Hardwood Flooring FAQ


Is Hardwood Flooring Right for Your Home? Questions Homeowners Should Ask

As the experts in wood floors, Toronto homeowners often come to us with questions regarding their flooring options. They're attracted to hardwood floors because they never go out of fashion and they blend well with any style of interior design. Many also reason that wood flooring is a wise investment because it will preserve the value of their home if they ever decide to sell. The problem is that many of these homeowners aren't certain that their daily living habits are compatible with hardwood flooring.

If you're ready to renovate your home with new flooring or are designing your dream home, you may have similar concerns about selecting wood for your floors. This uncertainty is good because flooring is a long-term commitment. You want to select the material that will best accommodate every member of your household in each room of your home, and the answers to the following questions will make it easier to do so.

Is hardwood flooring suitable for the kitchen? What about the bathroom?

hardwood flooring Toronto

The reason these two rooms of the home are often considered inappropriate locations for hardwood floors comes down to the nature of wood. If you use solid wood, you're utilizing a natural resource known to expand and contract in response to the surrounding environment. The bathroom and kitchen are two rooms known to fluctuate in humidity and attract moisture, so they were traditionally considered off limits for wood flooring.

It's difficult not to fall in love when you see pictures of large kitchens lined with shiny dark hardwood floors, so you're probably hoping there's a solution. Luckily, you can now choose laminate flooring to achieve the look of wooden floors in any room that may fluctuate in humidity or involve the use of water. This is a manufactured flooring made from fiber board and other synthetic materials, but the top layer is imprinted to create the look of wood grain.

If you want to add wood to your kitchen and bathroom, it's important to work with a hardwood flooring professional to ensure that you select the best material and that the materials are properly installed.

 

Will my pets damage hardwood floors?

There are few things more calming than the sound of a dog's paws tapping along a hard floor, but that noise is exactly what scares many homeowners away from wooden flooring. Energetic dogs may run through the house, sliding to a stop at their food bowl. Cats may decide those shiny maple hardwood flooring are the perfect place to sharpen their claws. While these fears are valid, there are ways to achieve the elegance of hardwood floors without worrying about pet damage:

  • Keep your pet's claws neatly trimmed.
  • Fully potty train all pets before giving them unsupervised access to rooms with wood flooring.
  • Consider a finish that is more forgiving when it comes to slight scratches. You can read more about this below.
  • Use laminate flooring rather than solid wood because it's not as easily scratched.

Can I control the amount of shine in my hardwood flooring?

The vision of shiny hardwood floors is what attracts some homeowners to solid wood flooring, but others want as little shine as possible. Still others want to know which finish is better for the upkeep of their home. The difference in shine comes down to the choice between three finish options:

  • Satin Gloss: This is what creates that incredible shine that you see in magazines dedicated to renovation and interior design. While it can help create a gorgeous showroom floor, it's also the most unforgiving when it comes to scratches, dents and other flaws that may occur in a residential home.
  • Semi-Gloss: This is the middle ground that delivers a reasonable amount of shine without the luxurious glow of high gloss.
  • Matte: Take away the shine and focus on the beauty of the wood grain and your choice of stain. This is a functional flooring option that will make scratches and dents less noticeable.

Also note that the amount of shine and light reflection often comes down to how you care for your floor on a daily basis. If you're careful to clean up spills and keep your floors clean, they will naturally have more shine than neglected floors.

Can I stop hardwood floors from changing colors with age?

There are two reasons that your hardwood flooring may change color over time:

  • They haven't received proper care through the years
  • They are changing with age and showing more depth and character

Solid wood is a natural product, and it does change over time. This is often seen in slightly shifting color, and that gives your floors a sense of character and charm. If you don't want the color to change, select a wood that is less likely to change dramatically, such as hickory. You can always ask a hardwood flooring Toronto professional to select a wood that is most likely to maintain its color with age. You may even consider laminate flooring, but remember that how you care for your floor will impact how it ages as well.Do you have other questions regarding the suitability of wood floors for your home? Don't make a final decision on flooring until you talk to a professional about your concerns. Hardwood floors accentuate any interior design style and are often easier to maintain than carpeting and tile, but selecting the right type of wood flooring for your household often requires expert guidance.

DO LAMINATE AND HARDWOOD FLOORS HAVE AN ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT?

In general, hard surface floor finishes are easier to maintain, require fewer chemical treatments and improve indoor air quality with their hypoallergenic smooth surfaces. Global Alliance is committed to promoting sustainable practices, so we only carry products that are durable, healthy and environmentally safe. 

The planks that make up solid hardwood floors are responsibly sourced from certified forests. Environmental impacts are further minimized by using water-based and low-VOC floor coatings, finishes and cleaners. The engineered variety is mostly organic since it is manufactured from layers of plywood or fiberboard. Both options can be salvaged and recycled to expand the lifespan. 

Laminate floor products also use engineered wood as a substrate. However, the top layer is constructed from tightly bonded composite materials and petroleum-based resins. Large volumes of glue may be used to bond together the composite material, and the high-pressure treatments can cause the flooring to off-gas formaldehyde. Global Alliance carries non-toxic laminates that are far more environmentally friendly. A second consideration is that once it outlives its usefulness laminate must be burned or taken to a landfill, thus promoting additional pollution. However, it is more environmentally friendly than carpeting and carpet pads, which are also destined for the landfill and need to be replaced much more often. Look for laminate products that have a low-VOC finish coating and use a water-based glue.

How to Clean Laminate and Hardwood Flooring

One of the biggest benefits of choosing a hard floor surface is that it is resistant to spills, stains and household chemicals that can ruin other types of flooring. However, maintaining your flooring in the proper way is the key to increasing its longevity. Additionally, improper cleaning can void the manufacturer's warranty. Each flooring material requires its own process. 

Regular upkeep of laminate floors involves sweeping or vacuuming with soft bristle brushes or the floor attachment bar as well as dry mopping or swiping with a damp soft cloth. Accumulated dust and dirt can cause a laminate floor to become scratched or warped. Although laminate is more resistant to moisture, water and traditional liquid cleaners for wet mopping as well as steam cleaners and buffing machines can ruin the digital finish. 

Hardwood floors need more care and use special cleaners to preserve the beauty of the material and restore the finish. Ammonia-based cleaners, bleach, acidic materials like vinegar and wax-based products can damage the wood if it does not have a strong finish. Like laminate, you want to use a vacuum with soft bristles or a floor attachment or a dry mop for daily cleaning. Make sure you go with the grain.