Originally, hardwood flooring was available only as bare planks. After the unfinished planks were installed, the entire surface would be finished with stain and a polyurethane treatment. Now, you have more choices. Wood flooring is also available with factory-applied finishes. This type of finished flooring is durable and often comes with a long warranty. If you’re wondering which option is best for you, learn about the pros and cons of each so that you can choose the right one for your project.
Do You Want To Walk On Your Floors Right Away?
When opting for finished wood panels, you can use the room as soon as the planks are installed. However, unfinished wood must be sanded and finished after it is installed. Some water-based polyurethane finishes dry quickly, but they may take several days or weeks to cure. You won’t want to set up your furniture or walk on the floor with shoes until the finish has cured.
You’ll be able to detect an odor from the polyurethane until it has completely cured. That can be a nuisance for those who are living in the home during this time. You won’t have to deal with a chemical smell if you install flooring that has already been stained and sealed.
Finishing hardwood on site may also produce dust that can settle throughout the building. Using factory-finished floor planks prevents this from happening. If you decide to have us install bare hardwood or refinish your floors, however, rest assured that Classic Floor Designs use a no-dust refinishing system that safely removes particles so that you can stay in your home. Our dustless system also cuts down on post-installation cleanup time.
If you’re installing flooring in a new construction or large-scale project, you might prefer using unfinished wood. Contractors often prefer to finish the floors last so that they don’t get scuffed or damaged by tools, work boots or grit.
Do You Want The Widest Range Of Finishes Available?
Although prefinished wood flooring comes in a wide variety of finishes, it doesn’t compare to the customization that you can achieve from finishing bare planks. As long as the flooring is made from solid hardwood, it’s possible to sand down prefabricated planks to reveal the grain underneath, allowing the finish to be customized. However, the factory topcoat is so durable that this can be a time-consuming process. Sanding down prefinished hardwood thins it out, and you can only do so a few times before compromising the integrity of the material.
When it comes to repairing damage, it’s easier to touch up a small section of site-finished floors than prefabricated planks. You’ll be able to refinish it with the same materials, and the repaired area will be more likely to match the rest of the floor. If you’re trying to redo the flooring in one room to harmonize with the rest of the home, you might get a better match with unfinished wood.
Do You Require Maximum Durability?
While both types of flooring are incredibly resilient, prefabricated wood floor planks are usually more resistant to stains, water damage, and discolorations. In short, the treatment used on factory-finished hardwood is easier to maintain than the treatment used on site, and it lasts longer. A warranty on a floor that’s finished on site might last up to five years. On the other hand, prefinished wood is often warranted for up to 25 years or even a lifetime.
All hardwood will develop scratches and indentations over time, especially in high-traffic areas. If you have kids or pets, you might be able to keep factory-finished wood floors looking new for a longer period of time than on-site-finished options.
Is A Smooth, Seamless Finish Important To You?
Unfinished wood flooring is sanded after it is installed. This helps to produce an even surface even if the subflooring is irregular. It also flattens out the seams between the boards. If you’re going for a glossy, mirror-slick finish, you probably won’t be able to achieve your goal with factory-finished boards.
Factory-finished wood planks are typically beveled, or slightly rounded, at the edges. This produces a marked seam when they lie against one another. These grooves can collect dirt and moisture.
When it comes to choosing the right type of wood floors for your project, your budget might dictate the ultimate decision. Although factory-finished wood is usually more expensive per plank, the cost of the finishing materials eventually bumps up the cost of bare hardwood installation. Plus, various species of wood have different costs.
If you are still on the fence, the experts at Classic Floor Designs can help you weigh the pros and cons of the different types of flooring so that you can enjoy your home for years to come. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
Northern Virginia and the Washington DC metropolitan area are filled with beautiful, historic homes. If you live in one of these homes and have old hardwood floors, you might wonder whether it is better for you to restore them or to replace them. Whether you should restore your existing hardwood floors or get new flooring installed will depend on several different factors, including your budget, the condition of your floors and whether you like their look and style.
