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Categories Hardwood

A Guide to Choosing the Best Hardwood

Wood flooring is a great option for a variety of reasons. Wood flooring is beautiful, goes well with everything and can fit any style home. Wood flooring comes in a variety of types including laminate, reclaimed, solid, prefinished and engineered. Wood flooring adds warmth to the house and the natural texture creates an inviting feeling. Faux and real wood flooring both create a warm inviting feel but the choice between the two often depends on the homeowners lifestyle and preferences. 

Basics on Solid Wood

Solid wood flooring comes in a wide variety and offers so many more options than most flooring types. Some of the most common species for hardwood include maple and oak but there are also options like pine, fir, ipe and other exotics. The unique characteristic and look of each species is part of the appeal of solid wood flooring and allows you to choose a species that meets your personal preferences. Looking at different species before choosing one for your home allows you to determine what option you like for your home. Solid hardwood flooring is ¾ inch thick while some engineered products are thinner. The thickness of the solid wood is what gives it the ability to be resurfaced or refinished. Solid wood is a great option for homeowners because it can be repaired and refinished. Refinishing allows the hardwood to come back to its original sheen and flatness, this is a unique feature of solid hardwood and makes a huge impact in the lifetime cost of hardwood floors. Different species of hardwood have different hardness levels or janka scores. Solid hardwood is not a DIY project and requires speciality equipment and skills. 

Basics on Engineered Hardwood

Engineered hardwood is a manufacturer product that includes three or four layers of wood glued together to create a single plank. The flooring includes a real wood veneer on the top layer that can be stained and finished to your specifications. Engineered wood veneers can be thick enough to refinish but not always. Many engineered wood floors can be buffed which allows you to add a new coat of finish which covers up some wear, damage and scuffs. The installation method for engineered hardwood can be DIY friendly with a click and lock system while other options have a tongue and groove installation which needs glue and nails for installation. 

Engineered hardwood is great for any part of the house including kitchens, bedrooms and living spaces. Engineered hardwood can better resist warping and works better in basements and bathrooms than solid hardwood. The increased stability that comes with engineered hardwood is one reason homeowners lean towards engineered hardwood over solid hardwood. Engineered flooring looks more realistic because of the solid wood veneer and many homeowners prefer the look over laminate. 

Oak 

Oak is a classic option for hardwood flooring. Oak has been popular for many years and comes in a few varieties which allows you to find a color that meets your design needs. Red and White oak are both popular flooring options that yield different looks. Red oak has a red undertone while white oak has more of a green or yellow undertone. Oak flooring stains well allowing you to change the hue to whatever option meets your design needs. The grain patterns of red and white oak are similar and offer a long straight grain. Based on the grading of oak you may find more color variations.

Brazilian Cherry

Brazilian cherry is one of the most common exotic flooring options. Brazilian cherry is a classic beautiful option that is warm and elegant. Brazilian cherry  hardwood is dense and has a great janka rating. The color palette of brazilian cherry changes over time and it will warm up overtime. 

Walnut

Walnut is another popular choice for hardwood floors but it is not for everyone. Walnut is a soft flooring option and isn’t ideal for homes with pets and children. The deep rich hues of walnut is what draws so many people to this option.  American walnut flooring is soft but Brazilian walnut flooring is hard and works great for homes with pets and children. 

In the end choosing the right hardwood product for your home is based on preference and needs. The right hardwood flooring material for you isn’t always the right choice for your neighbor. Hardwood is a classic beautiful option that adds value to your home. The durability and renewability of hardwood flooring makes it a great option for most homeowners. Ridgeline can help you with species research as well as grading and other specifics. Ridgeline would love to discuss your flooring project, call today for a free in-home estimate.

Categories Hardwood

What you need to know about hardwood installation

Solid hardwood is a great investment in yours\ home and a timeless flooring choice. Hardwood is one of the most classic flooring options and can add a level of elegance in class to any space. There are things to know about hardwood before your flooring is installed and we will cover many of those today. Hardwood is suitable for almost any space and can increase the value and enjoyment of your home.

