Categories Hardwood

Red versus White oak

Hardwood flooring is a popular flooring option across the country but especially in Georgia. Wood flooring is a great investment, appeals to almost all home buyers and is a timeless option. Over the last few years hardwood has grown even more popular with hardwoods being installed in all rooms of homes instead of just in common spaces. Two of the most common wood species used are White Oak and Red Oak. While the names sound like the only difference is the color there are actually lots of differences, some of which need a trained eye to see.

Many people assume red oak is a red hued wood and that white oak is a white hued wood but there is a lot more to the different species than just a different hue. Red oak does have a pinkish undertone and when unstained the pink can help you identify this species. Stains often cover these pink or red tones. If you leave red oak unstained you will see some of the red undertone under the stain, the red undertone is not overwhelmingly red and gives the wood a nice warmth. White oak is darker than red oak. The undertones of white oak are brown and yellow. 

The two species have unique grain patterns that help people identify the woods. Many experts use grain patterns to help them identify stained woods because the woods tones and colors cannot be relied on. Red oak has a strong grain pattern and is a more porous wood than white oak. The grains in red oak are very prominent while white oak has a smoother grain pattern. The grains in white oak are finer and less pronounced. White oak is a denser wood and has a higher janka scale rating. The Janka scale measures the hardness of wood- red oak is 1290 and white oak is 1360. The grain pattern in red oak does help hide scratches and dents. 

If you are installing new wood flooring into a home with no existing hardwood you can choose any species and any grade you want. When matching hardwood you will want to match both species and grade or the new floor will not blend into the old floor. Each species has its own grading rules but the main standards carry over between the different species. Different grades are determined by the characteristics of the planks including color, graining, blemishes and lengths. There are two commonly used grading systems – the NWFA grading standards and the NOFMA grading standards. 

Clear is the highest grade for wood flooring and is rarely used for solid hardwood. Clear grade does not allow for much variation in the wood and has very strict rules for blemishes, defects and marks. Clear grade is seen in manufactured hardwood products. To create a clear grade solid wood floor you will need to run so many different trees into flooring and sort through the planks. This grade is not cost effective and not commonly seen on a floor. 

Select is the highest grade that is commonly seen in 4. Select has some color variation between sapwood and heartwood and allows for minimal character marks. Some character marks you will see in both red oak and white oak include small knots, mineral streaks and wormholes. Select grade wood gives your floor a nice consistent look without a lot of color variation. Select wood flooring has less waste than other grades and allows for longer length planks. 

First Grade is a very common option for homeowners and has more color variation that select but is still a beautiful option. First grade has more character like knots and mineral streaks and these can be larger than in select grade. 

Second grade is still a pretty common option, especially for homeowners looking for a more rustic look or who like the grain patterns. The color variations can be drastics and some of the character marks can be large and very noticeable. 

When choosing between red and white oak you are getting very comparable products in quality. The choice to use one of the other often comes down to aesthetics. White grain gives a more uniform look while red oak has beautiful grain patterns and character. No matter which you choose, both are great quality floors that will last years to come. The grade you choose is up to you and what level of character you are looking for in your floor. Ridgeline can help with the selection process and show you examples of different grades of each species.

Categories Hardwood

Keeping your Floors Protected From the Christmas Tree

The holidays are fast approaching and you may have started thinking about all your decorating plans. If you have installed new hardwood flooring this year you may be thinking about how you can protect your hardwood floors from your christmas tree. Christmas trees pose a variety of threats to your hardwood including water, scratching and denting. While fake trees may not pose water damage they still can damage wood flooring. Protecting your floor from your christmas tree is easy if you take the right precautions. 

Real and fake trees are both a risk to your flooring. Hardwood is a sturdy material but Christmas trees can be very heavy and can really cause a lot of damage. Fake Christmas trees are especially heavy and the base puts a lot of tension into specific spots. Preventative measures are an important part of the process. Real trees can also leak sap which can cause further damage to your floor. The water that keeps a real tree from drying out can cause major damage to flooring if it’s allowed to leak onto the wood floors. 

Measure the Space

Before bringing your christmas tree inside start by measuring the space. Ensure the tree will fit where you are placing it both horizontally and vertically. The height may seem easy to visually measure but it’s best to take overall measurements to eliminate any adjusting inside. Mark the spot where you will place the tree to eliminate any dragging or sliding. Dragging and sliding are big causes of damage to hardwood flooring. 

Do not Slide The Tree

Avoid sliding the tree at all. Even with protective barriers under the tree base it’s best to place the tree not slide it into place. If anything has gotten under the soft protective barrier it will cause scratching. Some fake tree stands allow the centerpiece of the tree to reach the floor and can put a lot of tension in one spot. This can cause a big scratch. 

Place a Protective Barrier

Put a soft pad like a towel or bath mat between the stand and your christmas tree. If you are using a real tree you may want to consider a waterproof pan like a washer pan. These protective barriers can be hidden with a tree skirt and presents but make a huge difference in protecting your floor. Tree skirts can collect falling needles and any sap as well which makes this method extra helpful. 

