Buying the Right Floor
Replacing carpet with wood flooring over a wood or concrete subfloor? Dangers you should know and avoid. Selecting the right flooring material for your home can be a difficult and challenging experience; however, before purchasing or contracting to install any wood flooring, save yourself a lot of headache, misery and expense after the sale by doing the following:
- Having a plan. Don't do anything until you have a well thought out plan.
- Know whether the wood flooring can be installed in a basement or on concrete before making a purchase.
- Seeking help and advice from a NWFA Certified Professional Wood Flooring Inspector with ICC Structural Credentials.
- Writing a good "contract" and never allowing your wood floor installation to begin without a written contract that states specifics, installation procedure and standards by which the floor is to be installed. A proposal is not a contract.
- Engaging our services to write or modify the contract before you sign it.
- Knowing and understanding flaws in structure and subfloors that are most often overlooked or never brought to your attention by wood flooring contractors.
- Knowing the subfloor in your home and costs associated with "preparing" it to meet standards required by the wood manufacturer and the National Wood Flooring Association Installation Guidelines. If you don't know your subfloor or framing structure contact us for an inspection and advice before signing a contract.
- Reading and clearly understanding the wood flooring manufacturer's installation instructions before purchasing your wood floor or laminate products.
- Keeping in mind, the sale is what's most important to sales centers and wood flooring contractors.
- Asking yourself, should I :
- Go with solid wood flooring, engineered flooring products or laminate flooring? For many families engineered or laminate products are not the right floor. Do not purchase wood flooring for all the wrong reasons or to impress someone. These are costly mistakes.
- Consider lasting beauty and durability? Floors that dent easily eventually turn ugly, cause embarrassment and in the end costing lots of money. We recommend not wasting time and money buying them. Always refer to the Janka Hardness Test Chart when buying solid wood flooring.
- Consider the subfloor, framing, method of installation and where inside the home the flooring will be installed? The flooring you choose may not be right for the subfloor or floor structural diaphragm in your home. Sadly, many wood flooring contractor overlook or don't understand floor framing, which in many cases necessitates total removal of your new floor. If you don't have good answers to this question contact us for advice and possible inspection of your floor and foundation structure before doing anything. Once you determine the floor structure (framing) is capable of sustaining the wood floor over the long haul take a close look at the subfloor. If the framing is good and flooring is installed on a proper subfloor the wood should perform as intended, giving lasting beauty and peace of mind. Do not, however, expect wood flooring to perform as intended if installed on a substandard subfloor or bad framing, or if the installer failed to do exemplary work preparing the subfloor.
- Consider interior environmental conditions? Environmental conditions play a very important role in your decision to go with wood flooring products. Whether you choose solid or engineered wood or laminate, consider traffic, animals and moisture inside the home. High traffic, high relative humidity, poor functioning air conditioners, wet basements and crawl spaces and animals take their toll on wood flooring. One or more of these conditions can and will affect the finish or result in cupping, buckling, or movement that will require expensive repair or total replacement.
- Consider the method of attachment? Knowing the method of attachment, nail down, glue down, screed systems and floated floors is of the utmost importance. Improper attachment is a recipe for disaster and tremendous expense.
- Consider location of the floor, where will it be installed, traffic flow and pets? If the floor is installed in high traffic areas, or large dogs are in the home, consider using a solid hardwood ranked high on the Janka Hardness Test Chart. By using this chart it will help you decide which floor is right for your home and specific needs.
- Consider elevations (basement, below grade, above grade or both)? Some wood products are not recommended for use at or below the outside dirt line. Read the product manufacturer's installation instructions before purchasing and installing any wood or laminate flooring product. If printed instructions are not available for review, your contract should stipulate and require that all wood flooring products and components be installed in strict compliance with the NWFA Installation Guidelines.
- Consider moisture in the basement, crawl space and under concrete slabs? Water is the chief enemy of wood floors. You must consider unacceptable levels of moisture in basements, foundation walls and crawl spaces. Standing water or high moisture under the home will ruin your wood floors.