Generally, it’s more expensive to install new hardwood floors than to refinish the ones that you already have. Buying new wooden flooring requires removing the old floors and disposing of them, which include a price tag. There will also be labor costs involved with cutting the flooring to fit around doorways and walls. If you have some boards that are stained or damaged, to save money, you can opt to replace only the damaged sections and then refinish your hardwood floors so that they look as good as new. Wood floors can be matched so that the replaced sections will blend in seamlessly.
The condition of your existing floors and their age
Hardwood floors may be refinished around five to seven times during their lifespans. If your floors have been refinished repeatedly over time, they may be too worn to save. If you are able to see the tongue between the boards where they fit together, you will likely need to replace your floors. You should also consider replacing your floors if they do not seem sturdy or have too much bounce. Certain types of wood, like pine, are softer and are may become less sturdy as time passes. If your floors are simply scratched up, you may choose to have them refinished instead of buying new floors.
If you have structural problems that need repair, you will likely have to opt for new wooden floors. For example, if the floor supports are damaged or you need a new subfloor, you will have to get new floors installed; these types of repairs require the old floors to be removed.
Wanting a different wood species
Most historic homes in the DC area have oak floors. To update the look or if you desire a different wood species such as cherry, you might choose to have new floors installed. To change the color of your floors, however, you may not need to invest in new floors. Sanding and staining can easily change the color of your flooring, alleviating the need to replace them altogether.
Change the width or direction of your floorboards
Many older homes have oak floors that are 2-1/4 inches wide. Wider planks are more popular and on-trend now. If you want to have wider planks that are 5 to 7 inches wide, the only way you can get them is to get new floors installed. Similarly, if you want to change the direction that the boards run, you will need to replace the floors.
Time and mess considerations
If you are pressed for time, replacing your floors typically takes less time than refinishing them. Floor replacements also do not generate as much of a mess. However, it is also possible to refinish your floors with a minimal mess when you use dustless floor refinishing. Classic Floor Designs has a dustless refinishing system that vacuums all of the dust away from the inside of your home into our truck so that the mess is minimal.
Deciding whether to refinish your existing floors or to install new ones will depend on your preferences, budget, time constraints and the condition of your existing floors. To learn more about refinishing your existing floors or replacing them, contact Classic Floor Designs today.
What is dustless hardwood floor refinishing?
We use specialized equipment to refinish your hardwood floors without leaving behind a significant amount of dust. Our sanders are connected with special hoses to a powerful vacuum that is located on our trailers. As our professional refinishers sand your floors, the dust is sucked out of your home and into our trucks. This system can allow you to stay in your home or business while your floors are being sanded without worrying about breathing in the carcinogenic dust that can be produced during the process.
Benefits of no-dust refinishing
There are several benefits of choosing to refinish your floors with our no-dust system, including the following:
- Less time preparing
- Less time cleaning up
- Better health
Before no-dust refinishing systems were available, people who wanted to sand their floors had to spend a significant amount of time preparing. They had to cover all of their furniture and stay elsewhere while the process was completed. Our system allows you to minimize the amount of preparation that you would otherwise need to complete. With the powerful vacuum technology, the dust is safely removed away from your home and your belongings, allowing you to stay in your home or business without having to cover everything.
Since most of the dust will be vacuumed directly out of your home or business and into our truck, there will also be much less time needed for cleaning up. In the past, people would find dust piling up for weeks after they had already cleaned after their floors were sanded. This is because sanding floors sends dust into your vents. From there, the dust may then be circulated and deposited throughout your home, allowing dust to continue settling everywhere for weeks.
Dust-free floor sanding is also much healthier for you, your family, your employees or your customers. Dust from sanding certain types of wood can be carcinogenic. Having high levels of dust in the air may also cause respiratory problems, allergic reactions or worsened asthma symptoms. Even if you leave your home during the sanding process or have the work completed while your business is closed, a lot of dust will still remain behind if you don’t use a dust-free floor refinishing process.
Added benefits for business owners
If you are a business owner who wants to refinish your floors, you will enjoy the added benefit of being able to continue working while the floors are being refinished. Without a dust-free sanding process, businesses have to close their doors while the work is being completed and during the cleanup process. They also have to cover and protect all of their furniture and office equipment to keep dust from getting in. With our system, you can continue to operate your business like you normally do, which can help you to continue making profits during the refinishing process.
