How Does a Contractor Install Heated Floors with Hardwood?


Heated floors have been around since the Romans fanned wood-burning fires under elevated marble floors. Fortunately for us, technology has come a long way, and heated floors are now available to anyone for much less hassle. With a new build, it’s easy to heat an entire house with a radiant heat system.

Certain types of heated floors are better as a supplemental heat source in your home, most commonly used in rooms such as bathrooms, basements, kitchens, and bedrooms—especially when the bedroom is above a garage or other unheated space. Whether using heated floors for the whole house or just certain rooms, they could arguably be one of the most luxurious additions you add and can be installed under many different types of wood floors.

If you have never experienced walking around barefoot in the cold of winter on a cozy, warm floor, you are indeed missing out! Take a look at what exactly heated floors are, how they work, and if adding them to a renovation or to your new build is right for you.

How Do Heated Floors Work?

Heated floors are an incredible heating system for your home, but how do they actually work? It’s a very simple concept, with the heat starting under the floors and rising, it feels warmer than heat being pushed in through the walls or ceiling. In more detail, since hot air rises, when you have heat, the air around the heat expands. When the heated air expands, it becomes less dense than the cooler air around it and then rises. When the heating system starts from under the floors, we get the benefit of feeling all of the heat rising, and there will be no cold drafts.

This can be seen with water as well. When there’s a less dense object, such as a log, the log then floats up to the denser water. When you heat under your floor, the hot air rises, thus helping to create a cozy warm home for you. This page offers a great visual of why heated floors work so well.

Typically, floor temperatures are set between 80 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit but can be set as high as 104 degrees. Radiant floor heating systems often feel similar to the heat from the sun. Even when the air in the room is cooler, the warmth from the floor will help make you feel warmer. It’s similar to standing in the shade versus standing in the sun. It’s the same temperature, but you’re much warmer when you’re standing in the sun versus in the shade on a brisk day.

Pros and Cons of Radiant Heating


  •       Even heating—radiant floor heating systems heat the entire floor so there will always be an even temperature throughout the room or house, and no more cold drafts.
  •       Quiet—because there’s no air being forced through a duct system and no furnace that kicks on, radiant heating systems are very quiet.
  •       Fewer allergens—without a forced-air system, there are less dust and allergens being blown through the home.
  •       No maintenance—once your heated floors are installed, they don’t require a lot of maintenance.
  •       Energy-efficient—because the heated air from the radiant heat system rises up from under the floors, the heat is felt right away. There’s nowhere for the heat to escape. Even on a very cold day, having the heat right under your feet will keep you from needing to constantly raise the temperature.


  •       Replace Flooring—if you haven’t installed a radiant heat system during construction, your flooring will need to be replaced. Both hydronic and electric systems will require the current flooring to be removed before installation.
  •       Elevated floor—there are some thin systems available, as thin as ⅛ inch thick, but typically, a radiant heat system will raise your floor about a ½ inch. This can cause some issues when only some rooms of the house are being heated using this method.
  •       Cost—radiant heating systems are an investment up-front, but they do save in the long run, especially if you live in an area where the cost of electricity is high. Taking into consideration the cost of electricity versus the cost of installation will help determine if heated floors will be beneficial in your home and budget.

Electric vs. Hydronic

There are two popular options for radiant floor heating systems—electric, which is typically supplemental, and hydronic, which is usually designed to heat the whole house.

Electric radiant heating systems aren’t meant to be the only heat source in a home and are installed over the subfloor in a bed of thin-set mortar. The cables that are the heat source are often pre-attached to puzzle-like mats to allow for easy installation. If you’re pretty handy, you could do an install yourself, but it’s an easy project for a contractor, and you’ll ensure a quality job. Electric radiant heating systems heat up in 30 to 60 minutes so homeowners can turn them on and off as they need to help keep their heat costs down.

Hydronic radiant heating systems are typically designed to heat the entire house. Plastic tubing that holds water is heated to a temperature between 100 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit and circulated through that tubing under the floors throughout the house.

The most popular way to install the tubing is over subflooring and covered in thin-set mortar or with specially designed panels that hold the tubing or cables in place. These panels are then covered in cement or mortar.

Hydronic radiant heating is ideal for whole-house heating and should be installed during construction, as it can be difficult to add to a renovation that doesn’t already have the proper equipment. Because the hydronic radiant heat system requires pump lines, gas lines, and a broiler, it usually costs more up-front. However, the cost of heating with this system is generally lower when heating the entire house with the hydronic radiant heat system, even though the system takes longer to heat up and is usually kept on around the clock.

How Is It Installed?What Can I Do About My Cold Hardwood Floors

In recent years, the installation of radiant heat flooring systems has been simplified. Some subflooring has become available with pre-fitted tubing channels. There are also pre-made panels with insulation, a vapor barrier, and a holding system for the tubing or cables. Your contractor will start by making sure the floor is level. They can then build up the floor with plywood and sleepers to the height needed.

Once the contractor installs the tubing or cables, a thin-set mortar is poured over the top to encapsulate the cables and help distribute the heat. When that has been leveled and dried, flooring can then be installed after acclimating to the conditions of the house.

Installing heated floors can be very rewarding for your day-to-day comfort. At Wall 2 Wall, we can help with construction or restoration needs. Please reach out to us with any questions you have about your hardwood floors. We are happy to help.

Water on Hardwood Floor

What To Do If You Spill Water on Hardwood Floor?

Hardwood floors are a beautiful addition to any home. Not only are they pleasing to look at, but they can be resurfaced many times, making them capable of lasting a long time. Hardwood is also a great environmental choice. Since wood is a renewable resource, there’s less strain on the environment.

To maintain a healthy and functional hardwood floor, you must manage the moisture levels in your home. Excess moisture can cause wood floors to warp and crack, and mold can grow under the wood panels if excess moisture isn’t removed quickly. A water spill on a hardwood floor could cause problems if not quickly cleaned up. Wall 2 Wall flooring experts will tell you the best methods to clean up a water spill on a hardwood floor.

