FAQs about Stairs and Wood Flooring

Updating your staircase can be a finishing touch to your flooring project. But sometimes, what seems like a cherry on top on your project can be the most confusing. Here are some questions we’re often asked about stairs and wood flooring:

What kind of staircase do I have?

Staircases are categorized as either “closed” or “open”. A closed stairs, or boxed stair case, has either a wall or stringer on each side of the stair treads. Stairs can also be open on one or both sides, where there is no wall or stringer on the side and the stair ends at the tread.

How do spindles affect my stair project?

If the stair spindles are installed directly into the stair tread instead of a stringer, any changes to the stairs become much trickier. They often need to be removed before any work is done on the stairs, or worked around very carefully.

Can I installing flooring on my stairs?

Some installer will install pieces of flooring on the stairs, finished with a stair nosing. Over time, the strain put on the nosing will cause it to break off. Instead, we install a solid wood tread on the steps; we want your installation to last.

Can’t I just get one of those kits from a hardware store?

You can, but the do-it-yourself kits are often made with lower quality, flimsy materials that bend, cup, or split. High quality, solid treads can be installed properly and will last much longer.

What happens if one of my steps is a different shape than the other steps?

In our shop, we custom cut the treads to the shape required. Many of the tread kits sold in stores don’t accommodate rounded treads, only rectangular.

Should I get white or stained risers?

It’s all a matter of taste. Some people like the more uniform look of stained risers so that everything matches. Other people prefer the clean, finished look of white risers. Both options look great.

Does my staircase have to match my flooring?

The most popular look is to have the stair treads complement the flooring on the first floor. However, some people prefer to have the stairs complement the upper floor, and others prefer to have the stairs contrast both.

Can I get my stairs refinished?

Solid stair treads can be sanded, stained, and refinished along with the flooring.

What if I have more questions about my stairs as part of my wood flooring project?

Contact the experts at Dan Higgins Wood Flooring.

Inspiration Photos

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Advertisements

When the “Best Price” for Floors is Actually the Worst

You’ve probably seen your share of poor work done by contractors, and wonder why people would hire someone to do that type of work. Unfortunately, those contractors continue to get work every day by selling on price. In the home improvement industry, you will get what you pay for. We cringe every time we hear someone say they got a “better” price somewhere else. They always mean “lower price”, and there is a big difference between the two. Here’s the situations when the “best price” is actually the worst price:

It’s not for the whole job.

Some contractors will bait you by showing a ridiculously low price, leaving out many of the costs associated with the job. The price given may be for just the product, while only giving a per-square foot price for installation. Unless the room is bare to the subfloor, the quote should also include the price for removing and disposing of the current flooring. Trim and transition pieces should also be accounted for. If these costs are not factored into the quote, you’ll either have an unfinished job or be surprised by a ballooning budget at the end. You need real numbers based on your costs to have the work done properly, so that you can budget and make an informed decision.

It’s for the wrong product.

The wrong product at the right price is still the wrong product. Big box stores will sell “house brands” or “private label” brands, which are the lower quality “leftovers” of flooring manufacturers. We install flooring from nationally-recognized brands backed by their manufacturers. Some contractors will install the cheapest flooring they can find so they can underbid the competition, not knowing or caring if the flooring is right for your home.

It’s not from a reputable company.

12957554_10154155089549468_7372516189727497121_o
A job left unfinished by a contractor

Anybody can claim they can install flooring: how do you know the quality of their work? That “great” price won’t be so great when you have to pay another company to fix the work. Do some research before choosing an installation company. Check project photos and reviews on sites like Google, Facebook, and Houzz. Make sure the installer is licensed to work in your state.

Big box companies hire the lowest-bidding contractor, who will work as fast as he can because he gets paid by the square foot. Then when an issue arises with an installation, the store can point the finger as the contractor to avoid responsibility. While writing this article, we received a call from a customer who had a “friend” install their wood flooring for them. When it came time to finish the job at the doorways, he left the job site and never came back. It’s a story we hear time and time again. We offer a lifetime installation warranty, so we stand behind our installations.

Get a free in-home quote from Dan Higgins Wood Flooring.

6 Shopping Tips for Your DIY Wood Flooring Project

Ready to start your DIY wood flooring installation project? Before you start shopping, check out these tips to get your project started off right.

1. Pick the right product.

The type of flooring–solid wood, engineered wood, laminate, or LVT–that can be installed in a room depends on many variables: type of subfloor, grade level, moisture levels, and other factors. Make sure you have all of the information you need before you start shopping.

