3 Questions To Ask Before You Buy Hardwood Flooring

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Do you want to install hardwood floors in your home? Hardwood can certainly add an element of charm to any design. If you're a first-time buyer of hardwood floors, you may be tempted to start your search based on appearance. Many homeowners think of the shade or type of wood and base their search off those criteria. However, you need your floor to be functional in addition to being attractive. There's no point in getting beautiful floors if they'll be ruined in just a few short years. Here are a few questions to ask to make sure you get hardwood floors that look and function great:

What is the floor's grade? The floors in your home can be classified as either above, below, or on grade. Above grade floors are upper levels that are higher than ground level. Below grade floors are usually in the basement. On-grade means the floor is even with ground level. This is important because the grade usually indicates the floor's vulnerability to moisture, which is a big issue with hardwood flooring.

If your floor is below grade, it's susceptible to moisture damage, which means you'll likely need to go with some type of engineered flooring. Engineered flooring usually involves hardwood planks laid over a moisture resistant subflooring. That will protect your floors from moisture damage. If the floor is on or above grade, you may be able to go with solid, natural hardwood floors.

What is the subflooring? This question also revolves around moisture. If your subflooring is a concrete slab, you could have moisture coming up from below the house. Again, you may need engineered hardwood. Other options may include laying a plywood layer of subflooring underneath your new hardwood or even installing a layer of particle board. Either way, you'll need some layer of protection between the concrete and the hardwood.

If your home's subflooring is already plywood or particle board, then you may be good to go with natural hardwood floors.

How much traffic will the floors get? You may have your heart set on a nice, soft floor like bamboo. However, that may not make much sense if you have kids or pets in the house, or if the flooring will be in a high-traffic area. Over time, the floor could get dented, giving it a rough and unfinished appearance. Consider the traffic volume in the room where the flooring will go. If it's a high volume area, you may want to go with a harder, more durable wood.

For more information, visit a flooring dealer like Tri City Furniture. They can help you decide which type of hardwood flooring is right for your home.