What You Need To Know Before Buying Wood Flooring

Wood flooring is a great choice for new homes or places that are being remodeled. There are some things you should know before installing wood floors, however. Here are four issues to watch out for when you start your project.

Solid vs. Engineered Wood

Products that are sold as solid wood are exactly that, 100% wood through and through. Conversely, engineered wood is a product that has a thin layer of wood on the surface and other materials underneath to reduce shifting and contraction issues.

Solid wood generally has to be installed with some amount of support underneath it, such as plywood and carefully planned joists. This can make it less than ideal for installation on surfaces like concrete because you'll have to build up a plywood deck to attach it to. Conversely, engineered wood can be glued to preexisting surfaces.


There are two options for finishing wood floors. You can get materials that come with a finish applied at the factory, or you can apply the finish after installation. A prefinished product has the virtue of providing exactly what you expect when you see the demo model in the store. On the flip side, you can play around with different styles of finishes when doing an on-site finish.

You'll also need to choose a type of finish. Matte products are becoming more popular, and finishes come in a full range all the way up to highly glossy. If your floors will be in a room that receives a lot of sunlight, you may want to go with a matte finish to tone things down. Using a glossy finish, though, may add visual appeal and depth in a room with poor or low lighting.


Another concern is sealing the wood. This is especially important if you're putting wood flooring in a location where there's a lot of water. Generally, wood floors need to be sealed about once every 5 years or so to prevent the ingress of water. You may need to do this more often if the wood is installed in a high-traffic area, such as a bar or a restaurant.


Before installing wood, it's a good idea to let the product acclimate. This means allowing it to sit long enough that it comes up to room temperature and matches the humidity of the space, too. Failing to do so prior to installation can lead to warping, gaps, and heaves.

Reach out to contractors to learn more about wood flooring.