2. Evaluate installation methods.

Depending on the type of product, your flooring may need to be nailed down, glued, or floated. Floating a lock-and-fold floor is generally considered the easiest of the three methods, since the floor snaps together and does not need to be adhered to the subfloor. Nailing or gluing flooring is more difficult, so consider a professional installation if you’re not an experienced DIYer.

3. Allow for waste.

If your room is 150 square feet, you can’t just buy 150 square feet of wood. Every product is packaged differently, so the amount of square footage per carton varies. Plus, some boards will need to be cut to fit the room. Generally, a do-it-yourself will need to allow for more waste than a professional flooring installer. Factor in a 5-10% waste factor when calculating square footage needed for your project. Then, round up to the nearest carton.

4. Factor in extras.

When calculating your project budget, don’t forget the additional materials and tools that will be required for the job. For a nail-down installation, you’ll need to buy or rent a floor nail gun–we let our customers borrow a nail gun at no charge. You will need some additional supplies: vapor barrier, foam, staples, glue, putty, or others. We offer many of the supplies needed for a flooring installation, so you can order all of your supplies together.

5. Check the manufacturer guide.

Most flooring manufacturers have guidelines that must be followed for installation. If those guidelines are not followed and there’s a problem with the flooring, the manufacturer will not cover the floors under warranty. Before you decide on a product, read the manufacturer guide to make sure you’ll be able to meet the requirements to be covered by the warranty. Most manufacturers have the warranty information available online.

6. Consult the experts.

Need help with your DIY flooring installation? Contact us at Dan Higgins Wood Flooring for all of your do-it-yourself hardwood flooring needs.

 

 

5 Kitchen Wood Flooring Myths, Busted

Too many customers visit our showroom wishing they could put wood flooring in their kitchen but thinking they can’t. The myth that hardwood flooring can’t be used in the kitchen keeps many people from picking a beautiful and practical flooring option. Here are five of the myths we hear about wood flooring in the kitchen.

Myth: Flooring in the kitchen has to be waterproof.

Fact: This myth comes from the confusion between overall moisture levels and occasional spills. Kitchens will, of course, experience the occasional spill. Spills that are cleaned up immediately will not damage your hardwood floors. Limited water damage to hardwood flooring can usually be solved by replacing effected boards. If a tile is damaged, you will likely have to replace a large area, if not all, of the flooring. Some homeowners think they need “waterproof” flooring to protect against a flood. However, most types of flooring–including tile–will not hold up to a kitchen flood.

Myth: Hardwood is too hard to maintain in a kitchen.

IndusParquet .75 x 3 solid brazilian cherry Fact: All that is required for cleaning hardwood flooring is floor cleaner and a dry mop, along with a broom or vacuum. We do not recommend using any “refreshers” or wet mops to clean hardwood floors. Hardwood floors are as easy, if not easier, to maintain as other popular kitchen flooring types.

Myth: You need an extra “hard” flooring in a kitchen.

Fact: While a softer wood species, like walnut, is not recommended for high-traffic areas like the kitchen, all wood flooring will dent when heavy objects like pots and pans are dropped on it. Nearly any type of flooring you put in the kitchen will be damaged when hit with a heavy object. Like with limited water damage, single boards of wood flooring can often be replaced when dented. When tiles crack, replacing the cracked tile is much more involved and usually most costly.

Myth: Hardwood flooring in the kitchen needs to go under the cabinets.

Fact: As a rule, we do not install wood flooring under kitchen cabinets. The most obvious reason is that by installing under the cabinets, you’d be paying for square footage that you’ll never see. Some customers worry that they may change their cabinet layout and not have flooring under it anymore. However, any flooring that was under the cabinets will look very different from the rest of the flooring, since it wasn’t exposed to the same light. Plus, if there is water damage to the flooring, it is very difficult to repair any flooring that’s underneath the cabinets. Some kitchen contractors prefer to have the floors installed wall-to-wall before installing the cabinets to make the cabinet installation easier, but it is not necessary.

Myth: Hardwood is more expensive than tile.

Fact: While the product price is often higher for hardwood flooring than tile, installing tile is much more labor intensive. The total project cost is usually higher for installing tile.

Kitchen Hardwood Flooring Installations

Still not convinced wood floors are a great choice for the kitchen? Take a look at these photos of wood floors we installed in our customers’ kitchens.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Want see more wood floors in the kitchen? See more on our Idea Board.

Spring Mirage Hardwood Flooring Rebate

Starting April 3rd, 2017, Mirage Floors is offering  a $0.50 per sq. ft. rebate on hardwood flooring purchases. The sale includes all species, colors, and widths of Mirage Classic, Mirage Engineered, and Mirage Lock products.

