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FAQ’s About Hardwood Floor Installation, Hardwood Floor Refinishing, and Laminate Floors

Hardwood Flooring FAQs

Are you thinking about installing, rehabbing, or refinishing your floors but need more information first? Here are the most common FAQs about hardwood flooring.

  • Is hardwood flooring expensive?

    When considering hardwood flooring, there are two primary costs. Those are the cost of initial installation, and the maintenance costs over time. Installation costs can vary widely based on the type of flooring you choose, and who installs it. The average cost for hardwood floor installation in 2021 was between $14 and $32 per square foot. Maintenance costs include refinishing floors, which typically costs about $3 to $8 per square foot. Ultimately, solid hardwood flooring typically increases your home’s value by much more than the initial investment and lasts for many years.

  • Which rooms are best for installing hardwood flooring?

    Hardwood flooring is both durable and beautiful, and beautiful hardwood floors can easily become the focal point of any room where you gather with family, friends, or neighbors. The only rooms you might hesitate to install solid wood flooring in are those that frequently get wet, like kitchens and bathrooms. Dry basements are sometimes even great candidates for a variety of styles in hardwood flooring.

  • What are the benefits of hardwood floors?

    Hardwood floors are durable, timelessly beautiful, and both increase and protect the value of your home. Solid wood floors are functionally designed and can be re-stained and refinished to match any taste in interior design to create YOUR dream floor.

  • What type of hardwood flooring do I need?

    You’ll need to decide what species of wood flooring and corresponding texture, color, and general appearance are most suited to your taste and budget. You’ll need to choose between engineered and natural wood flooring, based on your space needs (including current flooring) and budget. Finally, you’ll choose your stain color and type of finish, based on the aesthetic you have in mind. 

  • What is the difference between laminate flooring and hardwood flooring?

    Laminate flooring isn’t hardwood flooring at all. It’s simply a plastic top layer over compressed wood, designed to mimic the appearance of hardwood flooring at a significantly reduced cost to the homeowner. Laminate flooring is a great alternative to hardwood in those high-moisture, high-traffic areas that would damage hardwood over time. 

  • What is Engineered Wood?

    Engineered wood flooring is composed of a wood finish veneer, affixed to a compressed plywood underboard, using an adhesive installation. They mimic the style and quality of high-quality solid hardwood for a reduced cost. It’s a great flooring alternative for water-risk areas, like basements, and can be refinished once or twice throughout its lifetime. 

  • How Do I Maintain Hardwood Floors?

    Proper maintenance begins with high-quality cleaning agents that are approved for porous surfaces, specifically wood. Be sure to test a discrete area of the floor with any new products to determine compatibility. Hardwood floors that show excessive wear, widening cracks, or damaged finish may need refinishing. You can hire a reputable flooring company to do your refinishing job, or check out our blog post on how to refinish on your own. New design trends and custom design ideas can also make refinishing your hardwood floors a great way to update your home's decor style and overall look.

  • What Kind of Design Choices Do I Have With Hardwood Flooring?

    In designing your extraordinary wood floors, the final look will depend on several design elements, including the species of wood you choose, the texture of the wood, the stain color, and the finish type. Finishes add some color to the final product, but mostly determine the amount of gloss your floor will have. Stains offer other design options, through a wide variety of deep, rich colors. Species of wood can vary greatly in appearance, giving your home your own custom floor design. 

  • Should I Get Hardwood Floors If I Have Pets?

    Generally speaking, hardwood floors are not recommended for pet parents, because pets’ claws can quickly damage floors. There is also the risk of spillage and pet accidents. The good news is, engineered flooring is usually better able to withstand pet traffic and wear. Laminate flooring is another great alternative for high-traffic and heavy-traffic areas.

  • Can Hardwood Be Installed Over Concrete Or Laminate?

    It is possible to install hardwood over concrete, but multiple factors need to be considered by your flooring company beforehand, including whether the surface is below grade and how much moisture the room might take on. Sometimes parquet flooring and engineered wood flooring can be better options. Laminate floor removal is often the best course of action before professional hardwood flooring installation. However, if the laminate is clean, dry, and in good condition, hardwood can be installed over it. It is recommended that a layer of underlayment be installed before the hardwood is laid down.

Laminate Flooring FAQs

Are you wondering what all the buzz is about laminate flooring? We answer your most pressing questions about laminate floors. 

  • What is the difference between laminate flooring and hardwood flooring?

    Laminate flooring and hardwood flooring are similar and different, but both are excellent flooring choices for different situations. Solid hardwood flooring consists of thicker planks of solid wood, while laminate is composed of several layers of wood that are laminated together for strength and stability. It is covered with an image layer, meant to mimic the look and texture of natural hardwood. Both types of flooring should be limited in their exposure to moisture and are not recommended for kitchens and bathrooms.