What Happens When Hardwood Floors Have Excess Moisture?

Excess moisture can be very damaging to hardwood floors. High moisture levels can be caused by moisture captured underneath the floorboards or by excess air moisture above the flooring. High humidity in a home can be a seasonal issue that can resolve on its own as the seasons change. Moisture can also be caused by a spill on a hardwood floor. Whatever the cause, high moisture levels can cause some serious damage to hardwood flooring and need to be dealt with.


Hardwood floorboards can start cupping in response to excess moisture absorbed into the boards. Cupping is when the floorboards are raised at the edges and curve inward toward the center, causing a concave shape.

Cupping is due to the uneven moisture levels inside the floorboard. There’s a higher moisture content toward the bottom of the floorboard compared to the surface, which tends to dry faster due to exposure to air.


Crowning is another way hardwood floors show damage due to high moisture content. When moisture levels remain high for an extended period of time, the floorboards absorb the moisture to saturation, and that causes the floorboards to rise in the center, causing the center of the board to be higher than the edges. This is the opposite of cupping; crowning has a convex shape.


Buckling is a third way hardwood floors show moisture damage, but this is a very uncommon occurrence. Buckling is when the floorboards pull away from the subflooring underneath, leaving a few inches’ gap in-between the hardwood floorboards and the subflooring underneath. Buckling tends to happen when severe flooding has been left standing for an extended period of time. To fix a hardwood floor that has buckled, you’ll need to replace the damaged boards with new hardwood flooring. Contact Wall 2 Wall for help with any buckling issues with your hardwood floors.

What Is the Proper Way to Clean a Water Spill on Hardwood Floors?

Leaving a water spill sitting on a hardwood floor for an extended period of time risks damage to the floorboards. The water could be absorbed into the wood, causing either warping or discoloration or both. The longer the water is in contact with the hardwood flooring, the more it can be absorbed into the wood, causing further damage to your hardwood flooring.

Water can also leak into the cracks between the floorboards, causing moisture to absorb into the subflooring beneath the hardwood floorboards. There’s also a potential for mold growth, which can begin as little as two or three days after a water spill. The more quickly you clean up any water spill on your hardwood flooring the less risk of damage occurring to your floor. Cleaning up the water spill during the first 24 hours gives the flooring the best chance of survival.

Remove Furniture and Carpeting

To clean up the water spill, you first want to remove any furniture that could be in the way or could also be wet. If there’s any carpeting over your hardwood floor where the spill occurred, you should move the carpeting and any padding from the area as well.

Remove Water

Next, you want to remove any water from the hardwood floor. You can soak up the water with absorbent towels, or if there’s an excessive amount of water, you can use a wet vacuum used to suck up water. Even after the water is removed from the surface of the hardwood, there may still be water seeped underneath the floorboards. Keep vacuuming even after the surface water has been removed until you see that water is no longer being sucked up into the wet vacuum.

Disinfect to Prevent Mold Growth

Once all the water has been removed, clean the wood surface with a disinfectant that doesn’t produce suds. Be sure to use a cleaning brush that won’t scratch the wood surface. This will help prevent mold growth from all the moisture that was sitting on the hardwood. Then use the wet vacuum again to make sure all the moisture has been removed after disinfecting the area.

Use Dehumidifiers and Fans

Once the area has been completely wet vacuumed and disinfected, it’s best to leave a dehumidifier in the area to absorb any moisture that may still be lingering between the floorboards or underneath the flooring. You want to leave the dehumidifier running for at least 24 hours or longer for more severe spills.

You can supplement with running fans on the highest setting to help circulate the air. Leave any windows open at least a few inches to help vent any excess moisture from the room. If the air is extremely humid or if it’s raining outside, however, leave the windows closed during this process. You can even turn on your air conditioner to help dry out the air. However, don’t use heat to dry the air out, as this can add moisture to the air and promote mold growth.

Once the area is dry, check for any mold growth. You may also use a moisture testing meter to determine when the moisture has been fully removed from the wood. It may take several weeks to show no more moisture. If you have any water damage that needs an expert’s touch, contact Wall 2 Wall for assistance.

What Goes Under Hardwood Flooring?

Hardwood flooring is one of the best flooring choices, as it will last a long time, and it can be resurfaced multiple times throughout its life span to stay looking fresh and new. The materials used to make hardwood flooring are renewable resources, which is a much healthier option for our environment than those made from nonrenewable resources.

Hardwood floors are both beautiful and functional, but there are some things to watch out for when installing hardwood floors. You want to make sure you know what goes under hardwood flooring. If you don’t add the correct materials underneath, you may have unwanted results. Whether you want to install a hardwood floor yourself or you would prefer to leave it to the professionals, Wall 2 Wall is here to help.

How to Protect Hardwood Floors from Beneath

Hardwood floors are a beautiful addition to any home, but they can transmit unwanted sound, and they are very reactive to moisture levels in the home. Before installing any hardwood floor, you must consider what goes under hardwood flooring. You can mitigate unwanted sounds, such as squeaks and audible footsteps, and avoid moisture damage by installing a well-secured subfloor and adding layers of material between the subflooring and the new hardwood floor.

A subfloor, which is usually made of wood panels, must be installed first, before any other layer, and you must also install what is called an underlayment. Underlayment is the layer of material that sits between the subfloor and the new hardwood flooring.


Subflooring is a layer of plywood or engineered wood that sits at the very bottom layer of the flooring. The subfloor is used as a structural layer to which you then attach the other layers. Regular plywood panels can be used, or ¾-inch tongue-and-groove plywood that is specifically meant for subflooring can be used instead. You can also use particleboard or oriented strand board (OSB). OSB is similar to particle board in that it’s also engineered wood, but it’s made by attaching strands of wood in a particular pattern with the use of adhesives.

