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.

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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.

Before & After: Changing Colors

Our supervisor Anthony and his crew installed an IndusParquet 3/4″X 3″ solid Brazilian cherry flooring. Last year, we installed the same flooring for this customer in the next room. Here are the transitions between the rooms:

Yes, that is the SAME flooring product! Because wood is a natural product, it changes color over time as it exposed to light and oxidizes. Depending on the species of the wood, the wood may lighten, darken, or yellow over time. As you can see, Brazilian cherry is a very photosensitive species and darkens drastically after it’s installed. The new floors will eventually darken to the same color as the older flooring within the first year.

So that the floors light, darken, or yellow evenly, avoid keeping large area rugs or pieces of furniture on the floors during the first year, or move them around periodically to expose the areas underneath to sunlight. If you do end up with some light or dark patches, you can move the furniture or rug and the patch will, depending on the species of wood, “catch up” as it’s exposed to sunlight, so the color will be even again.

When shopping for flooring and comparing samples, ask how old the sample is and what colors changes should be expected. This is especially important for exotic species like Brazilian cherry, which change color drastically.

Have questions about flooring? Contact the experts at Dan Higgins Wood Flooring.

FAQs: Laminate & Luxury Vinyl Tile

Obviously, we’re big fans of hardwood flooring here at Dan Higgins Wood Flooring–we’ve been in the hardwood flooring business since 1985. However, we want every customer to have the best flooring solution for their home and budget, so we offer laminate and luxury vinyl tile flooring as alternatives to hardwood flooring. Laminate and luxury vinyl tile flooring are both gaining popularity in the floor covering industry. Here’s what you need to know:

What is laminate flooring?

Laminate flooring is a flooring product constructed by layering synthetic products and laminating them together. Laminate flooring contains a moisture-resistant backing layer, a fiberboard inner core, an image design layer, and a top wear layer.

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We installed this Armstrong Architectural Remnants Woodland Reclaim laminate flooring in “Old Original.”

What is luxury vinyl tile?

Luxury vinyl tile (LVT) is a flooring product made out a layer of vinyl backing, an image design layer, and a top wear layer. Luxury vinyl tile comes in varieties to imitate hardwood, stone, slate, and ceramic tile.

What is hybrid laminate flooring?

Hybrid laminate is made in layers and is installed the same way as laminate floor, but has the waterproof base of LVT. Hybrid laminates are new to the industry but are gaining popularity, with brands like COREtec (which we now carry) catching consumers’ attention.

Are laminate and LVT the same as engineered wood flooring?

No. Engineered wood flooring is real hardwood, made of layers of hardwood and plywood. Many laminate and LVT flooring products are made to look like wood, but they are made of synthetic materials.

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LVT is often used in industrial spaces because of its resistance to wear-and-tear. We installed this Berry Alloc DreamClick Pro LVT in “River Oak Natural” at the United Methodist Church in Medford, NJ.

Why would I get laminate or LVT instead of real wood floors?

Laminate and LVT flooring can be a good option for rooms with high or variable moisture. All flooring can be damaged by moisture, but hardwood expands and contracts with moisture more than laminate or LVT. Laminate flooring’s fiberboard core can be damaged by high moisture, like standing water in the bathroom, but LVT can withstand very high moisture and many LVT products are 100% waterproof.

Laminate and LVT are also generally low-maintenance and resistant to wear and tear. Customers with pets in the home sometimes prefer laminate and LVT flooring because they are more scratch-resistant than hardwood floors. Laminate and LVT flooring are also popular in office and industrial spaces.

Because laminate and LVT flooring have a printed design layer, they are produced in a variety of colors and designs. Sometimes it is more affordable to achieve a desired look–exotic wood, stone, etc.–with laminate or LVT than the real thing.

laminate-flooring-samples
Laminate flooring comes in a variety of designs and colors. Laminates and LVTs can sometimes achieve the “look” of more expensive products at a lower cost.

Do they look like real wood?

The image layer and the wear layer both impact how well the flooring is able to “pass” as wood. Technological innovations in printing and production have helped laminate and LVT flooring look more “real” than ever. High-end laminates and LVTs have very high quality photos on the image layer and are “embossed-in-register” so that the look and feel of the wear layer matches the “grain” of the image layer. However, some laminates and LVTs have designs and colors that are hard to achieve with hardwood, making it virtually impossible to match the look with real wood, even with custom staining.

To the extent you can measure how a floor “feels”, laminate feels more like walking on real wood than LVT since laminate flooring has the fiberboard core. However, they both feel artificial compared to walking on real wood, especially if installed by floating the floor instead of gluing it down.

At the end of the day, laminate and LVT flooring are synthetic and do not look or feel exactly like real hardwood.

Are they safe?

