Things To Do Before You Start Shopping for Hardwood Flooring
One the keys to completing any successful home improvement project on time and according to budget is doing the necessary preparation prior to starting any actual installation. Developing a step-by-step plan of action and addressing the details before beginning any project will give you a better idea of what all is involved with the project, a close estimation of final costs, and help save you any headaches you may encounter along the way. Here are the tip 5 things you should do before you start shopping for hardwood floors:
- Take proper measurements. Having an accurate measurement of square footage of your room(s) is a vital step in determining exactly how much hardwood flooring you will need to complete the project. Having to go back and repurchase materials will waste time and sometimes money, and can add frustrations to the overall project. Taking proper measurements is fairly simple and the time spent doing it right can save you even more time over the duration of the installation process.
To measure the proper square footage of your room(s), measure from wall to wall in both directions. If the room isn’t a simple square, you can section off the room into squares to get your accurate measurements. If a wall regresses or you have full or partial hallways, simply treat those areas as squares separate from the main portion of the room. Also take into consideration the flooring will have to run underneath any baseboard and moldings, so measure to the wall itself. Finally, with any home improvement project there will be some degree of waste with the materials. Typically adding an extra 5-10 percent to your total square footage will allow for any waste that may and probably will arise during the installation process.
- Determine if you are going to perform the installation yourself or hire a professional. This is a very important factor when planning your hardwood flooring project. Self installation can save you a significant amount of money. On average, labor costs are going to be roughly 40-50% of a turn-key installation, so depending on the size of the room(s) you can save hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Saving money is always a prime aspect of a home improvement project, but installing your own hardwood floors is not for everybody. A project of this level requires adequate construction and carpentry skills, and improper installation methods can be costly by wasting both time and wood flooring material. Self installation requires having all the proper tools, the time and patience to complete the project and a few handy friends to help out never hurts.
- Decide on the overall desired look and color of your hardwood flooring material. Hardwood flooring lasts a lifetime when properly maintained, so deciding on what is visually pleasing to you is another key step when planning your flooring project. Hardwood flooring comes in many species, natural coloration and grain patterns. These characteristics combine to produce hardwood floors in many different styles. Do you want your floors to make a bold statement? Do you have existing hardwood flooring that you need to match? These are questions you should take into consideration when shopping for hardwood floors.
- Learn the terminology associated with hardwood flooring. You should do the proper research and educate yourself with the many different terms and aspects of hardwood flooring will help make your project run a lot smoother from beginning to completion. Especially if you hire a professional installer, it is beneficial to be able to fully communicate exactly what you want. Spend some time on our site familiarizing yourself with hardwood flooring. It will help you make better decisions along the way as well as help you feel more confident that your hardwood floors will end up precisely how you envisioned them.
- Decide where you will purchase your hardwood flooring materials. A factor as important as the actual product you buy is the company you purchase your products from. Saving money is always a welcome facet of a home improvement project and purchasing your wood flooring online can save you a significant amount of money. See our article on why you should purchase hardwood flooring online to see the many benefits of buying from an online company.
Doing the proper research and preparation prior to beginning your hardwood flooring project will help ensure your project runs smoothly, you maximize your cost efficiency, and end up with hardwood floors that you will be happy with for many years.
Subflooring Impacts Installation
It’s a good idea to know your subflooring type when shopping for hardwood floors. Concrete slab and plywood are two common types of subfloors. Various subflooring types have different qualities when it comes to hardness, sound absorption, and ease of installation.
If you’re thinking about installing floating floors, the type of subfloor will dictate the proper underlayment to use before laying down the visible layer of flooring.
Height and Weight Restrictions When Buying Hardwood Floors
Thinking about installing hardwood on an upper floor of your home? You’ll want to know the load restrictions to find out if your home can sustain the weight of solid hardwood floors.
Do you live in an apartment building or condo with metal doors? While wooden doors are easy to cut to size in order to accommodate new flooring, metal isn’t so simple. It’s a good idea to make sure that there will be enough room to install a thicker wood flooring type so that the doors don’t scrape and scratch against the floor and cause damage.