Once you choose your subflooring materials, lay the panels down first, before any other layer is added. By securing a subfloor to the floor joists in your home, this can prevent squeaks that could occur after the new hardwood floors are installed. If you have an older subfloor already installed, you can safely install a new subfloor over the old one.

When installing a subfloor, it’s best to use screws as opposed to nails. Screws are more secure and stay in place better than nails. When attaching a subfloor with nails, you may end up with more movement over time, which can cause the floor to be squeaky.


Underlayment provides a moisture barrier to protect your newly installed hardwood floors from warping, cupping, or any other damage that could be caused by moisture rising from the subfloor. The underlayment also provides a sound barrier to help reduce footsteps and other squeaks when walking on the hardwood floor.

In addition, the underlayment can also provide a thermal layer of insulation to help maintain a comfortable temperature for walking on with bare feet. Though the subfloor provides a smooth surface to install a hardwood floor on, the underlayment helps add a layer over the subfloor to ensure a flat surface on which to install the hardwood floor panels.

Types of Underlayments


For humid climates, having a plastic sheet as an underlayment is a must. Even if you pair it with another moisture barrier, the plastic sheet will help keep condensation from warping your newly installed hardwood floors, and it will help prevent mildew from building up underneath.


You may also consider using a foam underlayment layer paired with the plastic sheet layer. Having a foam underlayment will help keep the installation of the wood panels nice and even. The foam also will act as thermal insulation and as a sound barrier, muting those pesky footsteps and squeaks throughout the home. If you pick lightweight foam, you will want to secure it with glue. When picking a foam layer, the denser the foam, the more costly the foam layer.


The most common form of underlayer is felt. Felt is a cost-effective layer that is easy to cut down to size and install as a homeowner. Felt also offers a moisture barrier and acts as insulation and soundproofing. Felt underlayments don’t need to be glued in place. The downside to using felt is that it doesn’t add any softness to the flooring.


Another cost-effective option is cork. Having a cork underlayment offers similar protection for less cost. Cork underlayments are very easy to work with, and they offer the best sound barrier. Since cork is has a natural antimicrobial feature, it will help to keep mildew and mold away as well. However, it isn’t the best choice as a moisture barrier. Cork won’t do well in areas of high moisture, such as bathrooms, kitchens, basements, and any area that may get wet.


There are other hard underlayment options that are specifically meant to act as sound barriers. You may also consider using a rubber layer, which acts as a moisture barrier and does offer some soundproofing, but it is a minimal sound barrier.

As you can see, there are numerous choices when it comes to picking your underlayments. Some are more DIY-friendly than others. There are also numerous types of subfloors, from concrete to plywood or engineered woods. When installing hardwood floors, be sure to measure accurately and add 10 percent to your measurements when buying materials to allow for measuring mistakes and miscuts. Do your research and pick which suits your home’s location best. If you prefer to leave it to the flooring experts, contact us at Wall 2 Wall Flooring.


5 Things to Expect from Great Wood Floor Installation Service

Have you decided you want to add the timeless choice of hardwood flooring to your home? It’s likely you’ve been drawn in by the appeal of the added charm and value it can bring to a home. You aren’t alone. Returning to the beautiful and classic feel of hardwood flooring is something many homeowners find appealing. While we know there are some rock-star DIYers out there, at Wall 2 Wall, we realize others are leaning toward an installation service but don’t know what they should be considering. You are in luck. As experts, we can share some key things we think you should pay attention to and expect from a great wood floor installation service.

1. Picking Your Flooring

You are at the point where you’re fully committed to installing some wonderful hardwood floors and now it’s time to get down to the brass tacks and think about the details. The first step is to determine what kind of hardwood floor you want—and we don’t mean which type of wood. There are two types of wood flooring to choose from before you even think about wood type and color. They are hardwood and engineered hardwood.

Hardwood flooring is, as you can imagine, planks of solid hardwood through and through. It’s usually crafted of hardwood species such as oak, maple, and walnut. The benefit of this type of flooring is that it’s not only strong and sturdy, but with the proper care and maintenance, it can last a lifetime. This is due to its ability to be sanded and refinished many times throughout its life span to ensure a beautiful appearance and constant appeal.

Engineered hardwood is a popular alternative because it has similar qualities but at a reduced cost. This product is a thin layer of hardwood bonded on top of high-quality plywood. Because the thickness of the hardwood is substantially reduced in comparison to solid hardwood, however, it can only be sanded and refinished a handful of times. This could translate into a shorter life span of the floors—about 25 to 30 years—or longer periods of time between that newly finished floor look and when it dulls because of foot traffic, sunlight bleaching, and standard wear and tear. Each type has its benefits and challenges to consider.

2. Choosing a Contractor

Once you’ve picked your flooring, you can settle on the best contractor for your wood floor installation. Sometimes these two steps are reversed, as a contractor can give good insight into the types of floors that would be best suited for your home, style, and needs. Start by getting estimates on the size or square footage required for your space and for the total cost.

It’s important to ask questions to ensure you’re getting a service you can trust. Things to focus on when you receive an estimate is where they plan to prep and cut the wood. Is it inside your home? Do they seal off the rooms with plastic to protect the rest of the house? How do they handle baseboards? Knowing if your contractor can also assist in refinishing and repairing your floors down the road is also important for great wood floor installation service.

After contractors and flooring have been chosen, it’s time to pay attention to the work. Some things to look for to ensure you’re getting good service will be acclimation, subflooring, and after-installation care instructions.

3. Acclimation

Acclimation is the process by which your hardwood flooring accustomed to the conditions of your home and space. Specifically, it’s ensuring the wood finds equilibrium between the temperature and moisture content of the wood materials with the air of the space in which it’s being installed. Failure to take this step can result in your floors having excessive gaps, warping, or cupping after the installation is complete. While acclimation timelines vary by wood species and product, a minimum recommendation is three days.

This step is not always required for engineered hardwood, so check the guidelines for the flooring you’ve chosen.

