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Why are my hardwood floors separating?

Michigan Hardwood Flooring expands and contracts.

Hardwood flooring expands and contracts, this happens in Michigan more often than not. With all the new wide plank hardwood flooring being sold and installed this should be of high topic in Michigan as we enter the winter months. At 1woodfloors.com our company educates our customers prior to purchasing a hardwood floor. In some situations a certain type of hardwood flooring may be better than others. Even though we all know a big part of our decision is based off of cost, we try to avoid giving you a floor just based from this because if that floor fails you may spend more trying to fix a problem that could have been prevented. All hardwood floors should be acclimated prior to installation. Why should hardwood flooring be acclimated we will cover on another post later. In the winter months we all turn up the heat in one way or another in Michigan. It is our job to make sure we keep the air in our homes with the correct level of humidity if we would like to protect our hardwood floors from severe gapping or separating. Here are some quick tips.  Remember if your floor is separating it usually takes just as long to try to close up as it took to separate.

 

  • Get a humidifier on your furnace and make sure it is working.
  • Purchase a hygrometer and place in the area your flooring is.
  • Notice the setting on your humidifier may not tell you the true RH% this is why a hygrometer is required.
  • Keep your levels around 45-50% if possible
  • Avoid shocking your floor or house, meaning if its to dry slowly adjust your humidity rather than spike the levels up or down.
  • Summer requires the same type of attention to humidity levels.
  • As summer comes you usually will need no help from your humidifier and this will most likely be turned off all together.
  • This is when people forget to either turn on or off is when the seasons change
  • The wider the board the more it will move
  • Do your best,  its all you can do. You cannot control this perfectly.
  • Always talk to a pro when choosing flooring some work better than others in certain situations
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Distressed Hardwood Flooring Explained

Once you decide to install a new hardwood floor, your choices might seem endless. You know that hardwood adds significantly to the value and appeal of your home, but which type of wood and color stain might be better? Are there different designs and looks I can play with, and which application will look the best for the lifetime of my home? All good questions.

Distressed hardwood flooring is one choice that’s become very fashionable in recent years for a number of reasons. Basically, when we say “distressed” we mean that the wood has been treated in some way to change the look—adding character, making it appear more rustic, giving the grain depth or the look of old-fashioned wood pegging.

Traditionally, these methods of treatment were used for homes with a rustic décor. Beautifully done, they can give your space just the right homey feel to match with your design aesthetic. A number of different methods for distressing the wood can give completely different characteristics to the design, opening up possibilities for use in everything from oriental décor to very elegant appeal.

What Are My Options in Rustic Hardwood Flooring?

 

The two main ways to achieve a distressed look are through hand scraping and machine scraping. Hand-scraped flooring is more costly because it’s far more labor intensive, but it has more character. The lengths and patterns of character in the wood look natural and not even, because it’s impossible to exactly replicate the look from plank to plank. Machine-distressed wood floors will have a repetitive pattern.

The looks can be as different as your décor and taste. Hand distressing a floor is an art form, and many techniques can be used to get the exact look and feel you want:

  • Hand scraping
  • Wire brushing
  • Use of various tools for distressing, such as saws, chisels, even chains
  • Application of stains to add to the character of the floor

The choices with this floor type are really as wide as your imagination will go. You can create a classic distressed floor, with lots of depth and grain to showcase a completely contemporary design. You might have a cabin rustic theme or even paint and distress the floor for a farmhouse kind of look.

The possibilities of what you can do with this material never end.

Your Choice in Distressed Hardwood Flooring

The best choice is an educated one, and we’d love to show you all of the alternatives you have in getting the perfect look for your home. We’d love to discuss the process and lead you through the different options.

If you’re interested in having distressed hardwood flooring installed in your home, please contact us today!

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How Subflooring Impacts Your Installation

You might know a bit about the type of floor you want installed, but you may not know very much about the construction underneath it. It’s important that your contractor understands exactly what he’s working with to give you not only a beautiful floor, but a floor that will stand the test of time.

For instance, did you know that asbestos was commonly used in vinyl tile made prior to 1978? That’s an important thing for your installer to know, for certain! It’s likely that your home was built while asbestos was still in use in flooring materials and it’s important that your subfloor is tested before any tile is removed. Removing old tiles with asbestos can result in asbestos dust in your home, which poses an obvious and serious health risk, especially to small children.