Careful with Watering

If you have a real tree you will want to be extra careful with watering your tree. Real trees need water to ensure they do not get too dry but this can be a risk for your hardwood flooring. Water and wood flooring are arch enemies and spillage can cause warping and discoloring. If any water spills around the tree you need to clean it up quickly. 

Add Felt pads

Felt pads are a great option for under your christmas tree stand to add an extra layer of softness. These pads can reduce tension in a single spot and help to prevent dents and scratches. 

These easy steps can allow you to enjoy a beautiful christmas tree while still having beautiful hardwood floors. Before placing a christmas tree you will want to make sure your flooring is clean and ready. Debris under your protective mat can cause a lot of damage even though you took precautionary steps. If you happen to scratch your floor Ridgeline can help repair your wood flooring. 

Categories Hardwood

How to Find a Quality Hardwood Contractor

Hardwood flooring is a large investment and selecting the right contractor can be an intimidating process. If you are ready to have hardwood flooring installed in your home there are a lot of things you will want to look for in your hardwood contractor to ensure you get a quality finished product. Like any service provider you will want to meet with a few estimators to see what different options they have, the knowledge they share and any other aspects you may need to consider. With any service, you get what you pay for and this rings true for hardwood flooring as well. Choosing the lowest cost estimate may mean you are sacrificing quality and craftsmanship. 

When hiring a contractor there are some key points to consider and discuss with the estimator to ensure they are the right fit for your project. We have outlined some key points below to help make the process easier. 


  1. Discuss any licensing and liability insurance with your contractor. Any contractor you are hiring should have the necessary licensing for the state and all necessary insurance. While none of us are hoping a project will go wrong, insurance makes it much less worrisome if things happen to go wrong. A properly insured contractor protects you from any injury that may happen in your home and protects you from damage that may be caused if an accident occurs. 
  2. All contractors should also have workers compensation coverage for employees. When working with a contractor that does not have employees they may not have this type of coverage. Employers are required to have workers compensation insurance to protect injured workers and to cover their medical expenses and missed time if an injury does take place. This coverage helps to protect homeowners from lawsuits as well. 
  3. Ask your hardwood contractor for certifications like an NWFA certification. The National Wood Floor Association is an organization that certifies contractors for installation and other aspects of wood flooring finishing and can give you extra confidence in a flooring contractor. Not all contractors are NWFA certified but this is a great option for narrowing down contractors. The NWFA requires continuing education to keep up on these certifications so you know your contractor is up to date on the latest in the flooring industry. 
  4. Quality contractors measure and record moisture levels in the wood and subfloor. These measurements are used to ensure wood has acclimated properly to your home for a quality installation. The NWFA has measurement guidelines for relative humidity, floor moisture content and subfloor moisture content. These measurements are vital before installation to ensure the wood wont shift, cup or gap excessively. If you are installing a prefinished or engineered floor these measurements can help with warranty claims down the line. Acclimation of wood flooring is a non-negotiable part of your project and should be something your contractor does. Wood flooring needs to be in your home at least a week before installation and retested for moisture content before installation to ensure its ready to be installed. 
  5. Warranties are often a sign of a quality contractor. If your contractor offers a warranty on their work it often means they are willing to back up their work if something goes wrong. Many contactors offer different warranties for installation versus refinishing and the estimator should be able to discuss these differences with you. When investing as much money as you will in a hardwood flooring installation a warranty can help make the process feel less scary. 
  6. References are one of the best ways to find a quality contractor. The input you receive from other customers is very informative and can really help you to find the right contractor for your project. Many contractors will give you a list of references that you can call to hear how their project went. Online reviews are also a good option, we recommend making sure you read the response and don’t just trust the star rating. Many customers are unhappy about small issues and give one star ratings which unfairly affect the contractor. Read the response to the review and see if the contractor offered a reasonable response and remedy to the issue. Ask friends and family for recommendations as well. The BBB, Angie’s list and Yelp are also great options for finding feedback about your contractor. 
  7. When choosing a contractor you will want to talk to them about different aspects of their jobs like dust control, clean up, timeline and other details. Dust control is a huge factor when choosing a contractor because dust is such a big part of the finish process. Installing new flooring is messy and the methods of protecting your home are important for your overall experience. Baseboards are also an important part of the flooring installation and you will want to talk to your contractor about how they handle the baseboards. Finally the length of the job, if something to discuss. Some contractors may say they can get the job done faster than others and you may want to ask how or why. Depending on the company you use the timeline may fluctuate because a different crew comes in for finishing or because of the amount of manpower on the job site. 
  8. Payment structure is another factor to consider. Most contractors do not ask for payment in full before your project begins and this can be a red flag. If your contractor asks for money in full before they start you may end up getting scammed. Most reputable contractors ask for a downpayment to hold your project date and purchase your materials and the remainder at the end of the project. 

Hardwood flooring is a huge investment in your home and something to be excited about. Looking for a contractor doesn’t have to be a scary process when you know what to ask and what red flags to look for. Choosing the right contractor for your project can yield better quality results at a fair price. Colorado Hardwood is here to help with any hardwood flooring project you have. If you are ready to talk to a fair and trusted contractor call us today

Categories Hardwood

Can Hardwood Go in the Basement?