4. Subflooring

Since hardwood flooring doesn’t just sit on top of air, it’s important that the wood floor installation service also checks and prepares the subflooring. This starts with ensuring the subflooring is clean of debris that could affect how well the boards fit together during installation. Your contractor should also check that the floors are dry. Excess moisture in the subflooring can cause your hardwood floors to expand too much after installation.

Lastly, they should ensure the subflooring is flat and there’s no sound when someone walks across it. If any areas squeak, they need to be replaced or fixed before installation begins. As with any major project, a good foundation is key.

5. Care Instructions

After all of the choices, preparation, and installation comes the finished product. While the excitement of having your newly completed floors may be a little distracting, make sure you understand this isn’t the end of the line. Every great wood floor installation service will follow up all their hard work with some education on how to care for your newly installed floors. This should include proper cleaning methods and frequency.

Since the type of hardwood flooring and species chosen can have an impact on your maintenance schedule, be sure to get this information. Engineered hardwood floors are not exempt. A big concern with upkeep is moisture control, and your contractor should discuss steps you can take to prevent damage.

Other standard recommendations from your installation service may include watching for wear and tear. They can point out some general indicators for when refinishing should be considered in the future. You as a homeowner can also take your own preventative measures and use felt pads under furniture corners so as not to scuff the wood. Area rugs are also a great form of protection but try to avoid ones that have rubber backs as they can leave permanent marks on the floor and even discolor the wood. There are other options for ensuring your rugs don’t slide, such as rug grippers.

If these five things have all been covered by your contractors, you should feel comfortable knowing you have a great wood floor installation service. For more information on hardwood floor services, Wall 2 Wall is available to assist you with questions and general recommendations.


5 Room Decor Tips to Complement Wood Floor Restoration

Did you just complete a wood floor restoration? Congratulations! We’re sure that it looks wonderful and makes your home feel brand new. However, if you really want to take your home to the next level, you will want to decorate your home to complement this new wood floor restoration. There are ways to decorate that add to your new floor, rather than simply exist next to it. You spent time and money on a wood floor restoration, so you want it to get its rightful attention.

Decorating your home to complement your wood floor restoration can be a fun experience. You can choose the styles that fit your personality and lifestyle.

One important thing to note is that when it comes to decorating around your new wood floor, keep the color of your flooring in mind, as this will influence the color of the pieces you’re looking for. Depending on whether it’s dark or light flooring, most likely, the opposite shade of furniture or décor will go best.

Here are five room decor tips to help complement wood floor restoration.

Mix Rather Than Match

With wood flooring, you may not want your typical wood furniture or at least too much of it. By mixing in different fabrics, styles, and textures, rather than matching, you’re complementing the floor and avoiding furniture that blends in with it. If you do still want to have some wooden pieces in your home, try picking a different color of wood, either darker or lighter than the flooring in your home. This will give the room a rustic feel while allowing both the floor and the pieces in your home to stand out on their own.

For instance, if you have traditional hardwood floors that are a single color, choose patterned material chairs that pop. If you want include wooden furniture in your décor, opt for pieces that are stained a color that contrasts nicely with your single-colored flooring.

Use Soft Fabrics

One way to balance the firmness of wood flooring is by using soft fabrics and area rugs to lighten the room. Materials like lambswool or sheepskin will add softness and contrast the hard surface of the wood floors. Plus, they’ll make you feel as though you’re walking on air and help keep your floors warm in the winter.

Another idea is to utilize airy textiles, whether that’s through cotton sheets on your bed or window treatments, such as a lightweight, cream-colored curtain.

Take Advantage of Natural Light

Natural light can make small homes look so much bigger, which is why it’s a good idea to use this to your advantage. If your home has dark wooden floors, you can pull light into a room. Some tricks for doing this are to have cabinets in a lighter color, paint your walls white or a similar light shade, or put down area rugs that are patterned rather than simply one color. Any of these will add nice accents to the room, while still allowing your wood floor restoration to be hit by the natural light and shine through.

Choose Furniture Coloring That Compliments Your Floors

As we mentioned above, depending on the color of your floor, you should have furniture that complements it rather than takes away from it. One good rule of thumb is that the darker your flooring, the lighter your furniture should be. Some good colors for you to choose from include white, cream, yellow, lavender, pastels, or muted shades of green, pink, and blue.

If you do incorporate wooden furniture into your home, you also need to be careful the color doesn’t clash with the color of your flooring. If you decide to avoid matching stains, a safer bet might be going for painted options, especially in tones of white or a muted yellow.
Furthermore, couches that are super plush and chairs that are light in color also make nice contrasts to dark-colored floors.

Take Advantage of Floor Decorations

Vases are a great floor decoration that will really complement your wood floor restoration. Color can have an impact here as well. If your floor is dark, then white, off-white, or cream-colored vases are the way to go. You don’t have to have plants in these vases. Instead, try flower arrangements (real or fake), feathers, light-up branches, or other embellishments. Depending on the other décor you have planned for the room, you could even leave the vase bare, and that might be enough.

Placing vases in the corners of a room can really help frame the room, but they can also be placed at the entrance of the room or next to different pieces of furniture.

In addition to vases, you can use different sculpture pieces to complement your floors. For dark floors, gray or grayish-purple sculptures, as well as other light colors, can really stand out.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are many ways to complement your wood floor restoration. Even though it’s important to keep the color of your flooring in mind when figuring, we understand that it might not be the best option for you. For example, if you have young children or messy pets living in your home with you, white or lighter-colored furniture might not be ideal. If this is the case, choose patterned items that have more than one color. It will better hide inevitable wear and tear, while still providing that pop you’re looking for.

At Wall 2 Wall Hardwoods, we understand that your wood floor restoration is both an investment for your family and a work of art. Choosing the right décor for your rooms will fully show it off. If you’re just getting started on your restoration or even if you’re partway through, give Wall 2 Wall a call and let us help your restored floor be the showpiece you’re hoping for.


