One of the first things people notice when they first step their foot into your home is your floor. Apart from your welcoming smile, it’s arguably what they notice first.
The type of flooring you use for your home affects the overall design; it sets the tone of your home, and even affects how comfortable you’re in your home.
So, whether you’re building a new house or renovating the one you already have, your choice of flooring is basically one of the most important decisions you’re going to make during the process.
Talking about choice of flooring, there are different options you can choose from. You can choose to use a carpet, you can choose vinyl flooring, or even decide to tile your house with natural stone or ceramic.
However, the most popular or widely acknowledged type of flooring right now is hardwood flooring. Though there’re newer and more cool looking types of flooring right now such as 3D flooring, the flooring of choice is still hardwood flooring.
There are different types of wood though, and different types of materials used for hardwood flooring. That is why when it comes to the time for you to choose the type of hardwood flooring to use for your home, it’s not all about choosing the color.
Several other factors affect both how the finished hardwood floor looks (appearance) and how durable it is. Factors such as the material of the wood and quality of the installation.
That is why in this article, I’m going to supply you with 6 tips you need to follow in order to choose and install the best hardwood flooring in your home.
1) Let a professional install your wood flooring
This is the age of DIY. Everybody wants to enjoy the thrill of carrying out their projects by themselves.
The first tip I’m going to give you though, is that you should give your hardwood flooring job to a professional floor fitter if you’re not knowledgeable enough to get the job done perfectly.
Give it to someone who has that as his job. Doing that prevents any mistake, and gives you rest of mind, knowing that you’re not going to wake up to damage in your hardwood flooring one morning.
2) Choose the right type of wood and thickness
Like I’ve mentioned earlier, not all wood flooring are the same. You don’t pick the type you need just by choosing the color you want.
Far from that, there other things you have to consider, such as the type or species of wood, the grain pattern of the wood, the thickness of the wood, as well as the surface finish of the wood.
You also have to choose whether you’re going to use solid hardwood for your flooring or an engineered hardwood, which is made to prevent or restrict the expansion of wood as time flies by.
One other factor that will determine the type of wood you use is how busy the area you’re trying to floor is. For instance, when flooring a busy hallway like, if you’re using solid hardwood, it’s preferable that you use a durable one like oak.
On the other hand, for a less busy or quiet space like a room used you one person, you can decide to choose something not as hard, such as walnut for the flooring.
The type of subfloor you use also influences the choice of hardwood flooring. For instance, engineered hardwood flooring is easier to install on apartments or basements that have concrete subfloors.
On the other hand, if you’re installing solid wood over joists, you have to make sure the wood is at least 18mm thick, for it to be strong enough.
3) Acclimatize your wooden floor
Just because your hard wood flooring has been delivered by the supplier doesn’t mean you have breakout your pneumatic nailer just yet.
There is something known as acclimatizing your wood. You essentially have to leave the hardwood flooring in the room where it’s going to be installed for some days (at least 7 for solid wood, and 3 days for engineered wood) to let the wood adapt to the conditions of its new surroundings.
As you already know, wood expands and contracts based on humidity and changes in temperature. If the wood is not acclimatized, this expansion or maybe contraction can cause damage in the wood later.
So to acclimatize your solid hardwood flooring, just let it sit in the room where it will be installed for several days, at least 7, with the package open.
Engineered wood don’t have to be acclimatized but just to be safe, you can let it sit for 2 or 3 days. Then you can start installation.
4) Read and follow the flooring instructions
Whatever type of wood flooring you pay for, you’ll get detailed instructions along with them from the supplier when the flooring is delivered to you.
These instruction cover a lot, from your floor preparation to the process of actually installing the flooring on your floor.
The last thing you want to do is to not read the instructions. You need to read the instructions because the manufacturer knows best, so you have to follow best practices in order to install the flooring properly.
5) Prepare your subfloor
Getting your subfloor ready for the installation should actually be a no-brainer. However, it’s important that I highlight it here.
The condition of your subfloor determines to a large extent the quality and durability of your hardwood floor.
That means if your subfloor is not done properly, then it’s going to damage your hardwood floor in the long run. So, you want to make sure you get it right the first time.
The flatness of your subfloor and the amount of moisture content are two crucial things you have to take note of.
So, before installation use a spirit level to check the flatness to make sure it is flat. Also, check the moisture content of your subfloor using a moisture miter.
A moisture content of 16% and 6 % or below is recommended for a wooden subfloor and concrete subfloor respectively.
6) Leave an expansion gap
This is one of the oldest trick in the book to beat the expansion of wood. Whatever type of hardwood floor you’re installing, whether it’s solid wood or engineered wood, you have to leave an expansion gap all the way around the room.
This gap should be at least 10mm in size. Like you may already be aware of, wood expands and contracts due to changes in temperature and humidity.
So, imagine you install your hardwood floor all the way to the edge of the room, and the wood starts expanding later. What happens? Your floor will be damaged. That’s what happens.
Therefore, make sure you leave a 10mm gap all the way around the room during installation. This gap has to be left around other things to such as pipeworks, doorways and fireplaces.
You don’t have to worry about the appearance of the expansion gap. It can easily be covered with hardwood flooring accessories such as beadings, pipe covers, and door strips etc.
There is no doubt you’ll need more than the tips above to properly, install a hardwood floor that will draw people’s attention in a positive way when they enter your home, and at the same time pass the test of time.
However, the tips given above should give you a solid head start. So, make sure you follow these tips, and as mentioned above (tip number 4) read and follow the instructions from the manufacturer, and you’ll be sure to end up with the perfect hardwood floor.