Hardwood flooring is a wildly popular flooring type because it is both beautiful and durable. Homeowners love the elevated feeling of hardwood and how it makes your room look elegant and put together with minimal effort. While hardwood flooring is a great option it can be a challenging flooring type for basements. Basements come with a variety of different challenges but the concrete slab is the biggest concern for hardwood flooring. Water damage is much more common in the basement and hardwood and water are not friends. If you choose to install hardwood flooring below grade there are some extra steps and maintenance needs you will need to consider. Vapor barriers on the concrete and below the concrete are very important if you are considering concrete below grade. Additionally many people choose to add a sump pump to help remove any water. 

Basement flooring needs proper preparation to work with different floor types. The concrete slab needs to be properly installed and in good condition before flooring can be added. When the slab was poured a layer of porous fill should be added to the aggregate bed to help mitigate groundwater and allow for drainage. Ground water should run away from the home with proper grading or with the help of a sump pump basin. Many homeowners choose to add radiant heating before installing flooring on concrete slab to help counteract the cooling effect of the concrete especially in winter. If you are considering radiant heating the flexible tubing system may need to be installed before the concrete is poured. 

Concrete slabs need time to cure before flooring can be installed. The minimum time frame is 30 days but you will want to test the humidity of the slab before adding flooring to ensure it’s dry and ready. A vapor barrier is a necessary part of this process and should be added below the subfloor. A liquid vapor barrier can be rolled onto the concrete to create an extra layer of moisture protection. This liquid vapor barrier acts as an extra barrier for any moisture seepage. Vapor barriers are important when concrete is fresh and still wet but also remains integral because moisture can seep up into the concrete over time. 

There are a variety of different vapor barriers on the market including PVC, roofing felt and polyethylene sheets. The vapor barrier should be under the layers of insulation to prevent heat from leaching through the walls. Polyethylene is a new vapor barrier product and works with lots of different flooring types including laminate, tile, linoleum carpet and wood flooring. Polyethylene can resist mold, mildew and fungus and lots of moisture intrusion.  

After preparing the basement for flooring you will have to research the right flooring for below grade. Many manufacturers do not recommend hardwood for basements because of the higher moisture content but some have specific installation instructions. Laminate flooring is often recommended for below grade because of the core and its improved stability. Engineered hardwood is also on a more stable core and can work well in basements. Solid hardwood can be installed in basements but does have more susceptibility to water damage and moisture mitigation should be a top priority. 

While you can install whatever flooring you want in your basement there are some materials that perform better than others. If you are unsure what the best option is for your basement floor, a flooring contractor is a great resource. Colorado Hardwood is here to help and can meet with you to discuss flooring options including laminate, engineered and solid wood flooring. We can also discuss installation options and methods for mitigating moisture more effectively.

Categories Hardwood

Engineered Vs. Laminate Flooring Which Is Better?

Homeowners often confuse engineered and laminate flooring, but they are distinct in their composition and characteristics. Understanding the differences between the two is essential to make an informed choice based on your specific needs and budget.

Engineered wood flooring is a type of floor that blends natural materials with man-made components. It consists of multiple layers, with a solid wood top layer known as the lamella. This top layer provides the appearance of solid wood, even though the flooring is not constructed from a single solid piece of wood. The core beneath the lamella is made up of various layers, making it a versatile and sturdy flooring option.

Laminate flooring, on the other hand, is entirely man-made and does not contain any real wood. It consists of multiple layers of synthetic materials, including a printed design layer that imitates the appearance of wood, stone, or other materials. A protective layer on top safeguards the flooring from wear and tear.

Choosing between engineered and laminate flooring depends on several factors, including their intended use and the cost difference. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, and we will explore these aspects in detail below.

Engineered Wood 

Engineered wood offers several advantages over solid wood, primarily due to its multi-layered core. The presence of multiple layers adds stability to the product, making it more resistant to seasonal expansion and contraction, which can significantly impact solid wood flooring. This stability makes engineered wood an ideal choice for spaces that experience temperature and moisture variations, where solid wood might not perform as well. For instance, it is commonly used in areas where solid wood is not suitable.

Engineered wood flooring is constructed using natural materials but is fundamentally a man-made product. It consists of several layers of ply that are bonded together. The top layer of the flooring is made from solid wood and is referred to as the lamella or top layer. This solid wood finish is what gives engineered wood its convincing appearance, resembling solid wood flooring.

Thanks to its structural composition, engineered wood can be installed below grade, meaning it can be used in basements and other areas where moisture might be present. Additionally, it is suitable for installation over radiant heating systems, which is not always recommended for solid wood floors.

Laminate flooring

Laminate flooring is a fully synthetic product that consists of multiple layers fused together through a lamination process, hence its name. It was first introduced to the market in the late 1970s, making it relatively newer compared to many other types of flooring. Initially, laminate competed primarily against vinyl flooring, but with advancements in technology, it now competes with various other flooring products, including engineered flooring.

