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FAQs

FAQs

Find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about our products. If you can't find the answer to your question please feel free to contact us at 1-877-884-3232 or by email at expert@nucasa.com

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Solid and Engineered Hardwood Flooring FAQs

Laminate Flooring FAQs

Cork Flooring FAQs

Moulding FAQs

   

Solid and Engineered Hardwood Flooring FAQs

   
     

Q. What is a floating floor?
A. The term ‘floating floor’ refers to how a floor is installed, without glue, simply resting on the subfloor to allow for expansion and contraction of the material. Both laminate and engineered wood floors are called floating floors. Laminate is almost always installed as a glueless, click-together floating floor. Engineered wood floors can be installed as either floating loc or angle connect or glue-down tongue and groove.

 

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Q. What is the difference between an engineered wood floor and a solid wood floor?

A. An engineered floor is a genuine, 100% wood floor, produced by gluing layers of wood together at 90 degree angles to add strength to the finished product. We call this type of wood floor ‘multi-layered hardwood’. In contrast, a solid wood floor is made from a single piece of wood. We call this type of floor ‘single-layer hardwood’.

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Q. What should I consider when choosing between solid or engineered wood?
A. There are two key factors which will influence your choice between solid or engineered flooring. First, consider the type of subfloor you have to work with. Engineered floors are installed either as floating or glue-down planks, so they can be installed over wood or concrete subfloors. Solid hardwood floors are installed with a nail-down application and can only be installed over wood subfloors. Second, consider the width of the board you’d like to install. If you want a wider board, choose an engineered floor for dimensional stability. While you can get solid boards 4” or wider, we don’t recommend them, as they are more prone to moisture-related problems like cupping and crowning.

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Q. Are engineered and solid wood floors environmentally friendly?
A. Hardwood floors are an ideal choice for environmentally conscious consumers. A well-maintained wood floor will last many years and can be re-sanded and refinished to extend its life further. In fact, hardwood floors can be recycled and sometimes even salvaged and re-used to make furniture.
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Q. My installer recommended a solid hardwood floor because he said engineered floating wood floors don’t feel as solid underfoot, is this true?
A. As long as the subfloor is prepared and leveled correctly, most people don’t notice a difference in feel between solid and floating wood floors. The benefit to engineered wood floor over (single-layer) solid hardwood is that it offers greater dimensional stability and wider planks, so you may be limiting your options if you consider only solid floors. If you do chose an engineered floor and are still concerned about the feel underfoot, look for engineered flooring that can be glued down. Floors that can be glued down will have small grooves at regular intervals across the bottom of the plank.
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Q. Are engineered floors as good as solid floors?
A. Yes. Engineered floors are as good as solid floors. In fact, we would argue that they are better because their multi-layered, wood construction makes them more dimensionally stable and environmentally friendly.
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Q. Does the type of wood I choose impact the durability of my floor?
A. Yes. Different species of trees hold different properties, one of which is the hardness of the wood. This hardness does affect how durable your floor will be and how well it will perform under wear and tear. For example, a soft wood such as walnut would be suitable for low traffic areas, but if your floor will be taking abuse from children, pets and shoes, a harder species of wood would be a better choice. The softness or hardness rating for different species can be found on the Janka scale.
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Q. What is the difference between an unfinished and a prefinished floor?
A. Traditionally, floors were installed and finished on site. Today, most floors on the market are prefinished in a factory. The advantages to this is control in the thickness, evenness and drying of the finish. Prefinished floors typically offer micro-bevelled edges to disguise variations in board thickness. They are fast and clean to install, and can be walked on right away. Site finished floors require sanding after installation to create a smooth surface across the boards, the stain and finish must be allowed to cure for several days before they can be walked on. This makes them dustier and more time consuming to install than their prefinished counterparts.

Prefinished floors are an ideal solution when installing new floors, but if you are trying to match and add to existing floors, you may want to consider an unfinished floor, which can be stained to match.

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Q. Why do prefinished floors have a slight bevel on the edges?
A. When two pieces of wood are butted up against each other there may be minor discrepancies in the heights of the boards. With site-finished floors, this is sanded out. To solve this problem with factory prefinished floors, the edges are sanded on a very small angle. This creates a micro bevel when the boards are put together and is one of the main visibly distinguishing features between the two types of floors.
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Q. What is a wear layer and can engineered floors be sanded and refinished like solid hardwood floors?
A. A wear layer is the top layer of wood on a multi-layered engineered wood floor, that holds the species and colour you are choosing. There isn’t any advantage to using the same species of wood all the way through an engineered plank, particularly with more expensive wood species. Using a less expensive species in the middle and base layers offsets the cost of producing engineered floors. Typically, a good wear layer is about 1/8” thick and can be sanded and refinished just like a solid, single-layer wood floor. An engineered floor can only be sanded the depth of the wear layer which often is typically about where the tongue and groove starts (see illustration below). This is similar to a solid hardwood floor which can’t be sanded any deeper than the tongue and groove without revealing the application nails.
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Illustration showing engineered flooring wear layer and maximum depth of sanding    
     

