For homeowners sick of their ugly shag carpeting or their old-fashioned linoleum flooring, replacing their flooring can be a quick and easy way to update their home or even just a single room. There's always the option of installing laminate flooring, which has the look of hardwood, but many owners are beginning to return to real hardwood rather than a faux substitute.
Since installing hardwood flooring can be difficult, many homeowners are choosing prefinished hardwood strip flooring, which cuts out the step of sanding and refinishing the wooden planks. This type of flooring also includes small bevels on the board, which prevents you from noticing any imperfections or inaccuracies in the finished flooring, such as some boards lying higher than others. You need to remember that wooden boards will never match up exactly, so there will always be minor inaccuracies in the finished product.
Once you've purchased your hardwood flooring, bring it home and allow it to sit for a few days - at least two. Wood needs time to acclimate to its new environment before it can be used. You should also be sure to let it sit in the room where it will be used, as different rooms in your home can have different temperatures and moisture contents. If the weather is damp, you will need to let the wood sit for at least three days to dry out.
You also need to be careful about where to install the hardwood flooring. Wood is affected by moisture, which can cause the boards to expand and contract, so rooms like the bathroom and laundry room are bad choices for wood flooring. Better choices are the bedroom and living room, or other rooms with high traffic.
When it comes time to lay the hardwood flooring, make sure to install the boards so that they are perpendicular to the floor joists. You should also use asphalt felt between the subfloor and the hardwood; this can prevent squeaks when you walk across the floor and also adds protection against moisture, which can damage the wood even if it has been treated. Another tip is to lay out the pattern of your wood slats before putting any piece into an exact position. This can prevent any problems in the future, including running out of the right sizes of boards.
Hardwood flooring is one of the best investments you can make in your home. It adds significantly more to your property's value than laminate flooring. It can also be easy to install yourself, but if you are still hesitant, find a professional installer to complete the process for you.
By Jennifer Eblin