The unique appearance of laminate flooring is achieved through the use of a printed film layer, which can be designed to mimic the look of various materials such as wood, stone, or tile. This gives homeowners a wide range of options to choose from in terms of aesthetics and allows them to achieve the desired look without using natural materials. Laminate flooring is a durable and cost-effective option that has gained popularity over the years due to its versatility and ability to replicate the appearance of different materials effectively.

Cost Comparison

When comparing laminate and engineered wood flooring, laminate is generally considered to be the more budget-friendly option, but it’s essential to be aware that the price range for both types can vary significantly. While many laminate products are indeed cheaper than engineered wood, there are some high-quality laminate options that can be more expensive than certain engineered floors.

When evaluating the cost, it’s crucial to take into account the lifespan of the flooring. Cheaper laminates might not be as durable and could require more frequent replacements or repairs, ultimately costing more in the long run. On the other hand, well-made laminates and engineered wood floors can both offer excellent longevity, making them more cost-effective choices over time.

Keep in mind that the market offers both cheap engineered products and higher-quality ones. It’s vital to consider the quality of the materials and construction to ensure that the chosen flooring will withstand daily wear and tear for an extended period.

Additionally, when using laminate flooring, there may be extra expenses related to the underlayment. Underlayment is a layer placed between the subfloor and the laminate planks to enhance stability, sound absorption, and comfort underfoot. So, it’s essential to factor in these potential additional costs when comparing laminate and engineered wood flooring options.


Both engineered and laminate wood floors are designed to be relatively easy to install, and many homeowners choose to take on the installation themselves as a DIY project. However, the key to achieving a high-quality and visually appealing result lies in following the manufacturer’s installation instructions precisely.

Depending on the specific product and its features, both types of flooring can be installed in different ways. They may be floated (where the planks are not directly attached to the subfloor but rather interlock with each other), glued down, or, in the case of some engineered wood products, nailed down.

Proper installation is crucial for the overall look, stability, and longevity of the floor. If the installation is done incorrectly, it can lead to issues like gaps, uneven surfaces, or premature wear, making the floor look cheap and unattractive. Therefore, it’s essential to pay close attention to the installation guidelines provided by the manufacturer.

While DIY installation is an option, it may not be suitable for everyone, especially those without prior experience or the necessary tools. In such cases, hiring a professional flooring installer is a wise decision. Professionals have the expertise and equipment to ensure the flooring is installed correctly, resulting in a beautiful and long-lasting finish.


Laminate and engineered wood floors are known for their ease of cleaning and low-maintenance characteristics, making them popular choices for many homeowners.Routine maintenance for these flooring types typically involves regular vacuuming to remove dust and debris, as well as dry mopping to keep the surface clean. For engineered floors, a light mist of cleaning products is usually safe for more stubborn dirt or stains. However, it’s essential to check the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure the specific cleaning agents recommended for your particular flooring.

When it comes to significant maintenance or addressing wear and tear, there are notable differences between engineered and laminate floors. High-quality engineered wood flooring with a sufficiently thick top layer can be re-finished and sanded, allowing for the removal of dents, scratches, and imperfections that may develop over time. This process helps to refresh the appearance of the floor and extend its lifespan.

On the other hand, laminate floors do not have the same ability to be refinished due to their construction. The top layer of laminate flooring consists of a protective wear layer that cannot be sanded down without damaging the printed design beneath it. Therefore, if significant damage occurs to a laminate floor, replacing the affected planks is often the only solution.

Life Expectancy

The life expectancy of these materials is another differentiating factor. High-quality laminates may last about 20 years, whereas high-quality engineered floors should last 75 years or more. While this lifespan may not significantly influence your overall choice of flooring, it is a factor worth considering.

Overall Look

The visual impact of each flooring type is a significant point of differentiation. Engineered flooring closely resembles real wood, providing an authentic wood floor appearance. In contrast, laminate flooring imitates the look of wood or other materials but doesn’t quite achieve the same realism. If your goal is to achieve a genuine wood look, engineered flooring is the more suitable choice, as it offers the most realistic finished product.

Although engineered and laminate flooring shares some similarities, they are fundamentally distinct types of flooring. While they can both be used in similar spaces, they deliver different looks and atmospheres. Laminate often feels artificial and has a somewhat fake appearance, whereas engineered flooring exudes an organic feel and displays an authentic wood look.

If you have any additional questions regarding hardwood flooring, engineered flooring, or laminate flooring, Colorado Hardwood is available to assist you. With the vast array of wood-look products available in the market, determining which one best suits your family’s needs and preferences can indeed be a challenging task. Seeking professional guidance can help you make the right decision for your specific requirements.

Categories Hardwood

The Anatomy of Wood Flooring

Most of us are familiar with the external appearance of a tree, and you’ve probably seen the rings visible on the inside when a tree is cut. Children enjoy counting these rings to determine the tree’s age, but the anatomy of a tree involves much more than just the rings and outer bark.

Trees consist of five main sections: the pith, heartwood, sapwood, cambium, and bark. The pith is the central core of the tree and represents its original stem. Surrounding the pith is the heartwood, which is older, inactive wood. It is usually darker and denser than the sapwood. The sapwood encompasses the outer 4-20 rings and is the living part of the tree responsible for transporting water and nutrients.