What Are My Wood Flooring Options?

There are so many wood flooring options to consider when deciding to start a flooring project in your home. It can be a little overwhelming knowing which is best for your individual needs. Maybe you’re going for a certain aesthetic. Or maybe you have furry family members or children to consider and you want a wood flooring option that’s durable and easy to maintain and keep clean. Wall 2 Wall Hardwoods can help you decide which wood floor suits your needs best.

Differences Between Solid and Engineered Wood Flooring

When considering your flooring options, you must first decide if you want solid hardwood floors or engineered wood floors. Both are valid options, with some different properties.

Solid Wood Floors

Solid wood floors are what you think of when considering a traditional wood floor. Each board is made from a single, solid piece of wood. Installation requires access to the subflooring so that the wood boards can be nailed directly to the wood subfloor. You cannot attach a solid wood floor to concrete.

This type of floor cannot be installed in basements or any room below ground level due to increased moisture levels that could potentially cause warping issues. Cupping may occur due to the increased moisture. Cupping is when the wood floorboards expand due to increased moisture absorbed into the wood. This causes the wooden boards to push into each other, creating raised parts along the seams of the floor, making for uneven floors.

Engineered Wood Floors

Engineered floorboards are made with multiple layers of a mix of compressed wood, polymers, and resin and then topped with a layer of hardwood. The thickness of the top hardwood layer can vary. Engineered wood floors can be a great wood flooring option, as they have some benefits that solid hardwood floors don’t have.

For starters, engineered wood floors can be installed over previously installed flooring, as long as the surface is even. Since the floorboards aren’t nailed down, but rather fitted together by tongue and groove, they can lay over other surfaces and don’t require having an exposed wood subfloor to complete the installation.

Many engineered wood floors can be installed below ground level due to having the added polymers and resin, making the floors less responsive to moisture, though that does vary by brand. It’s best to check with the manufacturer before installing any engineered wood floors below ground level. Because of the increased resistance to moisture, issues such as cupping are less likely to happen. Engineered wood floors often cost less than solid wood flooring, making them a more cost-effective option.

Most Common Hardwood Floor Types

There are five wood species that are most commonly used for hardwood floors in residential homes.


Oak is the most common type of wood floor in the US. It grows in abundance in the US, making it an affordable option. It’s also extremely durable and is considered a very hard wood so it resists dents and scratches well. Oak expands and contracts less than softer hardwoods, making it less susceptible to cupping and any kind of warping.

Floorboards made from oak also have a preferred grain pattern, making them more aesthetically pleasing to homeowners when choosing the look of their flooring. Both red and white oak varieties are the two most popular oak floors installed in the home. Red oak floors have a more reddish hue, while white oak floors have more of an earthy golden brown and grey tone. Oak is suitable for high traffic areas and a good option for homes with pets, due to its resistance to dents and scratches.

American Walnut

As you probably suspect, American walnut is also grown in the US, making it another affordable flooring option. Walnut is a great for medium- to low-traffic areas, as it’s softer than oak. Walnut floors have a dark brown tone, with a straight grain pattern. Note that they may show wear in high-traffic areas in just a few years.

Walnut flooring provides a clean, sophisticated look, and floor planks are often consistent in color, providing a consistent look in the home.


Another North-American grown wood flooring option is the maple tree. They’re grown in both the US and Canada, so it’s also an affordable option. Maple is slightly harder than oak, making it less resistant to dents and scratches. However, it also makes it less able to absorb stains, which makes applying finish more of a challenge, and it can come out blotchy.

Maple floors have beige and tan hues, with a finer grain pattern. The grain patterns found in maple wood planks often have darker streaks, making it visually interesting. Maple floors are perfect for contemporary designs.

American Cherry

Cherry trees grow in the northern US and are known for their cherry fruits as well as being used for hardwood flooring. Cherry is a softer hardwood, so it’s more suited for low-traffic areas of the home, such as formal dining rooms or bedrooms. Since cherry wood is a softer wood, it makes it harder to work with, thus making it a more expensive wood flooring option.

This wood has a deep reddish-brown hue, with a distinctive grain pattern. And it can continue to darken from sunlight exposure for about six months after installation, so it’s advised to wait at least six months before installing any area rugs, due to potential color changes. Cherry wood is typically not stained, allowing the natural beauty to shine through.


Hickory is one of the hardest US-grown types of hardwood flooring, making it a perfect hardwood flooring option for high-traffic areas and for homes with pets, due to its natural resistance to dents and scratches. This wood is very low maintenance so it will require less refinishing than the other wood flooring options, though when refinishing is needed, it could be more expensive due to being more labor-intensive.

Contact the hardwood floor experts at Wall 2 Wall Hardwoods for assistance in choosing the perfect hardwood floors for your home. We offer the best in hardwood installation and restoration in the area.

5 Tips for Restoring Hardwood Floor Under Carpet

Whether you’ve just moved in or have lived in the same home for years, you might consider doing away with that old carpeting and upgrading to hardwood flooring, a more sustainable, hygienic, and elegant alternative that can raise the value and comfort of your home. Luckily, you may not need to sink thousands of dollars into replacing the current floors in your home. If you’re living in an older home built before the 1970s, odds are your wall-to-wall carpeting is already hiding a hardwood gem.

Most hardwood floors under carpets can be restored—at a much more reasonable cost and with less labor if you choose the right professional service. But if you’ve opted to restore your hardwood floors on your own, then you may have a challenging yet highly rewarding task ahead of you. And if you’re working with a limited budget, restoring the floors yourself may be the most practical approach. Here are five tips for restoring hardwood floors under carpets to help you meet your project goals.

Tip 1: Time Your Project for the Season

Considering the timing of your project should be the first step. The Pacific Northwest experiences the year’s highest levels of humidity from fall to early spring. Starting a project in these months will make it more difficult to repair and refinish hardwood flooring for a number of reasons, including poor indoor air circulation, which prevents the finishing chemicals from drying and curing in the proper amount of time.

