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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

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

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

Plastic

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.

Foam

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.

Felt

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.

Cork

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.

Other

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.

What is Hardwood Floor Cupping & Can it Be Reversed?

It’s a lovely Sunday morning and just as your family is gathering for breakfast, something alarming catches your eye – your hardwood floor doesn’t look its usual pristine self. Upon closer examination, you realize the edges of the wood planks appear to be slightly raised.

This commonly observed scenario is called cupping.

Before you get rattled and try to amend the situation, you’ll need to get to the root of the problem and understand and mitigate the cause.

What is Hardwood Floor Cupping & Can it Be Reversed

But, what is hardwood floor cupping?

It refers to a state when the individual wood planks appear to be higher on the edges as compared to the center of the board, forming the shape of a cup. Cupping is a result of the changes in moisture in the room. When the moisture increases, the wood swells and then when it decreases, the wood shrinks.

As you can see, moisture and wood don’t go well together. Wood is hygroscopic in nature and thereby tends to absorb moisture from its surroundings causing problems in hardwood floors.

However, this isn’t a reason to tick hardwood floors off your list. The good news is that hardwood floor cupping can be reversed, setting the planks back to their original condition.

Here are four ways to reverse cupped hardwood floors:

Remove Moisture Source

The first thing you must do when you notice a cupped floor is to identify the source of moisture. Cupping usually occurs due to increased exposure to moisture which can be a result of plumbing leaks, fridge leaks, or even an overflowing dishwasher that has gone unnoticed.

Before you get down to repairing it yourself or calling a flooring expert, you need to identify and eliminate the source of moisture. It is a good idea to use a moisture meter to get an accurate understanding of the moisture content in the wood.

If it is a case of minor cupping, which has been detected early, the floor is likely to go back to its original condition once the source of the moisture is removed. If not, you might need to call a flooring specialist to help you tackle this issue.

Dehumidify

Cupping can also be a reaction to the imbalance in the humidity level in the wood planks. Due to wood expansion during summer and contraction during winter, the humidity levels vary and that is likely to affect your hardwood floors.

You can prevent this problem by controlling humidity levels in your home at all times, but what do you do when the damage is already done?

Depending on the extent of damage, sometimes all you need to do is dehumidify your space. You can either invest in a centralized dehumidifier or a portable one. You can also turn up the air conditioner or keep the fans on to speed up the drying process.

Dehumidifiers remove moisture content in the air and if you are lucky, a simple dehumidifying session might do the trick and help reverse the hardwood floor cupping.

Sanding

So, now that you have eliminated the moisture source and dehumidified your space, if you still see no change in your floor, the cupping as just as severe as before, then this calls for more serious action.

At this stage, you should consider sanding the cupped portion of the floor. Sanding can help flatten the raised floor surface and bring it back to normal. After sanding, the floor is usually refinished to restore its sheen.

However, do keep in mind that sanding is an extremely tricky process as it is important to consider the kind of wood and extent of sanding required. Hence, this process is better left in the hands of flooring experts because any minor glitches can lead to other problems, such as crowning, costing you even more.

Floor Replacement

After all the above steps are taken, if your floor still hasn’t returned to its normal state, then you have reached the worst case scenario wherein the only solution is to get the floors replaced.

If you have not yet, call in professional hardwood floor experts to restore or replace the exact size and length of the cupped portion of the floor. If the damage is extensive and has spread to other parts of the floor, you will need to get your entire floor replaced. At Wall2Wall, we are known for providing fast and effective repair services, regardless of the extent of the damage.

Considering that no other remedy has helped reverse your cupping, it shows how serious an issue it is and calls for urgent fixing.

While hardwood floor cupping can be reversed, it is a nuisance to manage. So, why not take precautions beforehand to prevent this phenomenon from taking place. One of the best prevention tactics is to control the moisture content and humidity levels in your home.

Be mindful of internal leaks and don’t let them go unnoticed. You should also make sure the wood planks are properly installed and the moisture content is at the optimum level during the installation process. Hardwood floors need to be cleaned maintained, but make sure you use as little water as possible while mopping.

Whether your hardwood floor is made of solid or engineered wood, it is bound to react to moisture so ensure you take the precautionary measures to prevent cupping. Let’s face it, even though hardwood floors have a long shelf life, it doesn’t save them from problems that occur due to climatic conditions, humidity, and excessive wear and tear.

If you still do encounter cupping, contact us right away. At Wall2Wall, we are experts when it comes to flooring. Our dedicated team of experienced professionals are great at their work and utilize the most advanced and latest techniques to tackle your flooring issues and leave you with hardwood floors looking good as new!

Are My Hardwood Floors Worth Restoring?