The cambium is the layer situated between the bark and the sapwood. It plays a vital role in increasing the tree’s diameter and responds to external damage by growing calluses to facilitate repair. Lastly, the bark forms the outermost protective layer of the tree. While the outer bark is lifeless, the inner layer of bark is alive and functions to transport nutrients throughout the tree.

Growth Rings

Have you ever paused to consider the function of the rings when counting them on a tree? These annual rings actually consist of large pores that play a crucial role in transporting water to the leaves. Visualize them as vertical cylinders. Additionally, the medullary rays, which run perpendicular to the annual rings, further aid in delivering nutrients and sap to the inner layers of the tree.

If you examine a tree stump or the cut end of a tree, you’ll be able to observe both the growth rings and the medullary rays, also known as pith rays. These rays appear as light-colored ribbons radiating from the center of the tree. You may have noticed these lines in a quarter-sawn wood floor, which is appreciated for its beauty and character largely due to the presence of medullary rays.

Early Wood, Late Wood

Early wood, as the name suggests, refers to the wood that grows during the spring, while late wood is the wood that grows in autumn and winter. Late wood tends to be denser than early wood, and its grain patterns often appear darker, reflecting the characteristics of the growth season. These changes in grain patterns serve as a reliable indicator of the season in which the wood developed, with distinct seasonal patterns being observable.

Softwood and Hardwood

Not all woods used in homes are hardwoods; some, like pine or fir, are categorized as softwood. Softwood comes from conifer trees, which are evergreen needle-bearing trees that retain their leaves throughout the year. Common examples of softwood trees are spruce, cedar, pine, and Douglas fir. On the other hand, hardwood trees are broad-leafed and go dormant in winter. Deciduous trees such as oak, maple, ash, and cherry shed their leaves during fall and grow new ones in spring.

However, the classification of wood as softwood or hardwood doesn’t solely rely on its density. Some softwood trees actually have harder wood than certain hardwood trees. To measure the density or hardness of wood, the industry uses the Janka scale. This scale provides a standardized way of evaluating and comparing the hardness of different wood types.

The most common species in North America

In North America, there are seven tree species commonly used for wood flooring. Among these, oak stands out as the most prevalent choice. Oak trees are abundant in both Red Oak and White Oak varieties. Red oak exhibits a red-brown or pinkish hue and features an open-grain pattern. In contrast, White Oak appears light-brown with longer grains and more noticeable rays.

To ensure sustainability and preserve the forests, red and white oak trees are typically harvested after 40 years of growth. However, most oak trees in the US are allowed to mature until they reach 60 years old before being cut. This practice not only protects the environment but also ensures a surplus of inventory for the wood flooring industry.

Another popular wood flooring option is Maple. With nearly 150 subspecies available, Maple flooring finds common use not only in gyms but also in residential spaces. Its light color and closed grain pattern contribute to its appeal.

Hickory, known for its exceptional density, is a highly durable flooring choice, which also makes it popular for tool handles. The color variation in hickory flooring can be quite wide, ranging from tan and brown to red and cream-colored.

Cherry is yet another common wood flooring option. Besides being used for flooring, it enjoys popularity in crafting musical instruments and furniture. Its fine, uniform grain and rich color add to its desirability, and it can vary from light to dark red-brown in appearance.

Walnut stands out as one of the darkest floors on this list, boasting a beautiful dark brown color that may showcase black streaks. Its straight open-grain pattern can sometimes feature burled or curly character in certain spots, adding to its allure.

Ash is another sought-after flooring type, known for its calico grain pattern with tan and dark brown streaks. It can display both straight and bold grains, as well as wavy figuring, creating a distinctive appearance. Beyond flooring, Ash is commonly utilized in crafting pool cues, baseball bats, and rowing oars.

Lastly, Pine remains a popular wood species in North America. Among the common choices for flooring are Antique Hard Pine and Southern Yellow Pine. Antique Pine boasts a denser grain and darker color, while Southern Yellow Pine exhibits plenty of character and a closed grain pattern, making it equally appealing for flooring applications.

Indeed, the anatomy of a tree is far more intricate than what meets the eye from its external appearance. The internal structure of a tree can vary significantly depending on factors such as the species, the environment in which it grows, and other environmental influences. By delving into the intricacies of grain patterns, diverse wood types, and other distinctive characteristics, one can gain valuable insights that aid in accurately identifying the species and grade of a wood floor. This deeper understanding enhances precision and ease when working with wood flooring materials.

Categories Hardwood

Five indications that it’s time to replace your hardwood flooring

Hardwood flooring is a popular choice for homeowners due to its beauty and durability. However, over time, it requires refinishing and eventually replacement. Recognizing when it’s time to replace your hardwood floors can be challenging, as it’s not a task performed regularly and requires expert assessment.

One sign that indicates the need for replacement is when the floors become scratched, dented, or visibly marked. Refinishing can address minor issues, but extensive wear and tear may erode the wood to a point where replacement becomes necessary. While homeowners appreciate the ability to refinish their installed hardwood floors instead of reinstalling them, repeated refinishing eventually leads to the need for replacement.