At 1woodfloors.com, we have certification in lead abatement and know how to safely deal with toxic materials. We also know how to work with all types of subflooring.

 

Types of Subfloor—What We’re Working With

  • CDX plywood is the preferred subfloor, since plywood is considered the best subfloor to install over. For hardwood flooring, floor joists should not be more than 18 inches apart—manufacturers generally won’t warranty unless this is the case.
  • OSB is chipboard, and a lot of new construction homes (1990 and later) used it because it reduced building cost. OSB doesn’t hold a fastener as well as CDX plywood, so you would choose a strip floor over a plank floor because you’ll have more fasteners to hold your floor. This floor is acceptable for any type of installation (floating, nail down, or glued down).
  • With concrete floors, it’s very important to perform a moisture test. If you’re on grade, you have options to install many different types of floors. If you’re below grade, you can only have an engineered or laminate floor. You should not install solid wood below grade because moisture will damage the wood. Numerous types of vapor barriers or membranes can be put down on concrete to protect the flooring on top by preventing any moisture from coming out of the concrete and affecting the flooring.
  • Lightweight fire-rated concrete is common in condos and townhomes. We recommend floating floor over that or a secondary recommendation is glued down. Glued down is not ideal; if you have to replace anything, it will probably mean pulling up the concrete, too.

 

Are you ready to have 1woodfloors.com assess your subfloor and guide you in choosing your best wood flooring installation? Contact us to get a free quote.

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Tips to Keep Your Floor Like New

Hardwood floors are beautiful, but are they hard to maintain? They’re far easier to keep up than some other options. For instance, carpeting is much harder to clean because dirt gets down into the fabric and it can be tough to completely remove without a professional cleaning—which can be costly. If you have allergies, hardwood floors are ideal for keeping the area clean and free of dander, dust, and other known allergens.

So, can you keep your floor looking brand new? Yes and no—there will be scratches from everyday use. You can’t avoid that, unless you never walk on the surface, but you can guard against too much wear.

 

Preventing and Minimizing Scratches

Here are some good ideas to help you prevent wear and scratches.

  • Pets – Pets will scratch up your hardwood floor. They can’t help it, especially if they’re young and energetic. An easy solution might be to keep your pet out of the rooms you’ve just had floored. Barring that, you might consider putting down throw rugs to protect the space.
  • High Heels – High heels or sharp heeled shoes will cause scratches on your floor, especially if walked on regularly. We recommend having guests take off their shoes at the entryway. Other solutions might be runners or throw rugs over the area to minimize damage.
  • Furniture – Do not drag furniture across a hardwood floor. Fully pick it up to avoid scratching the surface of your floor. You should also apply felt pads to the bottom of any piece of furniture that sits on your hardwood floor to avoid scratching from the pressure of use.

 

Hardwood Flooring Maintenance and Cleaning Your Floors

Some people will recommend age-old methods for cleaning your hardwood floors, along with all the newest products and contraptions to hit the market. We never recommend using a vacuum or steam mop. We also do not recommend oil soap or waxes.

There’s a specific reason for this: oils and cleaners are made for older wood floors where the finish is wearing off. With a new wood floor, these cleaners will leave a residue that can be very difficult, if not impossible, to remove. There’s no reason to use them on a newer wood floor and they can, in fact, be damaging. As far as steam mops go, they look like the perfect solution on the infomercials. Of course, you need to realize that the infomercials are trying to sell you something.

Steam mops add moisture to the floor and your wood floor will soak that up and expand. People who don’t know a lot about how wood reacts might look at the floor and think it’s not wet because there’s not a noticeable amount of water—but the water is inside the wood! Remember, to keep a wood floor in optimal shape, you want to guard against humidity. Using a steam mop is the same thing as infusing your floor with humidity.

People have been using vinegar and water for many generations. What we find is that this can be misused. Overuse of water can damage your floor over time. Too much vinegar will eventually affect the finish.

We recommend using a Bona Cleaning Kit. It is the best, most user-friendly product we’ve found so far to keep your floor in its finest shape.

