Ask The Expert

This Month's Hardwood Flooring Question:  

"I have traditional New England wood floors and my kitchen is tile. For an upcoming kitchen remodel I am playing with the idea of installing a different wood floor in the kitchen to accent the other wood. It is an open concept home and I wanted to know if having different types of wood floods in the same space is recommended."

-Submitted by Jason C.-  Answer is below!

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Each month, TLC Custom Design owner Thang Lam tackles a hardwood flooring question from one of our site visitors. Feel free to submit your question anonymously below and like our Facebook Site here.  We post the answers to this page and alert our viewers on our Facebook page when a new answer is ready.  We also share the answers in our quarterly Home Improvement Inspire eMagazine which you can subscribe to here.


This Month's Hardwood Flooring Question:  

"I have traditional New England wood floors and my kitchen is tile. For an upcoming kitchen remodel I am playing with the idea of installing a different wood floor in the kitchen to accent the other wood. It is an open concept home and I wanted to know if having different types of wood floods in the same space is recommended."

-Submitted by Jason C.

For this month’s column, in addition to TLC Custom Design owner Thang Lam, we also reached out to local realtor Patti Fine of the Patti Fine Real Estate Group.  From a pure resale value in Ms. Fine’s expert opinion, matching the wood in the kitchen area to the rest of the wood in the open concept area would be preferred over using a different wood species.  “Matching the wood species and stain to the rest of the area in an open concept floor plan does more to increase the visual impact of the space.  It will seem larger to prospective buyers, and it also gives them more flexibility into how they will use the space over an area that was clearly delineated by using a different hardwood type, pattern, or stain.”

TLC Custom Design owner Thang Lam concurs.  “In most open concept floor plans, the mixing of texture and color to delineate space is done with cabinetry, furniture, paint color, and other design elements such as a mixed media border.  Unless it is an extremely large space, using a different type of wood produces a clearly defined area that may not fit in with the open concept once complete.  It will make the floor look chopped up, thus making the space seem smaller.  In addition, different wood species take stain color and finish differently, making it hard for someone later on to match the flooring overall if they want to change the layout of the area in any way.,” he said.


If you have questions about remodel choices and potential resale value, feel free to reach out to Patti Fine at pf@pattifine.com .  For more hardwood flooring questions, feel free to submit your question directly to us at cori@tlccustom.com or submit anonymously using the form above.

Last Month's Hardwood Flooring Question: Should I choose Pre-finished (Factory Finished) Hardwood Flooring or Site Finished Hardwood Flooring?

-Submitted by Janelle R.-  Answer is below!

If you are looking to install solid hardwood flooring, the first question that often comes up is whether or not to install pre-finished hardwood flooring (meaning the stain and/or protective polyurethane coatings are done at the factory) or to have the flooring contractor install unfinished hardwood flooring planks and then sand (and stain if required) and apply the protective polyurethane finish on site at your house.  TLC Custom Design frequently installs both, and we a lot of experience helping clients pick the best option for their design goals and budget.

The main advantage of installing pre-finished solid hardwood is that as soon as it is installed, you can walk on it/move in and otherwise use the room.  If you are under severe time constraints, this might be the best option as you do not have to wait for the floor to dry and cure.

Another advantage of pre-finished is that it is more durable as the factory can install many more layers of protective polyurethane (up to 10) at the factory that just isn't possible with site finished- typically only 3.

A disadvantage of pre-finished is that if a board does become damaged, it is much harder to sand down and match the factory finished floor- you'll most likely need to cut out the damaged board and weave in new factory finished boards to repair the damage.

A frequent misnomer regarding pre-finished hardwood flooring is that they have unsightly beveled edges between the planks that cheapens the look of the floor once installed.  The beveled edge is a 45 degree cut on the side of the floorboard that creates a little v when installed next to another plank with this bevel.  Pre-finished wood flooring manufacturers use this bevel to hide the slightly uneven height of adjacent boards.  With a solid hardwood flooring installation that is finished on site, the flooring contractor can sand the boards so they are all uniform prior to applying the finish, so you can have a square cut board installed right next to another square cut board and there will not be changes in board height once they are sanded and refinished. 

Since the entire point of installing pre-finished hardwood flooring is to avoid the sanding and finishing steps once the boards are installed, there is no other way to mask floorboard height unevenness other than to include some type of bevel. 


