Category Archives: Home

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.

Is Wood Flooring a Good Idea in Portland?

At Wall 2 Wall Construction & Restoration, we specialize in hardwood floor installation, repair, and refinishing. You could even say that installing hardwood flooring in Portland, Oregon, is our passion. We have been doing it for years. We’re experts at it. We have done it thousands of times. We offer incredible hardwood flooring, excellent prices, and craftsmanship that’s unparalleled. Simply putting it, we are the best when it comes to wood flooring in Portland.

But is wood flooring a good idea in Portland? The short answer is that, yes, it is. But let’s take a more in-depth look at that.

It’s Easy to Maintain and Safer

We ensure that we only use natural wood for your floors. Because of this, your floors will be much easier to clean and maintain. Hardwood floors don’t trap dust particles or debris. This means that if you want to clean your floors, a simple sweet usually suffices. Furthermore, if you go the extra step and add in a proper sealant, your floor will be borderline impermeable.

This is very different from choosing to carpet, as carpeting easily can trap germs, dust, dirt, and scents. In most cases, hardwood floors are already resistant to odors, germs, and debris. They also don’t trap moisture or allergens. This means that if you suffer from mold allergies, hardwood flooring is a great option for your home.

In addition to this, hardwood floors are eco-friendly and sustainable. They’re free of both volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and of formaldehyde. You may find a bit of volatile organic compounds in engineered wood or bamboo, but the amount is much less than found in carpets.

Financial Valuewall2wall-is-wood-flooring-a-good-idea-in-portland

When it comes to comparing the value of other flooring options in Portland, Oregon, to that of hardwood flooring, there really is no comparison. No other flooring matches the value that hardwood flooring will bring to your home. Why? Because hardwood flooring in Portland homes can increase the property value of the home by as much as 10 percent. Hardwood flooring adds both quality and appeal to your home. Both will help add value to your home.

Additionally, hardwood flooring shows up great in photographs, which is an important feature when the time comes to sell your home. Potential buyers will be looking at these photographers of your home and definitely take note of your beautiful floors. If the floors stand out, it can excite potential buyers and make them want to spend on your home. Plus, potential buyers like the idea of seeing “hardwood floors” in the description of any listing they’re reading.

Increased Variety

As different cuts bring out different aspects of wood, the options you can choose from are nearly endless. This means that you can select the best color, shape, design, and type of wood for your home, whatever your style is.

You can opt for the type of wood that best complements the paint colors and furniture you already have. If you’re starting from scratch, you can choose a floor that will go with any color scheme or type of furniture you may have in mind.

Some types of wood will show off the grain of the wood. Other types will include the imperfections, such as burls, that don’t even look like imperfections and instead will give your floors (and your home) even more character. And more characteristics of wood can come out and change with age, stains, and sealants.

Most Portland Homes Already Have It

If there’s currently carpeting in your home, there’s a chance that it was simply installed directly over a hardwood floor previously there. Most Portland homes were built either in the 1980s or earlier. For those older homes, there’s a chance that hardwood flooring was originally used.

Homes built in the 1950s or before that primarily used hardwood floors. If your home falls into this category, and carpet or laminate was simply laid over the original hardwood floors, then all you’ll need to do is peel back the more recent flooring and refinish the old hardwood floors—a service that we provide!

Refinishing old hardwood floors sounds tedious and time-consuming, and it can be, but in the end, it’s worth it. It’s less expensive than replacing floors altogether, so if you do have old hardwood floors hiding away in your Portland home, it’s in your best interest to take advantage of them.

Technology Has Advanced

Are you worried about hardwood flooring leaving your Portland home too cold, especially during the winter months? Technology has advanced, resulting in ways to combat this. With engineered hardwood flooring, you can install radiant heating systems right under your hardwood flooring. There are many perks to installing this type of heat system, as it doesn’t pump allergens throughout your house. Additionally, it helps save on energy costs, as it uses less electricity than other potential sources of heat. This can also help you save money in the long run.

You can also combat some of the chill by using a variety of area rugs throughout your home. This is a common option that allows homeowners to further show off their style, as rugs come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and designs—anything you can imagine.

If you’re thinking twice about whether hardwood flooring is a good idea in your Portland home, there’s no need to. If all of the above reasons still don’t have you fully convinced to go ahead and install that hardwood flooring, please give us a call. We’re happy to chat more with you and hear what your concerns and hesitations are.

If you’re ready to install hardwood flooring in your home, please call us for an estimate. Who knows, your home may already have hardwood flooring under your current carpeting, and then all you’ll need to do is refinish it. Regardless, if you’re looking to sell your home sometime in the future and want the best value possible for the sale, investing in hardwood flooring is the right decision.

