Engineered flooring can come in many shades, sizes and prices, and manufacturers are working hard to offer new and improved options that will be long lasting and beautiful to look at. They have already come up with great options that appear as a much more affordable alternative to solid hardwood floors, which involves higher up-front costs and also higher installation and maintenance costs. You will be surprised at how versatile, easy to install and easy to maintain engineered hardwood flooring is, so you should be able to achieve stunning-looking floors without having to resort to professional services that could turn out to be quite expensive.
Engineered floors now come in a whole array of shades, so you can choose lighter wood to complement a room with a fresh and natural feel, or you can go for a darker shade to bring depth and richness to any space. Most importantly, engineered wood pretty much eliminates the need for professional assistance since it is such an easy floor to lay down and take care of.
Follow these few simple steps in order to prep your floors properly and proceed to install your brand new engineered hardwood floor in no time:
- Prepare and clean your floor
Before you can start installing the new flooring, you must ensure the subfloor is prepared and clean. Start by sweeping or vacuuming the floor, sanding off any bulging areas, adding screws to raised edges, and pushing down any protruding nails. Take this time to also remove baseboards all around the room for a closer installation to the wall, and trimming down door casings to ensure the planks will fit underneath.
- Lay builder’s felt
Continue by laying down builder’s felt or tar paper along the subfloor, and use a staple gun to fix it down, making sure no nails are protruding. This will provide a protection layer under the engineered hardwood flooring to protect it from water damage and mold.
- Install engineered hardwood flooring
Now you are ready to start installing the floor. A great tip is to open all the boxes containing the strips and use them all so as to alternate different shades and patterns and accomplish a more natural look. Lay down one row of planks along the length of the wall with the tongue side against the wall, ensuring you leave a 1/2-inch gap meant for expansion. Use a flooring stapler and push a staple down every 6 to 8 inches at a 45-degree angle. Continue laying down a second row of strips, snug them up with a mallet or a tapping block and hammer, and set them in place with the flooring stapler. At this point you will want to make sure all nails and staples are buried down into the wood to prevent accidents when walking on your floor.
- Place baseboards back
To finish your work, attach the baseboards back to the walls with a nail gun in order to hide the expansion gap between the floor and the wall, and make sure the nails are tapped down so they won’t stick out.
Installing your hardwood floors doesn’t have to be a gruesome or unpleasant task. Engineered hardwood flooring has been specifically designed to facilitate maintenance and installation, so you won’t have to deal with long weeks of workers parading around your home, and huge machines roaring in your living room in order to get beautiful looking wood floors.
6 Key Aspects to Consider When Choosing Hardwood Flooring
There is no comparison to the coziness and warmth that hardwood floors bring to any space, which is why so many people choose to have it installed and automatically upgrade their homes. Hardwood flooring can last for decades and can easily adapt to many styles and colors that you may choose for decorating your home. If it doesn’t quite seem like what you wanted, it can always be re-stained and re-finished to give it a new and fresh look, which makes it so versatile and, thusly, greatly craved.
Wood flooring has many different options, price ranges and styles, however, it can be more or less divided into that made with solid wood and that with engineered wood. Solid-wood flooring is what you might directly think of when it comes to hardwood floors, and is basically made of solid, chunky planks of wood. Engineered-wood flooring consists of several layers of wood stuck together, with a top layer made out of a many types of solid-wood veneers to choose from. It can sometimes be cheaper than solid wood, but high-end engineered wood can be of equal endurance, quality and pricing. It is known that this layering method helps floors keep their original shape, color and condition for longer periods of time.
What is going to be most defining for the future of your hardwood floors will be the moment you decide which is the right one for you. It takes more than just picking out a kind and a color. These aspects should ultimately be decided upon by carefully defining these 6 elements to consider for you to get exactly what you want and what you need for your space.
The very first aspect to consider is what kind of budget you will be working with to start reviewing your options. Being on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t get less costly options for solid-wood flooring, like a generic oak option for example, and it doesn’t mean either that if you choose engineered wood you will get low-quality ‘fake’ wood. Determine your expense limitations and do your research in order to find a product with good price-performance ratio to fit your needs.
A greatly determining factor for deciding which kind of flooring you should get will be where it will be placed. Whether the room is over, below or at ground level (above, below or on grade, as it is referred to) should have an influence on your decision for solid- or engineered- wood flooring. Solid wood is not recommended for below grade rooms, like basements, where water filtrations and higher moisture levels can ruin the floor.
- Living Habits
What kind of activities you do in the room and how much wear the floor will have to endure are essential points to take into account. If you are dealing with high-traffic areas or there are pets living in your home, you might want to consider harder wood, like a Brazilian walnut, or maybe you feel like the area is not used too often, so it would be okay with a red or white oak. You can also play around with different grain and stain options that can better help camouflage dents and scratches
The kind of subfloor you currently have will be a crucial factor as well. The most common types are concrete slab and plywood. For concrete slab floors, your options narrow down to those with engineered wood since solid wood cannot be nailed to concrete. There are many styles and types of wood veneers that will surely satisfy your needs. Plywood floors can welcome both types of flooring and make it very easy to install the wood planks. Plywood covers can be used over concrete and particleboard floors to make it possible to install solid-wood flooring if you are willing to incur in the added costs.
- Style and Home Décor
The kind of style you have chosen for your home decoration should also be something to consider when choosing hardwood flooring. The color and species of wood you choose should complement or match that of cabinets, other furniture and door frames. It should be in tune with the overall style of the room, whether more traditional, for which you could choose a darker hickory, or a more modern style, which could benefit from natural-colored maple or a gray-stained oak.
Essential factors that will contribute to the durability of your flooring and the maintenance habits you will need to keep it will greatly be determined by the stain and finish you get. You can choose darker stains to easily camouflage defects, or get a mate finish instead of a glossy one to hide dents and scratches. What will also be essential is for you to ask your contractor on guidelines for cleaning the specific kind of floor you got. Regular cleaning with a dry mop and vacuuming will keep your floors in good shape, and remember to always use only products specifically made for hardwood floors.
Most importantly, make sure you choose a contractor that has good references and that is readily available to answer your questions. If you do your homework ahead of time, there is no need for you to worry about your choice and you can be free to admire those gorgeous new wood floors.