Hardwood floor are an absolute classic. There is quite nothing like the timeless look and feel of a beautifully stained hardwood floor. It is elegant, yet earth-warming and comfortable adding a truly unique feel to any home. If you are considering getting a hardwood floor installed (or for those out there brave/skilled enough, doing it yourself), there are a few things you need to know about it!
1) The wood needs some time to acclimate itself!
So you just ordered a brand new batch of flooring panels and are excited to get going…don’t power-up your nail gun yet! Remember that solid hardwood is an organic material, and it might need some time to acclimate itself to your particular environment. As you might know, wood is actually very reactive to the environment where it exists in. It can move, expands, contract and change depending on the moisture content in the air or other factors. This is the reason why it is quite a good thing to let your wood rest for a little while in its new environment before getting started with the installation process.
In other words, if you just move wood from an environment to another and proceed to the installation right away, you might risk that the wood floor panels might get warped later, as they are reacting to the conditions in the room, after the installation, as opposed to getting acclimated to the space before the installation process even begins.
In some cases, professional hardwood floor installation experts are used to leaving the boards right where they will be installed and allow them to rest in that specific environment for a few days, and maybe even up to a week if there is no huge time constraint.
Through resting in their “final” environment, the boards will be able to “adjust” to the moisture condition in the room.
Classic hardwood boards will greatly benefit from acclimation, while modern engineered floorboards, made up of different wood layers, are not as susceptible to moisture, so they might not even require this particular step!
2) Finishing can make a difference in terms of durability
Finishing your hardwood floor is a really important process. Although some people might see this as a purely aesthetic thing, there are actually many other things that you would need to consider when opting for the best possible finish in your particular case. There is a multitude of wood finishing products normally used for hardwood floors, but essentially, ti can be stated that it all comes down to two main larger “families”. Oil finishes, or polyurethane finishes.
Oil finishes are stunning. They have that vibe, that classic look and feel that is so prized and sought-after. Oil finishes soak directly into the layers of the wood, making for a softer, more natural look. While they do offer some protection in some cases, there is another option that is even stronger: polyurethane.
Polyurethane finishes can be satin or glossy, and they offer a thicker layer of protection that will shelter your wood floor against weathering, scratches, marks or other issues. Granted, your poly finish might get scratched due to extensive use, but the wood underneath might remain unscathed, making it easier to restore it to optimal standards.
Polyurethane finishes can also minimize the impact of moisture and humidity affecting your hardwood floor panels, making for an extra layer of weathering protection.
3) Solid wood or engineered panels?
Solid hardwood panels are still considered one of the most popular options out there, but today, there are many other innovations available on the hardwood flooring market. Engineered panes might look just like regular hardwood floors at a glance, but there is quite a lot going on under the hood. Engineered panels are actually created by layering different wood panels, often even by combining different types of woods. This allows producers to solve the issue of warping due to how the floor might react to circumstantial environmental factors. As mentioned earlier, wood is an organic material that’s somewhat susceptible to weathering. It will react to the moisture content in any environment and it might warp over time. Engineered hardwood floorboards will actually prevent warping due to their skillful construction.