5 Tips for Making Your Portland Hardwood Floor Last

As a homeowner, hardwood floors are one of the lowest maintenance flooring options you can select. And more importantly, they look amazing with nearly any design aesthetic. Regardless of whether you want your home to remind you of that French chateau you once visited, your favorite mountain-range escape, or a beach-side bungalow along the Pacific coast, you can find the hardwood to match the appeal you desire.

And, yes, while hardwood flooring is rather low maintenance, as you don’t have to lug out the vacuum for every dog hair that shows, nor get on hands and knees and dig crud out of tile grout, it still requires some commitment to keep your Portland hardwood floors looking like new.

Here are five tips we share with customers who want their floors looking like the day they were installed for many years to come:

1. Clean with Care5 Tips for Making Your Portland Hardwood Floor Last

Hardwood floors won’t show every scuff mark and stray hair, but they will wear down in time, so you still need to put in some effort to properly clean them. So sweep as often as you desire, and every once in a while do a little bit more.

On the “more” days, these are the additional steps you should take:

  1. Gently vacuum the floor to ensure every speck of dust and crumb has been removed.
  2. Mix together one cup of white vinegar and one tablespoon of olive oil into a water bottle filled with distilled water and then lightly spritz the concoction onto the floors.
  3. Use a sponge mop to clean each nook and cranny of the floor making sure to travel with the grain of the wood.
  4. Allow the floor to completely dry before buffing with a Portland hardwood floor buffer or microfiber cloth.

These added steps take time, and you’ll likely want to move aside the furniture during this deep clean, so it’s not recommended every weekend. But when you want to bring the shine back to your floor, this process is effective.

2. Take Off Your Shoes

As a guest entering someone’s home, you don’t always want the first thing you hear to be, “Please, take off your shoes.” And walking along hardwood floors with shoes on occasionally isn’t cause for alarm. However, if you really want to ensure your floors stay in tip-top shape, then you should take off your shoes.

Don’t let your child in dance class practice their tap routines on your Portland hardwood floors. Ask them to remove their soccer cleats before stepping foot in your abode. Even take off your own kicks at the end of the day.

Shoes don’t appear “that dirty” but are incidentally trampling in dust and dirt from outside. They are also causing scuff marks. Switch those clackity heels for socks or slippers that glide along the floor, and you’ll notice the difference over the years.

An everyday step to take to keep your hardwood flooring in its best shape is to simply remove your street shoes.

3. Avoid Direct Sunlight

Do you recall purchasing backyard lounge furniture at the beginning of the summer, only to realize that you need to replace the cushions before the next season because the color has already faded away? This fading is caused by the direct rays from the sun—almost like a reverse suntan. And the same can happen to your wood flooring.

While windows, shades, and curtains do provide protection, if you expose your floors to direct sunlight day after day, you’ll eventually notice this effect after a few years. It won’t be obvious. Instead, you’ll go to move your hutch slightly to the left only to realize that there’s a distinct line denoting where the sun did and didn’t hit the floor over time.

This doesn’t mean you need to be a shut-in and always have your blinds closed to the outside world, but do recognize that these outside influences will impact your inside aesthetic, and make adjustments as you see fit. One way to negate this problem is by rotating your furniture more frequently in the rooms that are exposed to the most direct sunlight.

4. Invest in a Whole-House Humidifier

In a perfect world, the humidity and temperature levels in your home would be consistent. This would not only benefit you and ensure you’re always comfortable in your home, but it could do wonders for your flooring.

Hardwood flooring shrinks and expands depending on the humidity in a room, much like curly hair. When it’s humid, the slats are at their maximum width, but they contract when the humid conditions abate. This contracting and expanding over the years can cause your flooring to warp. So if you want to limit this possibility, invest in a whole-house humidifier.

And not only will a humidifier help extend the life of your Portland hardwood floors, it’ll improve your seasonal allergy and asthma symptoms as well.

5. Opt for Harwood Restoration

An investment in hardwood flooring is an investment in your home. It’s not the cheapest flooring option, but it will look wonderful for many years to come with little effort on your part. However, everything fades and warps with time.

If you’ve invested in a property that has beautiful hardwood floors but they’ve seen better days, don’t give up entirely and jump to replacement. Instead, look into hardwood flooring restoration.

It doesn’t matter what the cause of destruction is, as we can tackle squeaks, gaps, stains, mold, buckling, warping, and more. No matter what flooring issue you face, restoration may be the best solution.

And hardwood flooring restoration is often more affordable than a complete replacement while allowing you to retain the originality of the home.

If you’ve done all you can to get your floors to look like new but are ready to consider restoration, reach out to the Wall 2 Wall team today.

4 Things to Consider Before Installing Radiant Heat Under Hardwood Floors

Imagine stepping onto your hardwood floors and having them be pleasantly warm. Wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to wear socks inside? Or if you didn’t have to continually adjust the thermostat?

