Hardwood Flooring FAQ
We are pleased to provide answers to some of the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on a wide variety of our products. For more information on our hardwood floors please browse our selection of outstanding quality products, read our hardwood floor articles, or browse the answers to our frequently asked questions below.
Q. What is the most durable hardwood floor available?
A. Our hardwood floors are treated with up to 10 coats of an aluminum oxide finish. While this will certainly help the durability of the floor, it is the hardness of the floor that will give the best indication of durability. Refer to the Janka Hardness rating for a true indication of hardness for a selected species:
|American Black Cherry||
|American Black Walnut||
Q. What is the difference between your prefinished and unfinished flooring?
A. The prefinished hardwood floor is end matched with a tight micro-beveled edge, and has up to 10 coats of aluminum oxide finish. The unfinished floors come end matched with a square edge and must be finished on site. Both floors come with a 25-year structural warranty.
Q. Can a hardwood floor be floated?
A. Our hardwood flooring is a four-sided tongue-and-groove product that can be nailed directly to a wood subfloor. A hardwood floor cannot be floated. Refer to our engineered floors for flooring that may be floated over radiant heating or below grade.
Q. How do I acclimate my hardwood floor?
A. Let the flooring acclimate for 5 to7 days, with boxes opened and laid flat in the room where the flooring is to be installed. If you are in an area with high humidity, you may need to install some humidity controls like a humidifier or dehumidifier.
Q. What is your minimum order?
A. The minimum order for hardwood flooring varies per manufacturer. Please refer to the manufacturer’s minimum order shown on the web page for the quantity required. Note: After the one pallet minimum is met, additional product can be ordered in one-box increments.
Q. Can I see the product at the warehouse?
A. We distribute our products from our warehouse, but there are no showrooms. The best way to see the flooring is to order free samples, or view graphics on our website.
Q. Do you make recommendations for selecting installers?
A. We do not make recommendations for selecting installers. We suggest you consult your local Better Business Bureau to find reputable flooring installer.
Q. How does moisture affect my hardwood flooring?
A. Excessive moisture can lead to numerous changes to your floor, such as cupping, buckling or cracking. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you do not use water to clean your floors.
Q. What is the moisture content of our hardwood floors?
A. Our hardwood floors are kiln dried to a moisture content of between 6 and 9 percent. Hardwood floors will naturally expand and contract with fluctuations in temperature and humidity. However, hardwood floors perform best when they are within a temperature/humidity range of 6 to 9 percent. At this range, expansion and contraction can be reduced to its minimum.
Q. Can we install hardwood flooring in the basement?
A. No. It is highly recommended that you do not install hardwood flooring below grade. However, it is possible to install laminate flooring or engineered hardwood floors in these situations. Call a BuildDirect customer representative at 1 877 631 2845 to discuss some of these options available to you.
Q. Do I need a moisture barrier if it is above grade?
A. Yes. We recommend using a vapor barrier of 15-pound felt paper. This vapor barrier should be laid between the hardwood flooring and the wood subfloor to prevent any moisture from getting to the floor.
Q. What are some potential moisture problems I should look out for?
A. Cupping and crowning are caused when water is trapped between the wood floor and the subfloor. When this imbalance in moisture occurs, it is essential that the boards dry evenly; if not, cupping or crowning can appear.
Q. What is the best way to clean my floors?
A. The best way to maintain your floor is to sweep, dust mop and/or vacuum the floors regularly. Hardwood floors also clean easily with a Swiffer or similar type dry mop. You should avoid excessive moisture. A slightly damp mop may be used to mop up a spill. For maintenance instructions call toll free 1-877-631-2845 and a BuildDirect customer service representative will be happy to help you with suggestions.
Q. Can I use commercial cleaner?
A. Yes. However, for prefinished floors, always use manufacturer-recommended cleaners. For unfinished floors, finished at the job site, refer to the recommendation of the floor finish manufacturer. Do not use wax based cleaners.
Q. How do I handle stubborn stains?
A. For stubborn stains, apply the manufacturer’s recommended cleaner to a soft cloth and scrub the desired area. Repeat if necessary. Do not use wax based cleaners.
Q. Can I apply a wax finish to my prefinished floors?
A. No. You should never apply wax finish to your surface type finishes.
Q. The floor beneath my rug is lighter than the exposed floor, what can I do?
A. It is normal for hardwood floors that are exposed to sunlight to darken over a period of time. To eliminate the obvious tone differences, it is best to rotate rugs and furniture so that the flooring gets an equal amount of sun exposure. Any differences in light exposure will eventually fade away.
Q. How can I better protect my floor from early finish wear?
A. It is a good idea to implement a regular cleaning routine, as well at the use of throw rugs and felt or plastic floor protectors on furniture.
Q. When ordering hardwood flooring how much extra should I order to allow for waste?
A. As a rule of thumb, add 7% to 10% for waste and cuts depending on your skill level and the layout of the area.
Q. What are the different moldings and how are they applied?
- The Quarter Round molding is used to hide the expansion gap left around walls during installation.
- The T molding is used as a threshold in doorways or as a transition strip where the hardwood flooring meets floor or carpet of similar height. T moldings can also be used to change the direction in which the floor is laid.
- The Reducer molding is used as a transition from the height of the sub-floor to the height of the hardwood floor.