 

Dan Higgins Wood Flooring is a Mirage Floors Elite Maestro Dealer. As Elite Dealers, we provide the full range of Mirage products and services.

The rebate sale runs through May 27th, but our installation calendar is already filling up with customers who want to start their spring cleaning with new hardwood floors.

See our selection of Mirage Products in our showroom.

For more information, contact us.

For complete rules and information, visit Mirage’s Website.

5 Things to do Before You Shop for Flooring

When customers visit our showroom, they often say, “I don’t even know where to start!” Our sales staff is happy to help guide you through the process, but there are some steps you can take before you leave home to make shopping easier.

1: Take measurements

In order to get a proper job quote, a professional needs to visit your home to measure the areas and evaluate the work to be done. But you can get a better range of your project costs if you know how big the area is, since flooring is priced per square foot. Online calculators—or good old geometry—can help you measure the square footage of your rooms.

2: Identify the flooring you have

If you have flooring in your house you’re hoping to compliment with your new flooring, we’ll need to know what kind of flooring it is. It’s especially helpful if you have an extra board leftover from the previous installation or a piece cut off by your contractor. That way, we can compare the old flooring to our samples in the store. If you can’t bring a piece with you, knowing the species, board width, whether it’s solid or engineered wood, and whether it was prefinished or site-finished can help us narrow down so samples for you to take home and compare.

3: Check your subfloor

75589_10153957760029468_7146609921735491722_n
The type of flooring you can install depends on the subfloor underneath it.

If you want to replace your current flooring, you need to know what you’ll be installing on: plywood? concrete? radiant heat? Some flooring types can only be installed on certain subfloor types, or the subfloor may need reinforcement. If you have carpet, you can usually lift up the corner to see what’s underneath. You can also up the vent cover and see the subfloor in the vent.

4: Watch the traffic

Take some time to observe the traffic patterns in your home. Where do the kids spend most of the time playing? Where does your dog like to run? These can help you determine what product is needed in which room. Some wood species and flooring types are more resilient than others and better for high traffic areas. Knowing where your high traffic areas will help you pick the best flooring for each room.

5: Plan to visit the showroom

IMG_1742
We have hundreds of samples in our showrooms in Medford and Sicklerville.

Many customers think the first step to shopping for hardwood flooring is to get an in-home estimate. However, it’s impossible to give a price for the job without knowing what product we’re installing. We have hundreds of samples in our showroom, so we don’t want to just pick a random product for you. We want to help you find the perfect product for your home.

Ready to start shopping? Visit our showroom.

Why We Hate Carpet

why-we-hate-carpet

When Dan Higgins started Dan Higgins Wood Flooring Warehouse in 1985, he sold hardwood floors and NOTHING else. We have expanded our product line a bit since then–we started carrying laminate and LVT flooring once they proved their muster in the marketplace. But one fact remains the same: we DO NOT want to sell you carpet. Here’s why:

It’s too much work for you.

If your family is anything like ours, your life includes messy kids, spilled drinks, family pets, dirty sport equipment, and more potential messes. Constantly worrying about stains and cleaning isn’t how we want you spending your free time. Carpet requires vacuuming, shampooing, and periodic professional cleaning–especially if you’re prone to allergies from dust mites and other allergens that get trapped in the carpet fibers. Hardwood, laminate, and LVT flooring require little maintenance and are easy to clean–a quick sweep or dry-mop with the appropriate cleaner will do the trick. We think you’ll be happier without the extra stress.

carpet-cleaner-labeled-for-reuse
Ugh. Too much work.

It doesn’t look good.

We think it’s time to leave the shag carpet in the past, and consumers agree. Carpet’s market share in the flooring industry has been steadily decreasing over the last decade while hardwood flooring has been increasing. A survey from USA Today found that 54% of home buyers are willing to pay more for homes with hardwood flooring. Today’s style is function, and consumers appreciate the beauty of hardwood flooring along with the low maintenance and lasting value.

It doesn’t last.

At Dan Higgins Wood Flooring, we believe in lifetime flooring solutions. We want to provide you with a floor that will add value to your home, not become another expense. Most carpet manufacturers only offer 10 year warranties. We offer a lifetime installation warranty, and most of our flooring products are warrantied for 25-50 years. Since we have worked in the South Jersey community since 1985, we want to sell and install flooring that we know our customers will be happy with for years to come.

Want to get rid of your carpet? Contact us.