Ardmore Floor Installation Helpful Hints

Q) Will I need to remove my molding or baseboards when I have a floor installed? Will I need to replace my molding or have new molding installed?

A)  When installing a new floor a ¼-½” gap must be left around the perimeter of the wood to allow for expansion in the wet and dry seasons and minimize the possibility of buckling boards in a moisture problem situation.  Molding or baseboard is used to cover the gap.  Keeping this in mind, if you have molding and are installing on top of an old floor, new molding will be required because the new floor will be higher.  If you have new walls and no baseboard yet, we can install ½” up to the wall and baseboard can be installed on top of the floors covering the gap eliminating the need for molding.  An easy and inexpensive way to conceal the gap is to have paint-able pine molding installed.  This is becoming more popular to finish off the room and is less expensive than having finished wood molding

Q) I am having a pre-finished floor installed in my home with existing baseboard and obstacles original to the house and I do not want to disturb the rest of my house. Does the wood I picked out come with molding and thresholds to transition into my other rooms and match the color of the wood?

A) Most pre-finished floors come with a selection of moldings and reducers, but depending on the manufacturer some of them can be expensive.  In this case, we can custom design and stain oak or maple to substitute molding or transition pieces at a lower price. Some of the exotic woods are a little more difficult to match the variety of colors and grains, and we will provide a sample on-site in this situation for your approval.

Q) My old floor needs to be ripped up because I do not want to install on top of it. Do you do this and do you take away the debris?

A) Yes we can provide that service, but “No” we do not take away the debris.  We will take any debris from ripping out a floor to your trash site.  You can call your township for details on a bulk pickup; depending on the township and amount of floors ripped up this usually runs from $30-$75.

Q) I am trying to match new pre-finished floors with wood I currently have in my home, but I cannot find an exact match. Do you have any suggestions?

A) There is now the largest selection of pre-finished woods there has ever been, and it is constantly growing.  Unfortunately, we can only offer the colors the manufacturer chooses, and therefore can limit the exactness of matching in some situations.  If you have a unique floor and nothing we have in our showroom matches, we can call one of our suppliers for a sample close to the color you are looking for that we do not have in our showroom.  We can also provide a custom unfinished installation floor.  This procedure includes supplying and installing wood, sanding with custom staining onsite with your approval, and commercial grade refinishing.  The advantage to this is you can have any color you want, and there will be no micro bevels.  The downside to this is the process can go from 1-2 days to 2-4 days due to urethane drying time, depending on the size of the installation.

Q) What is a micro bevel and what does it do?

A) It is a small bevel on the edge of a pre-finished board; only pre-finished floors have beveled edges and nearly all pre-finished floors have them.  The main reason for a beveled edge is to visually separate one board from another, relieving the need for sanding because even if the boards are slightly uneven, it is visually impossible to tell.

Q) How long will it take for my wood to be delivered?

A) We do not readily stock pre-finished wood and will need to order it; most woods our suppliers have in stock at a location near to us.  If this is the case, we can usually have the wood delivered in 1-2 days.  If our manufacture has it in stock, but at a different location, we can have it delivered in 3-5 days.  We can price out for you accordingly an unfinished wood plus staining and refinishing price.

Q) I am renovating my kitchen and am having new cabinets and an island installed. What order should I have the work done?

A) The only advantage to having wood installed underneath cabinets are keeping the toe-kick height at 3 ½”.  Many contractors will not install cabinets over pre-finished floors because they are afraid to mess them up.  If this is the case, one option is to install plywood under the cabinets.  Then after the kitchen is almost finished, install the pre-finished wood up to the plywood that is under the cabinets, and no one will see the difference.  The other option is to have a custom installation done with unfinished wood; most contractors feel more comfortable with this because the onsite finished wood can be more easily fixed if a scratch is made on it during other construction work.

Q) Can I buy wood from you and have my own contractor or myself install the wood?

A) Yes.  We offer the best prices on the Main Line and Delaware Valley for middle to top of the line woods.  Our showroom is filled with samples of wood, and most of the selection can be available in 2-3 days.  If you have seen something somewhere else and would like a AHF price on the wood, ask us about it.  There are frequently sales the manufacturers offer on different woods; ask us if there is a sale on what you are looking for or something similar.

Q) I have concrete as a floor now. What are my options for installing hardwood?

