Engineered Hardwood Flooring Installation Checklist
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When you walk into a room with beautiful floors, you notice instantly. It’s a defining feature for any house, which is why homeowners take flooring installations so seriously.
Many owners have decided to install “engineered” hardwood flooring rather than traditional hardwood floors in recent years. Why? Well, engineered hardwoods are:
- Similar in appearance to real hardwoods but more durable
- More resistant to moisture and water damage
- Stabilized and resistant to warping/swelling
- Low maintenance
If you’re deciding to look into hardwood floors for your own house and you’re considering the engineered route, you might be surprised by the amount of preparation you need to take on.
Let’s talk about installing engineered hardwood flooring and what you, the homeowner, can do to facilitate the process.
Have You Selected the Right Team for the Engineered Hardwood Flooring Installation?
The first thing to think about when preparing for flooring installation is who you’ll be working with. You need to select an installer who has the right level of experience to install your floorboards safely. Otherwise, you’ll face problems such as uneven planks, squeaks, and sloppy work.
Wondering how to know if you’ve found the right installation time? Here are a few steps to take during the hiring process.
Ask About Timelines
Start by inquiring about when the project can take place and how long it will take to complete. Get a good feel for the company’s timeline – and take note if it doesn’t align well with yours.
Learn About Their Certifications and Experience
Whether you’re doing your own research online or talking directly to the contractor, it’s important to understand what skills the company has on the wall.
How many times have they installed engineered hardwood flooring before? Are they really experienced enough to take on the job?
Receive a Thorough Price Estimate
Not only do you need a price estimate for your own budget, but you also need to learn about how this company charges its clients. Fortunately, most respected flooring companies will provide you with a free estimate for your project.
Do their prices seem reasonable? Are there hidden fees and extra charges? How accurate do their estimates seem to be?
Inquire About Prep
Don’t forget to ask about what goes into their preparation process. Will they clear out rooms for you, or are you expected to move all of the furniture on your own? How long does the prep process take?
Understand the Cleanup Protocol
Lastly, jump ahead to the post-installation period. What does cleanup entail? Will the company take care of most of the disposal and move your furniture back?
The more you can learn about your potential installation teams, the more confident you can feel that you’re selecting a trustworthy group to work on your home.
Is the Installation Space Climate-Controlled?
Next, we need to address the kind of climate that best suits engineered hardwood flooring installation. Prior to the actual installation, the contractor will need to determine if your home (or the area in which the floor will be installed) is suitable for the material that will be present.
Engineered hardwood floors require just the right level of moisture during installation. It’s the contractor’s job to determine if the sub floor’s moisture emission rate is suitable – according to the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) installation guidelines, SECTION V.
Your installer will talk to you about the effects of excess moisture on engineered hardwood floors, such as cupping, cracking, warping, buckling, and other damages. Even a lack of moisture can result in splitting and separating segments.
For the installation to go smoothly, the environment must be controlled and kept at just the right temperature and moisture level. When the wood is delivered, the conditions must already be optimal. That means no storing your engineered hardwood floors in moist sheds, basements, or on driveways.
Have You Defined All Roles and Responsibilities?
When going into any installation project, especially in your own home, everyone must understand exactly what’s expected of the client and the installer. Upfront, you should determine:
- Who is ensuring the products and job site conditions are compatible
- Who is responsible for transporting and storing the engineered wood flooring
- Who is responsible for ensuring the job site conditions meet NWFA guidelines
- Who is going to determine if the floors meet expectations in appearance and quality
Have some lengthy discussions with the installer before the ball really gets rolling. Triple check that you understand exactly what you’re in charge of and what is the installer’s job.
Will a Protective Covering Be Applied?
Another thing to think about ahead of time is how you will protect your beautiful new floors after installation.
Many contractors will “seal” engineered hardwood after installation. This adds an extra layer of protection, helping the floors to last longer despite traffic and general wear and tear.
When properly protected and cared for, your engineered hardwood floors could last anywhere from 20 to 80 years, depending on thickness.
Have You Thought About Future Care and Maintenance?
Speaking of proper care, you shouldn’t launch into any flooring installation without understanding the necessary maintenance you’ll face afterward. Let’s talk about some of the tasks you’ll need to deal with to maintain engineered hardwood floors.
Although every kind of floor gets dirty eventually, engineered hardwood floors are especially talented at showing off dust and dirt. You’ll need to prepare to clean them regularly thoroughly. Otherwise, the floors will collect excessive dust and dirt levels, leading to increased allergens and health issues within your family.
Although traditional sweeping and vacuuming are important, don’t forget that you’ll need to mop your engineered hardwood floors often – especially in rooms that receive lots of traffic. This prevents your beautiful new floors from losing their shine. Just avoid letting standing water sit. Always dry off any remaining moisture.
Other than the regular cleaning, you’ll need to focus on preventing your floors from becoming littered with nicks and scratches. Keep the damage to a minimum by using a scratch concealer to eliminate obvious problem spots. Not only does this make the floor look nicer, but it prevents further scratching and keeps moisture out of the area.
Things to Avoid
If you want your floors to stay beautiful and in-tact for years to come, you don’t just need to know what to do, but also what not to do.
Stay away from:
- Wax-based cleaners
- Oil soaps
- Harsh materials
- Floor steamers
- Wet mops
- Scouring pads
Focus on using cleaning products and tools that gently remove dirt while also protecting your floors from water and abrasion. Engineered hardwood floors will last for many years, but only if you put your mind to taking care of them long-term.
Hopefully, this checklist has given you some good tips on how to install engineered wood with minimal setbacks. A big part of projects like flooring installation is thinking ahead.
If you’re on the hunt for a New Jersey Flooring company to handle your installation, look no further. We offer a huge selection of flooring and fast, friendly service here at Floors by the Shore. We’ll bring new life to your home with expert workmanship and high-quality results.