Category Archives: Products

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.

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.

10 Questions to Ask When Considering Hardwood Floors

When you consider hardwood floor installation, you’re not just making a quick decision. This is a long-term investment you’re making into your home, and you need to know your options and the ramifications behind each element. That’s why it’s important to ask the following 10 questions.

What type of hardwood is best for my home?

There are many different types of hardwood that can be considered when preparing for installation. You need to know what is most important to you. According to DIY Network, the best hardwood floors are made with wood species that are readily available and — you guessed it — very hard. Oak flooring, maple flooring, and cherry flooring are all good choices. Other species include bamboo (which is actually a grass), walnut, ash, and mahogany.

What is the cost?

10 Questions to Ask When Considering Hardwood FloorsLaminate is your cheapest option at $3-$7 per square foot. Right behind it is ceramic or porcelain tile at $4-$12 per square foot and engineered wood for $4-18 per square foot. Regular wood starts out as priciest floors at $6-$15 per square foot.

Do you charge for an estimate?

Some contractors will reach into your pocket as soon as they enter your front door. Make sure you know all the facts, including whether or not they charge for an estimate. While that may not be the ultimate deciding factor on who does your floors, you want to know where every penny is going, especially if you’re on a tight budget.

Are you insured and certified to install my flooring?

Do not overlook this step. You need to protect yourself in case something goes wrong, and that’s what insurance is for. If you trust someone else’s word (who could be a friend of the contractor), it could come back to bite you. Make sure they provide the appropriate documentation. Proceeding with an uncertified or uninsured contractor is not advisable in any business venture.

Can you provide me references and testimonials?

This is another key component to the process when deciding who will do your hardwood floor installation. Even if referred to the contractor by a friend, you want to see iron clad testimonials. It’s okay if there are a couple that aren’t perfect because that proves the contractor is being honest with you. If they have a legitimate explanation about the negative comments, then it’s up to you to be the judge and see if you want to do business with them. Call the references too, because then you can hear some thoughts from people who were once in the same position as you.

What can you tell me about moisture in my area and how that may affect my hardwood floor installation in the long term?

It’s no secret that moisture and hardwood flooring don’t mix, and sometimes, geography plays into it. Local contractors should know the area, especially if they’re experienced, and they can give you the low-down on what to expect with your flooring. The good ones should also give you some tips on how to combat moisture or even take some preventative measures to fight moisture before it even becomes an issue in your home. Depending on your area, it’s just one of those things you have to stay on top of. If you’re lazy and don’t do your due diligence, it could come back to bite you in the long run.

How is the old flooring disposed? Is there an additional charge?

Much like the question asked earlier about there being a cost for an estimate, this is one of those things that you have to ask beforehand. Some contractors take the old flooring and dispose of it themselves for no charge, but that’s not the case with everyone. This way, if your contractor is one of the ones who charge, you won’t be surprised. Also, you can play hardball sometimes and negotiate, and some may be willing to waive such a fee to ensure they get your business.

Who moves all the furniture, electronics, etc. before installation?

This is one people don’t usually forget because everyone worries about their valuables during construction. Sometimes, it’s the homeowner’s responsibility to move everything prior to the construction team’s arrival, but other times, it’s a package deal and the contractors do everything themselves. Whether there is a fee or not, this is a necessary evil, because your valuables need to be protected during the overhaul with your home’s hardwood floor installation.

What does the warranty cover?

A lot of times, you’ll get in writing the complete breakdown of what the warranty covers. READ IT! If anything is unclear, ask the contractor before construction begins. You don’t want to get into a situation where your wood flooring has a problem and it’s not covered. You need to know exactly what you’re getting yourself into, both financially and logistically. If you fail to read the paperwork, and you have issues not covered, you will bear the financial burden associated with repairs.

How do I keep my flooring looking new?

There are a number of steps, according to One Good Thing, you can take, some of which are preventative, to ensure your hardwood floor is looking shiny and glorious. First, make your guests take their shoes off! When you walk on a wooden floor with dirty shoes, you are leaving lots of sand and dirt behind. Next, make sure to get rid of dirt and grime with a vacuum or dust mop before you attempt to wash a wood floor. Rubbing dirt into your floors is never a good idea. Dust the floor with a mop that has been treated with a dusting agent (or use a microfiber duster) to pick up dust, dirt and pet hair. For occasional deep cleaning (dirt, oil and grime will build up over time), the best solution for cleaning wood floors is one cup of vinegar mixed with one gallon of water.

Not All Hardwood Floors are Created Equal

Not All Hardwood Floors are Created Equal

When you consider making flooring upgrades in your home, there are several options, but nothing seems as truly beautiful as when you install hardwood floors. Their presence just adds a genuine warmth, and it’s a popular choice among consumers. But remember, not all hardwood floors are the same, and you must keep that in mind when deciding what you want.

