tongue and groove boards, you will need to cut through them to do so.

Once again, you are best served using a circular saw and must go out of your way to avoid damaging anything below. Cutting through any concealed nails could be tricky, so a nail cutting blade could come in handy for that. The saw should be used to cut straight through the damaged wood to and once again, a pry bar should be used to hold that wood up and keep it from doing damage below. Use a chisel to remove the tongue from the new wood and cut it to the exact size specifications that you need. It won’t be possible to nail this wood in regularly, so instead, you will need to fill the holes in with finish nails.

(2) There is more than one way to cut wood – If you are looking to learn how to repair damaged hardwood floors, it is imperative that you understand there is more than one way to cut the wood you are using for replacement. You can cut standard up-down or left-right, but if you want to remove smaller sections of wood in a more precise way, you can accomplish this best by cutting across the grain, though you must keep in mind that this could result in small cuts on the edges of pieces of wood that were directly next to the piece you are cutting through.

(3) Length and width need to be precise – No matter how you cut the wood you are using to replace the damaged wood, you have to remember that the dimensions of the new wood have to match the dimensions of the old wood exactly. If the new wood and old would do not match dimension wise, you will be looking at a situation where the new piece either will not fit at all or will not fit properly, which would make your floor potentially dangerous to walk on not to mention cosmetically undesirable.

This also applies to filling gaps in wood, because if those gaps are not filled with wood that is exactly the correct size, it could cause drafts and make the floor look improper. To fill the gaps properly, the best tools to use are a hammer to drive the wood into place and superglue on both sides to ensure the sides of the wood stick in place as well. Once the wood is nailed and glued in, you can use finish to smooth it out and help it blend in properly with the rest of the floor.

(4) All wood must be secure – Whether it is the old wood you are replacing or the new wood you are installing, it cannot be emphasized enough how important it is to ensure that all wood is secure at all times. If you are removing old wood, you can typically remove it with a pry bar and steady it, but that has to be done so as to avoid any damage below. Likewise, when laying in the new wood, it must be nailed down and secured, because if it is loose, the board can cause damage to property below or to any person who happens to walk on it at an inopportune time.

You must also tread lightly when it comes to pieces of wood that are exposed or sticking out. Being careful with how you remove a piece of exposed wood is crucial because it is very easy to hurt yourself when taking it out. Injuries can range from a simple splinter to a board through the eye, to a head injury if the loose or exposed wood pops up and hits you. In addition to safety concerns, aesthetically, you want to do everything in your power to use wood that matches the original on your floor. Being able to use replacement wood that is identical to the original means it is guaranteed to fit if sized properly and will look right if put in place of the old wood.

If you are unable to find wood that matches the original, however, it may be possible to coat the replacement wood in a way that would help it blend in with the original wood.

Steps to Take if You Notice Hardwood Floor Water Damage

Having a hardwood floor is one of the best ways to bring an elegant aesthetic to your home and boost its value. Hardwood, when properly cared for, can last for many years, unlike alternative options such as carpeting, which will need to be deep cleaned and replaced more regularly. Alternatively, hardwood floors are very low-maintenance, requiring only a little bit of soapy water and a mop to clean most of the time. As a result, they are a perfect investment in most homes.

Nevertheless, hardwood floors do have their own requirements for care and you will need to put in a bit of effort to make sure they stay in good shape. One thing that hardwood floors are sensitive to is water damage. This article will help you to identify water damage and, if it occurs, take steps to repair it while preventing further harm.

Steps to Take if You Notice Hardwood Floor Water Damage

How To Identify Hardwood Floor Water Damage

Hardwood floors, while extremely durable, are also quite vulnerable to moisture. You need not have a flood for water damage to occur. Sometimes, all it takes is an imbalance between the moisture in the air and the moisture in the wood. That’s why you should always keep an eye out for the signs of water damage, even if you don’t think it’s something you necessarily have to worry about.

The Signs

One of the most telltale signs of hardwood floor water damage is known as cupping. This is what happens when moisture causes the wood to expand, pushing the boards together and deforming them in the center. This leads to the edges of the board being higher than the center. This can occur when you have spills and can also occur from moisture imbalances in the wood.

Another sign of hardwood floor water damage is called crowning and is essentially the opposite of cupping. While cupping occurs when the edges of the boards are higher than the center, crowning occurs when the boards, being pushed together as a result of expansion caused by moisture, raise up in the center. If either cupping or crowning is left unchecked, it can lead to buckling, which is when the boards actually begin to lift off of the subfloor, causing a great deal of damage to your hardwood floor.

Other signs include the floor cracking, the boards separating, or the wood becoming weak and soft. If any of these signs occur, you have hardwood floor water damage and must take steps to prevent further damage and fix what has already occurred.

