Installation Frequently Asked Questions | By Real Wood Floors


Frequently Asks Questions

  • Choosing a floor Prefinished Installation
    Is hardwood flooring suitable for a kitchen, bathroom or workspace?

    Yes. Wood flooring can handle heavy traffic and the occasional spill while retaining its luster and beauty. Our finishes are designed to more than hold their own against heavy residential and commercial foot traffic. We do suggest using mats in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry room, and walk-off mats at all home entrances to protect against spills and tracking in dirt or other objects that could scratch the floor. If spills do occur, do not let them remain on your floor—just wipe up with a clean cloth or drymop.

  • Prefinished Installation
    What is "underlayment"?

    Underlayment refers to the material placed between the subfloor and new flooring.

    It serves many purposes depending on the quality of the material. The primary purpose is to provide a moisture barrier. Some underlayments can also provide an acoustical barrier to make the new floor quieter when walked on—especially in multi-level homes. Underlayment should be used with every floor, and always according to installation instructions.

  • Prefinished Installation
    What is a floating floor?

    A prefinished floating floor isn’t directly attached to the subfloor. It has a foam underlayment on top of the subfloor to absorb sound and protect against moisture; the hardwood strips or planks are then laid on top. The flooring is glued together with tongue and groove glue and the entire floor “floats” above the subfloor. It’s easy to install on nearly any surface. The “cushy” feeling you may sometimes feel with floating floors can be reduced or eliminated by ensuring your subfloor is as flat as possible—using floor leveling products—and a quality underlayment.

    Since wood flooring expands and contracts seasonally, be sure to always leave an expansion gap around the perimeter of the floor—following our installation instructions. (This gap is hidden by baseboard and base shoe and allows the floor to move without creating high spots or buckling).

  • Choosing a floor Installation
    Where can I install hardwood flooring?

    Engineered wood flooring has the advantage of of being able to be installed above grade, at grade and even below grade (in a basement) or just over a concrete slab. However, traditional ¾” thick solid wood floor should only be installed at or above grade. Solid wood flooring should not be installed over radiant heat systems, but our engineered floors are compatible with radiant heat if you follow our guidlines on installation and allowable widths and species.

  • Choosing a floor Installation
    Which installation method should I use?

    There are three main ways to install wood flooring: glue down, nail down and floating. The method you choose should depend on where the floor is being installed, and over what type of subfloor. Glue down application is ideal for concrete subfloors and nail down is best fit on conventional wood subfloors. Floating installation, where only the tongue & grooves are glued together and nothing is attached to the subfloor, can be used on any subfloor if the conditions are adequate. Refer to our Installation Guidelines for further details or contact us for more help.

  • Installation Troubleshooting
    Why are there gaps between the boards in my floor?

    Seasonal expansion and contraction of flooring boards is considered normal. There is generally more humidity during the summer months and your floor absorbs it causing the wood fibers to expand. Winter months are usually less humid and the flooring dries which can result in gaps between boards. While considered normal, you can minimize expansion and contraction by keeping the humidity in your home between 35 and 55% by using an air conditioner, humidifier or dehumidifier.

  • Choosing a floor Prefinished Installation
    Why doesn't my floor look the same as the sample in the showroom?

    Although it should look similar, each hardwood tree differs from others and even wood from the same tree can show variance. Wood is a 100% organic material shaped by nature. No trees or boards are alike, and variation should be expected and appreciated as nature’s unique signature.