As a pet owner, what should I consider when choosing a wood floor?


Pets of all kinds can be a great joy in a home, but they can be hard on wood floors.  Large, heavy pets in particular.  The nails from heavy animals have the potential to cause indentations in wood flooring, possibly even scratching the finish.  The ammonia in pet urine can discolor floors if not cleaned up promptly. Also, if your pet’s hair contrasts with the floor color it could be more noticeable.
If you have pets in your home, consider a floor that is wire brushed or hand scraped, and has natural color variation and character. Solid products or engineered products with thicker veneers offer more resistance to indentation than products with thinner wear layers.   Avoid smooth textured and uniform, consistently colored floors as they show scratches and other blemishes much more easily. This will help mitigate the inevitable effects of your cats and dogs living indoors.

How do I select a flooring color & species when there are so many to choose from?


Compare your furnishings and wall paint colors with hardwoods natural colors and stains, distinctive grain patterns and visual effects such as knots and mineral streaks.  Also consider texture, grain pattern, and various widths.

What is the difference between unfinished and prefinished hardwood?


An Unfinished hardwood is installed in your home before the finish is applied. Prefinished hardwood is stained and sealed by the manufacturer prior to installation.


Can an engineered wood floor be refinished?


Yes, in most cases, you can refinish an engineered floor a few times. You can’t refinish an engineered floor that is click or not glued or nailed down or has a veneer thickness that is less than 1mm.

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.

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. Please read manufacturer's warranty for appropriate humidity levels.

Why is the flooring beneath my area rugs and furniture lighter than the rest of the floor?


All wood flooring is more or less photosensitive, and some species are very sensitive to ultra-violet light.  This means the wood reacts to the light it's exposed to by slowly and slightly lightening, or remaining it's original tone if not exposed.  It’s important to prevent the sun’s rays from discoloring your floor by shielding it against direct sunlight. However, it’s normal for hardwood floors exposed to even indirect sunlight to darken or lighten after a while, so for consistency, rotate rugs and furniture to equal out the amount of sunlight exposure and variances will eventually fade away.

Can hardwood flooring improve indoor air quality?


Yes.  Unlike carpeting, bacteria, dust, dirt and allergens cannot cling to wood flooring; simply dustmop, sweep, or vacuum regularly and your wood floors stay pollutant free.

Does it harm the environment to harvest wood to manufacture wood flooring?


No. Trees are a natural, renewable resource that can be continually harvested and replanted without serious environmental impact.
Also consider:
Wood floors last generations making replacement a nonissue Wood floors use less water and energy to produce than other flooring options. Average annual net growth for hardwoods is greater than average annual harvesting Indoor air quality is better with wood floors. Trees are carbon neutral and produce oxygen while storing carbon during lifecycles. At the end of its extended service life, wood flooring can be burned as fuel or recycled.

What is the most durable hardwood floor available?


Most hardwood floors are treated with up to 10 coats of an aluminum oxide finish. While this certainly helps the durability of the floor, it is the hardness of the floor that will give the best indication of durability

Is it safe to use hardwood flooring in a kitchen?


Use caution when installing hardwood flooring in a kitchen. A kitchen is prone to food and liquid spills which can raise the wood's grain or permanently stain or damage a hardwood floor's finish. Be sure to wipe up spills immediately with a dry, clean cloth.

Is a solid wood flooring better than an engineered wood floor?


No. The thicker and better quality engineered woods will last for years and years and can be refinished once or twice. Also, the technology and factory applied, UV-cured urethane finishes with melamine that are used today by hardwood flooring manufacturers makes a really tough, durable finish and is available on both engineered and solid wood floors. Engineered wood floors are also much more dimensionally stable than solid hardwood flooring so they can be used in many situations where solid wood is not recommended.

Can we install hard wood flooring over a concrete slab?


Engineered wood floors can be glued down or floated over a dry, clean, fully-cured concrete slab that is on or below grade. If moisture or humidity is very high at times of the year, perhaps a non-wood flooring option would be a better choice.  There are installation methods used by some hardwood installers to install a 3/4" solid wood floor over a concrete slab, which includes a vapor barrier and building up a wood subfloor on top of the concrete slab. This is not recommended by most hardwood manufacturers--and it also adds considerable cost to the project. Installing an engineered wood floor over a concrete slab would be preferable. 

Can we put hardwood flooring over an existing floor?


In some situations an engineered wood floor can be floated (or glued down) over the top of an existing floor. The existing flooring has to be fully adhered to the sub-floor and be compressed enough so there is no bounce. For example, it is possible to install over a low profile commercial type level loop carpet, or glued-down vinyl flooring or tile

Can I use a paste wax on my hardwood flooring?


Today's wood floors do not require a paste wax to the finish and paste waxes should not be used. Most hardwood floors today have some type of urethane finish and will cloud up and become sticky if a paste wax is applied to the finish.

Can we install hardwood flooring of radiant heat?


Yes, depending on the type of radiant heat used in the home.  It is generally recommended installing a "floating" engineered wood floor over the radiant heated sub-floor, but the installation has to be done according to the manufacturer's exact specifications. Also, the surface temperature of the sub-floor must not exceed 85 degrees to avoid drying out or distorting the wood planks.

