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Questions To Ask Before Choosing A Floor

Choosing a floor for your home is an important one, as it is the foundation of your interior look. Generally, it is the most used and seen item and the one that will last the longest in your home. You want to get it right! Here we give you some of the essential information you will want before purchasing the perfect floor.

They are both made with real wood, and both can be either prefinished or finished onsite. However, solid wood is just as it states: is a solid piece of wood and can be used in any room including powder rooms (the only exception is usually 3+ piece washrooms) as long as it is above ground. Engineered hardwood flooring is made with wood layers that lay perpendicular to each other. This creates greater stability and less expansion and contraction than solid wood. Engineered can be used below grade making it perfect for basements.

What is the difference between solid and engineered hardwood flooring?

They are both made with real wood, and both can be either prefinished or finished onsite. However, solid wood is just as it states: is a solid piece of wood and can be used in any room including powder rooms (the only exception is the washroom) as long as it is above ground. Engineered hardwood flooring is made with wood layers that lay perpendicular to each other. This creates greater stability and less expansion and contraction than solid wood. Engineered can be used below grade making it perfect for basements.

Should I use unfinished or prefinished hardwood?

longer production time as stains and finishes require proper drying / curing times. Finished on-site is also extremely more difficult to repair especially when it comes to board replacement.  Finished on-site finishes aren’t usually as strong or flexible as many of the pre-finished products that integrate products such as aluminum oxide and also aren’t as protective against UV-damaging rays that will discolour the floor where many of the prefinished finishes have UV-retardants. While many prefinished manufacturers offer custom-staining, finished on-site is the most flexible for achieving a custom colour.

What is the difference in sheen levels?

Broadly, there are 3 types of sheen. High gloss, which has the most shine and reflects the most light, semi-gloss, which is some shine and reflects some light and matt finish or flat, which has the least shine and reflects the least light. The less shine you have, the less you will notice small imperfections that are common with normal wear and tear. Most sheen choices are based on  personal preference.

Can I install hardwood in a kitchen?

Yes, hardwood in the kitchen has become the norm. Hardwood is much easier on your legs than most surfaces. There are a few facts you should know before proceeding.

  • Consideration must be given to height changes that could affect the placement of refrigerators and dishwashers, etc. Sufficient space must remain under the toe space along the base of cabinets as well.
  • The installation of new flooring in a kitchen is a good opportunity to inspect all dishwasher hoses for any signs of deterioration that could cause leakage, which would damage your floor. Also, removal and re-installation of appliances is the responsibility of owner.
  • Teflon coated floor glides are available at Darmaga Hardwood Flooring for the bottom of refrigerators and stoves that will help prevent damage to your new floor.
  • A floor mat below the kitchen sink is recommended, since this is the most heavily used area of the house. This will extend the life of the finish on your new floor.
  • While your new floor will have a urethane finish that is completely impervious to water, the wood underneath the finish can be damaged by water penetration from between the boards. Cleaning up spills as they happen will give you a long-lasting beautiful floor.
  • If your kitchen floor is part of a larger installation, especially finished onsite, consider having a threshold piece inserted at the entrance to the kitchen. This will enable you to have the kitchen refinished (if ever it needs it) without having to do the entire hardwood floor area in your home.

Can I install hardwood flooring in a bathroom/powder room?

Washrooms can receive hardwood but we usually recommend powder rooms only as most hardwood is not impervious to moisture and usually 3+ piece washrooms experience high amounts of moisture. However, there are many other options beyond tile that Darmaga Hardwood offers including water-impervious vinyl products that are textured and appear just like hardwood. Come in to our showroom and we’ll show you some options.

Does sunlight affect my floors?

Yes, hardwood floors are a product of nature & will change in appearance over time. Some facts to consider:

  • Many of the high quality prefinished manufacturers use U.V. retardant finishes, however, even these steps in pre-finishing are not guaranteed to maintain color stability. Most types of discoloration are natural & the change in appearance is usually so gradual that most homeowners do not notice it at all until furniture or area carpets are moved.
  • When installing new areas of hardwood, or when areas of floors are repaired with new material you will see a difference, do not be alarmed! This is a natural occurrence, and in most cases, if given enough time, it will usually even out & become unnoticeable.
  • Some species of woods are sought after for their ability to change in appearance, North American cherry being a prime example. This wood, when first installed (or refinished) starts a very light tan/golden color. Within a few weeks (depending upon the amount of direct sunlight), it will begin to noticeably change to a deep, rich, reddish-brown tone.
  • Be aware, discoloration can also be caused by exposure to caustic materials, or by improper maintenance methods. Please check with us for information on proper cleaning products and procedures for your hardwood floors.

Why do I need to consider children & pets when choosing a floor?

