ADVICE FROM THE EXPERT ON CHOOSING A WOOD FLOOR
Adrian Lee, FLOORING SUPPLIES UK
For the purpose of this article, I am assuming that you have concluded that pre-finished wood flooring is what you really do want. There are other choices including linoleum, natural stone, ceramic tile, as well as laminate flooring, depending on the look that you are trying to capture. I am assuming that you have narrowed your choice down to pre-finished wood and this process should help you make the right choice.
The first part of any flooring experience should be to establish the basics of your lifestyle, living habits and general needs. This will help the salesperson with his selection and so too assist in the choice of flooring you finally make. It is simply not enough to find something you like the look of and then expect it to work with your living environment. Also, please remember that a FSC flooring that is certified will always be “green” and is guaranteed to come from sustainable resources.
Beyond those basics, we are going to talk today about your ability, as the consumer, to help guide the buying process. These principles can be used in most purchasing situations – but this is specifically directed to pre-finished wood flooring. Remember that this is an ‘interview sales format’ and is similar to what your sales person should be asking you. Following the standard questioning I have added a few of my patented insights which I hope will help guide you to your own conclusions. Let’s begin.
GOOD DAY TO YOU.
THANKS FOR COMING IN – LET ME GUIDE YOU THROUGH THE PRE-FINISHED WOOD SHOPPING PROCESS BY ASKING YOU A FEW QUESTIONS. FIRST – WHAT AREAS OF THE HOME ARE YOU CONSIDERING INSTALLING WOOD FLOORING IN?
Because of the natural beauty of wood and the trend towards natural colour and texture, I have found that wood is used throughout the home. Many people have wood starting in their entry, going down the hallway into the kitchen and dining room. There are truly unlimited number of choices – but I personally consider wet areas off limits.
A critical component to this part of your decision is the technical feasibility on where the product is to be installed. For instance, if you want new wood in your kitchen and family room, that sounds like a good application. However, if you have vinyl in the kitchen with a 3/4″ particleboard underlayment and your family room has carpet, you now have a more complex installation. Most people want the new floor to be one level so you can do one of two things:
Raise the thickness of the family room by adding an underlayment, so that it matches the total thickness of the vinyl and particleboard. This can be done for most glue down, nail down and floating floors. But, you may create a thickness problem in the family room doorways. Don’t forget to check tolerances at the slider door, and other transition points, to make sure that doors still work after adding both the underlayment as well as the new pre-finished flooring, which can be as thick as 3/4 of an inch.
You may also need to consider whether your refrigerator will still fit under your cabinets and whether you will still be able to get your dishwasher out in the future with the addition of the new pre-finished wood flooring. What about a fireplace? Will you scribe cut to the bricks or masonry work or will you undercut? What is the impact on the baseboard? Remove the vinyl and underlayment in the kitchen and install the new flooring in the new area. This may sound simple at first – but let’s investigate further.
Getting vinyl and underlayment off the sub-floor is a difficult and possibly dangerous task. You need to make sure your vinyl does not contain asbestos by getting it tested. If you do have asbestos, ask a local asbestos company for advice about how to proceed. If you do not have asbestos in your vinyl, you can move onto the next step, which would be cutting up the sub-floor (with the vinyl still attached) and removing it in chunks. Once you remove every single nail and staple what was left from that old sub-floor (pray that it was not screwed and glued down), you can then look at the damage you just inflicted on your cabinets. If you are careful you won’t hit them or scratch them – but be aware of this possibility during the demolition so that you don’t end up spending more time and money due to carelessness. Once you have removed the carpet,underlay and tack strip.
That is basically all you’ll need – but you’ll still need to be aware of transition points and how they will work with the flooring. One other problem is the chance that your baseboard will now be lower than before and that may leave an exposed area of wall that does not have paint or wallpaper on it, and therefore, may require additional cost and attention.
Whew! How exhausting! My object with the above accounting, about what goes into the typical process, is not to scare you. I simply want to make sure you anticipate every detail prior to the job starting and not have A surprise you once you are in the midst of it.