Want more information about hardwood flooring? Contact us to get a free quote on your wood flooring installation today!

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Hardwood flooring installation methods

When you are looking for hardwood flooring in Michigan it is important for your wood flooring installation company to understand the construction of your home. Homes built at different times and in different areas all have different materials used as base flooring. There are many things to consider when it comes to selecting the installation method to be used when installing your floor if you expect it to last a lifetime. You may receive information from many sources regarding installation method and it is always wise to refer to your manufacture for instructions. However I will talk about 1woodfloors.com preferred methods of installation. It is important that subfloor type is considered before choosing your hardwood floor. For instance CDX plywood does not provide the same hold as some OSB types of subfloor. Refer to our subfloor types page for more insight.  Now this does not mean a whole lot until you consider you may want a wide plank hardwood floor. If you have a subfloor that does not hold a fastener as well as the other then install a floor that uses less fasteners then this could have a effect on the way your floor hold together. Installing hardwood flooring in a state like Michigan can present many challenges because of changes in the climate. Unfortunately most of the issues result after the installation of your Michigan hardwood flooring project is completed and the first seasonal change has taken place. Now if you have a 4 inch wide plank floor installed over OSB using nail down method with cleats would the floor hold together under climate changes as good as a old 2 1/4 oak hardwood floor nailed over cross plank into the floor joist with spiral nails? Have you seen a house from the 1950′s or earlier with a floor that stays together better than that floor in your new home? Have you ever heard from your parents saying “I never had that problem with my floor”? The short answer is most people we know have not had wide plank hickory flooring installed in a new home and that less has been done to see the test of time. Did you know that selecting Hickory is also selecting a product that is more prone to movement than Oak hardwood flooring. You can see very easily that the type of floor you select, installation method you choose, area your home is in and your subfloor type can play a big part in how long your floor withstands the test of time. I hope this information is helpful for those who would like the floor to withstand the test of time.

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Furniture Removal/Replacement

With over 18 years in the business, we excel at working with our clients to make all of the hard choices.  We’ll consult you on the type of home and construction you have, and show you the best options in flooring.   We’ll even do the research to  make sure you get the best price possible on materials for the installation you’ve chosen.  You have the final say in everything because your satisfaction is our only goal.

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How to Maintain Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood floors are beautiful, but are they hard to maintain? They’re far easier to maintain than some other options. For instance, carpeting is much harder to keep clean because dirt gets down into the fabric and it can be hard to completely remove without a professional service. And professional cleanings can be costly. If you have allergies, hardwood floors are ideal for keeping the area clean and free of dander, dust, and other known allergens.

So, can you keep your floor looking brand new? Yes and no—there will be scratches from everyday use. You can’t avoid that, unless you never walk on the surface, but you can guard against too much wear.

Preventing and Minimizing Scratches

Here are some good ideas to help you prevent wear and scratches:

  •  Pets – Pets will scratch up your hardwood floor. They can’t help it, especially if they’re young and energetic. An easy solution might be to keep your pet out of the rooms you’ve just had floored. Barring that, you might consider putting down throw rugs to protect the space.
  •  High Heels – High heels or sharp heeled shoes will cause scratches on your floor, especially if walked on regularly. We recommend having guests take off their shoes at the entryway. Other solutions might be runners or throw rugs over the area to minimize damage.
  •  Furniture – Do not drag furniture across a hardwood floor. Fully pick it up to avoid scratching the surface of your floor. You should also apply felt pads to the bottom of any piece of furniture that sits on your hardwood floor to avoid scratching from the pressure of use.

Hardwood Flooring Maintenance and Cleaning Your Floors

Some people will recommend age old methods for cleaning your hardwood floors, along with all the newest products and contraptions to hit the market. We never recommend using a vacuum or steam mop. We also do not recommend oil soap or waxes.

People have been using vinegar and water with much success for many generations. Some also tout oil soap. Both can work well, but what we find is that they are misused. Overuse of water can damage your floor over time. Too much vinegar will eventually affect the finish. We recommend using a Bona Cleaning Kit. It is the best, most user-friendly product we’ve found so far to keep your floor in its finest shape. Want more information about hardwood flooring? Contact us to get a free quote on your wood

flooring installation today!

Read More