Taking care of hardwood flooring is relatively simple, but professional refinishing is typically required every 8 to 10 years in most homes. This maintenance schedule ensures that the floor can last 50 years or more before requiring reinstallation.

Replacing hardwood flooring may be necessary due to various factors such as inadequate maintenance, regular wear and tear, water damage, or other types of damage. Several warning signs indicate that your floor is approaching the end of its lifespan, and we will outline five of them below. These signs encompass issues like fading, scratching, and other dents or marks that often necessitate refinishing or repair. Additionally, factors like water damage or a desire to change the style of the flooring are also common reasons for removing and replacing hardwood floors.


  1. Refinished too many times 

Carpet flooring can undergo refinishing, but there is a limit to the number of times it can be done. When deciding whether to replace or refinish your floors, a contractor will inspect the wood to assess the remaining sandable surface. Refinishing is an effective way to restore hardwood flooring to its former glory, but it gradually wears away the sandable surface.

During the refinishing process, the wood surface is smoothed out, and scratches, dents, and other marks are removed using specialized sanding equipment. However, excessive refinishing can make the flooring too thin for further sanding. Eventually, the tongue and groove of the flooring may no longer hold together if additional sanding is attempted. Moreover, excessive refinishing can lead to splintering and holes in the flooring.

Most flooring contractors estimate that a floor can be refinished up to approximately five times before it becomes too thin. If your floor has been refinished multiple times, you may be approaching the point of needing to replace it. In the event of water damage, if the floor has been sanded down to remove cups or crowns, it may not be able to withstand five rounds of refinishing due to the amount of wood that was removed during the water damage repair process.


  1. Water Damage

Water damage is a common reason for hardwood flooring replacement. Hardwood floors are vulnerable to water damage, which can result in various issues. If water is left sitting on the flooring, the damage can be severe. It is crucial to ventilate the area and promptly remove the water to allow the wood to dry out and potentially salvage the floor through refinishing. However, if the water is allowed to persist for too long, the wood may warp and rot, necessitating floor replacement.

Peeling or buckling of the hardwood as you walk on it is another clear indication of water damage. In some cases, water damage may occur from underneath the flooring and may not be as noticeable as a visible leak or flood. Noticeable gaps in the flooring, an unbalanced or uneven feel, or other signs may also indicate water damage. If any signs of water damage are observed, it is vital to take immediate action to dry out the wood to prevent further damage. Failing to address water damage promptly may result in the need to replace the entire floor.


  1. Style changes

Personal taste and style preferences can evolve over time, and while hardwood flooring is customizable and can be refinished, certain fundamental aspects of the floor cannot be altered. Factors such as the wood species and plank width are common reasons why people choose to reinstall hardwood instead of refinishing. If you desire a significant change in the appearance of your floor beyond just the color, it may be time to consider replacing the entire floor. For instance, if you wish to explore different design patterns like parquets or herringbone, replacement would be necessary.

However, if you simply want to change the color of your hardwood, refinishing is often sufficient. A professional can apply a stain, allowing you to achieve a dramatic transformation in the look of your flooring without the need for a complete reinstall. Nevertheless, if your goal is to modify the plank width or installation pattern, refinishing alone cannot accomplish this, and replacement would be the only option.


  1. Species change

The availability of a wide variety of wood types means that if you are dissatisfied with the current species of your hardwood flooring, reinstalling may be necessary. Many homes feature older flooring options like 2 1/4 red oak, which, while beautiful, may not align with the homeowner’s design aesthetic. Additionally, the choice of wood species can impact durability. If a softer wood is present in the home, it may not provide the functionality that the homeowners require. In such cases, opting for a new species of wood can enhance durability.

Furthermore, personal taste plays a significant role in selecting the wood species. If you currently have a white oak floor but desire the look of Brazilian cherry, refinishing and staining alone cannot achieve the desired appearance. The only way to attain the desired look is through floor replacement. It’s important to note that changing the species of wood in your home has a significant impact that often exceeds the expectations of many homeowners.


  1. Age of the floor

Over time, hardwood flooring naturally wears out like any other type of flooring. While there isn’t an exact expiration date for a floor, you may begin to notice signs of aging such as separation of the installation or fading of the floor. In particularly old floors, there may be instances of rot or decay. Installation issues are commonly cited as a reason for replacing an older floor, as without a secure and tight installation, the floor can develop significant gaps and separations.

With proper installation and maintenance, you can keep a floor looking great for many decades. However, there will come a point when the floor becomes too old to refinish. At this stage, it is important to recognize that the flooring has served its purpose and it is time to reinstall a new floor.

When the time comes to replace your hardwood flooring, you might be concerned about the potential cost. While it’s true that good quality hardwood floors do come with certain expenses, it’s important to consider their long lifespan and the potential increase in property value they can bring. Investing in hardwood flooring is often a worthwhile decision. It’s worth noting that hardwood flooring is often not as expensive as people may initially estimate, especially when compared to many prefinished or engineered products available in the market. To ensure a successful replacement, it is advisable to hire a professional who can provide expertise and ensure proper installation.