Refinishing your existing hardwood floors doesn’t have to be a messy job. When you choose our system, you can enjoy beautiful results without the hassles involved with dust. To learn more about our dustless sanding and refinishing services, call Classic Floor Designs today.
Choose wood grains according to your rooms’ locations and sizes
If you have rooms that face south or that are large, choosing a dark wood for your hardwood floors such as mahogany or Brazilian walnut can lend a luxurious feel. Smaller rooms work better when they have lighter wood grains. For small rooms, think about using lighter wood grains such as white oak, ash or maple.
When you are choosing hardwood flooring for a long hallway, make sure that you do not install it running parallel to the room’s length. This will make it appear narrower than if you install it in the other direction. If there is a doorway at the end of the hall that separates the spaces, you can choose to install wood running in a different direction or in a new grain to add interest. If there is no door separating the hall from the adjoining room, continue laying the flooring in the same pattern.
If you want to install different wood grain floors in adjacent rooms, it can be easy to do so. You can simply separate them using wooden borders or T-moldings in the thresholds of the doors. You can also separate areas in large rooms with different grains of wood. This can be used to highlight specific areas and can be done well if you creatively use borders. You can try to create a border around the area with contrasting wood by using some of the wood grain from the adjoining space.
In a home with an open floor plan, using different types of hardwood floors can be used to set certain areas apart. For example, the entryway area might have wood floors that are installed in a parquet pattern while the rest of the floor is installed in straight lines. This can help you to set your entryway apart while also complementing your home’s design.
Why trying to match existing wood floors is difficult
If you are planning to install wood floors in only one area of your home, you may be tempted to try to match the floors that are installed in your other areas. This is very difficult to do because different series of the same types of wood flooring may be slightly mismatched in their tone. After the new flooring is installed, the difference may be apparent. Instead, try creating contrast and choose a new grain of wood that will complement what you have installed without matching it too closely.
If you are wanting to try to match the existing wood floors with your new flooring, you might want to instead consider sanding and refinishing all of them to match. Instead of going through the hassle of doing that, choosing a different type of floor or wood grain and selecting a border to separate the two can add to the look of your home.
While some people think that they have to use the same type of floors throughout their homes, choosing to mix different wood grains can make your home look more interesting. The experts at Classic Floor Designs can help you to choose the floors that will make your home stand out. Call us today to schedule your consultation so that you can begin the process of transforming your home into the beautiful place that you envision.
Hardwood floors make a stunning first impression, increase the value of your home and add warmth to any room. We know you want the beauty of your floors to last a long time without the need for refinishing, fixing or replacement, but we also recognize the challenge of cleaning and protecting hardwood.
Preventing damage to flooring is easy if you’re diligent and practice smart strategies. Start with these five tips to preserve the shine and prolong the life of every wood floor in your home.
Use the Right Cleaner
Before investing in a cleaner promising to restore shine and make wood floors glow, find out how it makes good on its promise. Many products rely on oils or waxes to provide shine. These produce an attractive effect but only serve to break down the finish of your floor over time, leading to the need for sanding and refinishing.
Instead of putting on a false shine, choose a cleaner formulated to remove dirt and reveal the natural beauty of the wood. Bona, Libman, Pledge, Method and other well-known names in home cleaning offer products just for hardwood. Choose a gentle, non-toxic formula, especially if you have pets or children who spend a lot of time in contact with the floor.
Develop a Regular Cleaning Regimen
Use your cleaner as part of a consistent routine designed to keep your hardwood flooring in top shape. Sweep up dirt and debris often to prevent scratches, and invest in a vacuum cleaner made for wood floors to lift the dirt brooms leave behind. Dry dust mops like Swiffer make it easier to reach into corners and grab dust bunnies under large pieces of furniture.
Keep a stash of soft cloths on hand to wipe up spills the moment they happen. Leaving water on the floor can lead to damage, and anything sticky will be difficult to remove if allowed to dry. Should an unidentifiable substance weld itself to your floor, spot clean with a minimal amount of liquid to remove it.
Mop the floor using a dry mop and your chosen cleaner to get rid of the rest of the dirt and grime. When you’re done, you should see the coveted shine for which hardwood floors are prized.