- The Stairnose molding is used to cover the front edge of a stair tread or step. If used on a stair, flooring is installed behind the Stairnose to cover the horizontal part (the tread) of the stair.
- The Stairtread molding is a one-piece molding used to entirely cover the structural stair tread.
Q. Can I install hardwood flooring in a bathroom?
A. Hardwood floors are not covered by warranty if installed in a bathroom. Moisture can cause damage to hardwood flooring.
Q. How do I maintain my hardwood flooring?
A. In order to maximize the durability and beauty of your hardwood flooring, we recommend the following practices as part of your floor’s normal care and maintenance.
- Place doormats or rugs at entrances to collect moisture, sand, grit and other potentially damaging substances from being tracked onto your hardwood floor.
- Dust mop or vacuum with a soft accessory to keep your bamboo floor clean from dust, dirt or grit. Hardwood flooring cleans easily with a Swiffer or similar type dry mop.
- For sticky spots, use a soft damp cloth to gently scrub the floor. If necessary, use a generic hardwood floor cleaner. Do not use steel wool or other abrasive scouring pads.
- Do not use harsh detergents, abrasive cleansers, or corrosive chemicals to clean your bamboo floor.
- Avoid excessive water. Use mats in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry room to protect against spills. If a spill occurs, blot it up immediately with a dry cloth or slightly damp mop.
- Use only colorfast and non-scratch carpeting or pads on your hardwood floor.
- Protect the floor from furniture legs and do not walk on the floor with high-heeled shoes.
- Although hardwood flooring has effective UV inhibitors in its pre-finish, it is recommended that it not be exposed to direct sunlight for long periods.
Q. Where can I install hardwood flooring?
A. Hardwood flooring is an extremely durable flooring product. It can be installed in virtually any room of your home that is above ground. There are several locations that are not recommended for hardwood flooring. Because hardwood flooring is a natural flooring product it is not recommended that it be installed in wet locations such as bathrooms, washrooms, saunas, enclosed porches or verandas, or anywhere that may require wet-mopping. Extended exposure to moisture of this type may cause your hardwood flooring to warp, swell or crack.
Please note that certain species of hardwood are softer than others. You should consider using these harder species for high traffic areas. Refer to the Janka Hardness rating for an indication of the species hardness.
Q. How do I install hardwood flooring?
A. There are several things to consider before you begin to install hardwood flooring. Careful preparation before beginning will make installing your hardwood floor a quick and easy process.
- Ensure that your sub-floor is flat and smooth.
- Take extra care when installing hardwood flooring over radiant heating. Ensure that you read both the hardwood flooring and radiant heat system instructions carefully before beginning.
- Read your hardwood flooring manufacturer’s installation instructions carefully.
- Allow your hardwood flooring to acclimate in the room where it will be installed for a minimum of 72 hours.
- Inspect each strip of hardwood flooring carefully for defects or damage before installing it.
- Always use a tapping block and never hit hardwood flooring directly to avoid fracturing the flooring edge. A piece of flooring trim makes a good tapping block.
- Add at least 5% to your square footage when ordering to allow for waste and cuts. As a rule of thumb for non-professionals, add 7% to 10% depending on your skill level and the layout of the area.
Jasper and Beauchêne hardwood flooring distributed by BuildDirect has complete installation instructions online.
Q. What are the benefits of hardwood flooring?
A.Hardwood flooring is one of the most popular types of residential flooring. Here are a few reasons why you should choose a hardwood floor:
- Solid hardwood offers a variety of grain patterns, natural color variations, and the beauty of a natural material
- Hardwood floors are easy to clean.
- Hardwood floors are ideal for allergy sufferers as they do not promote dust or harbor dust mites.
- Hardwood flooring is longest-lasting. Although there is a 25-year structural warranty on our hardwood floors , many hardwood floors last for decades longer.
Q. How do I get my hardwood floor to look like it did when it was new?
A. There are products that can be applied to prefinished urethane floors that will renew the floor back to its original appearance. Use only manufacturer recommended products.
Q. Can I expect my floor to have color variations?
A. Yes. Hardwood flooring is a natural product. Therefore, you should expect there will be natural color variations in the wood. Although lower grades of flooring will have a larger number of character blemishes, you can expect color variations in all grades.
Q. Should I use unfinished or prefinished hardwood?
A. Both choices have their advantages. If you are trying to match to an existing hardwood floor, you may want to go with an unfinished floor so it can be stained to match. However, this will mean finishing will be done onsite, resulting in more noise, dust and delays in using the room. Prefinished floors, on the other hand, are already finished with 10 coats of an aluminum oxide finish. This means you will get the convenience of not having to shut down the room while you finish the floor onsite.
Q. What is the difference between Select and Better, Mill Run and Rustic grades?
A. The difference between the various product lines is simply the amount of allowable character. For example, you’ll find the most amount of character knots, mineral streaks, pin holes, etc. in the Good collection. As you step up in grade, the warranties are expanded and grading is enhanced.
Q. Will my prefinished floor have a beveled edge?
A. Yes. All of our prefinished hardwood floors have a micro-bevel edge to eliminate uneven joints between strips of hardwood. This tight micro-beveled edge also prevents the finish from pooling up at the edges of the boards during the finishing process, resulting in a nicer, cleaner finish.