Preventing Further Damage

The first thing you will have to do if you notice hardwood floor water damage is to halt the spread of the damage. To do that, you will need to figure out of source of the moisture that is harming your floor. This can be a leak, a spill, a floor installed over a concrete slab that was not fully dried, or often simply an imbalance between the moisture in the air and the moisture in the wood. If this is the case, diagnosing the problem will not be as simple as just finding out where a pipe is leaking. You will need to procure a moisture meter, which is a type of device used to read the amount of water in the wood. You will also need to check the relative humidity (RH) in the air and compare the two. If the humidity in the air is higher than the moisture on the floor, that extra water could be causing the hardwood boards to warp and split. If this is the case, you will need to correct the moisture imbalance. This may require an inspection of your HVAC system. Problems with your heating and cooling system can lead to problems with your wood floor. You may need to install a dehumidifier in your home in order to get the excess moisture out of the air. If the air is too dry, causing the wood to dry out and shrink, you can install a humidifier into your furnace. If you take regular take care to inspect the moisture in the air and in the water, it will go a long way toward preventing further water damage.

Repairing Hardwood Water Damage

Chances are, by the time you have noticed hardwood water damage in your home, it has already caused some real problems in your floor. While this is bad, there are steps you can take to fix this damage, with the necessary repairs depending on what type of damage has occurred. If you notice signs of crowning, this can be repaired by simply sanding the floor back to normal after removing the source of the moisture on your floor. You will have to clear out the entire room, vacuum away all debris and set down plastic covering to catch the sawdust.

You can then carefully sand down the crowned boards very carefully with a fine grain of sandpaper. Sanding can also help to fix cupping damage although if the floor is sanded excessively without removing the source of the damage it can ruin the hardwood floor. If you notice that your wood floors are buckling, you may have to remove and replace some of the hardwood planks if they have become too warped to be salvaged. If the damage has proceeded too far, you may have to replace your hardwood floor entirely, which is why it is important to identify and solve problems as quickly as possible.

Further Information

If your floor is damaged, or you suspect that it may become damaged, you can often take steps to solve this problem on your own. However, often you may need to seek the help of an experienced professional flooring company who can fix most of your problems for you. If your home is in the Portland, Oregon area, Wall2Wall Hardwoods is an excellent resource for diagnosing, repairing and preventing hardwood floor water damage. Contact us if you suspect you may be dealing with a problem related to moisture in your floor.

6 Reasons to Choose Hardwood Floor Refinishing

Hardwood floors are a classic and timeless addition to any home or business. But over time, your hardwood flooring can start to look a little dull, a little worn, a little dingy.

That’s also what gives hardwood floors their advantage.

Unlike other types of flooring, when you install a quality hardwood, you can refinish it and make it look just like new. But we know refinishing can be a daunting task to try and tackle on your own. That’s why here in Portland, we make hardwood floor refinishing easy.

Don’t be afraid to unlock the beauty that’s been hiding behind those dingy wood floors currently installed throughout your home. When you know what to expect from a hardwood floor refinishing project, you’re going to realize just how easy the entire process is.

If you are doing other construction or remodeling work, remember that hardwood refinishing comes last. And since all of the furniture will need to be removed from the space for several days, consider the space unusable for that period of time.

Even then, extra care should be given to your new floors to avoid scratching and give the refinishing a chance to settle in.6 Reasons to Choose Hardwood Floor Refinishing

Why should now be the time you have your hardwood floors refinished?

Protecting Your Investment
Wood by itself can be vulnerable to all you dish out during a normal day. Think for a moment of all your floors endure:

-Elements from the outside blowing in every time you open a door
-Foot traffic both barefoot and in shoes
-Moisture from daily activities
-Scratches as you push and pull things across the floor
-Sunlight as it filters in through the windows
-Heat and cold depending on the day

Without a protective coating, wood can succumb to these daily activities quite easily. Part of the finishes job is to protect hardwood from normal wear and tear.

Once your hardwoods are scratched or have gaps between the planks, it can allow moisture in and lead to a long list of potential problems. Warping of the wood can occur in many ways, including cupping, crowning, or gaping. By refinishing the wood on a timely basis, you can prevent problems from occurring before they begin.

Updating Your Style
Have you ever walked into a home or commercial location and immediately felt the decor was dated? Trends come and go. While heavy wood paneling and trim was once the in-thing, it changed to a cleaner, simpler look over time. And just when everything was painted and lightened, darker woods came back into fashion.

Styles come and go as time progresses. Operating out of a commercial space that seems outdated can hurt business regardless of the quality of your products or services. Having a home that isn’t up to date can leave you tired and depressed.

It’s not the hardwood that’s out of date; it’s the finish. And hardwood floor refinishing is one of the easiest ways to bring your decor back up with the trends. And because of today’s technology, you have a wide array of choices to choose from. Do you prefer light or dark stain? A flat or a gloss level finish? Refinishing is an easy way of getting just the look you’re going for.

Damage From Furniture
No matter how careful you are, hardwoods are always susceptible to damage. Tiny grains of dirt can be trapped under your shoes and cause scratches over the surface. Furniture can dig deeper into the grain of the wood. And when you mix in other things like moisture, it’s almost inevitable your hardwood floors will acquire some damage over time.

