Brilliance Flooring Resources

floors

Do Hardwoods Add Value?

Thinking about replacing/refinishing your floors? Is it worth the cost? According to Realtor.com, homeowners and renters across the United States prefer hardwood floors as their flooring of choice. 

But is it worth the cost? The national average cost to have your hardwoods refinished is $2-$4/sqft and with 1000sqft of hardwoods, that bill hurts. Here are some statistics that might help you decide on whether to leave the pee stained carpet or not:

1.) Sell Faster. Through a national homebuyers survey, Realtor.com concluded that 82% of homes sell faster and for more money. 

2.) Renters Want It. HGTV conducted a similar study and found that "54% of renters were willing to pay more for a home with hardwood flooring". The cost might be more upfront but if you are trying rent (and fill your space quickly), hardwood floors bring a "wow" factor that carpet just can't. 

3.) Carpet is cheaper...and lasts 15 years max. With the average cost to have carpet installed is $3-$5/sqft, carpet is the much less expensive option....upfront. Even the best carpet has a life expectancy of ~15years. That is with regular maintenance, no animals, and kids. With proper maintenance of hardwood floors, they can last more than a lifetime. 

Hardwood floors have been used since the 1600's and will continue to be used for the rest of time with its natural feel, easy of maintenance, and customizability. 

 

Maintaining Your Hardwood Floors

Clean hardwood floros

Hardwood Floors: Basic Care

Speed up the cleaning process by first dusting the floor with a mop that has been treated with a dusting agent to pick up dust, dirt, and pet hair that might scratch the floor surface. For weekly or biweekly cleaning, vacuum with a floor-brush attachment on a vacuum cleaner or an electric broom. Do not use a vacuum with a beater bar attachment, which can scratch a wood floor's finish. For quick dusting, use disposable electrostatic cloths, available at grocery and discount stores. Save money by using both sides of the disposable cloths.

Hardwood Floors: Deeper Cleaning

Dirt, oil, and grime build up over time and aren't completely removed by a weekly dust mopping. For occasional deep cleaning (consider doing the cleaning in the spring or just before the winter holidays), use a wood-cleaning product diluted according to the label instructions. Saturate a sponge or rag mop in the water, then wring it almost dry so it feels only slightly damp to the touch. Damp-mop the floor, being careful to prevent standing water on the floor. Rinse with a clean mop dampened in clear water, but only if the cleaning product requires it. Wipe up excess liquid because standing water can damage wood surfaces. If the weather is humid, operate a ceiling fan or the air-conditioner to speed up drying.

Hardwood Floors: Removing Marks

Consider your floor's finish before trying to remove a mark. If the stain is on the surface, your floor probably has a hard finish, such as urethane. If the stain has penetrated through to the wood, the floor probably has a soft oiled finish -- common in older homes whose floors have not been refinished and resealed. Wipe surface stains from a hard finish with a soft, clean cloth. Never use sandpaper, steel wool, or harsh chemicals on such a surface because they can permanently damage the finish.

The following remedies are for hardwood floors with soft oiled finishes. If needed, end each treatment by staining the wood, then waxing and buffing the spot to match the rest of the floor.

  • Dark spots and pet stains: Rub the spot with No. 000 steel wool and floor wax. If the area is still dark, apply bleach or vinegar and allow it to soak into the wood for about an hour. Rinse with a damp cloth.
  • Heel marks: Use fine steel wool to rub in floor wax.
  • Oil-base stains: Rub the area with a soft cloth and dishwashing detergent to break down the grease. Rinse with clear water. If one or more applications don't work, repeat the procedure. Keep children and pets out of the room until you're done. Let the spot dry, then smooth the raised grain with fine sandpaper.
  • Water marks or white stains: Rub the spot with No. 000 steel wool and floor wax. If the stain goes deeper, lightly sand the floor and clean with fine steel wool and odorless mineral spirits.

Choosing Your Floor: Engineered or Solid?

If you are considering having hardwood floors installed in your home, you’re going to have to decide whether you want solid wood planks or engineered wood planks.

