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When installing a wood floor in a new home or renovation, always carefully inspect the condition of the existing subfloor, noting whether any moisture is present (usually found in an outside wall and often in corners). Then carefully check the integrity of the subfloor itself. Often, the removal of the existing floor can cause delaminating, especially if the existing subfloor is plywood. The resulting nails and debris must be removed before installing or reinstalling your floor. Make sure your subfloor is fastened securely to the joist system below. If any of these items require attention, remedy is relatively simple at this stage. Finding an issue after the new floor is installed is disheartening when realizing it could have been easily repaired beforehand. When the subfloor is in good structural condition and is free of all defects, the next step is to thoroughly sweep and vacuum it prior to installing the finished product.

The Sub-Floor

Whether setting a sub-floor for a new home, or replacing the damaged sub-floor of an existing home, we highly recommend AdvanTech sub-flooring by Huber Wood Products. AdvanTech's quality and durability, combined with it's unique environmentally friendly materials and production makes it the perfect sub-flooring product for you new or renovated home.

Installing the Finished Product

Any type of wood installation will require a stable environment (temperature and humidity) within the house or work area. If wood is installed in an atmosphere that is too humid, it is very possible during the heating cycle that the floor will contract and leave gaps in between the planks. The wider the width of the floor plank, the more noticeable this can be. A drier atmosphere and ambient air will result in a more stable floor. If you are in a humid climate, air conditioning is highly recommended during the installation. Make sure to use a felt or moisture resistant paper under your new wood floor. We recommend using Aquabar. This paper contains a nonpervious emulsion between two sheets of Kraft paper that provides a moisture barrier for the wood from below. When installing the flooring, try to pick the longest available wall perpendicular to the floor joists to start. When properly nailed through the tongue (making the fastener/nail invisible) and through the joist, the floor will be securely fastened. Stagger your joints to provide uniformity and always remember to leave a minimum of 1/4 inch at both ends to allow for expansion and contraction of the wood.

Different floors (pine, maple, cherry, bamboo) will require different installation processes, any of which can be easily located so we won’t elaborate other than noting that you will need to know the specifics and characteristics of each species and how they may affect your installation, usage, and care. Finishing varies between floor species as well. Recycled wood flooring can be especially rewarding in both knowing that you have given the wood another life and the beautiful character and rich look finish. There are two important things to be prepared for when working with recycled wood flooring. First, the general consistency of the wood can vary depending on the age, species, and origin. Second, some recycled wood (especially older oak) will generate way more than the normal amount of dust when being sanded.

Selecting the actual final floor finish is a matter of owner preference and practicality. Possibilities are nearly infinite so we won’t try listing all of them here, but we will offer a few words of advice. The traffic the new floor will endure should be considered when selecting the finish. High gloss finishes will wear longer in areas less traveled. Matte or semi-gloss finishes tend to serve better with pets, children, and higher traffic. Both oil based polyurethane stains and finishes as well as water based finishes will work well. Each has its pros and cons, and the selection really boils down to personal preference. For LEED projects, a low VOC finish must be used. We would therefore recommend using a water based finish for LEED projects. Remember LEED also prohibits the use of non-FSC Certified tropical woods.

The best thing about a wood floor besides its durable, warm addition to the home, is that when it looks worn (which will take many years), a brand new look is only a refinish away.


If your project budget is tight, and you decide that hardwood flooring isn;t an option for you, then there are many wood laminate floors that can fit the bill. Wood laminate flooring has come a long way in terms of durability, look, and refinishing capability since its introduction. We recommend that you install the highest quality lamindate possible for your project. Also note that laminate floor installation is much different than hardwood installation, so make sure you contractor has plenty of experience installing your selected product.

When building LEED, make sure you laminate floor or other non-hardwood flooring products are certified by the USGBC for use in your home. Ws recommend products with a FloorScore rating. All FloorScore rated products are LEED for Homes certified.

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