While there are products on the market that can help mask damage, they won’t solve the problem. They may cover the problem up for a period of time, but eventually, you’ll have to have the floors refinished to bring them up to a new appearance once again.

Heavy Traffic
One of the biggest hardships to a hardwood floor is foot traffic. In your home, your floors can experience everything from children playing with toys to shoes dragging in dirt and moisture from outside, to pets digging in with their nails. With commercial locations, the damage from foot traffic only intensifies.

It’s the constant back and forth movements that cause the biggest problems. How many times do you shuffle between the sink and the stove when you cook your meals? How many times do you relax as a family in your living space? How many times per day do you let your pets in from outside? All of that can add up to a lot of damage to your wood floors.

Moving Into A New Space
There’s nothing like moving into a new space. Prior to moving in is the best time to have your hardwood floors refinished. Before you move in your furniture, you can fully customize your look by selecting the right color and gloss levels to match your incoming decor.

If you’re moving into a new-to-you home, starting with a clean slate means your home will be as up-to-date as possible. It will ensure longevity with your flooring, meaning you won’t have to worry about it again for many years to come.

This also works for remodels and renovations. Are you adding a new room to your home? Are you remodeling your kitchen, or renovating an entire level of your home? After all the construction work is done, refinish the hardwood to finish the look and feel of the project from the floor up.

Longevity
Every scratch, dent, and mark that makes it through to the hardwood shortens the life of the wood. The more damaged the wood is, the less likely it can be saved from needing replacement.

Refinishing extends the life of your hardwood floors. It can save you the money associated with having to replace the individual planks. It can also keep your floors looking great for decades after treatment.

Hardwood floor refinishing is a home remodeling project that takes time, but it’s well worth the wait. A refinished floor can brighten any room in your home. It can take an old dingy floor and make it look new once again.

If you’re ready to add new life to your room, consider refinishing your floors today. We’re here to help answer any questions you may have.

Hardwood Flooring or Carpet: What’s Best For You?

Close your eyes and picture walking into your home. Do you envision the glow of shining hardwood flooring reflecting light and beckoning you to walk through or, the cushion of a fresh carpet comforting your every step? And going to the next room, and the next, are you seeing the hardwood flooring or feeling carpet? It’s a decision to be made for most rooms in your home and like any home decorating decision, one that may be factored concerning design, cost, function, durability and possibly home resale value.

ALLERGIES

One of the first questions to ask yourself is, do you have allergies? If so, hardwood flooring may be an important consideration for you. Carpets, whether deep pile or tighter weave, are known to trap dust mite allergens, pet dander and pollen, whereas hardwood flooring can be thoroughly cleaned.

Hardwood Flooring or Carpet (1)

Like hardwood flooring, other bare surface materials (tile, laminate, etc.) can be washed both with water and a cleaning solution enabling the homeowner to protect themselves and others from the effects of allergens. Carpets themselves may also be the culprit you are reacting to, from the material (wool or otherwise) or the dye, stain protection or other chemicals used in processing.

PETS

Likewise, one of the many concerns of pet owners can be the maintenance of cleaning up after them. This is in many ways a double-edged sword: carpet may potentially mask pet hair or fur, but it can also trap said shedding and impact allergies if not regularly vacuumed and shampooed. On the flip side, shedding of pet hair or fur on hardwood flooring may be more visible and require regular vacuuming and/or sweeping.

MAINTENANCE

Another concern with pets and flooring may be the potential for scratches or other damage. Would the hardwood flooring or carpet be in a room that is highly trafficked and an active play space for you and your pet? Or, are you looking at select rooms such as dining rooms and bedrooms where activities may be more limited? If the pet activity will be limited in a particular room, then the concerns should be less. You may still consider if you have a pet that vomits often, has incontinence, etc., as this can be damaging to hardwood flooring if exposed regularly and for longer periods of time. But if the room may be off limits to your pet, or not often used, this is less of a concern.

ENVIRONMENT

Is your home warm? Cool? Well insulated? How is the sun exposure? These may be additional factors to consider regarding the choice of hardwood flooring versus carpet in your home. For the best preservation of natural hardwood flooring, you wouldn’t want the room to be exposed to direct sun for long periods of time every day, always, without making some adjustments.

It’s generally recommended that rooms with hardwood flooring only receive a moderate level of sun daily. Furniture and rugs should be rotated periodically to allow for even exposure in different areas of the room. Prolonged direct sun exposure could result in fading of stain or natural color, and acceleration of the oxidation of the wood. This is not to say that all woods will have this problem, but this is generally less of a concern for carpeted rooms. Carpeted rooms may still benefit from the occasional furniture rotation so that heavy pieces don’t leave permanent indentations in the pile, or the risk of stains at areas more often exposed to potential spills. But carpet can be beneficial in a room that is drafty, holding the temperature level and potentially contributing to reduced energy costs.