Solid hardwood floors are made out of solid wood. Each board is made from a single piece of hardwood that’s about 3/4 of an inch thick. Because it’s thick, it can be sanded down and refinished for however long the flooring is in the home. Solid wood flooring expands and contracts with changes in your home’s relative humidity. Normally, installers compensate for this movement by leaving an expansion gap between the floor and the wall. Base molding or quarter round is traditionally used to hide the extra space.

On the contrary, engineered hardwood is more versatile and resilient, and it can be installed in most areas of the home. It’s made of genuine wood and it gives you an updated look and feel. It’s made of a core of hardwood and plywood with a layer of hardwood veneer affixed to the top surface. It’s more resilient to moisture and heat compared to its counterpart, hardwood.

Solid wood floors are only recommended for rooms at ground level or above. The unique construction of engineered wood creates a structure that is less likely to buckle, gap or react to fluctuations in humidity and temperature. You can install engineered flooring on any level, including below ground. It’s a great choice for finished basements and bathrooms.

Both types of floors are designed for beauty and durability and can stand up to active homes. However, they have different performance attributes. Solid wood is permanently nailed to the subfloor. When engineers install hardwood floors, they typically leave a gap between the wall and the floor to accommodate swelling. Engineered floors tend to have enhanced stability, making them more reliable against everyday wear-and-tear and also to buckling or rippling. In the right conditions, engineered hardwood can go over concrete.

Solid hardwood flooring installation is perhaps the most challenging of all flooring types. However, with the right tools and planning, skilled DIYers can handle the job with stunning results. Engineered hardwood flooring is an easier and faster DIY installation.

In terms of cost, solid wood tends to be cheaper overall, but it takes more time to install, as previously mentioned. Exotic or highly-coveted hardwood, such as maple, may be more expensive than engineered flooring. In terms up upkeep, here are some major differences.

Conveniently, upkeep for all types of hardwood floor is simple. Just avoid moisture, use pads on the feet of furniture to prevent scratches, do not let water sit and ensure you’re using the proper cleaning supplies.

Engineered floors, on the other hand, are considered more environmentally friendly and sustainable than most types of flooring, including solid hardwood as it makes use of “leftovers” from other wood manufacturing processes. However, solid hardwood could also be considered environmentally friendly if it is bought from a responsible supplier. Look for hardwoods certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

Here are more differences between solid and engineered hardwood.

Solid

  • Deeper color with age: It depends on the species, but many exotic solid woods will change color after being exposed to ultraviolet light over weeks or months. Usually, the color becomes deeper and darker.
  • Choice of finish: Since our solid woods are unfinished, you can choose whatever finish and number of coatings you like. This includes the sheen level of the finish, as well.
  • Easily cleaned and maintained: Solid flooring is sanded and sealed at the job site. So there are no cracks between wood strips that act as dirt traps. And most cleaning jobs can be handled with a damp—not wet—cloth or mop.

Engineered

  • Capable of refinishes: Because of the thick, sawn top-layer, engineered flooring can be refinished 2 – 3 times.
  • Attractiveness: With engineered hardwoods, you’re not getting a thin veneer. You’re getting genuine hardwood on the top layer. That layer is just sawn more thinly than with solid wood, so you have the same kind of natural beauty and rich color that you get with exotic solid woods.
  • Stability: Engineered flooring is structurally stabilized. The cross-grain pattern resists expansion and contraction caused by changes in temperature and moisture. The result is flooring that is more stable than solid wood.

When refinishing these floors, it is also important to be aware that many refinishing products contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Varnish and lacquer are the most dangerous, while water-based finishes are less so.

To recap, consider the following factors before deciding on solid wood or engineered flooring:

  • Location: Traditional solid hardwood flooring is not well suited for below-grade installations because of the possibility of moisture issues. The construction of an engineered hardwood gives it enhanced structural stability that allows it to be installed at any grade level
  • Type of Subfloor: If you plan to install over concrete, you must use an engineered product to ensure structural integrity. Solid wood flooring or engineered flooring may be used over plywood, existing wood floors or OSB subfloors.
  • Moisture in the Room: If you are considering floors for a bathroom where continuous moisture is expected, you will want to select a product other than hardwood. While the moisture resistance of an engineered hardwood makes it suitable for rooms below grade or ground level when installed with a moisture barrier, it is not advisable to install any hardwood flooring in a bathroom.

All in all, you have to think about what’s best for you and your family in your current living situation. While one may be more affordable, it may not be the most financially-responsible decision in the long run. You need to consider all factors before making any concrete decision about installing new wood floors. For more information and for help having your hardwood floors installed, click here.

Loving Wall-2-Wall Hardwoods!

What can’t we say! These guys are the BEST! Flexible schedule, super kind, and best of all, quality work.

Thanks to John and Charles for being really flexible and giving us the best addition to our awesome remodel.  They gave us fir floors, stairs, trim and a Swedish finish to die for!

Fir is soft, but, for us, it symbolizes the PacNW.  They are warm and support us well :)

The Fletchers

hardwood floor restoration 

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