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Flooring Question and Answers

We know that you likely have many questions regarding the best type of flooring for your home. There are many options to choose from, so no matter what kind of flooring you’re looking for, we can help find the right one for you.

If you don’t find the information you’re looking for below, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Frequently asked questions

Is it okay to use hardwood flooring in kitchens and bathrooms?

Many people choose to put hardwood flooring in today’s modern open concept kitchens. We do not, however, recommend hardwood in bathrooms. But we can recommend several options that give you the look of wood without risking damage from moisture. Your bathroom is a high-humidity environment because you use it for showering and baths. Splashing is also a risk when you emerge from the shower or accidentally spill some water from the sink. The kitchen is more about splashes, spills, and dropping sharp or heavy tools, like knives. For example, it can be difficult to clean a dropped can of pasta sauce or a broken glass of red wine from between the planks of a hardwood floor. We can recommend more resilient finishes for your kitchen floor if you have your heart set on wood in your kitchen. We can also advise on other options, like tile or luxury vinyl planks.

If I suffer from asthma, does a wooden floor make sense for me?

Yes. Wooden floors are a great option if you have heavy allergies because they’re very easy to clean, especially when compared to carpet. In addition, you can quickly spot and clean any debris if you’re particularly sensitive to dust, pollen, or hair.

Does the floor’s color change over time?

Yes, wood floors are a natural product that will develop a richer colour as they age. The effect is more noticeable with floors that are unstained. A lot of factors determine how much the color deepens, such as the wood species, the type of topcoat (water-based vs oil-based), and how much the floor is exposed to sunlight. Related factors, for example, if your windows have a UV-blocking coating, will minimize the effect. If you want a floor that does not change very much (or at all), let us know and we can outline the options for you.

Can I install hardwood floors myself?

Yes, it is possible, but we don’t recommend this unless you’ve had previous floor installation experience. There are a lot of details that you need to get right to ensure your floor stays gap-free and doesn’t warp or buckle over time. A hardwood floor is a significant investment in your home. The last thing you want is a floor that’s damaged.

Is it possible to glue down hardwood floors?

Yes. In fact if planks are wider than 5” (as with some engineered wood flooring options) you may need to glue the planks down. The pros of gluing your hardwood floors are several: they provide more stability and can reduce squeaking and creaking, especially as your floor ages. There are some varieties of glue that provide a moisture barrier once they harden. The disadvantage comes to light if you ever need to remove and replace a few planks, because glued down floors are much more difficult to remove. For example, say there’s been a plumbing leak nearby, and a few planks have become moldy. If the floor is nailed down, you can pull up the affected planks easily and either clean them or put new ones in. Not all wood flooring is designed to be glued down. As always, be sure to talk to us about your project before you decide.

What is the difference between engineered wood and solid wood floors?

The planks in solid wood flooring are made from a single piece of wood. Engineered wood floors are created by combining several layers of wood and plywood. They are arranged so that the grain goes in different directions from layer to layer, then glued together under pressure. This makes the planks more stable over time and when exposed to moisture, and less likely to expand or warp when moisture levels change. This is great for areas where regular solid wood floors are not really an ideal option, such as basements.

Are furniture legs a potential problem for my wooden floor?

Yes, but it’s something that you can manage easily. You don’t want hard legs to touch your flooring without this protection because it will scratch every time they move. We recommend using felt pads under furniture legs to make sure your wooden floors are protected. This works for sofas, chairs, tables and any other furniture that has legs. Some pads require nailing into the leg of the chair or sofa, while others can just stick to the legs and remain in place. Even with felt pads under furniture legs, you may want to take care when moving heavy furniture around a room. When in doubt, have a family member or friend help you lift and carry that sofa if you’re doing some rearranging. You should also remember to regularly check and clean the pads to prevent dirt or debris from sticking to the pad and damaging your floor.

Is it normal for my floor to have one or two cracks in it?

Yes, over the years a couple of small cracks can develop. To minimize this, keep a consistent humidity level in your home throughout the year (see the tips in the question above). Moisture causes wood to expand and contract, and this is what causes cracks (assuming that your floors have been properly installed).

I am really concerned about gaps between the planks on my hardwood floor. How can I resolve this?

There are two things you can do to minimize gaps between boards on a hardwood floor: ensure you get professional installation and control the humidity of your home. Good installation work will ensure that the planks are fitted well together, and that a tiny bit of room is left around the edges (under the baseboards where you don’t see it) for the floor to expand very slightly. All real wood expands in the presence of moisture, and contracts when it’s dry. You’ll need to keep your home at about 35%–45% humidity year round, so we always advise our clients to buy a hygrometer. Most homes will also need a humidifier on the furnace to reduce dryness in winter, and possibly a dehumidifier in summer. That being said, it is almost impossible to totally stop wood expansion and contraction from season to season. As the decades pass, a bit of gapping on a hardwood floor is possible. This is a natural part of wood that we cannot change, as it is a natural material. There are some DIY sites that advise using a specially made wood filler putty to eliminate the gaps between planks. Over time, however, this putty tends to crack, come loose, and get vacuumed up. There are services that can fill larger gaps with strips of wood. If you find the gaps bothersome, and the idea of filling them doesn’t appeal, you have a couple of options: Have your floor sanded and refinished to see if that reduces the appearance of the gaps. Replace your hardwood floors entirely.

