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Top Hardwood Questions

Listed below are several frequently asked hardwood flooring questions along with answers from our flooring experts.

Like most people who have looked into buying a hardwood floor, you’ve already learned it adds beauty, comfort and value to your home. But questions may come to mind about how to maintain your investment and keep it looking beautiful for years to come. Read on for the answers to our most frequently asked questions.

1. How does humidity affect hardwood flooring?

As a natural material, hardwood can be affected by changes in humidity in your home. In bathrooms or rooms below ground level, humidity and the potential for pooling water can create problems.

2. What’s the best way to clean hardwood flooring and keep it looking like new?

Sweep or vacuum (using a brush or felt head) your hardwood floor regularly to eliminate abrasives like dust and dirt that could damage the finish. Use outdoor and indoor mats to collect dirt and moisture at the door before it reaches the floor. Wipe up spills immediately and periodically clean your floors with Armstrong Hardwood and Laminate Floor Cleaner, and see our care and maintenance guides for more detailed floor care information.

3. Should I buy prefinished or unfinished hardwood?

If you are trying to match an existing hardwood floor in your home, you may want to choose unfinished hardwood that can be stained to match on site before the finish is applied. Finishing “on site” takes longer, not to mention the inconvenience of dealing with the dust from sanding and fumes from sealants while the work is completed in your home. On the other hand, prefinished hardwood floors come from the factory already stained and sealed. All Armstrong hardwood flooring comes prefinished for a no-fuss, no-muss installation.

4. Will my hardwood floor yellow or change color over time?

It’s natural for hardwood flooring to yellow, darken or lighten over time, depending on the wood species. Exposure to direct sunlight greatly accelerates this process. Armstrong recommends moving furniture and rugs occasionally to allow your hardwood floors to age evenly from UV exposure.

5. What is an engineered hardwood floor?

Engineered hardwood flooring is made up of several sheets of genuine hardwood fused together to form a durable, single plank. This multi-ply structure gives engineered wood superior stability, greater than solid hardwood, and is less susceptible to temperature and humidity changes. Unlike solid hardwood, engineered wood flooring from our Lifestyle Collection can be installed below ground level, making it a great choice for finished basements.

6. Can I install my own hardwood floor?

A hardwood flooring installation takes time, precision and know-how to get it right. Even for experienced DIYers, these installations can be challenging. A lot depends on your ability to take the time to learn what you need to know to properly install a hardwood floor so that it will look and perform beautifully. If you’ve never installed a hardwood floor, we recommend hiring an Armstrong Certified Installer.

7. What does it mean to “acclimate” a hardwood floor?

To acclimate hardwood flooring, move the packaged boards into the room where they will be installed and let them sit for several days, with the cartons open and raised off the ground. This allows the moisture content of the wood to adjust to the conditions in the room. Armstrong recommends acclimation for all their solid hardwood flooring products. It is not necessary to acclimate engineered wood flooring.

8. Is hardwood flooring a good choice for a home with pets?

Yes – but take precautions. Keep in mind that the hardness of wood, which varies from species to species, affects how well it holds up to wear and tear. You can help ensure a beautiful-looking floor by keeping pets’ nails trimmed, sweeping regularly to remove dirt, grit and fur, and wiping up spills and accidents immediately.