Categories Hardwood

Wood Flooring vs Vinyl Flooring

When choosing flooring for your home, there are many options available to consider. Two popular choices are wood and luxury vinyl flooring. While each has its own advantages and disadvantages, it is important to understand the specifics of each to make an informed decision.

Wood floors have been a popular option for centuries due to their durability and beauty. There are different types of wood flooring, including solid unfinished, solid prefinished, and engineered. Solid hardwood flooring is made up of a single plank of wood cut to a thickness of ¾”. Engineered hardwood consists of multiple layers, with a wood veneer on top. On the other hand, luxury vinyl flooring is a type of flooring that can mimic the look of wood or tile. It is composed of vinyl layers, a cork layer, and a film layer that provides the desired visual appearance.

Appearance and durability are the two primary factors that can sway a homeowner’s decision. Wood flooring has a warm and natural appearance that can add a sense of comfort to a home, while luxury vinyl is highly designed and can fit well with certain aesthetics but may feel less authentic. However, luxury vinyl flooring is highly durable and resistant to stains, dents, and scratches, while wood floors can be susceptible to damage. Luxury vinyl is water-resistant and works well in wet areas, but wood flooring is not water-resistant and may not be suitable for high-moisture rooms.

Cost, maintenance, installation, and environmental impact are other factors to consider. Luxury vinyl is generally less expensive to produce and can be replicated easily, while wood flooring may have a higher upfront cost but can be more economical in the long run due to its longevity. Maintenance requirements also vary, with wood flooring requiring refinishing every 10 to 15 years, while luxury vinyl does not require refinishing but still needs regular cleaning. Both luxury vinyl and hardwood can be installed as floating floors, but wood flooring can also be nailed or glued down.

For environmentally conscious homeowners, wood flooring is a natural material, and many mills offer sustainable harvesting practices to ensure responsible forest management. However, luxury vinyl is synthetic and does not biodegrade, making it less appealing from an environmental perspective.

Ultimately, the right type of flooring depends on personal preferences and unique needs. It is essential to consider each factor carefully before making a final decision.

Another important consideration when selecting flooring is the installation process. Both wood and vinyl flooring options can be installed using different methods, such as floating, nail-down, or glue-down installation. Depending on the specific product and the condition of the subfloor, one installation method may be better than another. Some products may also require an underlayment or moisture barrier, which can add to the overall cost of the installation.

In terms of maintenance, both wood and vinyl flooring require regular cleaning and upkeep. However, the specific cleaning methods may differ depending on the type of flooring. For example, wood flooring may require refinishing every few years to maintain its appearance and protect it from damage, while luxury vinyl flooring typically does not require any refinishing.

Finally, cost is also an important consideration when selecting flooring. The cost of wood flooring can vary widely depending on the species of wood, the thickness and width of the planks, and the finishing process. Similarly, the cost of luxury vinyl flooring can vary depending on the quality and thickness of the product, as well as the specific design features. In general, luxury vinyl flooring is often less expensive than wood flooring, but this can vary depending on the specific product and installation requirements.

In conclusion, both wood and luxury vinyl flooring offer unique advantages and disadvantages that homeowners should consider when selecting new flooring for their homes. Ultimately, the right choice will depend on a variety of factors, including personal preferences, budget, and the specific needs of the space being renovated. By taking the time to consider all of the available options and consulting with a flooring professional, homeowners can make an informed decision that will provide long-lasting beauty and durability for their homes.

Categories Hardwood

Types of rugs at work with wood flooring

If you have a hardwood floor, it might be a good idea to put a rug over certain areas to protect them. However, you need to be careful when choosing a rug, because some types can actually do more harm than good. Hardwood floors are a valuable investment, and many people want to make sure they last as long as possible. Using a rug to protect areas that get a lot of foot traffic is a good idea, but you need to make sure the rug is made of the right material. Using a rug with the wrong backing can cause damage to the floor.

Although hardwood floors are tough, they can still be damaged by things like scratches, water, and sunlight. Direct sunlight can cause the chemicals in the wood to break down and fade the color. Water can leave stains and even cause the wood to rot or warp. High-traffic areas like hallways and entryways are especially vulnerable to scratches and dents from regular use.

Safe rug options

Choosing an area rug can be overwhelming due to the wide variety of colors, shapes, and sizes available. However, if you want to protect your wood floors, there are certain factors to consider.

One great option for protecting wood floors is a wool rug. Wool is a natural fiber that can be used to create hand-knotted, hand-tufted, or machine-loomed rugs. Some wool rugs are made with synthetic materials, so it’s important to check the label before making a purchase. Natural wool rugs are more expensive, but their quality is unparalleled.

Wool rugs are particularly suitable for high-traffic areas like living rooms, bedrooms, and entryways because of their durability. However, they do require regular vacuuming in the first few months of use due to shedding.

Natural fiber area rugs are a great choice for those looking for affordable options with beautiful texture. Jute, bamboo, sea grass, and coir rugs are all examples of natural fiber rugs that can be layered with smaller decorative rugs to create a stylish look. While they may be a bit challenging to clean, they provide excellent protection for hardwood flooring.