The cost associated with hardwood flooring ranges greatly based on the species, installer, and even the time of year. The size of the job will also affect the cost. Talk with your installer about the material you’re getting before the project begins. Ask about the species, width, and thickness of the material. Make sure when you get bids that you compare like materials, If a quote comes in much lower than the other bids you may want to discuss what material is being used for that bid to ensure you are comparing apples to apples. Solid three-quarter inch thick hardwood is the standard in the industry. Installation methods can also vary by installers and should be discussed to ensure you are getting a high quality installation. Gluing, nailing, or floating floors are all options, but the manufacturer’s recommendations should be followed.

 

  1. Consider what rooms you are installing flooring it. While hardwood can go in most rooms. It is not ideal in rooms that are subjected to increased moisture levels. Kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms are not ideal places for hardwood flooring because of the moisture. This does not mean you cannot have hardwood in these rooms, but it needs to be cared for more intently. Living room, dining room, and bedrooms are all ideal for wood flooring.
  2. Consider the options for installation methods. The method of insulation is impacted by the type of space, type of material, and other present factors. engineered. Hardwood may need glue or be installed as a floating floor. Other engineered products can be nailed or staple down, the installation methods are often dictated by manufacturer guidelines. Floating floors are not as common, but can be utilized in proper settings. Three-quarter inch hardwood flooring often is installed with nails or staples, but glue assist may be necessary based on the subfloor or width of the plank. All of these methods of insulation are accepted and yield great results. The method utilized is dependent on the material used.
  3. When considering a DIY project, there are a lot of factors that need to be considered. The method of installation, tools, required, and material being used are all things to consider before taking on a DIY project. The cost of the material plus installation can feel high, but when you factor in installation materials, time and equipment rentals, a professional may be the more cost-effective option. Installing flooring may seem DIY friendly but there are many factors to consider. Step-by-step instructions often do not include instructions for cutting around design features in the home, like fireplaces, stairwells, moldings. Additionally, installing flooring is hard on the knees and back and not an ideal DIY project for most people.
  4. Subfloor preparation includes removal of old flooring preparation of any existing subfloor. The removal of old flooring ranges in difficulty from carpet to tile. Removing old flooring is a laborious project and requires a dumpster or a dump trailer to haul away the debris. The subfloor should be cleaned before the new flooring. Humidity levels should be tested to ensure the wood will not be damaged by the moisture in the subfloor. If you were laying new flooring underlayment should be put down first. 
  5. Allow time for acclamation. Hardwood flooring needs to adjust to the moisture levels in the home. The humidity and temperature of the home will balance the words to the house overtime. This can take a few days and many organizations recommend a week of acclamation. The acclamation process is not something to skip. Acclamation can impact the quality of the installation of the flooring.
  6. Always follow manufacturer recommendations. When installing an engineered or prefinished flooring, the recommendations in the box should be taken seriously. If you are installing a three-quarter inch solid you should follow NWFA guidelines. These guidelines and manufacturer installation requirements are well tested to ensure a quality installation that will last many years using the right materials, like nails and glue, protect the floor from movement and create the most ideal installation scenario. Manufacturer guidelines should also be followed for finishes and stains. These materials are often sold only to professionals because of the risk when using them and the skill level needed to create a high-quality finished product
  7. Maintaining newly installed hardwood is easier than you may imagine. The floors should be cleaned regularly to protect them from scratches and dents. Vacuum or sweep the floors daily, spot clean and mop weekly. Never wet mop wood flooring but instead use a microfiber mop and spray bottle to clean the floors. Protect the floor from scratching by installing soft pads under chairs, adding rugs to high traffic areas and doorways and removing your shoes before entering your home. 

Hardwood floors are a great investment in your home and a great way to add class and elegance to any room. If you are ready to discuss your hardwood flooring project Ridgeline would love to work with you. Ridgeline can assist with a variety of different materials including engineered hardwood flooring, prefinished hardwood flooring and solid hardwood floors. We would love to meet with you to discuss your hardwood flooring project today, call for a free in-home consultation. 

 

Categories Hardwood

Cleaning Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood flooring not only looks great, it’s also easy to clean and maintain. The ability to clean and care for hardwood in just a few steps is part of why it’s such an appealing flooring option for many homeowners. Hardwood needs to be dry mopped or vacuumed regularly but beyond that there isn’t much care needed. Mopping is only necessary occasionally and many homeowners find that they can spot clean their floors. 

