Flooring 101: Your Guide to Hardwood

Hardwood floor installation can be one of the best decisions a homeowner can make. Aesthetically pleasing, hardwood flooring is not only practical – it’s also a great investment in your home.

While carpeting might last 10 or so years in a home and vinyl about 20 years maximum, both show age far more quickly than hardwood. Well-maintained hardwood floors last the lifetime of the home, and can even receive a “midlife” refinish at minimal cost.

If you’re looking to make hardwoods your next big project, we can help!

Types

Not all hardwood is created equal. Oak, maple and cherry floors are the most common kinds of wood used for flooring. These trees are all grown in North America and are strong, serviceable choices for heavy foot traffic. Exotic woods are also available, like Tasmanian Oak and Brazilian Cherry. Due to their exotic nature, they may not be true hardwoods – make sure you ask questions about sourcing and authenticity when you purchase.

No matter the hardwood you select, all are finished in one of two ways: surface or penetrating finishes. Surface finishes uses a protective, moisture-resistant coating over the wood. This is usually some sort of polyurethane. It’s typically easier to apply, but eventually wears out.  Penetrating finishes actually absorb into the wood and are then covered by wax. The natural look is preferred by some, but it requires regular upkeep and refinishing.

Installation Procedures

Hardwood floor installation is fairly straightforward – but not for the faint of heart. Carpets and vinyl have to be torn up and removed before the process can begin. Then, the wood or concrete subfloor is cleaned and inspected for faults. An underlayment is then nailed or stapled down. Finally, the hardwood installation can really start!

Each hardwood floorboard must be nailed down, so it’s important to pre-drill holes every six inches. Pieces are laid one by one, after the previous is nailed down. It’s important to stagger the pieces to strengthen the floor. This also helps improve the aesthetics; staggered planks are much more interesting than identical straight rows.

Installing hardwood floors takes knowledge and confidence – if you’re second-guessing your abilities, this job is probably better left to the experts!

Costs

Most companies quote the cost to install hardwood floors on a square foot basis. Your cost will depend greatly on your choice of wood and your location, but you can expect to pay around $5 to $8 per square foot for installation. This price includes the labor necessary to remove old flooring, install and finish your new hardwood.

Interested in hardwoods for an upfit project or a custom home? Bold can help! Contact us today and let’s work together.