Radiant heating is an attractive option for many reasons. It’s quiet, energy efficient, and can even lower your utility bills. It offers a more uniform air temperature, which means you won’t have to use your traditional heating as much. Your whole home will feel more comfortable, with fewer drafts and cold spots. And when your feet are warmer, the rest of your body will feel warmer as well.

There are many benefits, but unlike some improvements to a home, this is something that needs a bit of thought and planning before installation. Here are some things to ask yourself if you’re considering installing radiant heat under your hardwood floors.

Is radiant heating the right choice for me and my home?

4 Things to Consider Before Installing Radiant Heat Under Hardwood FloorsThe idea of having warm floors all the time is very appealing. But it’s a major decision. And if you’re installing it in an existing home, it might mean your floor is taken apart for days, if not weeks. Be sure this is something you can live with before you get started.

Radiant heating is an especially good choice for certain home layouts. Homes with high ceilings or large rooms can benefit a lot. Traditional heating methods end up wasting a lot of energy in these houses, inefficiently blasting hot air from just a few vents. Why waste so much energy and money heating the air near your ceiling?

Radiant heating solves this problem by working against how hot air naturally rises. It concentrates warm air consistently in the lower portion of your room—where you live.

Of course, any room can benefit from radiant heat, not just ones with high ceilings or large rooms.

Your personal tastes in flooring are also important when deciding if radiant heat is right for you. Note that you wouldn’t want to install heaters under carpeting, which already acts as an insulator. While possible, it’s a very inefficient combination. But other materials, such as hardwood, stone, and tile, work much better with radiant heat systems. These flooring materials aren’t naturally insulated and can get cold, especially in the winter. Adding radiant heat will make them comfortable to walk on year-round.

What is the cost?

Radiant heat used to be a luxury only found in the top homes, as it was often expensive. Luckily, technology has evolved so that systems are easy to install and within reach financially for many homeowners. Still, installation is an extra cost, so you have to consider if it’s worth it before going ahead with it.

If you’re putting in a new floor, the cost will vary depending on what material you go with. Engineered wood averages $3 to $13 per square foot, while hardwood goes for $5 to $14 per square foot. To add radiant heat under hardwood floors, add another $4 to $6 for every square foot of flooring. And don’t forget to include labor costs from the company installing the floor and system. This will, of course, vary from company to company; at companies like Wall 2 Wall Hardwoods, you can contact them for an estimate.

To be assured of a good finished product, going with a reputable, experienced professional is your best option and worth the cost. They can help you assess your home and give you their advice on everything from materials to the best heating systems.

Will the type of hardwood I love work with radiant heating?

Do you have your heart set on a certain type of hardwood? Do you want to keep your current hardwood floor? Or are you currently looking at flooring samples and need help choosing?

No matter where you are in the process, know that while many hardwoods can work with radiant heat, there are types that you should avoid. So be sure to consider the wood you are using carefully.

Some woods, such as maple and pine, are more sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity levels. They are more likely to expand and contract according to changes in their environment. While these woods can work in some homes, they don’t work well when you add dry heat under the floor. When wood dries out, problems can occur over time, such as gaps between the boards. You chose hardwood floors because they are a beautiful and elegant addition to your home. You want them to last as long as possible.

So what should you choose?

Many woods are stable under fluctuating conditions, especially engineered hardwoods. A professional flooring technician is a great resource if you have questions, and they can recommend types of wood that work well with floor heating systems.

There are also ways that both you and your flooring expert can ensure your floor and your new heating system will work well together well into the future. Your technician can use methods such as installing a floating floor, which puts a little space between the wood and the heat. Your floor can also be held together with interlocking planks (rather than glue or nails) to allow you to more easily fix problems if they occur.

Once your floor is in, you can do your part to maintain it. Don’t let your floor heater exceed certain temperatures and monitor humidity levels to prevent the wood from drying out.

Should I retrofit or invest in updating my whole floor?

You’re in luck if you’re in the process of building your home right now or you’re updating your floor. It is easier to place radiant heat under your hardwood floor while it’s being installed. But don’t think that means you’re out of luck if you want to keep your current wood floors.

There are several different methods used to install floor heaters. They can be embedded into concrete and turned into an additional layer under your flooring. This works well for homes that are just being built.

Heating systems can also be installed dry, without having to pour another layer of concrete, which works if you want to keep the wood floor you already have.

Are you thinking about installing radiant heat under very old flooring? You may run into some issues. Your floors might be a type of wood that doesn’t work well with heating, or they might have warped or developed gaps between the boards over years of use. Definitely talk with a professional if you have your heart set on having both your old wood floors and radiant heating.