Say No to Shoes
Even if you’re obsessive about wiping your feet before heading indoors, your shoes are likely still holding onto dirt and debris. Routinely tracking these particles across wood floors can lead to scratches and scuffs in the finish. High heels are also problematic because the force focused on the concentrated surface of the heel can dent the wood.
To avoid both issues, remove your shoes the moment you come inside. Place a boot tray or rug by the door, and ask guests to help you preserve the floors by taking off their shoes when they visit. For a more attractive solution, consider investing in a bench with built-in storage cubbies for the shoes you wear most often.
Give Your Furniture a Soft Touch
Wood flooring looks great in the kitchen and dining area, but the constant scraping of chairs does no small amount of damage to the finish. Since you can’t expect everyone to remember to pick up their chairs instead of pushing them in or to maneuver themselves sideways to avoid pushing chairs back, invest in adhesive felt pads or gliders. These can be placed on the bottoms of kitchen chair legs or on the feet of small tables. You can also get more permanent gliders designed to be nailed in place so that they don’t slip off.
For larger furniture, consider snap-on felt glides. These not only protect your floors but also make moving couches and other big pieces easier when cleaning or rearranging.
Learn to Love Rugs and Mats
To protect wood flooring in high-traffic areas and in places where water or food is likely to be spilled, you need throw rugs, mats or runners. Put mats by the sink and near kitchen counters where the majority of food preparation takes place, and roll out runners in the places the family passes through the most. A welcome mat outside the door encourages everyone to wipe the bottoms of their shoes, and a small rug can be placed just inside to prevent errant dirt from winding up in the house. Remember to clean underneath all mats and rugs when caring for your floors to prevent debris from building up or backings from sticking.
Start practicing these preventative strategies the moment your new floors are installed, and you’ll enjoy beautiful hardwood for many years to come. If you’re ready to get started with an installation, contact one of our specialiststo learn more about your options and find just the right hardwood floors for your home.
Solid Wood Floors for Decades of Use
The laminate and engineered wood floors are less popular than solid wood floors this year. Whether you’re going to be living in your forever home or simply making improvements to help increase the return on investment, solid wood floors are on trend in 2018. And, solid wood floors can last for more than 100 years when they are taken care of properly.
Wood Types Depend on Your Style
The type of wood you choose comes down to your taste and style. Oak and hickory are the most sought after hardwood floor types. Maple and birch are still a great option for people who want to keep a modern design. Not surprisingly, eco-friendly species like bamboo are also popular because they are sustainable and environmentally responsible as well as affordable and attractive.
Color is as Simple as Black and White … and Shades of Gray
Finishes Make the Floor
Super glossy floors are falling out of favor this year. Our designers suggest going with matte or satin finishes to get the look you see on your favorite home and remodeling shows. Oil floors are coming back with a vengeance because of the patina from years of aging. One of the biggest advantages of using oil finishes is that you can repair them easily with an additional coat of oil.
Planks Add Character
Parquet is an old trend that is seeing a revival in 2018. Chevron and herringbone patterns are very on-trend. Decorative and textured floors are seeing an uptick in sales too. The character of the floor is a big deal with knotty wood coming up the winner in floor trends.
Rustic in the Farmhouse Sense
Distressing the wood for existing floors is one of the most frequently requested projects this year. Taking it down to the bare wood and giving it a touch of class with the right stain or treatment is by far a welcome change. Letting the natural imperfections show through is one of the best ways you can get the farmhouse feel in your home.
Concise and Clean Lines
If you want to go to the other end of the spectrum with a minimalist design, Classic Floor Designs recommends longer planks of wood for your flooring. Fewer seams paired with classy lines enhance the charm in the room. Often this floor choice pairs best with the stark white or deep ebony colors.
(Seeming) Bigger is Usually Better
Wide planks make small rooms feel much bigger. Using wide planks in bathrooms brings a spa-like atmosphere and is trending in 2018. Event a small powder room can instantly feel roomier with a six-inch hardwood floor.
The best way to select a new floor for your home is to listen to your gut. After all, you will be living with it! Choose patterns, colors, and textures that compliment the rooms you already love. Classic Floor Designs wants to help you find the right floor option for your home. To talk to one of our designers or to schedule a free consultation, please call us at 202-872-9860.