For those who want to add some texture to their space while also protecting their floors, hide or leather rugs are a good option. However, these rugs are best suited for smaller areas and need to be regularly shaken out or cleaned as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Additionally, the edges of hide rugs may curl and the rugs may shed with overuse, so they are better suited for low-traffic areas such as bedrooms.

Silk area rugs are another great choice, although they require extra care and attention as they are delicate and difficult to clean. These rugs may be made of 100% silk or a silk blend. For a more affordable option, rayon or viscose can be used as a substitute for silk. However, it’s important to note that silk rugs should not be placed in direct sunlight and are better suited for lower traffic areas.

Cotton area rugs are an expensive option that comes in various colors. However, they tend to fade more quickly and can easily pick up stains compared to other types of rugs. Nevertheless, cotton rugs are eco-friendly and free of toxins, which is a big advantage for many homeowners.

When it comes to protecting hardwood flooring, the underlayment of a rug is more crucial than the material used on the rug’s surface. Certain types of underlayment should not be used over hardwood as they can scratch or discolor the surface. Rug pads, stain protectants, and rug grippers are excellent ways to enhance the enjoyment of your area rugs on hardwood flooring. Many people find that their rug tends to slide on the hardwood flooring, so a product like a rug gripper may be ideal for keeping the rug in place. Rubber rug pads should be avoided as they can dull the flooring finish over time, and PVC pads can also be damaging.

Rugs offer many benefits for a home, including safeguarding floors from heavy furniture, providing cushioning, and reducing noise. Additionally, they can insulate colder rooms and add more warmth. However, adhesive and rug tape can be damaging to hardwood floors and should be avoided.

Categories Hardwood

Swiffers and hardwood floors

People often ask if Swiffers can be used on hardwood flooring. Cleaning and caring for hardwood flooring with the products recommended by the manufacturer of the floor or flooring finish is very important. Engineered or prefinished flooring need different care than a solid wood flooring. Swiffer products like dry sweepers are likely safe for any floor but the wet jet products may take further research. 

The dry swiffer sweeper clothes are a good option for easily removing dirt and dust from the floor. Many people with pets find that these options are ideal for dealing with pet hair. When using a dry cloth you will need to be careful to change the cloth if it becomes too soiled and to make sure large debris is not picked up and dragged along the floor. These larger debris can cause scratches and premature wear on the floor. 

Many prefinished and engineered floors can be cleaned with the wet swiffer products. Unfinished, oiled and waxed floors cannot be cleaned with the wet swiffer products. Floors that have manufacturer instructions for cleaning should always adhere to these instructions. The manufacturer instructions for cleaning are often tied to the warranty and can void warranties if the wrong cleaner is used 

Swiffer products work very well. The Good Housekeeping Research Institute or GHRI did some testing with the swiffer WetJet products and found that they cleaned tough spills of wooden floors with ease. When choosing a swiffer system you do need to look for ones specifically designed for wood flooring, the cleaning solution in the other types can be too harsh for wood floor finish, 

The ease of use with the swiffer system is part of its appeal. Many homeowners find that the maintenance for hardwood floors is easy to keep up with a safe mopping kit like the swiffer. Maintenance on hardwood has improved over the last few years as finishes have improved and cleaning products like the swiffer have made it even easier. The process of cleaning with a swiffer is very easy to follow. 

Dry dusting with the swiffer dry system should be performed daily. This process keeps hair, plague, pollen, allergens and even dust particles from building up on the floors. When dirt and other debris build up on hardwood flooring they can cause premature wear to the floor. Swiffering daily to remove debris before they build up can help protect the floor from premature damage.

Vacuum weekly for even better cleaning. The dry system from swiffer works great but the vacuum works better for removing dirt that has gotten into cracks and bevels in the flooring. The corners and board lines can be hard to get with the swiffer so using the vacuum weekly can keep the floor looking great.

Finally, mop weekly after vacuuming. Spot mopping for spills is a great way to keep the floor looking great between cleanings. Weekly mopping should never be done with a wet mop but instead with a system like the swiffer WetJet spray mop or a microfiber mop. Mopping removes stuck on dirt, water spots and other contaminants that’s vacuuming can’t. When choosing a mop you will need to find one specifically designed for wood floors. The wooden floor solutions protect the finish while still removing dirt, dust and other contaminants. 

Swiffers work great on smooth finish but do not generally work on floors with more texture. Unfinished flooring, flooring with band saw marks and reclaimed wood are often not smooth enough for a swiffer and will snag the clothes rather than allowing them to glide over the surface. Swiffers also work great for tile flooring, vinyl flooring and laminate flooring. 

The swiffer system is a great way to simplify maintaining your hardwood floors. Always check first with your manufacturer to ensure the swiffer products are safe for your floor. Maintaining hardwood doesn’t stop at cleaning your floors. Buffing and coating and refinishing your hardwood floors are all parts of the maintenance process. Colorado hardwood can help with your floor finishing process whether it’s a new install, refinish or buff and coat. Call today to discuss your project with our highly trained team.

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