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Black and white great Dane sleeping on dog bed on bamboo hardwood flooring.

What Are the Best Hardwood Floors for Pets?

Is your home pet-friendly? This is an important thing to think about before getting a pet, choosing a home to buy, or making changes to your current home. One thing you need to pay close attention to is the type of flooring. Hardwood flooring is a popular choice for pet owners, as it is much easier to clean pet accidents off of than carpet. But some hardwood floor types are better for homes with pets running around than others.

Before getting into the exact types of woods that you should choose, it’s important to note that softwoods, such as pine or fir, are not good choices for houses with pets. This is because they won’t stand a chance against claw marks from dogs or cats, as they are too soft. Because of this, much harder species of wood are the only types that should be considered. That means that the higher its Janka rating, the better is for a house with pets. If you don’t know, the Janka hardness test measures the resistance and durability of wood. The higher the score of the wood on the Janka scale, the stronger it is.

In addition to choosing a hard, scratch-resistant flooring, you want to also look for pre-finished wood floors that are sealed and stained in the factory. Matte and satin finishes will hide scratches from claw marks much better than a glossy finish will.

Now that you have some background information, here are the best hardwood floors for pets.

Brazilian Walnut or Ipe

With a Janka rating of 3680, Brazilian walnut, or ipe, is very durable. In fact, many exotic kinds of wood have high Janka ratings, just like the Brazilian walnut. This wood is so strong that it is even used as an outdoor flooring option. Another thing that makes it one of the best hardwood floor options for pets is that it is relatively moisture-proof. This means that any pet accidents that may happen won’t cause any immediate damage to the flooring.


Oak may be one of the most common types of flooring in the world, and that is for good reason. With a Janka rating at about 1300, it puts it right in the middle of the scale—not the strongest but definitely durable. In fact, oak is actually the industry standard for hardiness. As it is very easily available and it is hard enough to withstand pets, it is a great option.

There are two different options if you’re choosing oak floors, and those are red or white. The red variety has a warmer color with undertones of red, pink, or rust. Additionally, it has a lot of grain variation and character. The white variety is much cooler, with undertones of grey-green colors. This appears much smoother and more uniform, and it has much less variation.


If you want something just as popular as oak but a little stronger, hickory may be the choice for you, as its Janka score is 1820. Hickory is known for its strong character, which can add a beautiful aesthetic to any home. This is thanks to its color and all of its details.

Santos Mahogany

Santos mahogany is another exotic wood. Its Janka rating of about 2200 makes it very durable—more durable than both oak and hickory. Santos mahogany is quite popular despite its exoticness. It is a deeper, darker color, which could easily help make other aspects of your home pop.


Did you know that maple is the wood used on basketball courts? That’s how strong it is! If professional athletes can run and sweat on it with minimal damage, it should be reassuring to you that maple floors can survive well against your pets. Maple’s Janka rating is 1450, showing how strong it is. This wood is very pale. With its light color, you may see some more paw marks than with other woods, but that is very easy to clean (and doesn’t lead to any permanent damage).

With all of the different varieties of maple, it’s important to make sure you are asking for a “hard” maple rather than just maple. Typically, hard maple types of flooring are called either rock maple or sugar maple.


Yes, bamboo is technically classified as grass and not wood, but in the flooring industry, it is often considered wood and even has a Janka rating. Bamboo is naturally strong and can be made even stronger thanks to technology. For instance, non-carbonized, strand-woven bamboo flooring can reach Janka scores of over 3000. There is also engineered bamboo flooring that is cheaper and that can be just as durable.

As you can see, there are several best hardwood floors for pets. This means that if you are thinking of getting a pet and are worrying about it destroying your floors, you don’t need to worry at all. Or if you already have a pet and are looking for a new home or new flooring for your current home, there are several options of flooring you can look out for and choose from.

Of course, one of the most important factors in the durability and longevity of a hardwood floor is correct installation. Because of this, we recommend choosing a professional hardwood flooring company like Wall 2 Wall Hardwood Floors. We can come into your home, take a look at the space, meet your pets, and provide you with a personalized recommendation as to which of the above-mentioned woods would fit best with your home, your lifestyle, and your budget. We can then take care of the entire installation process for you, as our team of experts is trained to get the job right, in both a timely and professional manner. If you are ready to install the best hardwood floors for pets in your home, contact us today.

Bedroom with durable bamboo hardwood flooring.

What Are the Most Durable Hardwood Flooring Options?

When it comes to choosing hardwood for your floor, you want something that will last a long time, look its best, and be able to withstand pressure and wear. This is why it’s important to choose durable hardwood flooring. By doing your research into different hardwood flooring options in advance and choosing the most durable, you’re helping yourself out in the long run.