Both children and pets put much more stress on your floors than you might think. Dropping toys and your pet’s play will eventually create damage. Area rugs and keeping pets nails trimmed will help reduce the damage. Looking for a floor that is a harder wood (such as oak) rather than a softer one (such as pine) is recommended. Also, hand-scraped flooring is a good option, this is a floor that will hide or camouflage minor damage. Come to the showroom and let our sales staff educate you and show you the many options you have.

What is the difference between Nail, Float, Staple & Glue-Down Flooring?

Some hardwoods can be installed all 4 ways; others need to be installed more specifically. Here are the four primary methods of hardwood floor installation:

  • Nail Down: 3/4″ solid wood strips or planks are typically installed by using 2″nailing cleats, a wood flooring nailer and a mallet to attach them to a subfloor. Solid strips and planks can only be nailed to wooden subfloors on or above grade, this usually means no basements.
  • Staple Down: With this method, 1 ½ to 2″staples are used to attach the wood flooring to the subfloor. A pneumatic gun drives the staples into the hardwood and subfloor. We use power cleats ONLY, unless advised otherwise by the manufacturer’s installation instructions, otherwise WE DO NOT USE THIS METHOD.
  • Glue Down: Here, adhesive or a natural resin (called “mastic”) is spread with the proper trowel to adhere your hardwood to the subfloor. This technique is typically used to install engineered and parquets since solid strip and plank floors can only be nailed, or over concrete areas where nailing cannot be performed. There are a number of adhesives on the market. Your installer will use the one recommended specifically for your flooring. Failure to use the manufacturer’s recommended adhesive and trowel size could void any warranties you may have.
  • Floating: With this technique, your hardwood floor is not mechanically fastened to any part of the subfloor. In other words, it “floats.” A floating floor offers fast and easy installation and has its advantages. Using products like the Torlys Bull-Dog it can be easy to perform board replacement for repairs;  it reduces noise transmission; it’s softer underfoot; and it provides for some additional “R” value.

When we do the install we can assure you are getting the right application for your floor and it will be installed with quality materials.

Does it matter where the Nails, Staples & Glue come from?

Quality standards can vary greatly depending on the factory or country of production. You are making an investment into your home, and using inferior nails or adhesive will have an effect on the look and longevity of your floors performance.

At Darmaga, we use only the highest quality North American made products to make sure your floor installation stands the test of time.

What is the most durable hardwood floor available?

When considering durability of your floor you need to think about the traffic in the area in which you are putting the hardwood. This is will dictate how durable you really need it to be. Durability is mostly based on the hardness of the wood, which is measured by the Janka Scale which tests the force needed to embed a steel ball half way in the wood.

Can I expect my floor to have color variations?

Yes. Hardwood flooring is a natural product. Therefore, you should expect there will be natural color variations in the wood. Although lower grades of flooring will have a larger number of character blemishes, you can expect color variations in all grades.

Questions Asked Before Installing A Floor

Hardwood floors add value and beauty to your home, but as with any major home improvement, you can expect some measure of inconvenience and disruption. There are some preparations you must make before the installation can proceed, to ensure a satisfactory result:

What do I need to do before installation day?

  • The building should be completely closed, with outside windows and doors in place to prevent exposure to the elements.
  • All trades using water and/or other liquid components, such as drywall crews, painting contractors, or ceramic tile installers, should have their work completed before the hardwood floors arrive on site. The temperature and relative humidity must be at “normal living conditions” – that is, between 15 – 24 degrees Celsius, and between 35 – 55% relative humidity. If you are planning on air-conditioning your home, then that system should be in place and operating before the hardwood is installed. Temporary heating systems can greatly increase the humidity level in the building, so they should be disconnected, and the permanent heating system should be functional at least 3 days prior to installation of the flooring.
  • All furniture and appliances should be removed completely from the work area. Old floor coverings such as carpet, vinyl, etc. should be removed and the subfloor should be re-nailed to eliminate/reduce squeaks before the new hardwood is installed.
  • Plastic sheets can be hung over doorways leading into the work area to reduce the spread of work generated dust. Cutting and sanding wood produces dust, there’s no way around it. After the project is complete we sweep the floor. Please note that with any installation of floor there is always dust created and may take a few cleanings to get it to an ideal state.
  • Flatten the subfloor. It is rare that the floors in a house are truly flat & this is especially true for older homes. The most common problems are areas where the flooring sinks, squeaks, or bounces when walked on. In most cases, where the level is off only a small amount, this will not deteriorate the integrity of your flooring; however this is not always true if your floor is off substantially. Dealing with a wooden subfloor is much easier to work with than a concrete sub floor; however, in both cases, the easiest solution is to add leveling compound or substrate to low spots while a more intensive procedure is usually grinding down high spots. A flat sub floor will yield flooring that feels nice and solid, and lasts longer. We can help with minor leveling issues, which can be done at time of installation. After the carpet is removed, you will be shown the area of concern and you will be given a price by our office before we proceed. For more intensive leveling issues, which cannot be determined or foreseen at the time of the estimate; it may be recommended you find a professional contractor you trust.

