Things To Know When Buying Hardwood Flooring

ProSource | 3/2/2016 | Product Information

Natural Variance

Wood is an organic product – no two boards are alike – so you will see variations in grain patterns, mineral streaks, shading and some knots. Some species have more of these characteristics than others. How much character you should expect also depends upon the grade of flooring chosen, as higher grades are more uniform. If the flooring has a stained finish as opposed to a clear finish, the boards will appear more uniform in color and grain. Natural color and grain is part of the beauty of hardwood flooring, and one reason it makes such a desirable addition to your home.

Samples From Showroom

The samples from which you selected your floor typically exhibit less than two square feet, while the room/rooms in your home will cover hundreds of square feet. A sample has also aged for an undetermined time period and in varying degrees of exposure, while your new floor has not yet had the opportunity to do so. Remember no two boards are alike – so do not expect a sample to exhibit all possible color and grain variations you will see in your floor. Samples may not show full variation within the species.

Comparing Your Floor To Another Floor

Just as no two houses are alike, no two floors are alike. Some of the many variables could be: Was the floor installed under exactly the same conditions by the same crew? Is the floor the same brand, grade, species and identical in all respects? Did the same family live the same lifestyle in both homes? Were the floors maintained in the same way? Keep in mind when your floor is inspected by flooring professional; it stands on its own merits based on industry standards, not compared to another floor.

High Edges (Overwood)

There are advantages to a factory-finished floor over a site-finished floor, including a thicker finish, a harder finish and a finish warranty. A factory-finished floor cannot be sanded so that the boards are the exact same level after installation. Therefore some boards may sit slightly higher than others. This can be caused in irregularities in the floor joists, sub-floor, the wood flooring, installation techniques or a combination of these factors.

Putty And Filler

Putty and/or filler are used on every hardwood floor. Unfinished floors are filled and/or puttied before the finish is applied. Since factory finished floors must be installed with the finish in place, colored putty is used to conceal face.

Wood Ages With Light And Time

Part of the beauty of hardwood flooring is that it darkens in color with exposure to light (both natural and artificial). Some species, like most exotic imports and American cherry are particularly sensitive to light, especially sunlight. Again, if the wood is stained, the darker the stain, the less apparent the aging will be.

Furniture Finish

You should not expect a furniture finish on your hardwood floors. Furniture is made of a small quantity of relatively high-grade wood, and the finishes are not typically intended for foot traffic. Flooring allows more natural grain including pores; small cracks, knots and small holes etc. and the finishes are rougher as they are formulated for high foot traffic.

Gaps and Separation Between Boards

Gaps between boards are a typical heating season issue; caused as you floor becomes dryer and shrinks. One way to minimize this gapping is to maintain humidity in your home. The National Wood Flooring Association recommends 35% - 55% relative humidity year round.


If cupping occurs, the floor has taken on moisture from any number of sources – typically from a web basement or crawl space, a structural or plumbing problem or two much humidity. The solution is to find the source of the moisture and correct it.


Keep in mind that prefinished wood flooring can be scratched or dented by furniture, pets, high heels or moving heavy objects across your floor. To help protect your floors cover furniture and table legs with floor protectors, do not drag heavy objects across your floor without proper padding, remove shoes and keep your pets nails trimmed.

Moldings And Transitions

Moldings and transitions are meant to complement flooring styles and colors and are not an exact match.

ProSource Product Specialists are trained to answer all of your questions or concerns.  Providing you the information you need to make the best buying decision is our priority.  We are here to assist with all your project needs.

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