Since any floor restoration project requires the work area to be totally clear, moving back and forth between rooms or in and out of the house can be inconvenient in cold, wet weather. You’ll also have to contend with not having access to that room (or the entire house) for three to five days. And bear in mind that the strong odors of the finishing chemicals can take several days to clear up after they’ve dried.

Consider planning your project from late spring through the summer, when the weather is drier. Small, one-room projects can take less than a week to complete—sometimes only a weekend. While larger projects, such as an entire house, will inevitably take longer. Nevertheless, the majority of your time will be spent cleaning up after the last step while preparing for the next.

Tip 2: Assess the Condition of Your Hardwood Floors

This goes without saying: you need to remove the carpeting to actually see the hardwood floors. It’s also important to remove any foam padding, glue, tack strips and spikes, and/or nails left over. Once cleared, every plank should be inspected for damage. Depending on the condition of your floors, you might have to invest more time and money in your project or contact a local professional service, such as Wall 2 Wall Hardwood Floors, if individual planks or the entire floor needs replacing.

Problems such as rampant wood rot, black mold, discoloration, and physical holes in the wood may be beyond the scope of your project. On the other hand, minor scrapes and scratches to the surface can usually be repaired by sanding and refinishing the wood.

In older homes, hardwood floors were typically sealed and coated with natural varnish or shellac. This is likely what’s protected your hardwood floor under the carpet for years. However, to restore your floor, you’ll need to sand down that top layer, otherwise, your finishing materials won’t adhere.

Tip 3: Handle Your Sander Properlywall-2-wall-5-tips-for-restoring-hardwood-floor-under-carpets

Depending on the size of your project, you may opt for either a random orbital sander or a drum sander. For restoring narrow spaces, such as hallways and entryways, or for completing smaller room projects, a random orbital sander may be the best option. But for larger projects, you’ll have to rent a drum sander.

Unless you have experience with a drum sander, you should avoid operating one without first consulting a rental company and researching the proper ways to handle it. Drum sanders vary in size and weight, but for room-length restoration projects, a typical drum sander weighs over a hundred pounds—and can seriously damage your floor if used improperly.

When operating a drum sander, don’t push, pull, or swing the sander like you would a vacuum or lawnmower. Doing so can cause you to leave deep scratches and grooves in your floor, known as “stop marks.” Avoid letting the sander idle in one place, as it will grind into the wood. Where the hardwood floor meets the wall, use an edger instead.

Tip 4: Take Care with Finishing

Before applying finish to your hardwood floor, you should clean up all the dust leftover from sanding. Use a heavy-duty shop vac to remove as much dust as possible. Then wipe the floor with a rag, preferably a tack cloth, soaked in mineral spirits to clear away any lingering dust and debris.

As the mineral spirits and finishing chemicals have strong, potentially harmful odors, it’s best to wear a respirator, gloves, and safety glasses. Always keep your area safe and well-ventilated.

Once you’ve applied the stain and allowed it to dry—often in two rapid coats to help bring out the color you want—it’s important to immediately seal the stain with a urethane coating. In-between applications, stir the urethane mix to prevent it from setting in its container. Typically, two coats (the second may be applied after the first has dried and been lightly sanded) should suffice. But for areas of heavy foot traffic, a third or fourth coat may be more practical.

Tip 5: When to Call a Professional

Restoring hardwood floors under carpeting is a time-consuming process, but it’s definitely DIY-possible. And there’s nothing like the sense of achievement you get when restoring the hardwood floors of your own home. Still … don’t be afraid to ask for help.

If your simple refinishing job turns into a massive floor replacement, that’s where a professional service has you covered. Consulting a hardwood floor restoration and construction company, such as Wall 2 Wall Hardwood Floors, can turn out to be a real time-, money-, and life-saver. Getting a professional estimate for your project can also help you weigh your DIY costs. Check out these services for restoring damaged floors and bringing them back to life.

What Are My Options for How to Keep Wood Floors Warm in Winter?

Are you hesitant about adding wood flooring to your home because you’re worried it’ll get too cold in the winter? At Wall 2 Wall Flooring, we understand this concern, as we have heard it from lots of hesitant customers. But what if we tell you this doesn’t have to be the case? There are options out there that you can take advantage of to keep your wood floors warm in the winter.

If what is stopping you from installing wood floors in your home is the worry of how to keep them–and your home—warm, it’s time to go ahead and have them installed. You can definitely keep wood floors warm. Here are some options for you to follow for how to keep wood floors warm in winter.

Install Radiant Heating Systems

Technology has advanced, and thanks to that, there are new options for keeping your wood floors warm during the colder months. With engineered hardwood flooring, you’ll be able to install a radiant heating system under your floors. Radiant heating supplies heat to the floor of your home via a direct heat source. This, in turn, heats the whole home. There are different methods of heating, such as air-heated, electric radiant floors, and hydronic heating, which is the most common.

Installing radiant heat under wood floors should be done by a professional to make sure that it’s done properly and safely and to ensure it will work with your hardwood floors. We urge you to call us today if you’re interested in adding radiant heating to your floors. We can explain the process to you, decide if it’s a viable option, discuss the best time to install this heating system, and determine which method will work best in your home.

Cover the Floor with an Area Rugwall-2-wall-what-are-my-options-for-how-to-keep-wood-floors-warm-in-winter

Not only will a rug add a pop of color and beautiful décor to your home, but it will also provide you with more heat during the winter. If there’s a specific area of your home that you and your family spend more time in than others, or if there’s a specific area of your home that simply gets colder than another area, putting a rug on the floor in that space will make a big difference. The warmth of the rug, especially if you choose a rug that’s heavier and plush, will add a nice contrast to the coolness of the hardwood.

