Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Tips for Buying the Best Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood flooring is one of the most beautiful, versatile and cost effective home improvements you can make. High quality, properly laid down hardwood floors can last for decades or even a lifetime. What’s more, hardwood floors create a warm, inviting and welcoming home environment.

Listed below are some tips for choosing and buying the best hardwood flooring products.

Ø Choose the areas of the home where the hardwood flooring is to be installed
Ø Measure the area to determine its square footage, remembering the old adage – measure twice, cut once.
Ø Find out if a plywood sub floor has already been installed. If the area is currently carpeted, remove a piece of carpet and look underneath. You may find that you can use a 5/16 inch or 3/8 inch thick engineered flooring product.
Ø Determine whether you prefer a pre-finished or unfinished surface for your hardwood floors. The pre-finished hardwood flooring will have already had the polyurethane coating applied to it, eliminating the need for you to apply the finish. An unfinished hardwood floor will need to be sanded and coated after it has been installed.
Ø Look at the various stain colors that are available when choosing a pre-finished hardwood floor. The pre-finished floor will come already stained, so it is important to choose a color that is classic in appearance.
Ø Unfinished flooring provides a greater range of choices in finishing. Pre-finished products usually provide only three or four finish styles. The choices for finishing an unfinished hardwood floor are much greater.
Ø Decide on whether you will need to hire and installer or if you will be installing the flooring yourself. Various types of hardwood flooring comes in many different varieties. Some can be nailed or glued, while others lay down using pre-attached strips of adhesive coated tape. It is easier for the novice floor installer to apply the latter type of flooring.
Ø If you plan to use a professional installer, be sure to consult the installer before you order the materials. There will be a waste factor to the installation, and it is important to factor this in when ordering. In most cases you should figure on between 15% and 25% waste. Be sure you and the installer are in agreement over the amount of product needed to cover the floor.
Ø Be sure to shop around at several different stores or hardwood flooring suppliers. Also be sure to compare both price and quality.

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