FAQ’s

A: Hardwood flooring’s greatest benefit may be its aesthetics. As one of the oldest flooring materials, hardwood has a timeless beauty that complements any décor. Each hardwood species is distinctive, with a variety of grain patterns and natural color assortment. 

When properly cared for, hardwood flooring will last a lifetime and increase the value of a home. Strong and durable, hardwood floors require minimal maintenance and are resistant to spills and stains. 

Hardwood flooring helps to limit the amount of dirt, dust, pollen and other particles that collect in your home. Removing these contaminants, especially if you suffer from allergies, fosters a healthier living environment. 

Speaking of the environment, wood is a natural and renewable resource. Finer brands incorporate conservation and sustainability practices into their manufacturing operations. For more information about sustainable harvesting and manufacturing practices, visit http://www.forestry.gov.uk/website/forestry.nsf/byunique/infd-7m8fz7

A: Solid and engineered flooring are two very different types of wood floors. It is important to know the benefits of each type of flooring because, in certain situations, one may be preferred over the other.

The appeal of solid planks can often be found in their thickness. At 3/4-inch thick, solid flooring allows homeowners to strip, sand and restrain the planks on a semi-regular basis, while retaining its functionality for many years. 

Solid hardwood floors will expand and contract with relative humidity changes in your home. Installers compensate for this movement by leaving an expansion gap between the floor and the wall, typically hidden by baseboard molding or quarter round. As a result, solid hardwood is not recommended for areas of the home with high moisture content, such as the bath and basement.  

Installation of solid hardwood floors requires that the boards be nailed or stapled down. Nailing involves driving a nail at an angle through the tongue of the hardwood floor into the wood subfloor. The nails are hidden by the groove in the next row of boards. Stapling follows a similar process to nailing. 

Engineered flooring is produced using five to nine layers of hardwood, with each layer stacked in a cross-grain configuration and bonded together using heat and pressure. As a result, engineered flooring often has a lower price point and is less likely to be affected by changes in humidity, allowing it to be installed in all levels of the home, including the basement. 

Engineered hardwood flooring can be installed in a variety of ways. In addition to nailing and stapling, it can be glued down. For engineered flooring that is 3 inches or wider, the floating installation method can also be used. Whereas gluing involves troweling glue on the floor and setting the engineered planks into the glue, the floating installation method requires foam underlay designed specifically for floating floors, as well as a special adhesive to glue the tongue and groove of the boards together. 

A. Some wood species are light sensitive, meaning that the wood darkens over time. Depending on the species, it may take six months to a year for floors to reach their full, rich color. To eliminate tone differences, rotate rugs and furniture periodically so each area of the floor gets equal amounts of sun exposure. Eventually, any variations in color tones will fade away. 
A. Wood floor manufacturers like Mullican Flooring have developed some guidelines and recommendations for proper floor care.  It is important to follow the recommendations of the flooring manufacturer because failure to do so may void the product’s warranty. 
A. Moisture causes hardwood floors to expand. While hardwood flooring will naturally expand and contract as the seasons change, excessive moisture can lead to numerous changes to the floor, such as cupping, buckling or cracking. Before installation, the moisture content of the flooring and the subflooring should be checked, making sure they meet manufacturer recommendations. Once the flooring has been installed, the humidity level inside the building should be kept within the recommended range of 35-55 percent. 
A. Unfinished hardwood strips or planks have not been stained or sealed at the factory. As a result, all the sanding, staining and finishing must be done on the job site. The finish can take several days to apply and dry, making the space uninhabitable during that time. 

Prefinished flooring is stained and sealed by the manufacturer. The aluminum oxide coating on a factory-finished floor provides also provides strong, and durable surface.

A. The Janka Rating System has become the hardwood flooring industry’s standard for determining whether a particular wood species is suitable for flooring.

Standardized in 1927 by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), the Janka Rating System indicates a wood’s relative hardness.

Testing is conducted by measuring the force required to embed a .444-inch steel ball to half its diameter into a wood sample, a reliable method for assessing the ability of a wood species to withstand denting and wear. Higher ratings are assigned to harder woods, which tend to be more durable than softer woods.

 

A. Most wood flooring manufactures recommends adding 7 to 12 percent for waste and cuts, depending on the skill level of the installer and the layout of space. For example, a diagonal installation  will result in more waste than traditional installation. Some retailers may allow the return of unopened boxes of product. 
A. Steam cleaners should never be used on a hardwood floor. They can damage the product and may void the warranty. Always contact your hardwood flooring professional for advice on cleaning a wood floor.
A. For optimum performance, wood flooring should stay within the relative humidity range of 30-50 percent and a temperature range of 68 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit. See chart from the Wood Handbook, published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Fortunately for Californians this is pretty much a normalcy since we have very little humidity in general. But there are times when other home environments can cause changes that will affect these parameters.

A. Most Flooring manufactures recommend that a vapor barrier of 15-pound felt paper be placed between the hardwood flooring and the wood subfloor to prevent any moisture from reaching the floor from any level above grade!