Are throw rugs compatible with wooden floors?

Yes, as long as you have a good underpad between the rug and the floor. However, keep in mind that you do not want any rugs that stain or have bleeding colors. Make sure you speak with the retailer or manufacturer of your rug to get assurances that they will not bleed color. If you have floor rugs permanently on certain areas of the wooden floor, make sure you remove them from time to time and clean the bottom area. It’s also a good idea to switch up your rug’s position to prevent one patch of your floor from becoming a different color or having a different level of wear than the rest.

Is it possible to refinish engineered wooden floors?

Yes. If the engineered wooden floors are high quality and have at least a 1/8’’ layer of wood veneer, it’s possible to sand them and refinish them an additional two times. To determine whether your wood’s finish is thick enough, lift up one of your heat vent covers, get a side-view look of your floor, and take a measurement. We recommend hiring professionals to refinish your engineered floors, however. Sanding them incorrectly could not only ruin your new finish, but could irreversibly damage your floor. We also recommend you talk with the manufacturer of your flooring, as they will know how often refinishing is possible.

If I have pets, does this impact my choices for hardwood floor installation?

Yes, but you can still have beautiful new hardwood floors. It just means you have to think a bit more carefully about choosing new floors, just as you would with buying furniture. Not all hardwood flooring is designed to withstand the abuse it can get from animals, including cats and dogs. In general, if you have pets and want hardwood floors, we recommend that you choose a wood that has a high hardness rating, like hard maple. There are many more options besides maple, depending on the look you’re after. As a rule of thumb, the harder the floor, the better it will withstand scratches from pets’ claws as they run around. You should also be aware, however, that many types of wood can be permanently discolored from urine or vomit if your pet has an accident. There are particular woods and finishes we recommend if you have pets, so be sure to tell us about your furry friends.

How do I remove scratches from my hardwood floor?

If you have scratches on your hardwood floor, the removal method is largely dependent on the depth of the scratch, the type of wood and its finish. For example, minor scratches on wood that has a urethane finish are not a problem. You can remove them through touch-up kits you can get at any hardware store. Most manufacturers have recommended products that can deal with certain types of scratches — use those first before you try any other method. If the scratch is deeper or your floors are very scratched over large areas, it’s best to talk with a professional. We can assess the area and perform a screen and recoat procedure. We’ll sand the area around the scratch and add a new finish to ensure it matches with the rest of your wooden floor. In some cases, it may make more sense to replace that particular board or plank if it’s more heavily damaged (for example, from water or mold). We can also bring new life to old floors by refinishing them.

Is it possible to install hardwood floors on top of existing vinyl floors?

Sometimes, depending on the exact conditions. If the vinyl flooring is tightly attached to the subfloor and has the appropriate cushioning, it is possible to add a wooden floor on top as a floating floor. It is also possible to nail down the wooden floor on top of the vinyl. If, however, the vinyl floor is covering a subfloor that is very uneven or has bumps or “potholes”, we’ll want to remove the vinyl, make sure the subfloor is flat and even, and then install your flooring. This will help your new wooden floor lie flat, and for the planks to fit tightly together. As always, talk to our experts about this situation beforehand and make sure you know what the manufacturer recommends for certain the exact types of wood and vinyl flooring products you want to use.

What about installing engineered hardwood flooring over concrete slabs?

Yes, depending on the conditions. If you’ve got your heart set on installing a real wooden floor over concrete, your best bet is engineered wood flooring. Because it’s made of different layers of wood and plywood glued together, it’s much more resistant to warping from moisture. As we mentioned in the question above, your results can depend if the concrete floors are found in a basement or above the ground (like in a highrise). It’s very difficult to keep a basement dry enough to prevent moisture damage to your flooring in the long term. Preparing the subfloor properly with a good moisture barrier will help ensure success. Remember: if it’s a new concrete slab, it must cure for at least 60 days. If you want to install wood planks on top of it, make sure they are acclimated for at least 48 hours before installing. The manufacturer often has specific recommendations for these procedures.

Is it possible to install hardwood floors on top of concrete slabs?

Sometimes. As a general rule, we don’t recommend hardwood over concrete if the concrete floor is found in a basement. If the concrete floor is above grade — for example in a highrise condo, and you prep the floor properly it can work. Basements are often very damp, and moisture is the enemy of wood, causing it to warp over time. Also, any kind of plumbing leak in the home can mean a flood in the basement, whether it’s a sewer line backup or a leak somewhere in the floors above. One of the best alternative options for basements is luxury vinyl planks. There are a variety of appealing looks and textures, some of which are very realistic. If you really want wood floors in your basement, we recommend engineered hardwood (for more information please see the question directly below). If your concrete slab is found above ground, there are a number of things we can do to prep the floor to ensure great results. Specifically, we would lay out a moisture barrier, then add a layer of plywood to support the hardwood and provide a surface that we can nail into, and finally the hardwood. If you have questions about your particular case, please visit our showroom or call us at 613-688-2080. We would be happy to make a recommendation for you.

Our flooring experts are here to help

Couldn’t find the answer you’re looking for? No problem at all — our flooring experts are highly knowledgeable and always happy to answer your questions. Simply drop by our showroom or give us a call at 613-688-2080.

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