Think radiant heating is for you? Take the first step and come talk with a flooring consultant at Wall 2 Wall Hardwoods today.

5 Reasons To Install Hardwood Floors This Year

You love the carpet in your home, of course. After all, it’s been there since you got the place and you’ve already sunk countless hours of time into maintaining it; not to mention the money on cleaning products and maybe even replacement carpets. If you have pets in your home, then that cost was likely even higher. But if you are truly happy with your carpet, then perhaps all that time and money is worth it. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for an upgrade, perhaps it’s time to consider making the switch to hardwood floors.

Known for their durability, versatility, and timeless elegance, wood floors will change your home, and your life, for the better. Wall2Wall Hardwoods can provide that benefit for you if you’re ready to make the change.

Here are our top 5 reasons to install hardwood floors this year:

1. Hardwood Floors Can Last For a Very Long Time

When it comes to homebuilding, wood is one of the most versatile and durable materials you can use. When used for your floors, hardwood might just be the best material you can get. After all, your floor gets a great deal of use as it’s constantly being stepped on. It deals with heat during the summer and cold during the winter. It has to absorb spills and have heavy furniture placed upon it. Over the years, all of this can extract a heavy toll from even the hardiest floors.5 Reasons To Install Hardwood Floors This Year

Hardwood, however, can take it. It is actually extremely difficult to damage a hardwood floor; though, of course, it’s not impossible, and even hardwood floors can become damaged under adverse conditions. However, even if a hardwood floor is damaged, repairs are usually easy if you have a reputable wood reconstruction service on your side. A company like Wall2Wall can easily repair or replace a damaged portion of your floor without having to rip out and replace the whole thing. Often, that isn’t the case with carpets or other types of lower cost flooring.

2. Wood Floors Bring Health Benefits

Soon after you install the hardwood floors in your home, you may start to notice a variety of health benefits tied to the cleaner air. Other types of flooring, especially carpets, have a tendency to trap odors, pet dander, pollen, smoke, and other pollutants. Over time, these impurities can reenter the air inside your home and contribute to allergies and asthma, as well as being a cause of colds and other illnesses.

Once you install a wood floor, there will be no place for dust particles, dander, pollen, or germs to hide. As a result, the air quality in your home will immediately improve; this is especially true if you have pets. Cats and dogs constantly shed fur, which can quickly get lost inside of the fibers of a carpet; with a hardwood floor, you can just vacuum it right up.

3. Hardwood Flooring Equals Easy Cleaning

Speaking of vacuuming, that brings us to another wonderful advantage of hardwood floors: they’re phenomenally easy to clean. Of course, when you’re cleaning carpets, you’ll have to vacuum them several times a week and still may not get all of the toxins, pollutants, and irritants out. Occasionally, you’ll probably have to get a professional in to shampoo your carpet and every few years or so you’ll have to replace the carpet completely.

Cleaning a wood floor is nowhere near that complicated; all you have to do is grab a broom every once in a while and in a few minutes, your floor will be sparkling clean. To lengthen the life of your floor, you’ll occasionally need to pick up a wood floor cleaner and perform a more in-depth cleaning. Do this regularly and you’ll never need to have an expensive professional cleaning as you might with carpet.

4. You’ll Save Money With Hardwood Floors

One of the biggest concerns homeowners have when it comes to hardwood floors is the initial upfront cost. While it’s true that when you initially install hardwood floors they can be a little on the pricey end, but over the years you’ll actually save a bundle.

Think about it: if you head to a company like Wall2Wall Hardwoods, you’ll pay the cost of installation – which may not be as much as you expect – and then reap the benefits for years to come. As we have pointed out, hardwood floors are known for their extreme durability. They require minimal maintenance and only need to be replaced after generations of use. What will cost more, installing one hardwood floor every thirty years or new carpet every three to five years?

5. You May Even Make Money

Another great benefit of hardwood floors: they’ll actually boost the value of your home. There are many reasons for this; far too many to list here. But to name a few, hardwood floors actually improve the acoustics of your home; they’ll make for a quieter home with a great home theater. They don’t develop a smell over time in the way carpets do. They’re a sustainable resource, being made from wood, and therefore have an environmental benefit.

But, when it comes to boosting the value of your home, perhaps the greatest benefit is style. The reality is that the majority of flooring options have a tendency to go out of style after a scant few years. Carpet and tile come with manmade patterns which may appear to be trendy when you buy them, but when the time comes to sell the house, they’ll look drab and out of date. They can easily drag down the value of an otherwise terrific home.

Hardwood floors are exactly the opposite: they have a timeless appearance and a beauty that won’t fade fast. Hardwood floors have brought elegance to homes for centuries and there’s no sign they’ll go out of style anytime soon.

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 

Let us show you how hardwood floor restoration and change your home.