What level should the humidity in my home be?
The single most important thing you can do to properly care for your wood floors is to maintain the relative humidity between 35% and 50% year round. The easiest way to this is to have a humidifier built into your cooling and heating system with a hydrostat. If that isn't possible, you can use a combination of portable humidifiers and a hygrometer to measure the relative humidity. If the relative humidity is too low, you may experience gapping, checking and shrinkage of your wood floors, which may not be reversible. By the same token, if the humidity levels are too high, you could experience expansion and buckling of your floors.
What temperature should my home be?
The temperature in your home should be maintained between 66 and 75 degrees year round. If you leave town, it is crucial that you leave your heat running in the winter and your air running in the summer. Swings in temperatures can adversely impact your wood floors.
What is the best way to clean my hardwood floors?
Caring for hardwood floors is straightforward. Water is the enemy. Do not wet mop or steam clean. Frequent sweeping or vacuuming (with soft attachments and without a beater bar) to remove loose dirt and soil is generally all that is required. To perform routine cleaning, you can use the Resista Hardwood Floor Cleaner or Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner combined with a Swiffer dry mop.
What can I do to minimize scratches and indentations on my new hardwood floor?
Use floor protectors under the feet of your furniture. If you have casters on furniture, make sure they are barrel type wheels (a minimum of 1" continuous width is recommended). When moving furniture, use extra caution. Never drag furniture to a new location, always lift. Also, be aware that certain shoe types like stiletto heels can damage hardwood because of the pressure exerted through them. If you have pets, remember to keep their nails trimmed. Also, we advise you to use dirt-trapping walk-off mats near all exterior doors to keep out the type of debris that scratches hardwood floors.
What changes will I see over the years in my hardwood floor?
Wood is a natural product and will react to changes in its environment. Direct sunlight can affect color, so it's a good idea to move area rugs and furniture periodically to allow for even color changes. The use of window treatments is recommended. Exotic wood floors will change colors more dramatically over time, but any wood floor can oxidize. Remember, hardwood is a natural product and develops a warm, beautifully aged patina over the years when given proper care.
What are the benefits to a floating wood floor?
The major benefit to a floating wood floor is that you can install it over a concrete slab without using plywood or glue. As a result, the installation is usually less expensive and it is easier to comply with most high-rise and condominiums requirements for noise abatement. Most floating wood floors, like Kahrs, have a locking mechanism so the floors can simply click together. In almost all instances you will use a combination of a noise and moisture barrier between the concrete and the click together wood floors. An added benefit to these floors is that the system will move as one unit and unless there are extreme humidity or temperature swings, you shouldn't experience gapping between the boards.
Why can I feel movement in my floating wood floor?
Since floating wood floors are one unit, they will often have a little bit of give or bounce in them because most subfloors are not perfectly level.
What do I need to do before having hardwood installed in my home?
Installing hardwood is a construction project. Accordingly, you will want to pack up any loose items, protect any items that are sensitive to dust, and secure any valuables or breakables. In addition, you will want to make sure the temperature and humidity levels are within the accepted ranges described below. The wood, typically, will need to acclimate in your home two to three days before installation in the same room that it is being installed. Before installation, you will want to secure any necessary approvals from your building or condo management board and reserve elevator time. You will also want to designate an area that the installer can set up his tools and where he can cut the hardwood. If you have pets it is a good idea to have them stay elsewhere during the installation of hardwood.
Do I need to be home during the installation?
It is crucial that you verify that the product is correct when it is delivered and it is a very good idea for you to be home on the first morning of the installation to review the scope of the work with your installer. Often there are minor decisions that need to be made so it is important to leave contact information or check back in periodically during the installation.
When should I paint?
You want to paint after the hardwood is installed for a couple reasons. For one, dust will result from the installation process. Another reason is that walls may get dinged and any baseboard or quarter round installed will only be primed white so you will need to have a painter finish those after the installation.
Will I need to replace my quarter round and baseboards?
It is fairly likely that when your quarter round and baseboards are removed that they will suffer damage. At a minimum, you will need to re-paint any trim that can be salvaged.
Why is there variation between my floor and the transition pieces?
Transitions for pre-finished wood are meant to coordinate not to match exactly. Except for a few manufacturers, like Mirage, the moldings are made by an outside vendor and never out of the same exact wood as your flooring.
Will installing new floors eliminate the squeak in my floors?
The only way to eliminate squeaky floors is to install new plywood. Simply putting new floors down won't do the trick by itself.
Why do I need to order extra hardwood flooring?
There are a couple reasons why 10-15% extra product is recommended. Unless your space is a perfect square, cuts are going to need to be made to the hardwood during the installation process, which results in waste. In addition, given the variation in hardwood products, you are going to want to be able to discard boards that you don't like. The industry standard for imperfect boards is about 5%. Finally, the last thing you want to happen is for your project to be delayed while you are waiting for one more box of wood because the measurements were too tight. Bear in mind, if you are installing a floor on a diagonal you will need to order even more product.