Additionally, by using rugs, you can easily remove them in the warmer months and only use them when it becomes cold outside. If one of your biggest worries is walking on the cold floor, wearing fuzzy socks is an option too!

Check for Drafts

Be sure to check all your doors and windows for any possible drafts. If you find that there’s cold air coming in from one of these places, you can easily rectify it by using a draft guard, getting a sealer, or adding insulating weather strips to your doors and windows. Hardwood floors can’t get cold if cold air isn’t getting into your home. By preventing this from happening, you are keeping your floors warm and your house warmer too.

Change Your Curtains

Lighter curtains can be great for the warmer months, but in the winter months, it’s a good idea to change to heavier curtains. This is also a best practice even if you checked for drafts and you don’t have any. It is simply an extra layer of warmth. Choosing curtains that are triple-layered and interlined is a good choice.

It is important, though, to not always keep the curtains closed. Having them open during the day when the sun is at its strongest is a good way to take advantage of the natural warmth of the sun. Even in the winter months when it’s cold outside, the sunlight can bring warmth into your home, and this warmth can be absorbed by your floors for a warmer home.

Enter Your Home from a Different Door

This may sound like a strange option, but every time you open your door during the winter months, you’re letting cold air in. By opening up a door that leads to the main room you and your family spend a lot of time in, you make that room, and the hardwood floors in that room, even colder. If there’s another door you can come in and out of that doesn’t lead to a room you spend most of your time in, use that door more frequently. If you have a garage entrance, use that more than the front door. This will help keep cold from coming in and will help your hardwood floors stay warm.

Keeping your home warm in the colder winter months is important for so many reasons. It will reduce your energy costs, which will save you and your family money in the long run. It will also provide you with a more comfortable home environment. Who wants to be outside in the cold and then come in to cold too? Additionally, a cozy home is more welcoming to guests.

If you’re concerned about how to keep wood floors warm in the winter, we hope the above tips and tricks have reassured you and helped to convince you that wood floors are a good way to go. If you’re still worried, contact us. We’ll talk with you personally or come see your home and provide you with our recommendation for your home and your particular floors.

It’s very possible to keep wood floors warm in the winter. It just takes a couple of extra steps. From technology and décor to simply keeping the main door closed a bit more, the above options will help to keep your wood floors warm and your home warmer too.

5 Tips for Handling Hardwood Floor Repair After Water Damage

No one wants to discover water damage to their home, especially when it has damaged hardwood flooring. Hardwood floor is a sturdy and visually appealing addition to any home, but when water damage has affected it, your floor can become unsightly, discolored, and even dangerous. Though experiencing water damage is discouraging, know that it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll need to replace your flooring.

Wall 2 Wall Construction and Restoration has serviced both minor and major water damage to hardwood floors. From years of experience, professionals have seen that there are a few things that, if done, can decrease the amount of damage and work to prevent new damage from occurring. And there are ways to repair your floor without having to rip it all up and start from scratch.

Keep an eye open for signs of water damage, such as warped floors, discoloration, or mold and bacteria growth. If you can quickly notice when there has been water damage to your floors, you’ll be in a good position to handle repairs. Here are a few tips for how you can navigate repairs after water damage to your hardwood floors.

Remove Water Quicklywall-2-wall-5-tips-for-handling-hardwood-repair-after-water-damage

When water has penetrated your hardwood floors, your time to clear it of moisture efficiently is very limited. Because hardwood is such a porous substance, water seeps into it easily. When attempting hardwood floor repair after water damage, the first thing you want to do is remove the water as quickly as possible.

As soon as you notice your floor has been damaged by water, you should start attempting to dry it. Begin by using items like towels to suck up as much of the surface moisture as you can. The moisture sitting on top of the wood is slowly seeping into the underlying layers, and getting the surface moisture dried up helps to prevent further damage from occurring.

In this case, the faster you work, the better. Still, there’s probably a lot of underlying water that you’re unable to access. Water damage is usually much deeper than just the surface, but there are ways to fight against deeper damage.

Run Drying Equipment

After you’ve soaked up what was on the surface, there’s still work to do in order to attain dry wood, but you may need some equipment to do it properly. You may have items like heaters or dehumidifiers laying around the house, and these are the perfect solution for the next step of the drying process.

ehumidifiers are one of the best ways to suck up the extra moisture in your hardwood flooring when there’s been damage. They can work to remove the moisture from the wood as well as water from the air, and when put on their highest setting, can produce great results.

Once that moisture is taken out of the deepest layers of the wood, setting up a fan or heater in the room that the water damaged wood is in can further help to ensure it dries completely. Keep these machines on for at least 24 hours after discovering water damage to hardwood flooring. Don’t leave the dehumidifier running for too long, however. Here’s why.

Clean the Wood Thoroughly

Once you’ve removed as much water as possible, you’ll want to clean your hardwood floors thoroughly. The porous nature of your wood floor makes it more susceptible to dirt and other organic material penetrating it while it’s wet. This has the possibility of leading to the growth of mold. That’s why it’s best to give it a good clean after you’ve eliminated all the excess water.

When cleaning your floor, you should use a sturdy brush and a bucket of water that’s been mixed with disinfectant. The bucket of water should only be used as a place for you to soap up and rinse out your brush. Refrain from dumping any of that water onto the actual floor, as it could seep back into the floor and recreate the problem you’re trying to fix.

Once the floors are properly cleaned, follow up with one of your previous floor drying tactics like a fan or heater. You don’t want to leave the floor to dry on its own and possibly take in any more bacteria.

Find the Source

When you’re attempting to repair water-damaged hardwood floors, don’t get overly excited when you’ve properly cleaned up the mess. Unless the reason for the wood being water damaged was caused by you or something you know about, the cause of the water damage is probably unknown. Knowing what caused the damage is just as important as cleaning it up because it helps you to prevent it from happening again.