Both qualify as hardwood flooring, but they’re surprisingly different from each other.

Solid Hardwood Planks

Solid wood planks are milled from a single piece of hardwood and covered with a thin, clear protective layer that often consists of aluminum oxide, ceramic or an acrylic substance.

Typically three quarters of an inch, the thickness of solid wood planking enables it to be sanded and refinished many times throughout the life of the floor.

Because the plank is a solid piece of wood, it will expand and contract in accordance with the home’s relative humidity. To prevent warping, the home’s interior relative humidity needs to remain between 45% and 65% all year round.

Solid wood flooring is available in a wide array of wood species—including oak, maple, and black walnut as well as regional-specific choices like pecan, mesquite and others. The market also sometimes offers exotic species of hardwood from Brazil, Africa and elsewhere.

Solid wood flooring is permanently nailed to the subfloor. Because of the expansion and contraction issues, installers will normally leave a gap between the wall and the floor to accommodate swelling.

This type of flooring should only be installed in parts of the home above grade and only over plywood, wood or oriented strand board (OSB) subfloors.

Engineered Hardwood Planks

Hardwood planks classified as “engineered” feature multiple layers (typically three to five) bonded together under extreme heat and pressure.

The layers typically include a top veneer of hardwood backed by less expensive layers of plywood—although some manufacturers use substrates made from recycled wood fibers mixed with stone dust for improved durability and stability.

Because of the way engineered hardwood is processed, it is not as affected by humidity as solid wood planks are. Therefore, the product is often the preferred choice for kitchens and bathrooms or in areas where the humidity level can vary—like in a basement or a part of the house below grade, as long as a moisture barrier is placed between the subfloor and the hardwood planks.

They are also better suited for installing over in-floor heating systems.

Engineered wood planks now are being created with a tongue and groove installation method, much like laminate flooring. This enables them to be installed in a floating floor format without nails or glue.

Engineered hardwood floors are suitable for installation on all levels of the home and over plywood, wood, OSB and concrete subfloors.

Which Wood Flooring Should I Choose?

Ultimately, your hardwood choice is going to be determined by where you are planning to install the product and what you’re looking for in terms of design aesthetic.

If you’re installing hardwood flooring in a lower level of your home or in an area where moisture or high (or low) humidity might be an issue, then you’re going to want to stick with engineered hardwood.

On the other hand, if you are installing the new floor on an above-grade level and you want a traditional hardwood floor, then you can go ahead with solid hardwood.

Both types offer a beautiful finish and will increase the value of your home—as long as they are installed correctly and maintained properly over the duration of your ownership.

How Long Will My Hardwood Floors Last?

How long will my new hardwood floors last?

This is a question we receive quite often from our clients. There are many factors that we take into account when answering this question. The main question we ask is:

What is your life style? 

  • How many people will be walking on the floor consistently? 
  • Do you have kids?
  • Do you have any pets? How heavy are they?
  • Do you have people over at your house often?
  • What type of finish is your top coat? Prefinished? Oil-Based Poly? Water-Based Poly?
  • How many coats of finish do you have?

These are just some of the factors that must be taken into consideration. Below is a general  timeline of some general lifestyles.

  • If you are two adult professionals who do not entertain a lot of guests, the coatings should last between 10 to 15 years in the main traffic areas.

  • If you are two adult professionals who do entertain a lot of guests, the coatings should last between 6 to 8 years.

  • If you are a family of two adultstwo children, and a couple of pets, the coatings will last between 4 to 7 years.

Does this mean you have to refinish your floors every 4-7? Yes and No. No you dont have to have a Full Refinish every 4-7 years BUT we highly recommend getting your floors "Re-Coated" every 4-7. This process is fast, odorless, walkable in 3-5 hours, and well over half the cost of a full refinish. What a new coat of polyurethane does is it adds another layer of protection to your floors, extending the life of the floors usually for another 3-5 years.

Doing this every 4-6 years will prevent you from ever having to fully refinishing your floors again. Don't wait until it is too late and "wear" begins to show.