Hardwood floors are a popular choice among homeowners. Not only do they add a timeless appeal to homes, but they are also long-lasting and easy to maintain. However, like everything else, your hardwood floor is bound to show signs of wear and tear with time – especially if you have children or pets.

Once you have identified that your floors need reviving, the question that many grapple with is whether they need to be refinished, restored, or replaced. While refinishing is a quicker process that involves sanding, restaining, re-coating, and sealing the floor, restoring and replacing hardwood floors are a lot more intensive and time-consuming processes.

The decision is a challenging one to make, but you’re not in it alone. Consult with hardwood flooring specialists who can guide you through the process and identify the best solution based on your home and budget.

To get you started, here are seven cases when hardwood floor restoration might be recommended.

Are My Hardwood Floors Worth Restoring

Deep Scratches

While hardwood floors are extremely durable, scratches frequently arise if you have pets or children, and from regularly walking on the planks wearing heels. While minor, light scratches on the surface can be lived with or easily removed with a simple coating and buffing, it’s the deep scratches that need serious attention.

No amount of polishing or coating will help in this case. What’s needed is advanced equipment that can get rid of scratches without stealing the luster and affecting the look of your sensitive hardwood flooring.

Faded Appearance

Hardwood floors look best when they have their shine on. However, at some point, the wood will begin to show signs of fading. Whether it’s due to increased exposure to sunlight or just a build-up of dust and debris, the fact is that your floor has now started to look dull and patchy and needs a revamp.

When you’re met with such a problem, there is no need to overhaul your entire flooring and get a fresh one installed. Hardwood floor restoration is often enough to tackle this issue and give back your floor its matte or gloss finish.

Avoid Further Damage

As the popular saying goes, ‘prevention is better than cure’ and we cannot agree more. When your hardwood floor has been around for a long time and has begun showing signs of deterioration, it is advisable to get it restored immediately.

Don’t procrastinate and wait for more damaged till you can’t live with it anymore. It is better to nip it in the bud because serious cases of hardwood floor damage will require you to get the entire floor replaced, which is a way more expensive and tedious endeavor.

Burns and Stains

Picture this – you’re having a party and a guest spills red wine on your lovely hardwood floor or worse, drops a lit cigarette. Next thing you know, your floor is left with a pesky burn or stain, which ruins its entire look.

The worst part about burns and stains are that they set in very quickly on wood. In order to get rid of it completely, you will need to restore that portion of the floor.

Before you try to eliminate it yourself with a razor blade, paintbrush and pocketknife, give the specialists a call to do the job for you because any minor error can lead to bigger problems.

Squeaks

Have you ever heard those insufferable squeaky sounds coming from your floor? If yes, don’t ignore it because your squeaky floor calls for attention.

From poor wood quality and faulty installation to weather changes and even subfloor damage, there are several reasons that lead to loosening of floorboards and give rise to squeaky noises.

Instead of indulging in temporary repairs, it is advisable to get the floor restored to bridge the gap and restore the root of the problem.

Hardwood floor specialists know how to tackle this best because the treatment will differ according to the type of wood used.

Warping

The biggest con of having hardwood floors is its reaction to the changing weather since it is a breathing material. However, don’t panic because this isn’t a drawback that cannot be dealt with.

Cupping, crowning, and buckling are common types of warping your floors may face. Due to frequent absorption and loss of moisture, hardwood floors tend to shrink and expand causing this warp.

The only way to prevent this from happening is by controlling the moisture in your home, but if your floor appears warped, you can get it restored. The best time to rectify this situation is during spring when moisture in the air is more stable.

Selling the House

When you moved in, your new, shining floors had you gleaming with joy, but now that you’re thinking of putting your house up for sale, you realize how shabby and faded it now looks.

When you are selling a house, you obviously want to maximize its potential and get the best returns. Don’t let your worn out hardwood floors repel potential buyers. Instead, make the most cost-effective update that will in the offer you’re looking to obtain.

Add hardwood floor restoration to the list of repairs because floors are the first thing people notice when they enter, and you want them looking elegant and charming – just the way they were when you arrived.

When met with these cases, people often resort to DIY techniques, but the truth is that very often, the problem is more than what meets the eye.

Sit back and let us at Wall2Wall treat your precious hardwood floor with utmost care using our line of advanced, top-notch equipment.

For us, there is nothing like seeing a smile on a customer’s face and we guarantee to leave you satisfied with our affordable services and expert-level craftsmanship. So, reach out today and let’s get back those ‘wow’ factor floors.

6 Reasons to Choose Hardwood Floor Refinishing

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

That’s also what gives hardwood floors their advantage.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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