Home Flooring Best Ideas
Are you a do-it-yourselfer? Think through every step of the process to be sure that you can do it yourself. Usually the install can be done with relatively moderate skills and simple tools like a chop saw and rented flooring nailer. The finishing process is a whole different matter. The sanders and buffers take some special skills to operate. A normal price range for labor and materials to install a wood floor is $4-5 per square foot. It is possible to build your own sweat equity into a floor install. Maybe this is where you choose to use our engineered product for example because it is presanded to more accurate tolerances than a solid wood product. It can be touched up with a hand held orbital sander rather than industrial floor sanders. Then if you are doing the finish yourself, you will want to consider using a finish that may not require as much buffing between coats.
As a reoccurring theme in this article you will find that you often get what you pay for. Admittedly, the higher end price point products ($11+/sf) from more rare woods are not necessarily better quality but we find that up to that point quality improves with price. Our solid wood floors range in price from $4-9 per square foot and our engineered ranges from $7-15 per square foot. We will discuss applications below, but our point is that you need to have a realistic budget when shopping. Sometimes a nice alternative if you have your heart set on an expensive floor is to use less of it and put it just in key areas. Dont do the whole house. Maybe just do the main high traffic areas and use a cheaper alternative in bedrooms..
Factor in the cost of refinishing the floor later or doing touchups. This is a whole another article. Some finishes can be spot touched up like some of the oils while others require a full sand over the whole floor. Some finishes require a professional installer and may have extreme odor during the cure. If you live with the floor for very long, factor these decisions in for the type of finish to choose for lifetime durability and the cost & effort to refinish.
Compare overall thickness and the height from the top of the tongue or nail groove to the top of the face on the floor. On an engineered floor this is generally the thickness of a wear layer. Most solid wood floors are 3/4" overall before sanding (but some are less) with 1/4" above the nail groove. Our engineered floor is manufactured to equivalent measurements but most engineered floors have a thinner wear layer. This comes down to how many times the floor can be sanded. What kind of finish and texture you want on the floor factors into how deep you will re-sand the floor during refinishing. A number of our reclaimed wood floors are sold with an original texture that shows the old saw marks and character in the floor, so most likely you wont want to sand this out. As a rule of thumb, the thicker the wear layer then the longer the floor will last.
Here is a word on prefinished product if they factor into your decision. If you come up short on your order, the next lot that you buy may not match your previous batch. This is especially a problem on the lower end price floors and import floors. Good luck trying to blend it in with your previous floor. So if you go this route, be extra accurate on your measurements. Right now the rage is lifetime warranties on flooring. We stop to think is that really even possible? First will that importer or manufacturer really be around a lifetime? A lot of products are made oversees; the warranty is only good if there is somebody still around for the life of the warranty. Are you going to be able to enforce the warranty? Also, do you really think that a finish can last a lifetime? For example take a nail and try scraping it across the surface. Sure it is a durable, well applied finish, but it is impossible to make a product that wont get abused at some point in its lifetime. Do you think that the only serious trial your floor will ever see is a stinky sock? Read the fine print on the warranty and regardless of what it says consider the true replacement cost on the floor. It probably only covers the cost of material of the specific damaged product under normal wear and tear. Your product may not be made exactly the same later (trends and product lines change) to replace the section that is warrantied, so you may have to replace the whole floor years later. You will have labor cost along with displacement of trim, cabinets, and appliances. Also most of these lifetime finishes cannot be repaired or sanded because of a micro bevel put on the edge of prefinished floor. Our advice is instead to buy a quality product that can be refinished and repaired because something will go wrong in the lifetime of the floor; dont get a false sense of security.
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