Are there extra costs that may arise during an install?

  1. Subfloor -Our estimator cannot evaluate the level or general condition of the subfloor/concrete if it is covered by carpeting or furniture. There may be an additional charge if any extra work is required to correct hidden subfloor/concrete problems.
  2. Hidden wires – behind/under baseboards or attached to the bottom of the subfloor must be brought to the estimator’s attention so we can evaluate the best way to proceed without incurring damage, however, Darmaga Hardwood will not be held responsible for any incurred damages to wiring systems. Some wiring systems we have encountered do not conform to building codes so please investigate and /or inform our estimator.
  3. Plastic sheets hung – if you would like we can supply or supply and install.
  4. Furniture moving – if required we can move furniture but we do not move pianos, electronics, or appliances.

Do I need to acclimate the floor before installing?

The point of acclimating wood flooring before installing it is to allow the moisture content of the wood to adjust to “normal living conditions” at the site – that is, the temperature and humidity conditions that will typically be experienced once the structure is occupied.

Thus, it does no good at all, in fact; it is likely harmful to store wood flooring at the jobsite under conditions that don’t reflect those normal environmental conditions. Some wood flooring may already be at the proper moisture content when delivered. To allow it to sit at the jobsite under excessively humid conditions will only cause the flooring to absorb unwanted moisture or in the case of overly dry conditions lose required moisture content.

The key message is not that acclimation is good; rather, installers need to understand the dynamics of water and wood and make educated judgments about when and how much acclimation is required. To do so requires knowing what the moisture content of the flooring is at the time of delivery and what its expected moisture content will be “in use”.

What direction do you lay flooring?

Industry practice is to usually lay flooring with the length of the room or towards the major light source. In some cases a change in flooring direction may be required from room-to-room and is a very common practice. There is also the ability to lay on a 45-degree angle - our sales staff can work with you to help you decide which is most appropriate for your space, however it is ultimately up to you as to what look you prefer.

Do I need to worry about insurance of installers?

Yes, for two reasons: First, to protect you against accidental injury - using a company that does not have proper insurance coverage leaves you open to being investigated by the Ministry of Labour & / or personally sued the injured party if there is an accident. Secondly, in case they cause damage to your house that they will have liability insurance to cover the damage. At Darmaga the installers are covered with both workers compensation (WSIB) and liability insurance. No worries for you or us.

What is underlayment and do I need it?

Underlayment is a layer of material which is usually installed on top of a subfloor that provides a surface suitable to receive a new floor covering and may act as a vapour retardant and or sound absorption prior to installing a floor.

The use of quality underlayment is critical to a successful installation and to protect your hardwood floor from moisture issues evolving from your subfloor, especially with concrete subfloor.

At Darmaga we use quality underlay to offer you the security and confidence in your floor installation. If you are going to lay something inferior it is not only a waste of time and money on the product but also on the entire investment of your floor.

Do all companies have the same warranty?

No. If you are purchasing flooring from a company and having your own contractor install the flooring you want to make sure your installer is a professional. You will want to ask what their warranty is. Keep in mind, if there is any concern of factory defect in the product, a floor laid is a floor accepted and will usually void any manufacturer’s warranty. If you are buying flooring on a supply and install basis, you want to make sure the company warrants their installers work and the installers are qualified.

At Darmaga we have industry recognized installers and we fully warranty the work. We work with the installers and the manufacturers so there is no back and forth for the homeowner, if there is a problem (unfortunately that sometimes happens) we resolve it and make it right…immediately.

What are the different moldings and what are they used for?

 The 3 most common trim moldings are:

  • Quarter-round or door-stop molding is used in conjunction with baseboard to hide the expansion gap left around walls during installation. It can also be used to hide any undulation or gapping from the top of the floor to a baseboard.
  • T-molding is usually used as a threshold in doorways or as a transition strip where the hardwood flooring meets floor or carpet of similar height or is usually required to trim around all other flooring surfaces when a floating floor application is used.
  • Reducer molding is used as a transition from the height of one floor to the height of another floor.

Questions Asked During An Install

What inconveniences can I expect during the install?

You must expect there will be noise created by the installation process; unless arrangements are made in advance, the installers must do all their cutting in the general area of the installation.

What do I have to consider with children and pets?

Children and pets are intrinsically fascinated by the activity surrounding the installation process; and must be kept away from the workspace.

What can I expect from the installer during the install?

You should expect a clean, professional, floor laying expert who respects you and your home. There should be minimal discussion as he sets to his work at hand with the objective of laying your floor quickly and up to standard. For his breaks and lunch he may leave, sit in the room he is working or sit outside. When the install is complete the floor should be broom swept.

Questions Asked After Installation Of A Floor

What should I be prepared for when the install is complete?

Repainting of the baseboards and ¼ round can be expected after our work is complete.

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