  • What are the advantages of laminate flooring over those of solid hardwood flooring?

    Laminate flooring is often recommended for above and below grade floors, unlike solid hardwood, which is recommended for above-grade floors. It is a beautiful, lower-cost flooring material option that offers durability and easy installation that can transform the look of your space. Resistant laminate is a popular flooring option that looks like real wood and performs well in high foot traffic residential spaces, as well as commercial spaces like department stores. 

  • What is the difference between a brown core and a green core in laminate flooring?

    Brown cores and green cores are the same. The green core is a result of color added to the adhesive of the High-Density Fiberboard (HDF) often preferred by consumers. Both are composite cores consisting of compressed wood chips combined with adhesive and topped by a natural-looking image layer.

  • Where can I install laminate wood flooring?

    While laminate is some of the most resilient of flooring types, it is still a wood product. For this reason, laminate should not be installed in areas with excessive moisture, humidity, spills, or drainage. Laminate flooring cannot be installed over carpet, which must be removed prior to installation. Otherwise, laminate is an affordable flooring option for both focal rooms and high-traffic areas in the home. 

  • Can laminate flooring be installed on steps?

    Yes! Laminate can be installed on stairs. To do so, planks might need to adhere with wood glue, and finishings should be nailed into place. Successful installation will likely require a thorough inspection process and the expertise of a professional flooring company. 

  • Can I Install Laminate Flooring Myself?

    You can. One benefit to laminate flooring is that it installs as a floating floor, and typically does not require any gluing or nailing (aside from finishes). If you’re the handy type, there are plenty of reputable DIY installation instructions online.

  • How do I clean my laminate flooring?

    Laminate flooring is very versatile, durable, and easy to clean. Use household cleaning products that are approved for laminate surfaces. Very often, using a damp cloth, dust mop, or gentle vacuum is enough to keep your laminate looking fresh. Because it is a wood product, spills on laminate should be dried as quickly as possible using a microfiber pad or soft brush when needed. Do not scour with products like steel wool, use abrasive cleaners, steam clean/steam mop, or wax laminate flooring.

Hardwood Flooring Restoration FAQs

Considering restoring existing hardwood floors? Here’s what you need to know.

  • How much does it cost to sand and refinish hardwood floors?

    Sanding and refinishing prices can vary greatly, depending on a couple of factors. These include whether you decide to refinish on your own or hire a professional flooring company. They also include the quality and type of wood stain and finish that you choose, as well as any equipment purchase or rental costs for sanding and buffing your floor. Generally, restoration is priced by the number of square feet. 

  • When is it time to sand and and refinish hardwood floors?

    When your quality wood flooring has lost most of its shine and luster, looks dull, or has deep scratches, scrapes, or cracks that need to be repaired, it’s time to refinish.

  • Is it cheaper to refinish or replace hardwood floors?

    Refinishing is almost always the more affordable option between the two. If you’re having trouble deciding whether or not you need to replace your floors, talk to a local flooring expert to help in your decision.  

  • What does refinishing do for the look of my floors?

    Your floors can fade and lose luster over time. Refinishing your hardwood floors restores them to their original shine and color. It involves sanding, restaining, and application of finish to give it a smooth, sleek, refreshed look. This hardwood flooring project can also drastically change the look of your wood floors if you’re ready for a change.

  • Can I refinish hardwood floors by myself?

    You can refinish hardwood flooring yourself. Home improvement stores often rent and sell sanding, buffing, and vacuuming equipment for your DIY refinishing job. They will often also have at least some variety in stain color and finish types. Look for more restoration products at your local hardwood flooring company if you don’t find what appeals to you. You can also check out our recent blog post about refinishing hardwood floors yourself.

  • Can I refinish my hardwood floors without sanding?

    In order to reach the porous, stainable surface of your hardwood, you’ll need to sand to remove the remaining finish and current stain. It is not recommended to use the additional products on top of the existing stain and finish when addressing deeper scratches. However, if you need to correct a single light scratch, there are single-use staining products (that work like a staining marker) to address those without refinishing the entire floor. Be sure to check for color compatibility before filling in the entire scratch.

  • Can I repair scratches or cracks in my hardwood flooring without refinishing?

    Aside from the staining pen mentioned in the last response, we recommend refinishing for deep scratches as well as most cracks. Depending on the severity of the damage, there are different approaches to refinishing. It's important to give your beautiful hardwood floors the time investment they need to retain their value for many more years. 

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