Q. Can I install hardwood floors in the basement?
A. Because engineered floors can be floated over concrete subfloors and are more dimensionally stable, they can be installed in basements or below grade, where solid hardwood floors cannot. However, because moisture levels tend to be high and sub-floors tend to be concrete, we recommend you proceed with caution when installing engineered hardwood flooring in a basement.

Concrete is a porous material that can conduct moisture, so your floor will definitely require a vapour barrier at the least. But an improperly installed or defective vapour barrier may cause moisture to leak and this could ruin your floor. If there is any concern about moisture, consider building a wood subfloor to allow air and moisture room to move.

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Q. Can I install an engineered floor over radiant heat?
A. Yes. Generally engineered floors can safely be installed as floating floors over radiant heat. Because solid hardwood floors require a nail-down installation they can’t be installed over radiant heat.
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Q. How much material do I need to order for my room?
A. It is important to correctly measure a room to determine how much material to purchase. Many people forget about closets or extra material that may be needed at room transitions. Extra material is also needed for waste cuts and plank arrangement to ensure you arrive at a pleasant pattern. The general rule of thumb is to allow about 7-10% extra on top of your room measurements.
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Q. Do I need to to wait after my flooring is delivered to install it?
A. Yes. Before installing your floor, you need to let it acclimatize – that means letting the wood adjust to the surrounding environment. It’s important to do this because wood expands and contracts with changes to temperature and humidity and should be installed to your typical living conditions. Ideally, your flooring material should be removed from the boxes and left in the room within which it will be installed for 4 to 6 days. If you are installing over concrete or in new construction, be aware that moisture levels from the concrete or drying paint can affect humidity levels and therefore the floor. As a result, your floor and walls should be thoroughly dry before you install your floor.
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Q. Do I need to keep extra boards left from the installation?
A. Let’s face it. Accidents happen. So, it’s a good idea to keep some extra flooring aside in case you need to repair or replace a board due to water damage, gouges or other wear and tear. This will ensure you have an exact match to the stain and grain of the rest of your floor, and it will save you trouble if the product becomes discontinued in future.
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Q. My wood floor shows gaps between the boards in the winter months. Is it defective?
A. Wood is an organic product and as such it changes with the environmental conditions around it. You can expect your floor to expand and contract with humidity and temperature, and you’ll find the manufacturer has set an optimal range for humidity conditions in the room. Engineered floors have been developed specifically to address the problems of gaps. Because of their construction and a wider width of board they are more stable and are a better choice for less visible gaps.
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Q. What is the best relative humidity and temperature to keep in my home?

A. Wood flooring performs best when the interior environment is controlled to stay within a relative humidity of 35 to 50 percent and 18 to 24 degrees Celsius, which is about the same comfort level that most people prefer.

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Q. My floor is a different color and grain from the floor sample. Why?
A. Wood is organic and comes from a natural source. Therefore, you can expect to see variations in batches and between boards. Expect differences in colour, grain, knots and mineral streaks, with some wood species having a greater degree of variation than others. These variations add to the beauty of your natural, real wood floor.
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Q. Are wormholes, mineral streaks and knots consider defects?

A. No. These are natural occurrence in wood and can be desirable depending on the design effect you’re looking for. Depending on the floor they tend create a look that is more casual or rustic looking but this doesn’t mean that’s what your décor needs to be, these can be desirable characteristics to provide warmth to a modern contemporary décor.

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Q. My floor has changed colour from when I bought it, is it defective?
A. Wood is photosensitive and will change colour when exposed to light. Generally, lighter woods will get darker and darker woods will get lighter. Bear in mind, these changes only occur until a certain point and then your floor colour will stabilize and remain the same for the life of the floor. If you’re looking for a very light stable wood, try African Oak.
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Q. The floor under my area rug is a different colour, what can I do to fix this?
A. Colour variations occur in newly laid floors until the floor has had a chance to fully oxidize and reach the naturally occurring colour that is typical in the species. To mitigate too much colour variation throughout your floor, it is a good idea to move area rugs and furniture during this initial stage. And keep in mind, differences in colour will eventually even out over time.

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Hardwood Flooring FAQs | Laminate Flooring FAQs | Cork Flooring FAQs | Moulding FAQs

 
 

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