The look of solid hardwood lends a timeless sense of elegance to interiors. Before installing this type of quality flooring, one of the most important things to consider is what will lie underneath it. Actually, this is not just a mere consideration – it is crucial part of a hardwood floor installation.
A solid hardwood floor is a reliable flooring choice that will add long term value to your home. But like any investment, it needs protecting, and you need to judge whether or not you’re making the right decisions to maximize your investment. When planning your installation, it’s important to keep in mind that a solid hardwood floor is only as good as its subfloor. A proper subfloor will be the unsung hero of your solid hardwood investment, while the wrong subfloor will cause you problems.
Installation factors to consider
The most common way a solid hardwood floor is installed is by means of nailing or stapling the boards directly to the subfloor. As such, it is important that the subfloor be made of a material that will hold a nail or a staple for the life of the solid hardwood floor. Substrates like vinyl, glued-down carpet, concrete or ceramic tile are not suitable for the installation of solid hardwood flooring.
When doing an on-grade installation – at the level of the ground outside the space – it is important to consider not only the subfloor, but also the ventilation quality of any crawlspace or basement underneath. Hardwood flooring will be affected by moisture underneath the floor as well as on the top surface – that is the nature of solid wood.
For an above-grade installation, meaning that the space is above ground level, it is important to consider whether the rigidity of the substrate is adequate to support the solid hardwood floor being installed.
For below-grade installations, for example an installation in a basement, moisture levels are usually higher in these circumstances. It’s important to note that a limited number of hardwood flooring options are suitable for below grade installations because excessive amounts of moisture can mean disaster for solid hardwood floors, causing them to warp and swell. However, if you have your mind set on a hardwood floor in this kind of space, there is another alternative: an engineered hardwood floor. Engineered hardwood flooring is suitable for installation on concrete subfloors because it can be floated, or directly glued to the concrete and is less affected by expansion due to humidity, or other environmental factors which affect below grade installations.
A solid hardwood floor can add real value to your property, both in terms of it aesthetic effect and market value. Making sure you have the right subfloor for your solid hardwood floor is not only a way to extend the life your floor, but also a way to nurture your investment.
Do you have an appropriate subfloor for a hardwood flooring installation?
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