FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
We understand that investing in a wood floor is a big decision and you want to make sure you have all the information before you make your choices. We are available to answer your questions and are happy to do a free on site evaluation.
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THERE ARE MANY SPECIES OF WOOD. HOW DO I SELECT ONE?
Choosing a species of wood involves more than selecting a color to match your décor. Other appearance-related attributes are important too, such as texture, grain, and cut. Customers will want to consider properties like dimensional stability, origin of wood, density and hardness as well. Call us today or visit our showroom to learn more. Choosing the "right" species of wood flooring for you is strictly a matter of your style, budget and personal preference. More than 50 domestic and imported species of wood flooring are available to achieve a unique look. Check out our species gallery or contact us directly to learn more about these different woods.You may also visit our Reference page to find detailed information for many of the wood species we offer. The Janka scale measures hardness of the species and gives a good indication of how likely a wood is to dent or show other wear. For example, American Cherry is ranked at 950 on the Janka scale, while Brazilian cherry is ranked much higher at 2,820, nearly three times the hardness of the domestic species. American Cherry could be a good choice for the retired couple since their floor will see less traffic, while the Brazilian cherry might be a better choice for a busy family with young children and pets.
MY ROOM IS 400 Sq. Ft. AND WE WERE TOLD TO ORDER 450 Sq. Ft.: IS THIS REALLY NECESSARY?
Yes. As a general rule, you should plan to order 10% more flooring than is needed for the installation. Much of the material will be cut to fit the exact space, and once the boards are cut, they likely cannot be used elsewhere in the room because the end tongue or groove will have been removed. Once that happens, that board can no longer adjoin with another board, so there is some waste involved. You may need to order slightly more or less depending on the room. For example, if you need to work around stairs, a bay window, a fireplace, and a closet, you may need to have more than 10% overage, but if the room is square with no interruptions, less than 10% may work. Our installers are very efficient so we typically use an 8% waste factor which saves our customers money.
INSTALLATION IS SO EXPENSIVE, SHOULDN'T I JUST DO IT MYSELF?
Installing wood floors is a lot more complicated than painting your walls or replacing the hardware on your kitchen cabinets. First of all, you will be spending several thousand dollars on material alone, so if you damage it, it’s not as easy as buying another $30 gallon of paint or $200 of hardware and starting over again. Plus, wood flooring requires special tools that you will likely have to rent and will have little experience using. More importantly, however, you will need to make sure the room you’re working in is flat, that the subfloor material will work for wood flooring, and that no moisture issues are present that will damage the wood long-term. Testing for moisture requires special tools as well, and you must test both the subfloor and the flooring to ensure a successful installation. In addition, you will need to know how to center the room, how much space should be left for expansion gaps, how to work around obstructions like closets, fireplaces, bay windows, staircases, and cabinets, and if you make cutting mistakes, you may end up running short on your material and not have enough to finish the job. In some cases, you may not be able to exactly match the lot, much like running short of paint sometimes results in a slight color difference when mixing a new gallon.The bottom line is that installing wood floors is not recommended as a DIY project. There are too many opportunities to make costly mistakes. In the long run, you will save money and time by using a professional.
HOW DO I KNOW I WILL BE GETTING THE BEST PRICE ON MY WOOD FLOORING?
At Harbour Harwoods Floors we source wood from select vendors with a reputation for the best in quality and the most reasonable in price. We build long-term relationships with our suppliers, which allow us to be well positioned in gaining the most competitive pricing on the best products in the market. Wood is a commodity and pricing can change from day to day. Just like other national commodities, like oil and gold, supply and demand factors influence both wholesale and retail pricing. Our years of industry experience are an asset in working with supply chain vendors to secure the best pricing for all our clients and ensuring we are highly competitive in the market. We will work with you and our vendors to get the best price for your project. There are trade secrets we leverage to get the best end cost. For example, it can be beneficial to utilize random widths because this allows for a more efficient mill operation, which translates into a lower cost for the wood.
Be careful of "pie in the sky" promises on price from flooring companies that may not be providing you with a quality, well-protected wood product. If the price seems just to good to be true, it most likely is and you will "pay" for the deep discount in the future when warping or discoloration set in prematurely.
We not only secure the best in pricing, we ensure your wood is transported and stored in optimal conditions so it reaches your installation in peak condition. Our wood warehouse is equipped with radiant heating to help maintain proper moisture balance and our staff monitors this regularly. We take the time to acclimate our wood products whenever necessary, ensuring best practices for the highest quality wood floor available.