NOISE

Hardwood flooring will often amplify the ambient noise in a room, while carpet, in general, will absorb sound. Noise can, of course, be leveled to some degree by walking in socks, slipper or barefoot, and by adding draperies, furnishings, area rugs and other room accessories.

Depending on the room in your home where you are deciding between hardwood flooring and carpet, this may be a factor of consideration. Perhaps hearing the “click clack” of heels down the main hallway is soothing or provides you with a level of security knowing that someone is coming or going? Consider the layout of your home and in which rooms you may be looking to install hardwood flooring or carpet. Is the room in question next to one where you may want or need more quiet, such as a nursery, home office, or your master suite? This may factor into your decision to install carpet or hardwood flooring into a room.

COST & DURABILITY

Any home renovation project, from a “simple” room refresh to a gut renovation, should have a budget. In theory, you are weighing the attributes of the changes you’ll make to your home, considering the aesthetic value you’re putting into the home, the opportunity for energy saving, property value increase, etc. But what does the actual cost of a project mean to you? How long are you looking to get out of the change? If installing hardwood flooring, you are making an investment that could be considered timeless, as hardwood flooring can often be sanded and re-stained years later. Often chips or scratches can be buffed out and may even be considered part of solidifying the character of the boards.

Conversely, carpeting may have a more limited lifespan depending upon a variety of factors. The pile, the color, the padding, and installation may all impact the longevity of carpet. A quick web search offers a range of life expectancy, anywhere from 3-5 years for a plush carpet in a home with 2-5 residents, to up to 10 years if a more forgiving color, weave and treatment (such as not wearing shoes on carpets, regular vacuuming and cleaning), and consideration for the placement. Carpeting in the main entryway may wear much faster than carpeting in the guest bedroom, for example.

DESIGN

For some, design will be at the top of the list, for others, a factor decided by evaluating each of the above considerations. Design may still win out in your decision-making process for one or all rooms. Hardwood flooring will range in color, texture, type, and size, while carpet can vary by these same factors and more. The price for hardwood flooring versus carpet can also run on par when you consider the grade of material, origin, installation, etc.

The decision to install hardwood flooring or carpet in your home may not be an easy one, with many factors to think about, but through thoughtful consideration, you will decide what’s best for you; hardwood flooring or carpet.

Can I Add Radiant Heating Under My Hardwood Floors?

 

Having radiant heating in your floors can be a lifesaver during the cold winter months. Instead of feeling chilled from your feet up as you attempt to walk to the restroom in the middle of the night, you could feel the pleasant heat that emanates directly from your floor and keeps you warm. It is not only a method of heating the floors of the home, but can actually warm up the entire house and save you a good deal of money on energy costs.

How does radiant heating work?

Can I Add Radiant Heating Under My Hardwood Floors-Radiant heating is a method of supplying heat directly to the floor of your home. It is called “radiant” heat because that is how the heat reaches you: it radiates directly from the heat source, much like it does when you feel the heat of your oven from the other side of your kitchen.

This can have a number of advantages over other heat sources; for example, many people find it to be better than air heating because it doesn’t pump allergens all around the house. It is also a good way to save on energy costs as it tends to use less electricity than other heat sources. It can often make use of other energy sources than electricity as well; gas-powered boilers and solar powered water heaters can also be used, for example. Radiant heating can be installed in ceilings and walls, but can be especially effective when installed in floors. It will warm the air that circulates through the house and helps keep your home warm and cozy.

Methods of heating

There are several types of radiant heating that you can have installed in your home. Air-heated radiant floors, which are not really recommended due to their lack of efficiency, electric radiant floors, which usually work by way of electric tiles built into the floor. This method of heating the floor has its own set of advantages and disadvantages as well. It can be expensive in terms of electrical costs, although it’s possible to charge the concrete floor with heat during the off hours so that it doesn’t draw any further power during the peak heating times.

The most popular method of radiant heating is known as hydronic heating. It provides heat by pumping heated water through tubing that is set underneath the floor. It is an excellent, and relatively inexpensive method of heating the home.

When you are considering installing radiant heating, you should consider the method of heating, the installation costs, and the type of floor you have in your home. Installation costs depend on what type of heating you want to use, and what kind of floor you have in your home. Traditionally, radiant heating was really only used for tile floors, but recently, it has become popular in other types of floors as well.

Can I use radiant heating under hardwood floors?

Hardwood floors have many advantages of their own; they are the best option for allergy sufferers because they are so easy to clean and leave dust, pollen and pet dander nowhere to hide. They also last a very long time if properly cared for. If you want to install radiant heating but have hardwood floors, don’t worry! It is actually possible to add radiant heating under your hardwood floor. However, there are a few considerations you will have to make.

Most problems that people experience with their hardwood floors are caused by moisture; improper heating methods can exacerbate these problems. Modern technology, however, has largely made these problems go away. You will have to take the type of wood that you have into consideration. The most popular American hardwood floor materials, such as cherry, oak, ash, maple, hickory, and walnut, will work just fine when you install radiant heating. However, floors made of tropical wood or extremely old floors may have problems when radiant heating is installed.

