Hardwood floors are a beautiful addition to any home but are not a commitment to enter lightly.
Any home renovation takes time and resources so before you start buying and installing hardwood flooring in Toronto, take some time to consider the following tips. Keeping these tidbits in mind will save you hassle in the long run and let you more fully enjoy the benefits of your new floor.
What Species of Wood You Want?
Tip 1: Pay Attention to Density
One of the first questions you’ll be asked when you go shopping for hardwood flooring in Toronto is what species of wood you want. There are numerous varieties and each has different appearances and traits. Broadly speaking, woods such as Douglas Fir or Pine are softer and woods such as Brazilian Walnut or Oak are firmer and denser. The higher the density and hardness, the better a wood can withstand foot traffic. Consequently, wood species with a low grain density are best used in rooms that only see low levels of traffic, such as a bedroom or closet. If you know the kind of use your floor will get, you can easily find a species with the density you need.
Tip 2: Remember that Cost Isn’t Everything
There will be several times when shopping for hardwood flooring in Toronto where you will be faced with choices that have a clear winner where affordability is concerned. Picking the cheaper option makes sense but be sure you properly understand the trade-offs. For example, engineered hardwood is almost always cheaper than solid hardwood and is better at resisting moisture. However, engineered hardwood can only be sanded down and refurbished a handful of times before you risk reaching the plywood base and need to replace the floor entirely. Therefore, engineered hardwood might make less sense if you plan to live in the home permanently.
Tip 3: Pre-Finish for Less Hassle
These floors come in pre-finished and site-finished options. The first is when the finish is performed in the factory and the latter is when the finish is applied during the installation itself. Pre-finished will look like it appears in the catalogue and takes less time to install since any sanding and staining has already happened. You are also more likely to get a manufacturer warranty when using pre-finished. Going for pre-finished hardwood lets you trade customizability for a faster installation and fewer burdens overall.
Preparing The Subfloor
Tip 4: Get a Professional Install
Installing this type of flooring is not a straightforward process. It requires properly preparing the subfloor and planks need to be lain carefully to avoid subtle or not-so-subtle errors that detract from the final appearance. Hiring a contractor does cost more than DIY, but you will enjoy your floor better in the long run by ensuring a proper and professional installation.
Tip 5: If You Have Pets, Go Hard
This type of flooring is compatible with pet ownership but comes with certain caveats. The main one is that you should err on the side of harder woods even if the room you’re renovating doesn’t see a lot of foot traffic. Harder woods are more resistant to scratching and will be better suited to putting up with the scrambling of paws and claws. You should also look for options that use an oil-based polymer finish instead of a water-based finish since the latter will offer better protection against any “leavings” or stains that a pet might cause. An additional protective varnish may also be a good investment.