The first step you can take in finding the source of the water damage is to see where around the area that has been damaged the water could have come from. Is the damage right by the refrigerator? Is it by a pipe or a sewer line? Pinpoint exactly why there’s water damage, and you may find that you have an even bigger problem on your hands.

Water damage is a signal to you that perhaps a pipe has burst, that the dishwasher or fridge is leaking, or that your home is experiencing flooding. Identifying the reason for the water damage also lets you know what kind of water is being released into your home. Dray or black water, for instance, can contain harmful bacteria.

Call a Professional

After noticing water damage, your first idea will probably be to address it on your own. Water damage can become costly, especially when it affects your hardwood flooring, but your hardwood floor is an investment that you should protect. Do what you can to help your situation, but when your floor doesn’t seem to be taking well to at-home quick fixes, it’s best to call a professional, like Wall 2 Wall.

Some issues, such as long-term water damage or flooding, require a professional to service your floors. And calling a professional as soon as you discover water damage on your hardwood floor can increase your chances of having it repaired and not having to completely redo a room.

Do I Need a Dehumidifier with My Hardwood Floor?

Installing a hardwood floor isn’t a small task. Many homeowners spend thousands of dollars on a new hardwood floor. Installation requires going through the process of design, moving furniture out of the way, staying off the newly installed floor for a few days, and then putting the furniture back after installation. The installation process takes a lot of time and effort. After the investment of time and money, keeping the hardwood floor in great condition is important. That leaves many wondering how to best protect their new investment.

Wood is a natural material that’s very reactive to changes in environmental conditions, such as moisture levels in the home. Many homeowners worry about having too much moisture for their new hardwood floors and will install a dehumidifier, thinking this is the best way to protect their floors from excess moisture for years to come. Controlling the moisture levels in the home will help preserve the life of your hardwood floors, but it’s a common misconception that a dehumidifier is the best solution to managing moisture levels in the home.

A Dehumidifier Is Actually a Bad Idea for Hardwood Floors

Have you ever experienced walking on a wood floor where every step you take makes the floor squeak? Or perhaps you avoid particular spots of your floor in the morning while the family sleeps to avoid that loud squeak with your step. Perhaps you find a new spot that squeaks, and as you look closer, you notice there are spaces showing between the floor panels. Or you notice some of the floorboards have started to bend and the edges may curve up or down. Cracks may have appeared in the floorboards.

Maybe you thought you’d avoided these issues by installing a dehumidifier to protect your hardwood floor from moisture, but you were actually mistaken. To keep your floors in shape—pun intended—you need to maintain a certain amount of humidity in your home, not eliminate it. It’s not a dehumidifier you need for your hardwood floors, but a whole-home humidifier. Here’s why humidity matters.

Relative Humidity Levels in the Homewall2wall-do-i-need-a-dehumidifier-with-my-hardwood-floor

Relative humidity is a way of describing how much moisture is in the air. If the relative humidity is 0 percent, the air is completely dry. If the relative humidity is 100 percent, there’s enough moisture in the air to produce dew or mist. The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) advises that relative humidity levels should range from 30 to 50 percent for the best performance and life span of hardwood floors. The NWFA estimates that approximately 90 percent of hardwood flooring failures are caused by relative humidity issues in the home.

Many wood flooring manufacturers will require homeowners to maintain a correct relative humidity in the home to keep their warranty active. Since wood is so reactive to temperature and humidity levels, it’s imperative to keep the humidity at the proper percentage.

What Happens When the Air Is Too Dry?

When air is dry, wood floorboards will shrink, which causes gaps to appear between the planks. This is normal behavior, and when the moisture levels rise, the floorboards will expand, filling the gaps. During more extreme changes, however, the wood panels become stressed. This weakens the wood, causing the panels to become more brittle. This brittle wood is more likely to crack and split, causing the finish to splinter, thus exposing the wood. This means the wood floor is no longer protected. These splits in the wood aren’t fixable, so to eliminate the damage, your floor will need to be replaced.

What Happens When the Air Is Too Humid?

When the air is too humid, the wood panels absorb excess moisture from the air, causing the panels to expand. When the humidity levels are too high in the home, cupping can occur to your floorboards. Cupping refers to the shape of the wood panel, as it resembles the shape of a cup. The floorboards bend, leaving the panel edges raised higher than the center of the panel.

Buckling is a more extreme reaction to excess moisture in the home. Buckling is when the floorboards expand past the gaps left for expansion, causing the floorboard to pull away from the subflooring. Cracks can appear with extreme moisture levels due to the pressure buildup from the wood panels expanding beyond the allowed gaps for expansion. The wood panels lose their structural integrity and cracks form.

Preventing Moisture Issues in the Home

You can help prevent structural issues with a hardwood floor in several ways. Making sure to leave expansion space around the perimeter of the floor during installation. Typically, baseboards cover the expansion space for aesthetic purposes. Maintaining proper humidity levels is also important in preventing the need for excessive expansion. By using a whole-home humidifier, you can more easily control the relative humidity in your home.

Using a hygrometer in the home allows you to be able to read the humidity levels. This will help you to know when an adjustment may need to be made to stay in the preferred relative humidity range. During the rainy season, avoid tracking water onto your floors by removing wet gear while on a protective layer such as a doormat. For cleaning, use a soft cloth that has been only lightly dampened with recommended floor cleaners.

Hardwood floors are an investment in your home. Their natural beauty adds to the aesthetics of your home. They’re durable but not invincible, and they do require regular care and maintenance. Natural wear and tear can cause the need for professional hardwood floor repairs.

Whether you’re looking for cosmetic repairs, such as fixing water stains or scratches, or more intricate repairs due to damage from lack of humidity control, such as cupping, buckling, gapping, squeaking, or even mold and water damage, Wall 2 Wall Hardwood Floors is here to help with your repair needs. The sooner you contact us for repair, the faster we can resolve the problem, which results in less damage and less costly repairs. For all of your hardwood floor repair needs in Portland, OR, contact Wall 2 Wall Hardwood Floors today.