Other considerations are the width of the wood; narrow floorboards are best. For maximum effectiveness the floorboards should be no wider than approximately three inches. If you must use wider planks, use quarter-sawn wood and try to make use of thinner floorboards as well. Floorboards of around three-eighths of an inch thick conduct heat the best.

Installing radiant heat under hardwood floors

The challenge when installing radiant heat under hardwood floors comes from the fact that wood naturally expands when there is moisture in the air. Since humidity affects wood so much, and the heating in your home affects humidity, you’ll have to take care not to install your radiant heating system during a particularly humid time of year. You may have to install the heating system first and wait a few weeks to lay the floorboards over it.

Once the installation has taken place, you should care for your wood floor in much the same way as you always would. Periodically test the humidity, and make sure the air doesn’t become so humid that the floor will expand and buckle. You can refinish your floor the same way that you would without a heating system underneath. Regular care and maintenance of your floor are crucial, whether or not you have installed a radiant heating system.

Further tips

It’s a good idea to have a trustworthy installation service for any hardwood floor project. As a wood floor can be subject to certain problems, it’s absolutely crucial to get it installed correctly. In the Portland area, our staff at Wall2Wall can take care of any large installation project that you have, including placing a floor over a radiant heating system. We will also help you select the perfect type of wood to use for your budget, aesthetics and other considerations, such as heating systems, as well as instruct you on how to care for it afterward. If you do face any later problems with your hardwood floors, we can also help you correct them. Good luck with your hardwood floor installation project!

Restore or Replace Hardwood Floors: What to Consider

There are a lot of factors to take into consideration when deciding whether you want to restore or replace your hardwood floors. Some people choose to simply refinish the hardwood they have, which could be cheaper than a complete revamp, but if there is a considerable amount of wear and tear, that may not be the best option because it simply may not have the desired effect. To find out what the best option is, you may want to consult with a wood floor refinishing Portland expert.

Before you make your decision on what you want to do moving forward, Angie’s List suggests assessing your current situation and asking yourself a few questions. First, is your floor beyond repair? If the floor is damaged and worn, then it’s best to just replace the wood floor, but if there is minor wear and tear, a restoration job could be the perfect remedy.

You need to have many conversations with the wood floor refinishing Portland experts and ask them what they recommend. Compare prices around the business, and ask friends for referrals as well. Once you find a solution and price that you’re comfortable with, you can move forward in peace.

Restore or Replace Hardwood FloorsWatch out for subfloor issues. If there are structural issues, refinishing is not an ideal option because the cost of wood floor refinishing companies in Portland will be high. You’re better off doing a full replacement. The same would go for water damage. “When you lift up the edge of the carpeting and you see evidence of cupping on the edges of the planks, peeling or cracking or any buckling, replace the flooring,” Angie’s List concurs.

Also, consider that a wood floor can only handle a certain number of refinishings. After a few times, replacing the hardwood is simply your only option. Make sure to share all history of previous floor refinishings with your wood floor refinishing Portland expert.

According to HGTV, “Almost all old floors can be salvaged and refinished by skilled contractors.” This includes bug-infested planks or boards and delaminated strips. Again, if the problem is widespread, replacing may still be the best option. The refinishing option only comes into play if the areas of concern are of limited supply.

As you may know, replacing an antique floor could cost a lot more than refinishing it. You have to combine the cost of removal, installation, and labor, which could add up. A properly maintained wood floor can last 20-30 years if taken care of the right way. In that time, it can be sanded or refinished six or seven times, which costs significantly less than a full upheaval of the floor.

You need to consider what your immediate priorities are before deciding whether to refinish or restore your hardwood floors. If it’s price that’s the number one priority, then refinish the floor. Nine times out of 10, that’s the cheaper option. A floor can only be refinished a certain number of times and have its desired effect. If you’re worried about the look of the floor, refinishing is probably your best bet as well.

If you want to make more particular changes to the composition of the floor, related to the direction of the planks or the consistency of the material, you will have to go all in on a full replacement. This may surprise you, but refinishing a floor sometimes takes much more time than a full replacement, so if time is of the essence, a full revamp may be in the cards. It takes more time because the process is extensive and requires various specific tools.

Quality and age go hand in hand. If you want a top quality floor, sometimes you won’t get that with refinishing, especially if it’s been done to the floor several times in the past. Similarly, if the floor is really old, sometimes it’s just too worn to refinish, making hardwood floor replacement the only option.

TheFlooringGirl.com says that if you see the tongue where the boards fit together or if the boards are rather bouncy and don’t seem sturdy, it’s time for a new floor. This, seemingly, happens more often with pine floors because they are considerably softer. If you want to change the species of wood, you should consider replacing the hardwood as well.

