Flooring 101: Everything You Need to Know About Hardwood Floors

Flooring 101: Everything You Need to Know About Hardwood Floors
  • Opening Intro -

    Ripping up old carpet or laminate flooring is a common part of most home renovations. It's rare to find a modern home today that doesn't have hardwood floors.

    That's because there's no flooring quite like hardwood. A room is instantly brought to life with the warm look of wood, making the space more elegant and inviting.


It’s no surprise that homeowners put in the extra time and money it takes to add wood floors to their home. Unlike carpet, wood floors don’t hold on to dirt and bacteria, making them the cleaner choice. Wood stands the test of time, aging well and holding up to daily wear and tear for years to come. Even more, hardwood floors can add to the overall value of your home.

But, replacing old, outdated carpet or flooring with hardwood isn’t an easy process. When replacing old carpets or flooring, regardless of who is doing the renovation, make sure that you have the proper floor protection so as not to harm the surrounding area. There are a lot of things that need to work together and a lot of choices that need to be made to end up with the perfect hardwood for your home.

Most homeowners have the same, common questions about the process of installing, choosing, and caring for their new hardwood floors. Read on to learn everything you need to know about hardwood floors.

What’s Under There?

The process of installing hardwood flooring starts from the bottom-up. It’s not as easy as ripping out your old flooring and installing new hardwood on top. You need to make sure the sub-floor is in good shape before any new flooring is installed over it.


A good sub-floor is usually made up of multiple layers, starting with a durable base. Primers and sealers are applied to the bottom surface to add an extra level of protection and waterproofing. On top of that, ¾ inch treated plywood is laid down and fastened to the flooring frames. Each one of the layers of the sub-floor needs to be in good shape before you install new flooring.

A damaged, rotten, or uneven sub-floor needs to be repaired before any new flooring is put on top of it. If not, you run the risk of having an unsafe floor in your home. Damaged subfloors can turn into a safety hazard by becoming unstable. All of the time and money you spend on installing your new floor would be wasted when beam being to shift or buckle. 

Can I Install it myself?

Installing hardwood flooring isn’t usually a weekend Do-It-Yourself project, unless you have a lot of experience with the process. Just like your sub-flooring, everything needs to be done correctly to ensure your new flooring can last the test of time.

This video from Lowe’s can help you to install solid hardwood floors:

Solid hardwood flooring is more difficult to install than the glue-down process that comes with installing engineered hardwood. Even though most beams are tongue-and-groove, they still need to be nailed to the sub-floor. You also need to make sure the joints aren’t placed next to each other, and room is left near the baseboards for expansion – the installation needs to be meticulous.

The installation process can be difficult and frustrating. That’s why no matter how skilled you are with DIY home projects, installing hardwood should be left to a professional. Taking this project on yourself can save you on labor costs. But, those costs are really worth it in the end. It’s better to have the process done right the first time, than have to be done again.

What Kind Should I Pick?


Before you get too wrapped up in your color and finish options, you should first decide if you want engineered or solid hardwood. Engineered hardwood is definitely the cheaper option – the beams are made from wood chips, pressed together and finished to look like wood. While solid hardwood is real natural wood, making it more expensive.

Solid hardwood flooring is the pricier choice, but it’s also the option that’s built to last. That’s why some historic homes have wood flooring that’s hundreds of years old. If you can find the room in your budget, solid wood is the best choice. This is not to say that engineered wood flooring can’t be beautiful and durable. The engineered beams are designed to be just a beautiful as real wood. Most times, you can’t even tell the difference.

After you’ve decided which material fits best into your budget and lifestyle, you can move onto the color! Both engineered and solid hardwood come in a large range of colors – from light colors to natural wood looks, and even dark finishes. If you do choose solid hardwood, you also have to choose the type of wood that’s best for you. Natural hardwood comes from real trees, so your choices range from domestic hardwoods, exotic woods, and even sustainable materials like bamboo and cork!

How Do I Clean it?

Once your hardwood flooring is installed, you may think your job is done. But, proper upkeep is one of the most important things you can do to extend the life of your new floors. All floors are finished with a glossy, low-gloss, or matte stain. To preserve the finish and the wood underneath, the right cleaning process needs to be followed.

For basic cleaning, you should sweep or vacuum your floors regularly. This helps keep the surface free of any debris that can be ground-in or made to scratch the flooring. Cleaning products like a Swiffer are perfect for gently removing dust and dirt. Also, if you do vacuum your floors make sure the correct level is set to avoid scratches.

For deep-cleaning, you need to know how your floor is finished. This helps you avoid ruining your floors by using the wrong cleaning product. There’s a big difference between hardwood floors that are surface-sealed or sealed with oil, then waxed. Most modern wood flooring is surface-sealed with polyurethane, making them more durable and resistant. But, older floors are usually sealed with shellac or varnish, and then finished with wax.

Let’s not stop here – we have more information for flooring options:

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Whether you choose engineered wood or solid wood for your new floors, the result will be the same. You’ll get a beautiful hardwood floor, sure to impress for a long time to come! Installing hardwood floors is an investment you make for your home and for your future. If you follow a few simple steps and hire the right professional for the job, your house can quickly turn into your forever home.



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