I'VE SEEN DIFFERENT SHEENS ON FLOORS, SOME SHINY AND SOME NOT. HOW DO I PICK WHICH ONE IS RIGHT FOR MY PROJECT?
It really is a matter of preference. If you choose to install a site-finished floor, you can choose any sheen that you like. Gloss or Semi-Gloss finishes offer the most shine, and will reflect the most light. Satin finishes offer some shine, leaving a soft reflection of light without seeming too shiny. Matte finishes offer the least shine, and will reflect the least light. This finish is sometimes referred to as flat. Generally speaking, the less sheen, the less you will notice small scratches and other wear that is normal with wood floors. If you choose to install a factory-finished floor, you will be limited to the sheen available for the material you select. All sheens will offer the same basic protection for your floor, so it truly is a matter of which look you like best.
IS WOOD FLOORING HEALTHY FOR MY INDOOR ENVIRONMENT?
Yes. Bacteria, dust and dirt do not embed themselves in wood flooring, as they do in other flooring options. Simple regular maintenance—such as dustmopping, sweeping, or vacuuming—keeps wood floors dust-free.
I SUFFER FROM ALLERGIES. IS WOOD FLOORING HYPOALLERGENIC?
Millions of people suffer from sensitivity to chemicals and toxins. Tests by leading allergists have proven that wood flooring provides a healthier environment for these allergy sufferers. Wood doesn't harbor irritating dust and microorganisms.
IS WOOD FLOOR MANUFACTURING AND INSTALLATION ENVIRONMENTALLY RESPONSIBLE?
Yes. Far from a depleting resource, hardwood is sustainable and commercially more available now than ever before. On the 486 million acres of forestland in the United States classified as commercial, substantially more wood is added in new growth each year than is harvested. For hardwood species, 90 percent more wood is added annually in net growth than is removed through harvest.
ONCE INSTALLED, HOW OFTEN DOES WOOD FLOORING HAVE TO BE REPLACED?
Every hundred years or so. In fact, the heart pine floors in historic Bacon's Castle in Virginia are more than three centuries old and counting. Simple care and maintenance keeps wood floors looking beautiful for a lifetime. Instead of laying an entirely new floor when the original is worn, wood floors can be rejuvenated with sanding and refinishing. When done by a wood flooring professional, wood floors need only to be refinished every 10 - 15 years depending on traffic or 10 - 12 times during a floor's life. When a wood floor's useful life is over, it's completely biodegradable.
IS RECYCLED WOOD FLOORING AVAILABLE?
Yes. Wood salvaged from a variety of sources, including old barns and factories, is a popular design trend. Harbour Hardwood Floors specializes in reclaimed Hardwood Flooring working with several flooring mills who source top quality salvaged materials that stay consistent in their general characteristics so you can get a floor that actually looks like the sample you select from. With our experience and careful proprietary installation techniques, we can overcome the difficult challenges that reclaimed floors can present for installation and finishing.
IS WOOD FLOORING DURABLE ENOUGH FOR HIGH TRAFFIC AREAS?
Yes. Wood flooring owners are discovering what basketball players have always known: wood flooring can take a pounding and still look beautiful. When damage, wear and abuse does occur, a wood floor can be maintained and refinished to restore the beauty and luster from when it was once new. The finishes on most new wood floors stand up to heavy traffic well making wood flooring suitable for Living Rooms, Kitchens, and other high-traffic areas.
CAN WOOD FLOORING BE DAMP MOPPED?
Never wet mop a wood floor. When cleaning a surface-finished floor, follow the manufacturer's recommendations. You may generally use a microfiber mop to maintain a wood floor using a cleaning solution that is gentle and acceptable for wood floors; however excessive moisture will cause damage. We recommend using a spray bottle and wood floor cleaning system designed exclusively for Hardwood Floors such as Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner or vinegar and water in appropriate proportions. See the NWFA Care & Maintenance information for cleaning details and instructions for maintaining your wood floors. Standing water can dull the finish, damage the wood, and leave a discoloring residue. If water spills on a wood floor, immediately wipe it up with a clean cloth.
HOW CAN I PREVENT SCRATCHES ON WOOD FLOORING?
Unfortunately all wood floors scratch no matter what you do to prevent it. There are many best practices to consider for your wood floors to help minimize this problem as time goes on. Be sure to place walk off mats and throw rugs at doorways to help protect wood floors from grit, dirt and sand. Place felt pads under furniture legs and vacuum/dust your wood floors regularly to prevent a buildup of sand, gravel and debris that can cause scratches. Whenever possible it is recommended to remove shoes at the doors and keep pets claws well groomed to help minimize scratches from occurring.