You can also replace part of the floor, which is obviously cheaper than a complete revamp, and then refinish the rest. This may lead to more work in the future when the refinished portion eventually becomes worn, but it will save a considerable amount of money up front.

Not only should you consider the immediate cost, but consider the return you’re getting on your investment. Obviously, with a complete revamp, you get a solid investment because the floor will last longer. So, in the long term, you may save money on costs that will inevitably arise with a floor that’s been restored. According to Owners, “homeowners who are replacing or installing new hardwood floors can expect a return of about two times the cost of the project.” That means, if you can afford the upfront cost, or work something out with your contractor to spread out a few payments over time, it could be beneficial in the long run.

You will want to consult with several wood floor refinishing Portland experts to find out what the best option is for you and your family. Depending on your priorities and your available budget, you can make the best decision regarding whether to refinish or replace your hardwood floor. Whichever option you choose, if you live in the Portland area, consider us at Wall2Wall. We specialize in new hardwood flooring installation, restoration projects, as well as repairs.

How to Remove . . . From Wood Floors

From the appliances to the flooring we install in our homes, styles and trends change over time. Imagine having to live with avocado green appliances in your kitchen forever?

Even with our flooring choices, our opinions have changed every generation. A few decades ago, hardwood floors became old and outdated. Carpeting was a modern invention that everyone had to have. So homeowners rushed to install wall-to-wall carpets, bringing warmth and plushness under their feet.

It didn’t take long before we began ripping out the carpets with our bare hands, finding beautiful hardwood underneath. We loved it. We craved it. It became the in thing. And there it remains, even today.

Wood floors are a mainstay throughout Portland area homes. From small condos to large single family homes, wood floors add beauty and warmth to the ambiance and decor. And with so many choices available, the possibilities are endless.

The only question is, what best matches your lifestyle?

How to Remove . . . From Wood FloorsYou can choose site-installed hardwood floors and create a customized look throughout your home. You can select factory-finished wood flooring for a personalized look that is incredibly resistant to surface scratches. You can find a variety of finishes that protect your floor from the everyday activities that make up your life: from aluminum oxide to UV-cured urethane, with finish warranties that offer years of protection.

Yet, it’s also important to understand that wood floors will require work. And no matter how you live or how many people you have moving throughout your home each day, accidents happen. You will spill water on occasion. You will find a scratch here and there. Then, what do you do?

Scratches
Let’s start with the biggest enemy to your wood floor: scratches. If you have hardwood installed in your home, accumulating scratches is inevitable, no matter how careful you are. Scratches can be caused by a variety of things, including furniture, pets, and tracking small rocks in from outside.

While repairing scratched hardwood can be relatively easy, it depends on how deep the scratch lies.

For a shallow scratch, start by cleaning the affected area with a clean, soft rag. Wipe it down gently to remove excess dirt and debris from the scratch itself. Then dampen a rag with a wood stain marker that matches your wood floor coloring. Fold a clean rag to ensure you have a few layers to work with. Shake the wood stain marker and dab the point onto the cloth 10 to 15 times to saturate the area with the wood stain. Then rub the stain into the scratch. Focus in on getting the stain evenly throughout the scratch, rubbing in circles to achieve an even application. This method works better than applying it directly, as that can make the scratch darker than the rest of the floor.

If the scratch impacts the protective coating of the wood floor, use a soft rag and a small amount of hardwood floor cleaner to remove dirt and debris from the area. Rinse off the cleaner by using another rag with water, removing all cleaner from the area. Let dry before moving on.

When dry, use a small tipped brush to apply a protective finish to the area. You can use a sealant, shellac, or polyurethane varnish to seal in the impacted area. Consulting with a professional may be beneficial to ensure your wood floors aren’t further damaged in the process.

For deep scratches and gouges, start by cleaning the affected area. To reach the scratch, you will have to remove the protective layer before you can fix the scratch. Using sandpaper, or a scouring pad with mineral spirits, gently rub the area to expose the scratch.

Fill the scratch with a small amount of wood filler that is a similar color to your wood floors. Use your finger to work the wood filler into the scratch, spreading it in all directions to avoid air bubbles. Be sure to use wood filler instead of wood putty, as wood putty doesn’t take stain the same way and will affect your ability for matching your floor’s color. Wipe off excess filler and allow to dry. Sand to ensure it is level with the rest of your floor, moving in all directions to give it a natural feel. Wipe away dust. Then seal the patched area with a thin layer of the same sealer used on the rest of the wood flooring. Allow drying before any traffic is allowed on the surface.

If you have any questions about the process, it may be better to allow a professional to repair your floor to ensure consistency and keep all warranties valid.

Common Household Items
While scratches are the most common problems that will impact your hardwood floors, there are many items throughout your house that when dropped, can create potential problems. The faster you work to correct the affected area, the less the problem will have a chance to set and take hold.

Chewing gum – rather than trying to pry or scrape it off, cool the gum by filling a plastic bag with ice and placing it over the gum until it is brittle enough to crumble. Then remove with a plastic scraper, avoiding pulling the finish with it.

