Absolute HardwoodAbsolute Hardwood & Laminate Flooring - Edmonton

Frequently Asked Questions

QFlooring FAQ

Below you’ll find answers to the most frequently asked questions we here from our customers.

Wood Type & Selection

How do I choose a species and color that is right for my home?

Decisions abound when selecting just the right floor for the rooms in your home. There are several species, colors, and grain variations to consider. After walls, the floor represents the largest expanse of color or pattern in a room. Your floor should complement the fabrics, furnishings and accessories already present in the space, as well as enhancing the unique personality of the room as a whole. Darker colors are often used in formal or traditional interiors, while lighter colors work best in country, casual, and contemporary settings.

Can I install a hardwood floor in any room in my home?

Yes, any room except for a full bath. With the variety of products available and a choice of installation options, hardwood flooring can now be installed in any room of the home. The only consideration is whether the floor will be installed on-, above-, or below-grade. For example, because of potential moisture problems, solid hardwood is not recommended for installations below-grade, such as in a basement. Engineered products, which are inherently dimensionally stable, are better choices for this area. All types of hardwood can be installed on-or above-grade.

What is the difference between an engineered floor and a solid hardwood product?

Engineered products, available in Planks, Strips, or Longstrip, are manufactured of hardwood using a three- or five-ply cross-directional laminated construction, with a top layer of premium hardwood. This construction counteracts the natural tendency of wood to expand and contract with seasonal changes in temperature and humidity, making engineered products inherently dimensionally stable. Solid products, available in Planks, Strips, or Parquet, are manufactured from a solid piece of wood.

Is there an advantage to engineered products over solid products?

Yes. In general, engineered products can be installed in any room in the home, whether on-grade, below-grade, or above-grade. Engineered products including Longstrip can be nailed down, glued-down, stapled down, or floated over most subfloors without the use of nails or adhesives, making them ideal for remodelling. Installation choices are sometimes limited but the type of subfloor or climate. Solid products are not recommended for below grade installations and must be nailed or glued down.

What about pre-finished versus unfinished?

Most hardwood flooring sold today is pre-finished. That is, several coats of UV-cured polyurethane are applied at the factory. These factory finished are tough and durable. Installing a pre-finished floor eliminates the time, the dust, and the odours associated with the on-site sanding and finishing of an unfinished product. A pre-finished floor can be installed in a day. An unfinished flooring installation may require up to four days, depending on the space.

What about installing hardwood in high traffic areas?

High traffic areas include exterior doorways, hallways and the areas in front of the sink, stove, and refrigerator. To protect the floor just inside exterior doorways, use walk-off mats or small rugs to catch tracked-in dirt and grime. Place small rugs or mats at other high traffic locations. Vacuum or shake these regularly. Watch for grit or pebbles that might be brought in on waffle soles of athletic shoes and collect these with a hand-held cordless vacuum.

Is there a difference between square-edge and eased edge designs?

Yes. With a square-edge, the sides of each plank or strip are square. An eased edge, more commonly known as a bevelled or micro-bevelled edge, features a slight angle on the top edge of the plank or strip. An eased edge can help mask slight subfloor imperfections.

Which installations method is best?

The method used for your hardwood installation will depend upon the type of product you have chosen, where the flooring will be installed, and the type of subfloor. For example, if you are remodelling your kitchen, a Longstrip or Engineered floor can be floated over most subfloors, including vinyl or ceramic tile, eliminating the mess and cost of tearing up the existing floor and installing a subfloor. Engineered products, including Longstrip which are dimensionally stable, are ideal for basements and can be nailed, glued, or stapled down. Your flooring retailer or contractor will work with you to determine the best method for your situation.

Are hardwood floors expensive?

Hardwood floors are very competitively priced and represent an excellent value when compared to other flooring options. Hardwood floors never have to be replaced and will enhance the value of your home should you decide to sell. When compared to other flooring products, hardwood floors provide long-lasting value.

Can I refinish an engineered or Longstrip floor?

Yes. Most engineered floors can be refinished at least once and some can be refinished up to three times, depending on the thickness of the top layer of hardwood.

Which types of hardwood floors are best for in-floor radiant heating systems?

Engineered hardwood floors are the best floors to use with radiant heating systems. These floors are manufactured of hardwood using a three, five, or seven-ply laminated construction, making them dimensionally stable. This means they are less susceptible to changes in temperature and humidity.

It is important to note that when installing any hardwood over a radiant heating system, the maximum temperature of the subfloor should never exceed 80 degrees (F). For the correct water temperature inside the heating pipes, refer to your manufacturer’s guidelines.

Characteristics of Hardwood Flooring

What can I do about a floor that has not aged evenly?

Any area of a floor that is covered with an area rug, a piece of furniture, or even a table leg, will not age as quickly as an exposed area of flooring. However, once the covering is removed, this area of the floor will eventually darken to the same shade as the previously exposed area.

What are considered natural characteristics?

The natural characteristics of wood include the grain pattern, dark grey or black marks and knots of various sizes. They are a result of the growth process of a particular species and are influenced by sunlight, soil, and climate. Minerals can appear in several forms such as light grey streaks across a board to black line in the grain. The same holds true for grain patterns and knots. Lumber is graded based upon the number of these variations, with clear grade exhibiting the least number of natural characteristics beyond the distinct grain patterns of each species.

