Hardwood floors are beautiful and classic, with a natural look that enhances your decor and makes any space warm and inviting. But even with its benefits, a few common hardwood floor problems might occur over time, like cupping, buckling and scuffing.
Fortunately, learning possible solutions and preventive measures make it easy to maintain. If you’re wondering how to make your hardwood floors stand the test of time, read our tips to preserve that organic and comfortable hardwood feel to ensure the best possible investment.
Common Hardwood Flooring Concerns
Though an excellent flooring choice, natural hardwood flooring has a natural tendency to respond to changes in humidity or temperature that might affect its durability over time. Still, when you learn about the possible concerns of hardwood flooring, you can employ a few solutions to make sure it stays in good condition.
Common hardwood floor concerns and solutions include:
- Cupping: Cupping happens between individual wood planks, causing the edges to rise and the center to lower. Cupping might occur if your hardwood is installed above a wet basement or isn’t properly acclimated. Luckily, once you’ve successfully located the source of moisture causing your planks to cup, you can quickly remove it. Your wood will then return to its normal shape.
- Buckling: Buckling occurs when the wood disconnects from the subfloor due to excessive swelling in the planks. To avoid this concern, your floor installer should use the correct adhesive and nailing methods. They can also assess your subfloor to ensure proper installation before laying your new hardwood.
- Scratches and dents: While you can’t avoid scratches and scuffs in hardwood over extended use, you can take preventive measures to reduce them. For example, avoid walking on your floor with high heel shoes and put down rugs in high-traffic areas. Additionally, refinishing the floors with a protective layer can help.
- Discoloration: Hardwood can color and become darker in certain spots over time. Exposure to ultraviolet rays of the sun can also speed up fading or discoloration. To avoid this, consider applying a protective film to your windows or covering sunlit areas with rugs.
Best Specifications for Hardwood Floors
Are you considering hardwood but are unsure about the best specifications to look for so that your floor lasts? Here are a few tips to remember before purchasing and installing hardwood in your home.
1. Have a Professional Install Them
Make sure you hire a knowledgeable and trustworthy flooring company to install your new hardwood floor so that it lasts. Hiring professionals to install your hardwood floors will help mitigate future problems and ensure your floor holds up over time. Expert installation services include:
- Helping you decide on the right hardwood for your specific needs
- Assessing your floors for the best fit to correctly set the wood and prevent buckling
- Advising you of the best practices to maintain your new hardwood flooring
A trusted flooring installation team will ensure your floor doesn’t warp or require excessive refinishing. You’ll save time and money over the long run when you research to find the best flooring contractor for you.
2. Choose the Right Hardwood for Your Lifestyle
Before deciding on your hardwood flooring, consider that you can choose between natural or engineered hardwood, depending on your preferences.
In general, you’ll find that natural hardwood has fantastic resale value and longevity, while engineered hardwood is exceptionally versatile, durable and less expensive.
The main difference between the two types of hardwood is in their composition. Solid wood doesn’t contain any unalloyed layers, while engineered hardwood has a top layer of hardwood and a bottom layer of plywood. Solid hardwood typically comes in extended, skinnier planks, and engineered hardwood is usually shorter and broader.
Natural hardwood is milled around the edges so that pieces fit together seamlessly. Examples include oak, maple, walnut or hickory. Usually, engineered hardwood contains a natural top layer that you’d find in hardwood floors, though its layers in-between usually consist of high-density fiberboard.
Engineered and natural hardwood are virtually indistinguishable from a visual standpoint. Though natural wood might be the classic option, engineered hardwood has become increasingly popular for its durability and low maintenance.
Depending on your lifestyle and the amount of time you’ll be able to spend on maintenance, choose the hardwood that will last longer for your household.
3. Implement Proper Cleaning and Finishes
Since hardwood can be made of various lumber such as teak, oak and walnut, its variety, longevity and beauty make it a popular choice for homeowners. Still, you’ll want to make sure you take care of your new hardwood floor with proper after care that includes cleaning and finishing so it stays in excellent shape.
Hardwood doesn’t require abrasive cleaners or materials to maintain its surfaces. Clean any spills with a soft cloth immediately and use a soft-bristled broom for sweeping debris, so you don’t scratch the wood. Use a vacuum cleaner to remove larger particles from hardwood — just be careful to ensure the vacuum wheels don’t scratch the surface.
To improve your floor’s appearance and prolong its life, use the appropriate finishes for your particular hardwood species. The most common finishes for hardwood floors include:
- Polyurethane: A water-based polyurethane is clear, low-odor and quick to dry, while the oil-based version is more durable and usually more heat-resistant.
- Oil: An oil finish contains small molecules that seep into the wood rather than sit on its surface. Because of this, oil makes the wood look rich without adding a film.
- Varnish: Varnishes are resins or solvents and are more susceptible to ultraviolet rays, so they do well on outdoor hardwood.
- Lacquer: Lacquers are a great option because their transparency will last a long time while drying quickly after application. They are typically made of colored or clear hardened solvents. Spray it onto your hardwood floors for the best results.
- Shellac: Shellac applies a warm finish to your hardwood, enhancing its natural beauty. Shellac is alcohol combined with resins, and you can use it multiple times with a clock or sprayer since it dries quickly.
- Wax: Wax uses a blend of solvents and natural oils to create a shiny finish that protects hardwood against staining, scuffs and more.
Trust Metro Flooring Contractors to Install Beautiful Hardwood That Lasts
When you’re considering installing hardwood floors, you’ll want to learn the proper specifications and after care to ensure it lasts a lifetime. To get the most out of your investment, you’ll want floors that withstand everyday wear and tear and enhance your home’s beauty.
Choose Metro Flooring Contractors for expert material selection and installation services. Our friendly team will help you decide on the best wood for your needs, and our services include a lifetime warranty, so you can be completely confident in your choice.
To get started, schedule an appointment online today!