Crayon or candle wax – If you have a wax or penetrating finish, place a brown paper bag over the wax or crayon and heat with an iron until the bag absorbs the stain. If you have a varnish or polyurethane finish, use a cleaner designed for hardwood floor finishes.

Dried milk or food stains – If you have a wax or penetrating finish, gently rub with a damp cloth until the stain is gone. Reapply wax as necessary. With a varnish or polyurethane finish, use a cleaner designed for the wood finish.

Grease or oil stains – If you have a wax or penetrating finish, saturate a cotton cloth with hydrogen peroxide and place it over the stain. Saturate a second cloth with ammonia and place in on top of the first. Let dry in between and repeat as necessary. With a varnish or polyurethane finish, use a cleaner designed for the wood finish.

Water stains or white spots – If you have a wax or penetrating finish, rub with steel wool dipped in wax. If the stain or spot remains, follow by lightly sanding with sandpaper. Follow up with steel wool dipped in mineral spirits. Apply stain to match original color once dry. Wax and buff. With a varnish or polyurethane finish, use a cleaner designed for the wood finish.

Mold or mildew – With all types of finishes, use a cleaner designed for the wood finish. Sand and refinish the areas where the mold or mildew impacted beneath the surface. Apply finish as needed.

Are your hardwood floors in top shape?

How to Choose the Right Hardwood Floor for Your Home

When deciding to renovate your home, one of the biggest decisions you will make is what to do about your floors. While it is certainly acceptable to opt for carpeting, there is no denying that nothing can truly outdo beautiful hardwood floor refinishing in Portland.

If you do choose to do hardwood floor refinishing in your Portland home, however, you must keep in mind that there are many important decisions that go along with it. What type of wood is best to use? Do you want solid or engineered wood? Do you prefer prefinished or unfinished and would you rather have oil-based or water-based polyurethane?

While there are quite a few types of hardwood you can use, oak flooring is far and away the most popular. There are many reasons for this, most notably its incredible durability. Not only do oak floors hold up remarkably well structurally, they also look great visually for an amazingly long period of time.

It also offers attractive grain patterns while lending itself well to a wide variety of staining and coloring options, which result in superior aesthetics. It is also widely available, so prices are competitive and it is resistant to most insects and fungus, resulting in little money needed for future repairs.

How to Choose the Right Hardwood Floor for Your HomeWalnut is another strong option due to its sturdiness and excellent aesthetic features. It is highly resistant to water and mold damage, and like oak, walnut is unaffected by most insects. The dark grains that hide dirt is a favorable feature, as is the fact that it is easy to install, so some homeowners may decide to save money and opt for self-installation.

The downside of walnut flooring is it tends to be more expensive than most other types of wood, though a well-installed walnut floor could add quite a bit to the overall monetary value of the home.

In North America, other quality choices of wood for your floor include cherry, hickory, maple, and ash, and the best choice is simply a matter of personal preference.

So when it comes to hardwood floor refinishing in Portland, is it best to go with solid wood or engineered? That, too, largely depends on what your preference is and what your home requires.

Solid hardwood floors are made from thick pieces of solid wood that can be sanded down or refinished at virtually any point in time. Being that solid wood expands and contracts based on temperature and moisture, it is generally recommended only for use at or above ground level. It is also for this reason that it is wise to leave a gap between the wall and floor to accommodate the swelling that can occur from the changes in moisture and temperature.

Whereas solid wood is generally very difficult to install, engineered hardwood can be installed fairly easily in most areas of the home, and unlike solid wood, it is thin and largely resistant to heat and moisture. It also tends to be a cheaper option than solid hardwood and is less likely to wear down from outside conditions, making it a preferred option for below-ground level construction. Unlike solid wood, engineered wood can go on top of concrete. However, engineered wood is much thinner than solid wood, which can be a disadvantage since it usually cannot be sanded down or refinished in the future.

One of the most important, but often overlooked, aspects of hardwood floor refinishing in Portland is whether you choose prefinished or unfinished wood. There are advantages to both, so once again, this largely comes down to a matter of personal preference and what works best in your particular home.

Prefinished wood flooring offers the benefit of knowing exactly what you are getting since the finish has already been applied and so its appearance is already a given. It also takes less time to install because time does not need to be spent on color or sealant and it is generally less expensive because factory finish saves on labor costs. Further, prefinished tends to be more durable, especially in areas where temperature and humidity can fluctuate, so it would make especially good sense to use it with a basement or anything below-ground.

While it can be more labor intensive and costly to use, the major draw of unfinished wood is the customization factor. If you already have hardwood flooring in your home and need to create an exact match for an adjacent piece, unfinished flooring is the way to go. In addition, there is a greater degree of control over what the wood will ultimately look and feel like because the stain will be tailored to your wishes and the wood itself will be sanded after being nailed down, which can produce a smoother surface.