A)  You have three options without installing a wooden subfloor.  The first is to glue-down install engineered flooring; engineered flooring is a layer of real wood — thickness depending upon the manufacturer — with 5 to 7 layers of crossed plywood on the bottom to act as its own sub floor.  Most cheaper engineered wood cannot be sanded; we offer many different manufacturers, some of whom put such a thick wear layer of wood that it has as much sandable wood as a ¾” solid piece of oak, making a properly maintained engineered wood last lifetimes.  Ask us whether or not the wood you are looking at is sandable.  Your second option is to glue-down a solid wood on your floors.  A new glue has recently come out which allows us to glue down solid woods.  The new compound acts as a sturdy rubber which essentially creates the solid floor to act as a floating floor.  Your third option is to have installed an unfinished piece of engineered with a very thick piece of wear layer, and have us sand and refinish the floors.  This sometimes can be more expensive, but it will match any floors you have in your home because the same sanding and refinishing procedure will be done on both floors.  You will not recognize it is engineered wood installed at a different time than the rest of your floors.

Q) Does a cork or foam underlayment help with sound and potential water damage?

A)  Yes, it absolutely does, but these underlayments are also often completely unnecessary and marked up a lot.  Without naming anyone, we have seen some companies mark up their underlayment materials 150-250% and getting it because it is ‘needed’.  For floors installed on a wooden subfloor: the BEST moisture barrier is wood.  This can come in the form of plywood to red oak to antique heart pine.  Installing a foam underlayment will reduce noise to the floor below, but the amount it will do this is rarely worth the cost of materials.  For floors on concrete: usually sound isn’t a concern.  Most concrete beds are 4-6″, and have sufficient mass to muffle sounds themselves.  The glue used in a glue-down procedure is a urethane based glue; it is waterproof.  Urethane glue is one of the best sealants you can have.  Only under rare circumstances should you require an underlayment for the purpose of buffering water or sound.

Q) I have concrete and I was told I need to have a floating floor. Is this the same thing as a glue-down?

A)  No.  Glue down floors is applying the glue to the bottom surface of the boards so each board is interlocked, and connected to the floor.  A floating process is gluing the boards to each other; in theory, the entire floor can be lifted up.  Ardmore does not float floors.  A few reasons why:

– Wood boards are both strong and straight; concrete is strong but almost never perfectly flat.  There is often 1-2 spots where the natural rolling in the concrete causes a air pocket between the wood and concrete.  Every time that this area is stepped on, the floor gives a ‘clop’.  Sound barriers are required for floating floors for this reason, but will not eliminate this ‘clop’ping.  If you are worrying about a floor underneath the concrete, often the sheer mass of the concrete, glue and wood is enough to sufficiently muffle the sound from travelling downstairs.

– Floating floors have no barrier between it and the concrete besides a moisture barrier.  The most commonly used moisture barrier for floating floors is cork.  This helps prevent moisture rising from the concrete, but if the cork is saturated and water is still coming, water will leak into the wood and cause water damage.  The urethane glue used in a glue down floor is waterproof and will prevent any moisture from leaking through it.

– Floating floors are much more susceptible to water damage.  When a floating floor absorbs excessive moisture, the entire floor expands.  There is a ¼” – ½” gap between the edges of the floor and the walls.  Wood is very strong.  If it expands and uses up the gap, the only place for it to go is up; the entire floor will bubble up.  If there is sufficient water and time, and heavy furniture on the floor, the floor can be weighted down and compromise the surrounding walls through the force of its expansion.  When a glued down floor has water damage, the area is usually contained to a small area (3-4 boards), which can be replaced.

– Repair work on floating floors is very difficult.  The floor is connected and flowing; it is nearly impossible to remove one piece without damaging the adjacent board.  This causes a chain effect with an undeterminable outcome on time and the number of boards needing to replace.  With a glued down floor, the board can be chiseled out and a new board fitted in its place.  It is much easier to not significantly gouge out the solid concrete (which can be filled in with glue until flush) than it is to not nick a piece of the neighboring boards.

– Many wood installers install wood on the side; they mainly install carpet and laminate. A large amount of floating floors are installed simply because the installer only knows how to install it that way.  Floating a floor is a similar process to installing a laminate.  Most wood professionals will agree a glued down installation is superior to a floating installation.