Please read the manufacturer`s warranty.

Should I expect my Hardwood flooring to splinter or chip?


All wood is an imperfect natural product and the fact that there are hundreds of boards that make up an entire floor. You may (although very rare) encounter an edge or end of a board that has splintered or checked (split). We would suggest that you examine the floor boards as you are installing them to weed out any boards that you may encounter with these natural inherent character prior to them being installed. If you should encounter any after the flooring has been installed, you can use the edge of a fine grit sand paper to sand off the splinter and touch up the area with some matching finish. You can also use a matching colored wood filler to fill in chips or small holes in the wood. You can also cut out the defective board and replace it with a new one. We also recommend that you save a carton or two of the flooring for any future repairs. I cannot tell you how many times people have called us asking if that flooring is still made or will it match their older flooring because they took down a wall and need a few boards to patch in.

Will my Hardwood flooring be perfectly flat?


Any Hardwood Flooring is going to conform to the shape or flatness of the wood subfloor or concrete slab under it. The flatter the wood subfloor or concrete slab is the smoother and flatter the wood flooring will be. Although we have yet to see a perfectly flat subfloor in all the years we have been in business you do want to try to make sure that the subfloor has no high or low spots that are more than a 1/4 inch in 6 - 8 feet. To do this lay a 6 foot wood or steel level (or straight edge) on its edge on the subfloor in several different areas in the room, if you can see more than a 1/4 inch or more space anywhere under it then you "may" want to try and fill that area up either using a concrete leveler mix for concrete slabs or shimming up a plywood subfloor using wooden carpenter shims from below the subfloor which can be time consuming. For marginal low spots you might also be able to add several additional layers of the felt paper used as an underlayment paper for nail down flooring to bring the low spot up a bit. For high spots you would have to sand these areas down.
Generally if a subfloor has minimal deflection you will not notice it after the flooring has been installed.
For rooms where the subfloors sloap to the other side of the room there is little one can do to correct this except to either pour new concrete over the entire concrete slab and re level it or in the case of a wood subfloor jack that side of the house up. Both can be very expensive to do.

Are hardwood floors hard to maintain?


Hardwood Flooring is one of the easiest types of floor to maintain. We recommend vacuuming regularly using a soft bristle brush, and using the recommended cleaners when needed to restore the shine. We would also recommend using tap-in or self-adhesive chair glides to protect all flooring from becoming scratched by legs of furniture.

Can I wet-mop my Hardwood flooring


Water and wood do not mix. Never wet mop a wood floor -- excessive water can seep between the boards and discolor the wood. Always use the recommended cleaners

Should I wax my urethane finished floor?


Never wax the urethane finish on a hardwood floor. It will cause it to become slippery and leave a film which will dull your factory applied finish causing dirt tracked in to stick into the film. Using a wax will also void most finish warranties

What can I do if the finish becomes dull?


Screening and re-coating is needed when the existing finish has gotten dull from foot traffic. You can lightly sand the Hardwood floor using either a floor buffer with a 220 grit sandpaper type screen or a small hand sander to roughen up the surface of the existing finish. Then recoat the floor with a fresh coat of finish. It is important to know that this method usually does not remove embedded dirt, scratch marks or any dents within the surface of the wood, but it should delay the need for a full sanding and refinishing of the wood floors. There are also fast dry “Refresher coatings” that will temporary make the floors shine.

How do I clean my wood flooring and remove heel marks?


Wood flooring is easy to maintain, but they do have to be cared for. Vacuum the Hardwood floor using a soft bristle brush. Wipe up spills immediately before they dry using a damp cloth or paper towel. Use the recommended cleaning kits specially made to keep hardwood floors clean and let the natural shine come through. Do not use vinegar and water -- it could damage and dull the finish over time. Never wet mop a wood floor -- excessive water can seep between the boards and discolor the wood. Never use oil soaps or furniture polishes -- they can make the floor slippery and/or leave a sticky residue that will track dirt. A trick we have used over the years to remove black heel marks is to lightly rub a large rubber school eraser over the mark.

Can an engineered wood floor be refinished?


Yes, in most cases, you can refinish an engineered floor a few times. You can’t refinish an engineered floor that is hand-scraped or has a veneer thickness that is less than 2mm.


How does moisture affect hardwood flooring?


Moisture on a hardwood floor can cause cracking, cupping (when the outer boards are higher than the center boards), and crowning (when the center boards are higher than the outer boards), so make sure to mop up spills right away.

What is an acceptable moisture content for hardwood floors?


An acceptable moisture content level can range from 4-18%, depending on the area of the country where the floor was installed and the time of year. Please read manufacturer's warranty for appropriate moisture content.

Should I expect color variations in my hardwood floor?


Yes, there is a natural variation in hardwood. Some species show more variation than others.

My wood is denting. I thought I was buying hardwood flooring.


Different species have different hardness ratings. We recommend using Residential Floor Protectors on the feet of heavy furniture and area rugs in high traffic zones of the home to prevent dents and dings.

