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Learning Center - Hardwood Flooring FAQs

Hardwood Flooring FAQ
  1. Can I install hardwood flooring in the kitchen?
  2. Can I install hardwood flooring in the bathroom?
  3. I have a large dog and I’ve been told I should not have hardwood. Is this true?
  4. I want hardwood flooring in my basement, but I’ve been told I can’t put hardwood below grade. Is this true?
  5. Are there any advantages to engineered hardwood floors over solid hardwood floors?
  6. How much does wood species matter to a floor’s durability?
  7. Are hardwood floors as easy to clean as other types of floors?
  8. What should I use to clean my hardwood floors?
  9. Should I buy an unfinished wood floor and finish it myself?
  10. What is the Janka Hardness Rating?

Can I install hardwood flooring in the kitchen?
Installing hardwood flooring in the kitchen is becoming more and more commonplace. The protective finishes now offered make hardwood a sensible choice for the kitchen, but many are concerned about spills or accidents. Provided you clean up a spill in a timely fashion there should be no issue whatsoever. If you’re worried about pipes breaking or the dishwasher overflowing, these are issues that will likely damage any floor and in the event something major happens, your homeowner’s insurance should cover you no matter what type of floor you have. If you want hardwood in the kitchen, don’t be afraid.

Can I install hardwood flooring in the bathroom?
Manufacturers will not guarantee a floor that’s been installed in a bathroom. However, if you plan to install in a half-bath where there is no shower, frequent steam and consistent water on the floor, you should be okay. That being said, the manufacturer will still not warranty the floor.

I have a large dog and I’ve been told I should not have hardwood. Is this true?
No, you can have large dogs on hardwood floors. While no floor is scratch proof some will resist scratches more than others. Plus, some hardwood floors can be refinished throughout time unlike man made floors such as laminate and vinyl.

I want hardwood flooring in my basement, but I’ve been told I can’t put hardwood below grade. Is this true?
Solid hardwood should not be installed below grade. However, engineered hardwood can be installed in basements as long as you do not have an existing moisture problem. When installing over any concrete sub floor, it’s always best to perform a moisture test. This can either be done with a moisture meter or even a rudimentary test. apply a small amount of plastic to the concrete, seal the edges and see if moisture accumulates. If so, you’ll likely to have to seal the concrete before installing any floor.

Are there any advantages to engineered hardwood floors over solid hardwood floors?
The main advantage of engineered hardwood flooring is that it’s less prone to seasonal expansion and contraction. The cross-ply construction keeps the wood from expanding or contracting at the same rate as solid wood flooring. This is why it’s okay to install engineered wood over concrete. If you live in a coastal area or places with large seasonal changes in air moisture, you might want to consider engineered hardwood flooring.

How much does wood species matter to a floor’s durability?
While there are harder than woods than others, the surface finish, the amount of coats used and the quality of that finish greatly compensate for the hardness/softness of a wood. If there’s a specific species of wood you prefer but it has a lower Janka Hardness rating, that doesn’t necessarily mean the floor isn’t as tough or durable. It’s the finish that counts the most.

Are hardwood floors as easy to clean as other types of floors?
Yes. Today’s hardwood floors are light years ahead of where they once were and very easy to clean. Just make sure you’re using a manufacturer approved cleaning product, but most of the time you’ll just be using a dust mop to keep dirt, hair and dust off the surface. These are the things that dull hardwood finish over time by continuously causing abrasion.

What should I use to clean my hardwood floors?
Each manufacturer has a specific product they recommend. On prefinished floors, do not use wax-based cleaners. Today’s prefinished floors do not require waxing and are much easier to care for than in years past.

Should I buy an unfinished wood floor and finish it myself?
We wouldn’t recommend it. Not only is it a huge undertaking, the manufacturer finishes are probably vastly superior to anything you can apply yourself. Most are UV cured finishes that are hardened by UV rays. This is something you can’t really duplicate and makes the surface much more durable.

What is the Janka Hardness Rating?
The Janka Hardness Scale rates the hardness of a particular species of wood. The higher the number, the harder the wood and more durable it will probably be. However, the amount of finish coats used, the quality of the polyurethane used and whether or not a finish is UV cured greatly affect the longevity of a floor’s surface. Click here to see the Janka Hardness scale.