 Cleaning Methods

Cleaning your floors with these methods can protect your floor from damage and keep your floors looking good for years to come. We recommend dry mopping or vacuuming your floors regularly. A microfiber dry mop or a vacuum without a beater bar work great. When choosing a cleaning product for mopping you will want to read the manufacturer’s recommended cleaning products. Never use any oil soap cleaners, waxes or cleaning solutions with vinegar, these cleaning materials can cause the floor to become slippery or damage the finishes.

Spot Cleaning

Spot cleaning is another great method for keeping your hardwood floors looking good. Wiping up liquid spills immediately is good for the health of your hardwood flooring but also helps them look better, water spots cna make your flooring look dirty or clouded. Spots can be cleaned up with a soft cloth and hardwood cleaning solution. Rubbing the spot that is dirty with the cloth in a gentle manner is best for removing dirty, grease and other surface stains. Spots like chewing gum and wax can be harder to remove but some people find that ice helps to break the bond between the spot and the floor. 

Maintenance tips

Maintaining your hardwood flooring is much more than just cleaning. Protecting your hardwood from damage is one of the most important parts of hardwood maintenance. Rugs are a great barrier from damage and can be utilized in high traffic areas like children’s play areas, hallways and entryways. It’s recommended that you move rugs periodically to prevent sun bleaching. Doormats are vital to eliminating dirt and debris in the home which can wreck floors. Furniture is a big cause of damage and protective pads should be out on chair legs, table legs and other furniture to prevent damage. Trimming pets nails is another great way to keep your floors looking great. High heels are also a big cause of damage to hardwood flooring.  Finally, cleaning up debris and dirt on a regular basis is a great way to protect your floors from damage. 

What to Avoid

Steam mops, harsh cleaners and wet mopping are all things to avoid. Steam mops can damage the flooring by injecting too much moisture into the wood. While it may seem like the steam could not penetrate the flooring finish it can make its way through the finish and into the boards causing discoloration and other issues. Harsh cleaners can cause the finish to dull and wear prematurely. Harsh cleaners may be used occasionally but only under expert supervision and often this is done when preparing for a recoat which will mend any damage to the finish. Wet mopping is another moisture issue and can actually cause the floor to cup and warp. Dry mops are easy to use and yield great results. Most manufacturers have specific instructions about this kind of care and can advise you on what tools are safe for their flooring and what to avoid. 

Cleaning and caring for hardwood takes little more effort than carpet but is a great investment in your home and looks beautiful for years to come. Many homeowners are surprised to find that they do not need to wax or buff their floors regularly to maintain their beauty. Hardwood floors have a bad rap for being hard to maintain but as flooring finishes and technology improved this became less of a reality. 

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 flooring. 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

3 Reasons to Install New Hardwood Floors in 2022

Hardwood flooring is a great upgrade option for many homes. If you are considering upgrading your flooring in 2022 there are many good reasons to do so. Hardwood flooring is one of the most popular flooring types for many reasons, it is beautiful, versatile and renewable. Technology has come a long way in improving hardwood flooring and making it more durable with better quality topcoats. Hardwood flooring remains a widely used flooring option because of its ability to be repaired, changed and last years to come. 

Read More 3 Reasons to Install New Hardwood Floors in 2022

pets and hardwood floors
Categories Hardwood

Pets and Hardwood Floors

We all know the beauty of a hardwood floor but you may also have been told that pets and hardwood flooring don’t mix. While hardwood flooring may not be an ideal flooring for pets, but carpet, laminate, and a variety of other flooring types aren’t either, it can be a satisfactory choice as long as you take necessary precautions and care.

Read More Pets and Hardwood Floors

Categories Hardwood

What Makes a Hardwood Floor Look Antique?

If you’re looking to remodel your existing hardwood floor or buy a new one that looks antique, there are some things you should be aware of. When you walk into a colonial or antebellum home like you tend to see here in the Atlanta area, the floor will have a certain look that can be difficult to identify. What makes the floor look the way it does and how can you replicate it?

Read More What Makes a Hardwood Floor Look Antique?

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