Could I expect color variations in my floor?

Yes. Wood is a natural material with variations from board to board. Therefore, each plank or strip will take stain differently. Darker stains mask the natural variations in the wood. The lighter the stain, the more prominent the natural characteristics. A white stain shows the most variation from board to board.

How hard is hardwood? Will my floor dent?

All species used for hardwood are durable enough to withstand the wear and tear of daily life. However, this does not mean wood will not dent. As a natural material, wood is made of thousands of cells. When the tree is in the forest, these cells are filled with water. Once that tree becomes lumber, the moisture in those cells is replaced with air. Therefore, if you drop a heavy object on the floor, the floor will compress, forming a dent or a gash. In addition, heavy furniture and appliances over time, will compress the fibre in the wood.

Should I expect my floor to splinter or chip?

Though advanced milling techniques assure smooth edges and provide a tight fit between boards, some edge splintering, although rare, may occur after the floor settles into the surrounding environment. Also, moving heavy objects across the floor might cause and edge to splinter or chip. Touch-up kits are available for minor repairs. Larger splinters may require a replacement board.

Will my floor be perfectly flat?

Prefinished hardwood flooring is milled to exacting specifications of thickness for a level and flat floor. However, when walking across a floor with no shoes, you may feel a slight variation from board to board.

Will my floor age or change color?

Yes. You can expect to see shade differences in your floor over time. The cause is usually from exposure to the sun’s UV rays, whether direct or indirect. This color change will become more noticeable in lighter colors, which will darken over time. In addition, certain species like Brazilian cherry will naturally darken over the years. These changes are due to the natural characteristics of the wood and are not covered by most manufacturers’ warranties.

Care & Maintenance

Are hardwood floors hard to maintain?

No. A hardwood floor finished at the factory features three to seven layers of UV-cured polyurethane. This finish gives the floor a tough, durable and smooth no-wax surface that is both luxurious and easy to care for.

How do I maintain my floor?

The best way to keep your floors looking great day-to-day is to vacuum regularly to remove tracked-in dirt and grime. Keep a cordless vacuum handy for quick-an-easy pick-ups.

What about soaps or other products sold at the grocery store?

Never use and oil soap type product on your prefinished hardwood floor. These can damage your finish and void all warranties. We recommend that you use only those care and cleaning products recommended by the manufacturer of your particular floor.

Can I damp-mop my floor?

No. Water and wood do not mix. Therefore, we suggest that you use the Bona Cleaning System. You can purchase these products in our showroom.

How can I touch-up scratches and dents?

Most manufacturers offer touch-up kits and fillers, color-matched to each species and color. When used properly, these are very effective in masking minor scratches and blemishes by everyday use.

Should I wax my urethane finish?

No. Never wax the urethane finish on a hardwood floor. It will cause a film to form on the floor making regular maintenance more difficult Wax also may make the floor very slippery. More important, adding wax to your urethane finish could void your warranty.

What is screening and recoating?

This is the easiest and most cost-effective way to restore a like-new look to your floor. Instead of completely removing the existing finish, the flooring contractor screens or roughs-up the surface and adds a coat of polyurethane. This procedure can be completed in a day.

Can I sand and refinish my floor?

Most hardwood floors can be sanded and refinished at least once and as often as three times. The exact number depends upon the total thickness of the product or the thickness of the top layer of premium hardwood, as in an engineered product. With this process, the contractor sands the entire finish off the floor, and then begins to rebuild the finish surface. This procedure can take up to four days, depending on the size of the space. While sanding and refinishing a floor may be costly and disruptive to the household, it is usually more economical than replacing the floor.

Quick Tips: Keep Your Floors Looking New

Stop dirt at the door

Grit, gravel, and dirt are enemies of a floor finish. Keep a proper doormat at all outside entrances and a walk-off mat or area rug inside each entry to eliminate tracked-in dirt and grime. Vacuum or shake these out regularly.

Vacuum with a vengeance

Be sure to vacuum regularly with a vacuum sweeper. Do not use a beater bar or head attachments intended for carpet. Never use household dust treatments; these may cause your floor to become slick or dull the finish. For a more thorough cleaning, use the cleaner or refresher recommended by your manufacturer. Never use water or soap-type products on your hardwood floor.

Wipe-up spills before the spot

Urethane finishes are easy-care, not no-care. Wipe spills immediately before they dry, using a damp cloth or paper towel. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations to remove sticky spots or heel marks.

Get furniture off the floor

Round-headed chair glides and narrow wheels on furniture can permanently scratch or dent your hardwood floor. For furniture that sits directly on the floor, use commercially-made felt protectors or furniture coasters under all table and chair legs. If you must have coasters on the floor, make sure they are at least one-inch in width. Extremely heavy items such as pianos should have weight disbursed at each leg by using weight cups.

Give pets a pedicure

No matter how large or small your pet is, keep its nails trimmed. Pets with long nails can scratch and dull the floor finish, requiring additional maintenance or premature recoating. Also, make sure your pets are housebroken. Pet urine will leave a black stain that cannot be sanded out.