I moved my area rug, and the wood is lighter where my rug was. What happened?


Sunlight exposure is the most probable cause, which can darken or lighten the exposed area. Wood reacts to ambient light and ages over time. Some degree of color change will naturally occur. We recommend occasionally shifting furniture and area rugs to prevent noticeable shading in the floor.

When I walk across my hardwood floor, I hear popping sounds. Why?


Reasons may include:
•    Uneven subfloors .
•    Incorrect use of trowel and/or adhesive during installation.
•    Use of improper underlayment prior to installation.

This problem may be corrected by your installer.

My wood floor has some damage. Can it be repaired?


Yes, repairs include:
•    Color-blend filler for minor chips
•    Touch-up kit for scratches
•    Board replacement
•    Sanding and refinishing for worn, deeply scratched floors
Is there a stain formula available to match my hardwood floor?

Is there a stain formula available to match my hardwood floor?


Consult a stain specialist that can custom blend a matching stain color to order. Most major paint stores and home centers offer custom mixing programs.


How do I acclimate my hardwood floor?


Open the flooring boxes in the room where the floor will be installed and leave the boxes for 5-7 days. This process “acclimates” the flooring boards to the conditions in the room. Please read the manufacturer`s  installation guide for appropriate acclimation process. 


Where can I install solid wood or engineered wood products?


Solid wood products should be installed on or above ground level. Engineered hardwood flooring can be installed on, above, and below ground level.

Can I install hardwood flooring in my bathroom?


Hardwood is not recommended for rooms with a shower or bathtub due to the potential for water damage.

Can I install hardwood flooring in a basement?


Only engineered hardwood flooring should be installed in a basement. Please read manufacturer`s installation guide.

Can I install hardwood over a vinyl floor?


It depends on how the vinyl floor was installed. If the vinyl is securely attached to the subflooring or has a strong cushion beneath it, you may be able to float an engineered hardwood floor on top.

Note: That you must follow the manufacturer's warranty guidelines and the NWFA guidelines 


Can I install hardwood flooring in high traffic areas?


Due to the sophisticated finishing systems on our products, the finish, which is very durable, is acceptable for high traffic areas. In addition, we always recommend walk-off mats at doorways and pivot points such as kitchen sinks, refrigerators, etc.

Can I install a solid wood floor over a concrete slab?


You can install thin-profile solid wood (5/6” thick) over concrete, but NOT standard 3/4” solid hardwood. Please read the manufacturer`s installation guide. 

Do I need a moisture barrier if my hardwood flooring will be installed above ground?


Yes, the barrier will help prevent moisture from reaching the floor and causing damage. The barrier should be installed between the subfloor and the hardwood flooring.

May I glue down a 3/4" thick solid floor?


We encourage the use of a wood subfloor when installing ¾” solid hardwood. Some adhesive manufacturers have had substantial success with direct glue applications using a variety of different adhesives and moisture retardant systems. Follow the adhesive manufacturer’s recommendations and check their warranty coverage. In a situation where you must direct glue to concrete, please review the adhesive manufacturer’s recommendation for proper application, proper adhesive, and correct trowel notch and spread rate.

Please read the manufacturer`s installation guide.

May I nail down a 3/8" engineered floor?


Yes. We call it a “staple-down” because you use a stapler to install the floor.

Cleaning and Maintenance

After my floors are installed, should I apply a finish coat to seal them from moisture getting into the cracks?


It’s not recommended, as this will alter your finish warranty. If you have reason to be particularly concerned about moisture on the floor, sealing joints can prevent moisture from getting down in the cracks through one seasonal cycle: one cooling (winter) and heating (summer) season. Wood will continue to expand (summer) and contract (winter) throughout its lifetime. Therefore, sealing of the joints will only last until the first heating or cooling season.

What can I use under my furniture to protect the hardwood floor from scratching?


We suggest using floor protectors on the feet of furniture and chairs.

How do I fix a small scratch on my hardwood floor?


There aretouch-up kits for scratch repair. They are available from your localblackriver flooring retailer.

Can I refinish my Hardwood floor?


In most cases, yes.

My hardwood floors have lost their shine. How do I get them to look like they did when they were new?


Fresh Finish that can be applied to a finished floor to refresh the original appearance.

Where can I find cleaning and maintenance products?


Contact the store where you purchased your flooring. They have access to the full line of Blackriverflooring maintenance products.

What should I use under my area rugs?


A breathable rug underlay. Mesh or grid patterns are best. Latex, rubber, or vinyl mats may discolor the floor.

What other cleaning products do you recommend for my hardwood floor?


Other than the recommended cleaners and maintenance products manufactured by Blackriverflooring Hardwood Floors exclusively for factory-finished hardwood floors, you can use dry dusting products and/or a vacuum.

How should I move heavy furniture across my hardwood floors?


When moving or rolling heavy furniture or appliances, use protection-like strips of 1/4" hardboard as a runner under the wheels or legs. Always move items with caution across hardwood floors.

Can I mop my hardwood floors using hot, soapy water?


No. Water will prematurely age your hardwood floors and cause damage.