Laminate flooring got a bad reputation in March 2015 when a 60 Minutes investigation found that Lumber Liquidators-brand laminate flooring failed to meet the California Air Resources Board (CARB) regulations for formaldehyde levels and was fraudulently labeled. However, laminate and LVT flooring from trusted brands that are independently certified to follow the CARB standards are safe for the home. Just make sure you’re not looking for the cheapest floor, but for brands that have a good reputation and follow government regulations.

Which costs more?

Laminate and LVT gained popularity as the cheaper alternatives to hardwood and ceramic flooring. However, like all flooring products, they vary in price and quality. Some higher-end laminate and LVT flooring products cost more than mid-range hardwood flooring. While laminate and LVT flooring provide more options for the price-conscious consumer, you don’t need to limit your search to laminate and LVT to find affordable options.

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Laminate flooring is made with tongue and groove planks that click together for installation.

How are they installed? Can I do it myself?

If you’re an experienced home improvement DIYer, laminate and LVT installations are both relatively easy DIY projects. Laminate flooring is produced as tongue and groove planks that can be clicked together and is installed as a floating floor. LVT often comes with adhesive already on the product. If the product requires you to supply and apply adhesive separately, the installation gets trickier. When installing flooring, it’s imperative to follow the manufacturer’s instructions so that the flooring will be covered under the manufacturer’s warranty. If you don’t have much experience with DIY home improvements, it’s better to get an expert installation.

Which flooring is the best for my home?

The best floor for your home depends on so many factors, it’s best to consult an expert to help you evaluate your project and find the best product.

Contact the experts at Dan Higgins Wood Flooring

Before & After: Custom Stained Treads

Our job supervisor Anthony installed these beautiful custom oak stair treads stained to match Armstrong Prime Harvest hardwood flooring in “Forest Brown.” We custom stain the stair treads in our warehouse to make every set of stairs look beautiful.

Here’s the finished product:

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Contact us to schedule your free estimate for customer stair tread staining and installation.

FAQs: Solid vs Engineered Wood

So you know you want wood floors. But how are you going to narrow down the best product when faced with hundreds of samples in the showroom? The first step is to determine whether you need a solid or engineered hardwood product. Here’s some common questions our customers ask about solid and engineered hardwood floors.

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A sample of solid oak wood flooring vs. a sample of engineered oak wood flooring. The solid wood is one piece while the engineered wood is made of layers.

What is a solid hardwood and engineered hardwood?

Solid wood is milled from a single piece of 3/4″ hardwood. Engineered wood is made with layers of hardwood or plywood as the core, with a hardwood veneer on top. The veneer is made of the preferred species of wood, such as oak or maple.

Is engineered real wood? Isn’t it the same as laminate flooring?

Engineered wood is real wood, made in layers instead of as one solid piece. Laminate flooring is a different product altogether; it is a picture that simulates the look of wood, stone, or tile on top of a fiber board, but is not made of wood.

What is “below grade” and why does it matter?

Rooms in your home can be at grade, above grade, or below grade. At grade means the room is at ground level, usually the first floor of a house. Above grade means the room is above ground level, such as an upstairs bedroom. Below grade is below ground level, like a basement.

Traditional solid wood does not perform well in room that are below grade. Below grade rooms tend to have higher levels of moisture. Solid hardwood expands and contracts with changing moisture levels. Engineered hardwood has more structural stability so it is more resistant to moisture. Engineered hardwood can be installed at any grade, while solid hardwood can be installed at or above grade.

Hardwood Flooring in NJ Beach House
Engineered wood floors are ideal for areas with variable moisture, like basements, kitchens, and down the shore.

What’s the difference between how solid and engineered wood flooring is installed?

Solid hardwood flooring can be nailed or stapled to a wood subfloor. Engineered flooring can also be glued, nailed, or stapled, but can also be floated. Floating installation is a technique where the engineered boards are attached to each other and stay over the subfloor without adhesion. Solid wood flooring cannot be installed directly to a concrete subfloor; concrete subfloors usually have high moisture levels and solid hardwood does not react well to moisture variability.

Solid wood contracts and expands more than engineered wood, so installers should leave more space between the boards to allow the wood to expand and contract.

Can solid and engineered hardwood flooring be sanded and refinished?

In most cases, solid wood flooring can be sanded and refinished many times throughout the life of the floor. Many engineered woods can be sanded and refinished, but it depends on the the thickness of the hardwood veneer. Engineered wood flooring with thick veneers can be sanded and refinished up to three times, while engineered wood flooring with thinner veneers may only be sanded and refinished once or, in some cases, not at all.

Which costs more?

It depends. Solid and engineered hardwood flooring vary in price–and quality. The type of installation also affects the overall cost of your project. Solid hardwood and engineered hardwood have comparable costs, so you shouldn’t rule out either option when considering price.

Which is better for my home: solid or engineered?

The best floor for your home depends on so many factors, it’s best to consult an expert to help you evaluate your project and find the best product.

Contact the experts at Dan Higgins Wood Flooring