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  • Types of Hardwood Flooring

    hardwood floorSolid or Engineered Hardwood Flooring: Which is Right for Your Sacramento Home?

    When it comes to adding warmth and beauty to the interior of your Sacramento home, nothing compares to the look of a genuine hardwood floor. Today’s homeowners have the option of choosing either solid or engineered hardwood floors. While both are made from 100 percent real wood, there are some fundamental differences between them, and understanding these will help you select a product that’s right for your home.

     

    Solid hardwood flooring

    A solid hardwood floor is just what its name implies: a solid piece of wood, typically 3/4 of an inch thick. Because of its thickness, a solid hardwood floor can be sanded and refinished multiple times, which gives it a long lifespan. Additionally, solid hardwood flooring allows for complete customization in terms of colors and stains, which makes it a great choice for Sacramento homeowners looking for a specific aesthetic.

    The main disadvantages of solid hardwood flooring are related to it being a natural product. For instance, natural hardwoods are susceptible to warping in moist conditions and require ongoing maintenance to guarantee ongoing performance. Another problem with solid hardwood is that most new homes have concrete slab floors, which means flooring materials have to be glued down. Since solid wood floors can only be nailed down, it immediately rules them out for installation in many modern homes.

     

    Engineered hardwood flooring

    Engineered hardwood floors are typically composed of a plywood core topped with a thin layer of authentic wood. Because of their plywood composition, engineered hardwood floors tend to be much more stable than solid hardwood, with less expansion/contraction and chance for cupping. As a result, engineered floors can be installed in almost any kind of environment with a variety of techniques, including being glued to a concrete slab. The only disadvantages of engineered hardwood are the reduced customization options and limited number of times the floor can be refinished (once or twice at most).

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  • Choosing a Hardwood Floor Product

    dark wood floor5 Considerations for Choosing a Hardwood Floor Product

    When choosing a hardwood flooring product for your Sacramento home, you’ll need to take several factors into account. Here are five to consider:

    1. Your lifestyle

    One of the most important factors for choosing a hardwood flooring product is your lifestyle—that is, the amount of activity that regularly takes place in your home. For instance, while a wood like American walnut may work nicely for a couple of empty nesters, its relative softness and susceptibility to damage makes it a poor choice for homeowners with young children and/or large pets. In this scenario, a stronger wood like oak or hickory would be a better choice. In addition, look for a product that hides wear. Oak and hickory do a good job of this, but you should also consider purchasing a distressed wood floor, which has a worn-out look that will only be complemented by additional wear and tear.

    1. Aesthetics

    In addition to fitting your lifestyle, your new floor should match your home’s aesthetic style and décor. Even if the floor you choose is scratch-resistant, if it doesn’t look right, you aren’t going to be satisfied with your choice. Keep in mind that the look of solid hardwood flooring can be completely customized, whereas engineered hardwood flooring comes in a limited number of colors and stains.

    1. Environmental impact

    Wood flooring materials can come at a large environmental cost, so it’s worthwhile to consider a sustainable option. One of the best options is North American hardwood, which is harvested from sustainable forests in accordance with stringent environmental and labor regulations. Also, since the wood is locally sourced, it cuts down on pollution and other byproducts of shipping overseas.

    1. Unique conditions

    High humidity, an uneven subfloor and other unique in-home conditions can limit your flooring choices or require additional measures during installation. Since solid hardwood is prone to warping in moist conditions and can be difficult to install over an uneven subfloor, an engineered wood product is usually a better choice for challenging conditions.

    1. Maintenance

    Any hardwood floor requires some amount of maintenance, but certain materials and finishes require more than others, so look into this when making your choice. For example, an oil-finished floor requires more maintenance than a urethane-finished floor.

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  • Preventing Hardwood Floor Damage

    natural hardwood floorsPreventing Scratches and Dents on Hardwood Flooring

    Besides regularly cleaning your hardwood floors, it’s smart to take preventative measures against scratches, dents and other kinds of damage. Here are a few things you can do:

    • Implement a “no shoes” rule in your home. In particular, you should never walk across a hardwood floor wearing stiletto heels or shoes with missing or damaged heel taps.
    • If you have pets, trim their nails regularly to keep them from damaging your flooring.
    • Place felt pads under dining room chairs and other hard-legged furniture. Since felt pads tend to come off over time, plan to replace these at least once a year.
    • Place plywood or plastic lifts under heavy appliances and furniture.
    • Place slip-resistant pads beneath area rugs to avoid a gradual sanding effect.
    • Replace narrow furniture rollers with wide rubber rollers that are less likely to dent or damage the floor.
    • Never move heavy furniture or appliances across a hardwood floor without proper floor protection.

    If your hardwood floor already has surface scratches, you’ll be glad to know there’s an easy, low-cost way to hide these: a Tibet Almond Stick. Simply apply the stick over the scratched area and buff it in to remove white marks and restore your floor’s surface integrity. At about $15, this simple tool is much more affordable (not to mention quicker) than refinishing.

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  • Differentiating Hardwood Floor Finishes

    residential hardwood flooringSelecting a Hardwood Floor Finish

    When purchasing a new hardwood floor for your Sacramento home, you’ll need to decide what type of finish to seal it with. There are two basic finish styles to choose from: urethane and oil. Since each differs in terms of performance and maintenance, it’s good to understand these attributes before making a decision.

    A urethane finish is basically a plastic coating that seals and protects the floor’s surface from moisture and damage. Its sturdy quality also helps protect against scratches, but it consequently makes flooring repairs more difficult to perform. In contrast, an oil finish is less like a suit of armor and more like your natural skin, requiring regular oil application to stay supple.

    While not as tough as a urethane finish, an oil-finished floor will typically have a longer lifespan if it’s well-maintained. However, if it’s neglected, it can fail prematurely and need to be replaced sooner than a urethane floor. That’s why, when choosing a finish, you need to be honest with yourself about your lifestyle and habits. Do you take care of your floors? If so, an oil finish is a great choice. If maintenance has never been your strong suit, you should probably go with a urethane finish.

    Speaking of maintenance, make sure you use a hardwood floor cleaning product that’s appropriate for the finish you choose. For a urethane-finished floor, Bona® Hardwood Floor Cleaner is a good choice, whereas an oil-finished floor requires cleaning products that are compatible with its oil-based composition. To get the best results, choose a kit that includes a natural cleaner safe for oil finishes, as well as one or more oil refreshing/rejuvenating products. When in doubt, choose a cleaning kit made by your flooring product’s manufacturer—that way, there’s no question whether it’s appropriate.

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