Hardwood floor refinishing in Portland would not be complete, however, without choosing between oil-based and water-based polyurethanes to finish the floor. Both offer quality protection, but there are some differences worth taking note.

Water-based polyurethanes have minimal odor with a clear finish. The process is relatively quick as it requires a coating every two hours, so it can theoretically be done in a single day. The downside is that it may not look as full and rich as oil-based polyurethanes and tends to cost significantly more as well.

The cheaper price of the oil-based polyurethanes can be attractive, but if time is of the essence, oil-based is not the way to go since you must wait five hours in between each coat and 12 hours after the final coating. It also produces a strong odor, which is not present in water-based polyurethanes.

While there are many different aspects to hardwood floor refinishing in Portland, each one is uniquely important, and as such, should always be tailored to the needs of the individual homeowner. There is no uniform answer to what is best and while there are pros and cons to each step of hardwood floor refinishing, only the homeowner can truly make the “right” decision.

How to Remedy Cold Hardwood Floors

Has the chilly winter left you feeling a little cold? Probably…perhaps even more so if you have hardwood flooring installed throughout your home. While cold hardwood floors can make your feet feel a little chilly, don’t worry. At Wall 2 Wall Hardwood Floors, we have the perfect cold floor remedy.

First, you’ll want to determine whether your hardwood floors are uniformly cold throughout the house or if one room’s floors are chillier than others. That will help you assess what you need to do in order to fix the problem. For instance, if one room is freezing and another is consistently warm, it could be an issue with the air ducts in your home. Not only do poorly insulated ducts heat your home inconsistently, they could also be contributing to higher energy bills. You should have your ducts inspected by a trained professional for any problematic issues.

How to Remedy Cold Hardwood Floors

If your ducts check out fine or you’re looking for a temporary fix to hold you over, a quick and easy way to solve the wintertime hardwood flooring blues is to purchase an area rug. This is an especially good solution if there’s a specific room or area of your home that gets colder than others. Likewise, another quick fix is to purchase an air deflector to better circulate the heat in your home. Heat and air deflectors are inexpensive options that don’t require a ton of money and are easy to install. Unlike area rugs, they also have the added benefit of allowing you to keep those shiny hardwood floors on full display.

Similarly, a smart zoned thermostat is a great solution for homes where some rooms and floors are chillier than others. A smart zoned thermostat can be programmed to heat certain rooms more than others. This helps ensure heat is distributed evenly throughout your home while also helping you reduce energy costs by avoiding the unnecessary heating of already warm rooms. Using a smart zoned thermostat can keep your floors feeling toasty and also save you money in the long run.

If you have stripped hardwood floors, you may want to consider draft proofing them. The small gap between the boards can allow cool air to enter your home. It’s basically the equivalent of leaving a window open on a chilly winter day. The best way to fix this problem is by draft proofing the floorboards. You can do this yourself with some relatively inexpensive materials, or you can contact the professionals at Wall 2 Wall to give your floors a professional quality look.

Once your floors have been draft proofed, you should also consider refinishing them. Over time, floors can lose their luster. Refinishing is an attractive option because it can make your hardwood floors look shiny and new at a fraction of the cost of new hardwood floor installation. At Wall 2 Wall, we can also stain floors a new color if you’re looking to upgrade the look of your home without breaking the bank.

If your hardwood floors were recently installed by a skilled professional or are in good shape, then your home could be in need of new insulation. It might be a good idea to contact a home inspector to assess your insulation. You should also check to make sure the windows and entryways of your home are properly sealed. The problem could have little to do with the hardwood floors themselves and more to do with drafty windows or doors. Weatherstripping them is an easy and inexpensive way to keep your floors feeling warm. It can even reduce your energy bills.

If everything checks out fine with your home’s insulation and your floors aren’t in need of refinishing, consider radiant heating. While this is not recommended for solid hardwood flooring, it can be an excellent option for engineered hardwood floors. Hydronic radiant floors are typically the most popular and cost-effective option. If this is an upgrade you’d like to consider, our experts at Wall 2 Wall would be happy to provide you with a free estimate.

If you prefer to turn up the thermostat in your home, remember to be mindful of moisture levels. Low humidity levels can cause wood to shift and lead to cracks or gaps between the planks. Hygrometers are inexpensive tools that will help you measure your home’s moisture level.

If you’re cranking up the heat, make sure that you’re not warping your hardwood floors in the process. With solid or engineered hardwood floors, you’ll want to keep the humidity level between 35% and 55%. If the levels reach about 55%, moisture could seep into the wood, creating gaps or causing the floor to cup. If the humidity level drops below 35%, it could weaken the wood and cause it to split. Installing a hygrometer will help you gauge the humidity level in your home and help you prevent any damage to your home’s hardwood floors.

If you want a professional to help assess which of our solutions would work best for you, contact our experts at Wall 2 Wall. We’re your local source for all your hardwood floor installation and maintenance needs. Your hardwood floors can and should be enjoyed year-round and we’re more than happy to help you do that.