Prefinished hardwood flooring manufacturers have actually come a long way in minimizing this beveled edge and a number of manufacturers produce higher end lines and options that utilize a micro-bevel.  This is basically a beveled edge so small that it goes virtually unnoticed after installation is complete.  We always recommend installing this type of pre-finished flooring if it makes sense for the client to install a prefinished floor as the end result looks better and are much easier to clean.

Frequently, to accommodate pre-finished hardwood flooring in older homes, we will need to repair the subflooring, or if it makes sense, install plywood on top of the old subfloor to create an even installation surface for the pre-finished hardwood. 

If your subflooring is damaged or uneven, make sure your contractor is addressing this before installing the new pre-finished flooring.

 

September's Hardwood Flooring Question: How do I get rid of Old Pet Stains in my Hardwood Floors?

-Submitted by Tim P.-  Answer And Full Article Here

August's Hardwood Flooring Question: which is Better? Engineered Hardwood or Solid Hardwood Flooring?

-Submitted by Connie F.-  Answer is below!

Engineered vs. Solid Hardwood Flooring

Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Pictured:Appalachian Flooring's Engineered Hardwood in "Hard Maple Prestige Limestone"

Thanks Connie for the question.  Both engineered hardwood and solid hardwood flooring are real wood flooring.  Solid hardwood is engineered from a single piece of ¾ inch thick hardwood.  Engineered hardwood flooring is made from multiple layers of plywood or high density fiberboard plus a thin hardwood wear layer on top (veneer).  

The advantage of all solid hardwood flooring is that it can be sanded and refinished multiple times because it is so thick, making it last many years (80-100) if properly maintained.  Engineered hardwood flooring, depending on what the sub layers are made out of and how thick the actual hardwood veneer (wear layer) is on top, can also be sanded and refinished.  Most inexpensive and off-the shelf engineered hardwood sold at big box stores, however, usually can only be sanded between once, making it’s lifespan much shorter- 20-30 years.  Some engineered hardwood can not be sanded at all, making the lifespan even shorter 15- 20 years.  High-end (expensive) engineered hardwood flooring that can usually only be found at flooring specialty stores, however, is made up of multiple sub layers of plywood and a much thicker hardwood veneer top layer.  In addition, this type of higher end flooring has multiple protective layers of finish, making it last much longer as is before needing to be refinished.  This type of engineered hardwood can be sanded multiple times if needed, making it last almost as long as solid hardwood flooring.  An example of this type is Appalachian Flooring's Engineered Hardwood in "Hard Maple Prestige Limestone" pictured above.

The advantage of engineered hardwood is that it can be installed over a vapor lock on top of concrete floors that are below grade (below ground level), whereas solid hardwood flooring cannot be installed below grade.  Basements tend to have more moisture, and because solid hardwood flooring is made from a single piece of wood it expands and contracts with humidity, making it unsuitable for anything below the first floor of a building or home.  Additionally, solid hardwood flooring cannot be installed directly on top of a concrete sub floor, which means that in many condominiums, it isn’t feasible to install solid hardwood flooring. 

Engineered hardwood floors typically come in all the same plank sizes and wood species as solid hardwood flooring, and depending on the quality of the engineered hardwood, the price can be either cheaper than or more expensive than its solid hardwood flooring counterpart. 

It is recommended that given how solid hardwood expands and contracts and the requirement that the subfloor be leveled prior to install, that a flooring professional install solid hardwood flooring.  Although some proponents of cheaper engineered hardwood emphasis the ability of their flooring to be snapped together to “float” above a pad placed on the sub-floor, this type of engineered hardwood cannot be refinished and does not have the same resale value for your home as higher end engineered hardwood.  High-end engineered hardwood is installed the same way as solid hardwood flooring and oftentimes, the installer will use a two-step installation process- glue + nail assist to ensure the flooring doesn’t move.

Prefinished solid hardwood (solid hardwood that has a finish and/or stain applied at the factory) and prefinished engineered hardwood floors are ready to go as soon as they are installed, so the timeline can be condensed for your project if you choose a prefinished option in either engineered hardwood or prefinished hardwood.

Given the costs associated with installing high-end engineered hardwood being comparable to solid wood flooring the main factor is whether or not there is humidity and/or condo association or building rules when making your decision.

July's Hardwood Flooring Question: Is Wide Plank Flooring Right For My Home?

Submitted by Neil M.
Answer and Full Article Here

June's Hardwood Flooring Question: What finish should I choose?  Oil or Water-Based?

-Submitted by Diane H
AnSwer and Full Article Here.


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