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Beagle puppies on hardwood floors.

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.

The Best Hardwood Flooring Options When Durability Matters Most

Hardwood is one of the most popular choices for flooring, especially for homes with pets and children. It’s in high in demand not only for the variety of style options and maintenance accessibility, but also because of the durable nature.

The Best Hardwood Flooring Options When Durability Matters Most

If you plan on having a lot of traffic and activity on those floors, then durability may be a prime focus for you. Most will only have to purchase wood floors once because of its durability. Hardwood floors will also be less expensive to maintain in the long run because they will be able to avoid the scratches and dents that other floors can’t handle.

When durability matters most, you can rely on Wall2Wall for hardwood flooring in Portland to get the job done in a professional manner with customer service as the focus.

Hardwood floors can last a long time while still keeping their charm. Factors that do affect the durability of the wood are thickness, protective finish applied, and the construction of the core layers. You will also need to make sure that a professional installs the flooring for top quality performance.

Oak, maple, hickory and cherry are among the best hardwood flooring options. Below are some reasons why each one may work for you:


Oak is one of the most popular choices when durability is a priority. It appeals to families looking for strength and consistency.

Oak provides a superior performance and low maintenance. Sanding, refinishing, and touch ups are easy for the professional with oak floors. However, oak does also require a bigger financial investment.

In terms of style, oak wood may not be the best match in a modern home. It has a specific look and pronounced grain pattern that fits the looks of a restoration space.

There is also a difference between red oak and white oak. Contrary from their names, white oak is a darker wood than red oak.

White oak is also slightly harder than red oak. On the Janka Hardness Scale, white oak scores a 1360 while red oak scores a 1290. Both choices are excellent options for long-term durability, and your final decision will likely come down to what floor color you in your home.


Maple is one of the leading options for hardwood floors because of its light finish and durability. The harder varieties of maple, such as sugar maple or hard maple, are the most durable hardwoods and rate high on the Janka Hardness Test with scores of 1450.

Its subtle grain pattern works for different kinds of traffic from high activity spaces to formal, special event rooms. It also works for both condensed to larger spaces.

Maple does mainly come in its natural tone, so if you are looking for a specific look you will need to spend extra time to customize and stain the wood.

Its contemporary appeal, high durability and affordable price makes this one a fan favorite.


While cherry wood is softer than oak, it is known to be one of the best woods for workability. Because of its flexibility, craftsmen love using cherry. It has a light texture that yields to knives much easier than other woods.

Cherry hardwood flooring produces a smooth finish and is also easier to maintain. The fine finish ranges from reddish brown to blonde and is commonly used for tables and cabinets.

Cherry wood also steams easily, making it popular for curved objects or floors. However, it does slightly expand and contract based on the humidity in the environment.

American cherry is softer than Brazilian cherry. The Brazilian cherry is more resistant to dents and scratches, with a Janka Hardness Scale rate of 2820 vs American’s 995.

Brazilian Cherry flooring is popular because of it’s bold, rich color. The high durability makes it one of the most recommended imported flooring options for installation in high traffic areas.

It is also one of the most resistant hardwoods to water. Water damage with hardwoods happens most when water seeps through between boards and gets trapped. When the installation is done right, water from spills or drainage is less likely to occur.


Hickory is one of the hardest and most dense woods native to the U.S. This is a common option for those who like the natural hardwood feel and will rely on it for its strength.

The resistance makes it last longer through normal wear and tear compared to other woods. Hickory is also popular for those who live in humid climates as it less likely to warp comparative to other hardwood options.

If you plan on adding stain, you can rely on hickory to accept the stain well. It is, in fact, one of the easiest woods to apply wood stain to. This is for those who like hickory’s quiet grain and hardness, but plan on applying a different color variation to best match their living space.

Hickory has a light color that can lighten up any dark room. It is especially popular for those who have a light color scheme in a room and don’t want too much contrast between the floor and the rest of the room.

However, hickory is also one of the most difficult to install because of its different grain variations. Wall2Wall is the hardwood flooring in Portland company that can help you get the floors in place.

Choosing between oak, maple, cherry and hickory for your hardwood floor may all come down to the aesthetic of your space as these are all reliable and durable hardwoods to consider.

Look for hardwood flooring in Portland or a professional in your area to help install your floor as the techniques used in installation can also add to the longevity of the wood. A team can also help you choose which wood will be the best for your space all within the right budget.

Steps to Take if You Notice Hardwood Floor Water Damage

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

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

Steps to Take if You Notice Hardwood Floor Water Damage

How To Identify Hardwood Floor Water Damage

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

The Signs

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

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

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

Preventing Further Damage

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

Repairing Hardwood Water Damage

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

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

Further Information

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

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


  • 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.


  • 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.