How to Select Hardwood Flooring
Fletcher - Flooring Expert and Consumer Advocate
Buying Hardwood Flooring can be
quite confusing for homeowners because there are so
many different types, styles, grades and quality levels to choose from.
Don't assume that a low advertised price will
provide you with the quality level you need, want or require. In the end, you want to be satisfied with the way
your hardwood floors look, but you also want to make sure they are as durable
and long lasting as you hope and anticipate.
Quality hardwoods tend to have a higher Janka density rating and are
more durable because they are harder to
gouge or indent.
Lower quality hardwood products are often
poorly manufactured using less stringent specifications and that translates
into more boards that are warped and therefore more difficult to install. This
also increases the amount of material waste which means you will have to buy
more materials, which ends up costing you more for both material and labor
Many other factors come into play when considering
how durable a hardwood flooring product will be including the Type of
Sealer or Finish that is used to protect the surface layer of the material.
The common method used to rate the hardness or density
level of all hardwoods is called the
Janka hardness rating measures the pounds per square inch of density for each
variety of wood species.
Read the Wikipedia.com explanation of the Janka
There has also
been some major concerns lately about the levels of toxic chemicals that may
be used in the manufacturing process of some hardwoods, including higher
levels of off-gassing of chemicals including Formaldehyde. These chemicals can
be harmful to pets and humans, and especially harmful to children.
important that homeowners take the time to learn more about these important
issues that are currently unfolding in the world today and make wise and
informed choices before making a purchase.
More information on what EPA is
doing to protect against hardwood
flooring formaldehyde exposure can be found here:
Proper care and maintenance of all hardwood
flooring products are they key to making sure your new flooring lasts as long as possible.
Proper floor preparation and qualified installation requires your complete
Pre-Finished Flooring vs
Benefits of Pre-finished Flooring
hardwood flooring is milled and finished in a controlled
is a process where each board is sanded, stained and sealed.
finishes include a UV-curing procedure to harden the finish, making the
surface resistant to scratches and scuffing.
factory helps maintain a consistent surface color and finish.
More benefits of installing a pre-finished
off-gassing and odors
consistent color and quality level of finish
and reduced cost for installation
can be replaced right after installation
limited finish-wear warranty
Common complaints with Hardwood Flooring
Hardwood Sanding, Staining and Sealing.
equipment is often used to sand the flooring smooth prior to staining and
sealing. Dust from sanding and chemicals used to stain and seal your
newly installed hardwood flooring can be harmful to you or your children,
including dogs, cats, other pets, fish or aquarium life and/or birds that
you have and including persons and animals living nearby.
is a large amount of sanding-dust that lands on virtually every
surface in the home.
new flooring must be stained and sealed often using a polyurethane finish.
How long does it take for the stain and sealer to dry? When can you
replace your furniture and return to a normal life?
is often a large amount of off-gassing and/or an offensive odor long after the new
hardwoods have been stained and sealed. How can homeowners obtain
information about what can be done to limit the chemical exposure to
children and pets?
installation can take several days to complete including allowing
additional time for stain and sealers to dry. Furniture cannot be replaced until
the stain and sealer has dried completely.