HARDWOOD FLOORING QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
1. How can I keep my hardwood floor looking beautiful?
The primary enemy of hardwood floors is grit – usually grit that gets tracked in from outside the home. Do whatever you can to reduce the amount of grit that comes into contact with your floors. You can accomplish that by having doormats outside your entrances, by having a no-shoes-in-the-house policy, by having carpet runners in high traffic lanes, and sweeping and cleaning your floors frequently. Be sure to follow manufacturers’ directions for your choice of floor cleaners, to avoid any substances (such as ammonia) that might cloud the finish.
2. What is the story with the exotic imported hardwoods you offer? I love the look, but I love the rainforest and the planet, too.
That is a great question. We’re with you on the sustainability issue, so we only offer hardwoods that have been certified by the FSC (Forestry Stewardship Council). They follow the chain of custody for wood and wood products, world-wide, back to the source, to ensure that responsible environmental stewardship has been practiced at every stage, from logging, to milling, to manufacturing, including the transportation along the way. Look for the FSC stamp on all wood products.
3. Is there any rule-of-thumb for the direction that the planks in a hardwood floor should be oriented?
Yes. The rule-of-thumb is that they should run parallel to the longest wall in the room in which the planks are being installed.
4. Why is so much of the flooring I see made from oak?
As a flooring option, Oak offers the trifecta: it is plentiful in North America, which helps make it affordable, it is very hard, so it holds up to heavy use, and it has a pronounced grain, which helps hide minor scratches and dents.
5. I love the look of hardwood but worry about our very large dog scratching it up.
You are right to be concerned, but there are a few things you can do. Consult your vet about keeping the dog’s toenails trimmed. Also, check with your Macco’s Floor Covering Center about a hardwood choice that have aluminum oxide or other hardeners added to the finish to enhance scratch resistance.
6. Our new addition will open onto our living room, which already has hardwood flooring. Can I match the existing flooring for the flooring in the addition?
Probably. A good approach would be to bring in a few photos of the existing flooring. Your Macco’s Floor Covering Center associate can use those to make some guesses about species, finish color, plank or strip width, and edge treatment, and send you home with some samples to compare on-site. Often, installers will leave leftover planks from the installation in the original packaging. If you have that, bring it (or photos of it) and your associate can begin tracking down a match.
7. Will sunlight bleach out the color from our hardwood floor?
Exposure to ultraviolet light (part of the sun’s light) will definitely affect the color of woods – some more than others. The colorant in the stain on your hardwood floor is lightfast, but the wood itself changes. Cherry darkens with exposure to sunlight; maple can take on yellow tones. Your Macco’s Floor Covering Center associate can help you assess the photosensitivity of your wood choices.
8. I remember my mother waxing the hardwood floor when I was a kid. Is that ever necessary anymore?
Never, for most modern hardwood floors. Pre-finished hardwoods are by far the most common form of hardwood being installed these days. Those finishes are hard and form a complete seal between the top of the plank and the world above it. Such finishes repel water, oil, and wax. So, no more waxing, thankfully.
9. Is solid hardwood better than engineered hardwood flooring?
Not really. In fact, there are several measures for which engineered hardwood outperforms solid hardwood. Engineered hardwood is more stable – reacts less to changes in humidity – so it doesn’t gap, warp or otherwise react as dramatically as solid hardwood. This quality enables engineered hardwood to be installed in settings for which solid would be risky – over concrete slabs, for example. One point in favor of solid hardwood – it can be sanded and refinished after decades of use, sometimes repeatedly. But that is seldom a meaningful distinction for homeowners.
10. Are some brands of hardwood flooring better than others? Isn’t a tree a tree, whoever is cutting it up and packaging it?
You’d think that might be true, but it isn’t. While the underlying wood might be the same, the quality control at one manufacturer can be superior to the next one. Specifications vary for what is allowable as a “good board” versus what is kicked out as a defect. Many customers prefer seeing long boards in their installation, and some brands accommodate that preference better than others. Your Macco’s Floor Covering Center associate is your best resource for ensuring you find a choice with which you will be happy.
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