Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to some of the most-asked questions related to choosing, installing, and maintaining wood flooring. If you have additional questions about orders or shipping, be sure to contact our customer service team with any specific concerns, and they would be glad to assist you.

Benefits of Wood Flooring

Yes. Hardwood floors last for generations. By spending money now, you save money on maintenance and replacement in the long run. Homes with hardwood floors also sell faster and for higher prices, according to real estate agents.

Simple care and maintenance keep solid wood floors looking beautiful for generations. They can be rejuvenated with sanding and refinishing every 10-15 years to retain their original condition and value.

See our cleaning guide to learn the best ways to clean and maintain your floors.

Yes. Interior designers agree wood flooring complements most decorating styles. Natural materials are also rated superior to man-made materials in beauty, prestige, style, maintenance, and durability.

Yes. Bacteria, dust, dirt, and allergens cannot cling to wood flooring like they do with other flooring options. Sweep, dry mop, or vacuum regularly, and your wood floors will stay pollutant-free.

Yes. Many churches, schools, and auditoriums request wood flooring for its warmth, comfort, and acoustic benefits. Underlayment can help protect against footfall noise and act as an acoustic barrier. A properly installed floor over a high-quality subfloor and underlayment should not excessively squeak when walked on.

Just like in homes and businesses, wood floors provide more beauty, durability, comfort, and value than other surfaces. Wood also has unique properties that allow athletes to compete on a supportive yet forgiving surface.

Selecting Wood Flooring

Prefinished: Prefinished wood flooring is already sanded, stained, and finished right out of the box. Some advantages of this option are faster and easier installation, minimal disruption to your home from dust or fumes, and usually less expensive labor costs. The finish is also very scratch resistant and usually comes with an extended warranty. Learn more about prefinished flooring here.

Unfinished: Unfinished wood flooring is raw wood that is sanded, stained, and finished onsite. Unfinished flooring will give you the ultimate flexibility to make your floor unique and fit your exact specifications. Another advantage is the availability of more wood species, widths, and cuts that can be matched to existing wood floors. See our unfinished guide to learn more.

The short answer is Brazilian Walnut, which has a Janka rating of 3680. The long answer is: All hardwood flooring is very dependable and resilient, and the quality of the finish on top of the floor is the most important factor in durability. Different species do have different hardness ratings, but you would not notice any significant differences from one to another in your wood floor under normal wear.

You can expect some color variation in all grades of flooring, but lower flooring grades will have a larger number of character markings and color variations. Keep in mind that certain light stain colors can emphasize color variation, while darker stains can help to reduce the appearance of color variation.

See how different grades compare in our grading guide.

Yes. Bevels are added to the sides of the board to soften the edge and help boards line up next to each other for easier installation and structural stability. Bevels help to prevent crushing the edges of the flooring finish when the flooring expands. This is why there are very few square-edged prefinished floors. Some prefinished floors have bevels on all four sides of the board, and some only on the two long sides.

Learn more about prefinished flooring here.

Installing Wood Flooring

Grading refers to where the soil, or ground, meets your house. Basements, even walkout basements, are always considered below grade since at least one wall is below ground level. Your home’s first floor sits at ground level (except for a walkout basement) and is considered on grade. Any floors above ground level are above grade.

It is very important you know the grade of the floor(s) you want to install. Engineered flooring is designed to work at any grade level, and traditional solid flooring is only for on grade or above grade.

No. A basement is considered below grade, and you should never install solid hardwood flooring below grade. However, it is possible to install engineered hardwood flooring below grade by gluing it down or floating it over the concrete.

This refers to allowing your new solid wood flooring to adjust to your home’s average temperature and humidity levels in the room where it will be installed. Acclimation is a critical step in the installation process, and if skipped, it can result in damage to flooring after it has been installed damage that would not be covered under warranty. If, for example, you live in an area with high temperature and humidity swings, you probably would need to install humidity controls to help maintain a consistent environment for your wood flooring.

There is no set time period for solid flooring to acclimate to your home. It is important for the installer to have a good quality wood moisture meter to measure the moisture in the wood and know when it has reached equilibrium with the home.

Although it should look similar, each hardwood tree differs. Even wood from the same tree can show variance. Wood is a 100% organic material shaped by nature. No trees or boards are alike, and variation should be expected and appreciated as nature’s unique signature.

Maintaining Wood Flooring

Seasonal expansion and contraction of flooring boards are considered normal. There is more humidity during the summer months, and your floor soaks it up, which causes it to expand. Winter months are usually less humid, and the floor dries out, which results in gaps between boards. While considered normal, you can minimize expansion and contraction by using an air conditioner, humidifier, or dehumidifier to keep the humidity in your home between 35% and 55%.