SVB Wood Floors Blog

Monthly Archives: January 2014

Five FAQs When Installing a Hardwood Floor

FAQ Wood Floor Installation photoAt SVB Wood Floors, we get lots of great questions from customers who are considering installing a hardwood floor in their home or business. If you’re thinking of enhancing your home with wood floors, these answers will help you decide which kind and learn about some of the other options you may not have even thought about yet. Here are the top five Frequently Asked Questions we hear:

What are the main advantages of hardwood floors?

Value – Hardwood floors may be a little more expensive to install initially, when compared with other flooring options, but no other floor covering lasts as long. Hardwood floors last for decades and can be refinished several times in their lifetime.

Low Maintenance – Hardwood floors are easy to take care of. Today’s stains and finishes simply require regular sweeping or vacuuming and occasional cleaning with a professional wood floor cleaning product.

Sustainability – Hardwood floors are renewable and recyclable. Recent trends include “new” wood floors that are actually made from recycled wood from old ships, barns, and other structures. Wood can carry a history with it that adds character and value.

Allergy Friendly – Because hardwood floors don’t collect dust or other small particles, they are much better for allergy sufferers.

What’s the difference between solid hardwood floors and engineered hardwood floors?

Solid hardwood floors are made from a solid piece of wood from top to bottom and end to end. Engineered hardwood floors are created by stacking multiple layers of wood together in various directions and binding them into a solid form with heat and pressure. A thinner hardwood veneer is glued on top. Both wear evenly (since both are solid hardwood on top) and today’s engineered planks have a deep enough wear layer to allow them to be sanded and refinished many times like a solid hardwood floor. The main advantage to engineered hardwood is its strength and stability especially when exposed to moisture. Solid wood will warp along natural grain lines when exposed to moisture. Engineered wood does not contain natural lines and therefore won’t be prone to warping or bending. Engineered hardwood floors (both unfinished and prefinished) are best used in lower levels and areas where moisture or humidity might be present.

Which is better to install – prefinished or unfinished wood floors?

Both have advantages. It depends on what you’re looking for. Pre-finished has a more durable finish because it is created in a controlled environment in a factory. You can also avoid fumes, mess, and a longer installation time with pre-finished wood floors. It will also save you a little on installation costs because it will take less time. Pre-finished floors will also be more tolerant to humidity changes. Unfinished may work best if you are repairing or expanding an existing wood floor and want to “lace-in” or seamlessly match the existing floor or if you want to match cabinets or trim. Also, if you are looking for an unusual wood species or width, it may not come pre-finished. You may not like the look of the beveled edges that accompany pre-finished planks, so unfinished would be best for you.

How long will my wood floor last?

The NWFA (National Wood Floor Association) says – “Simple care and maintenance keeps wood floors looking beautiful for a lifetime. Instead of laying an entirely new floor when the original is worn, wood floors can be rejuvenated with sanding and refinishing. When done by a wood flooring professional, wood floors need only to be re-finished every 10 – 15 years or 10 – 12 times during a floor’s life.” –

Is a wood floor durable enough for a kitchen, bathroom?

Yes. The finishes on most new wood floors stand up to heavy traffic, making wood flooring fine for use in bathrooms, kitchens, and other high-traffic areas. These finishes resist wear and stains better than other finishes and require no stripping, no buffing, and no waxing. Of course, if water is allowed to sit for long periods of time, it could cause damage. But, with proper care, there should be no problems.

If you’re considering having a wood floor installed in your home, give us a call. The wood floor installation professionals at SVB Wood Floors will be happy to answer any questions and address any concerns you might have. We’re here to help, so give us a call!

Frequently Asked Questions from Hardwood Floor Owners

Frequently Asked Questions PhotoAt SVB Wood Floors, we get lots of great questions from hardwood floor owners. We figure if someone wanted to know the answer, there are probably more hardwood floor owners out there who could benefit from knowing a little bit more about hardwood floors too. So here are a few of the top Frequently Asked Questions about hardwood floors:

Can I damp-mop my wood floor?

No. Wood and water don’t mix. I there is a sticky spill, you may use a lightly dampened mop to clean it up, but excessive moisture will cause damage. Standing water can dull the finish and discolor the surface. If water spills on your wood floor, wipe it up immediately with a clean cloth.

How can I prevent scratches on wood flooring?

Dirt and grit cause scratches, to the best thing you can do is sweep or vacuum often and use mats at doorways to help collect the grit. Shake these out often. You can also place felt pads under furniture legs and always lift, never scoot furniture when moving it. Also, if you have pets, keep their nails trimmed.

Can cleaning products for other types of floors be used on wood floors as well?

No. Never use cleaning products for vinyl or tile floors on hardwood. Self-polishing acrylic waxes will also damage the finish of your wood floors. These waxes cause wood to become slippery and dull and may require refinishing to repair the damage. Always follow manufacturer recommendations. If in doubt, check out our blog post about caring for wood floors.

How do I know if my floor needs to be refinished?

There is a simple test to determine whether or not your floor should be refinished. Choose a high traffic area where the finish appears to be the most worn. Pour a tablespoon of water onto the floor. If the water beads up, your floor is fine. If it soaks into the wood, your finish is compromised and no longer protecting the wood below. It’s time to refinish your floor.

Why does my floor have gaps?

Hardwood floors naturally expand and contract with moisture levels. It is not uncommon to have wider gaps in between planks during the winter months when indoor humidity levels drop. The wood will return to normal as soon as the humidity returns to normal. If the gaps bother you, you may want to consider getting a humidifier to bring more humidity into your home. Humidity levels between 45% and 55% should reduce or eliminate gaps between planks.

Why do my floors squeak?

Squeaking is usually due to humidity changes. As the wood expands or contracts, so do the nail holes hold it in place. As we put weight on the floor boards by walking across them, we cause the planks to rub against one another and squeak. You’ll notice that most home squeak more during the winter when indoor humidity is low. Sometimes squeaks can also be caused by pipes rubbing against joists or loose heating ducts. The best way to fix squeaks is by driving shims between the sub floor and joists. If you can’t get to the sub floor from underneath, a flooring professional can shoot 2-inch finish nails through the floor diagonally to hold down the loose planks.

We hope this answers some of the burning questions you’ve had about your hardwood floors. At SVB Wood Floors, we want to you to enjoy your hardwood floor for years to come. Please feel free to visit our blog for more helpful information about hardwood floor installation, care, repair, trends, etc.