Should i choose engineered, prefinished, or unfinished hardwood flooring?
Before choosing your flooring, it’s important to know the differences between engineered hardwood, prefinished hardwood, and unfinished hardwood flooring.
Engineered wood floor planks have inner layers of material, such as plywood or fiberboard. These core layers make the material very stable. The outermost layer is composed of a hardwood veneer.
- Difficult to tell apart from solid wood flooring
- Great sound resistance (perfect for apartments and condos)
- Its multiple layers block moisture and less susceptible to warping
- The material is low maintenance and less expensive than hardwood flooring
- Prefinished hardwood flooring eliminates the need for onsite finishing. The floors are sanded and prefinished in the factory and available in solid or engineered planks.
- The factory-applied finishes are nearly perfect
- You don’t have to worry about dust marring the finish like you would with unfinished hardwood flooring
- Installation takes less time, as sanding, sealing, staining, etc. is already completed
- Unfinished hardwood flooring is finished on-site and is sanded to a smooth, even finish.
- It’s customizable, as raw wood offers endless options
- The natural look of the wood is showcased
- You have the ability to match existing floors in your home
The look you are trying to achieve.
Essentially you are either after a contemporary or a traditional look. The variety of woods available today is mind boggling. Different grains, patterns and colors each have their own distinctive look and feel. It is important to match these qualities with what you trying to accomplish. You will also want to take into consideration what decor and furnishings will be in the room.
The traffic level of the room.
This includes any pets, children or people with disabilities who will be using or travelling through the room. You will want to choose the flooring option that is most compatible with these factors.
Where you will be putting the flooring.
Whether you re going to be installing solid wood flooring in your living room, dining room, bedroom, hallway, bathroom, or even your kitchen, you will want to make sure that you choose the appropriate flooring. Flooring for a kitchen or bathroom needs to be of a different structure to that fitted in a living, dining or bedroom. If you are putting flooring in more than one room, you’ll want to make sure that you strike a balance between what is appropriate for each room.
Your Sub base.
What is the surface that you are going to be fitting your new floor too? Is it concrete, wooden batons, existing wooden floor, carpet. All these options affect which floor you can fit and how it is fitted. It is essential to know about this to avoid costly mistakes.
Things to Know About Hardwood Floor Installation
Preparation is the key to a smooth installation. These tips will help.
Wherever you are in the floor buying journey, installation should play an important role in your decision-making. Who’s going to install it? How and where will it be installed? These types of things can affect your budget and timeline, so consider them from the beginning to ensure the best possible results.
- Consider where you’re going to install.
Carefully review the product specifications and instructions before you buy. The vast majority of hardwood products are not recommended for bathroom or laundry room installations (though, our Hydropel flooring is one exception). If you plan to install in a basement or over concrete slab or a radiant heating system, choose engineered hardwood instead of solid hardwood.
- Know what installation options are available.
Recommended installation methods can differ from product to product. Solid hardwood must be nailed, stapled or glued down. Engineered wood can often be floated, meaning the planks connect to each other instead of the subfloor. Floating hardwood installation is much more DIY-friendly.
- Decide whether you’ll DIY or hire a professional.
If you plan to do it yourself, it’s probably fastest and easiest to choose an engineered flooring product that can be floated. Hardwood installation that requires staples, nails or glue can be challenging—even for experienced DIYers. If you decide to hire a professional, ask your flooring retailer to recommend a professional installer that they are associated with, or someone who they have successfully referred before. This will give you peace of mind that your floor is being installed correctly.
- Read the instructions well in advance.
Your specific product instructions cover a lot of information about what supplies are needed and what you can expect throughout each step of the process. Read every word to ensure you’re fully prepared. View installation instructions.
- Gather all your supplies.
Those instructions you read so thoroughly list out any extra tools and materials you’ll need. While requirements vary from product to product, your list could include things like trims and moldings underlayment, nails, staples, glue, an air compressor, and/or miscellaneous tools.