Hardwood Flooring Toronto Blog

Darmaga Hardwood Flooring specializes in service and installation of hardwood, engineered, laminate and hand scraped flooring in Richmond Hill, Greater Toronto Area and beyond.

Darmaga’s Ultimate Guide to Hardwood Flooring

Darmaga’s Ultimate Guide to Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood Flooring 101: How to Choose the Right Type for Any Room in Your Home

Discover how to select the right hardwood flooring for a beautifully upgraded look anywhere in your home. 

Your floors are literally the foundation of every room in your home. They set the style of your decor and they serve the ultimate practical purpose of providing comfort for every step you take. With lots of exciting new hardwood products on the market, there are more choices than ever these days. So how do you make sure you get the best of both — style and practicality — when you’re selecting new hardwood floors?  

To help you explore your options, here is Darmaga’s ultimate guide to hardwood flooring. Learn the different types and why each has its own advantages in different rooms throughout your home. Then, once you’ve built up your personal knowledge base, stop by our showroom to explore the many styles of hardwood floors in person. 

1. Solid Wood vs Engineered Wood

Like the name suggests, solid wood hardwood flooring is made of a single, solid piece of wood. Once laid, it can be coated, sanded, re-coated, and re-sanded over and over when you need it. 

Engineered wood is real wood too, but it’s not one piece. It consists of many layers of wood laid crosswise to one another and bonded together. The result is a super strong flooring material that withstands moisture and temperature variations better than solid wood. 

2. Finishes

Choosing the type of finish will take a bit of studying before you understand your options. Finishing products can do a lot of different things for your floors and your home, making this much like a lifestyle choice. 

Case in point: if you have kids, you may want to consider polyurethane. It creates a hard, resilient topcoat on your hardwood floors, helping them stand up to the wear and tear of kids. 

  • Polyurethane. This finish is good in the kitchen, where you might have spills, dropped food, and lots of traffic. It’s water resistant and considered impervious to stains and damage. You may scratch the polyurethane but the wood underneath remains protected. You will, however, need to keep up with the maintenance and have them refinished every so often. If there’s a major scratch, it may require significant repair work, like replacing an entire board.  
  • Oiled Hardwood Flooring. Oiled wood floors give a natural, matte glow to any room. Plus, they’re much easier to maintain than floors with a polyurethane finish. If you get a scratch on an oiled hardwood floor, you won’t notice it as much as you would on a floor finished with polyurethane. The scratches in oiled wood have a tendency to disappear into the grain, much like a wood cutting board. Got a more serious deeper ding? Simply sand it out and reapply the oil. 
  • Hand-Scraped Hardwood Flooring. For a rustic look, many homeowners opt for a “distressed” look to their floors. Think of a wood floor that has texture, where each plank is unique with its own combination of imperfections. 

3. Styles

You’ll be surprised to learn that hardwood flooring comes in lots of different styles, so check them all out before you decide. 

  • Wide Plank Hardwood Flooring. When people think of hardwood floors, they typically visualize the traditional, two- or three-inch oak planks you see in old homes everywhere around Toronto. While that was once the gold standard, today’s options have expanded to include planks that are twice as wide. It’s a way to make the room feel special and more luxurious. The larger your room, the wider you can go with your hardwood planks.  
  • Patterned Hardwood Flooring. Wood is a beautiful, natural material that inspires not just fans of home decor but artists as well. Thanks to generations of wood stylists who have honed the art of creating patterned flooring, you can get endless inspiration from browsing the different patterns available for a truly customized look. Just to give you a taste of what’s possible: consider a border of inlaid wood for an understated, yet elegant look. On the other hand, a medallion in your foyer makes a grand statement — it’s the kind of style upgrade that can turn a home into a showplace.
  • Different Hardwood Species. Did you know that almost two-thirds of all hardwood floors are made with Oak? Both White Oak and Red Oak make up the bulk of the hardwood flooring in North America — and with good reason. It’s incredibly strong and durable, not to mention beautiful with its distinctive high-contrast grain. It also takes a stain wonderfully. But there are other species to choose from for a different feel for your room. From the honey-colored hues of Brazilian Maple to the deep, dark tint of Black Walnut, there’s a species to match every decor. If you want your floors to reflect the natural beauty of Toronto and surrounding areas, choose a North American hardwood like maple, ash, cherry, or hickory. 

In the Kitchen: Withstanding Heavy Traffic

Kitchen floors need to hold up under the triple burden of heavy foot traffic, moisture, and stains. Consider a polyurethane finish over a species of wood that’s known to be especially hard and durable (red oak, for example). 

In the Living Room: Focusing on Style

The room where you relax and where family members gather for quality time is an obvious choice for an oiled hardwood floor. Lots of homeowners are forgoing the high-gloss look of polyurethane and opting for the warm, natural look of oil on wood. It shows off the grain of your floors and bonus: it minimizes the effect of scratches on your floors (pet paws, for example). 

In the Bedroom: Going for Warmth

Oiled floors can work well in the bedroom, too. They have a matte finish, and if there’s any room in the house where you don’t want tons of shine, it’s where you sleep. The oil finish is more natural, too, so your bedroom will give off that eco-friendly, spa-like vibe.

But if you have radiant heating in your bedroom floor, you may want to consider engineered wood because it can withstand a much wider temperature range than solid wood.

In the Basement: Combatting Moisture

If you’re thinking of renovating your basement and turning it into a livable space, engineered hardwood flooring might be the way to go. The floor in your basement is most likely concrete, which means moisture will be an issue. Luckily, engineered wood is made of lots of different layers of wood and plywood that are laid crossways to one another and then sealed. That makes for a great moisture barrier, not to mention a tough-as-nails, hardy floor. There will be no need for a subfloor, either: just glue engineered wood planks directly onto the concrete. 

Wrap-Up

Hardwood floors have always been the gold standard of beauty and luxury in home decor. They not only look amazing, they can even add value to your home’s worth. Hardwood flooring gets points in every category: for classic good looks, long-lasting durability, versatility, and eco-friendliness. You really can’t go wrong with hardwood flooring but one last word of advice: have your floors installed by a professional unless you consider your DIY skills to be extraordinary. 

Finally, don’t skip the most fun step of all: stop by Toronto’s largest and most complete wood flooring gallery: the Darmaga Hardwood Showroom. We’re here to help, guide you through our galleries, answer your questions, or give a quote. Learn about your options and see them in person where you can experience the colors, textures, and styles and get a recommendation 

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TYPES OF FLOORING

SOLID HARDWOOD

If properly cared for, a premium solid hardwood floor can last for over a century. Manufactured from a single solid piece of wood, solid wood flooring can be professionally sanded and refinished several times during its life. Ideal above or on grade (main floor), but not below (basement.)

ENGINEERED HARDWOOD

100% real wood with greater usage options, and superior stability (very little movement) through Canada's trying seasonal humidity fluctuations. Made from a core of real wood, and a top layer of hardwood wear layer glued atop the core. Can be installed on, above or below grade in existing and new home construction.

HIGH PERFORMANCE LAMINATE

Cost-effective, versatile and prized for its aesthetic impact, Laminate flooring is made by pressing multiple layers of resin/melamine-impregnated paper on top of and below high density fiberboard (HDF). The top surface is a transparent overlay, which creates a strong, damage-resistant surface that protects the decorative layer beneath.

More scratch resistant than real wood, Satin Flooring High Performance Laminate can be used anywhere, even bathrooms. And because it clicks together board-by-board, single boards are easily replaced.

ENGINEERED HARDWOOD FLOATING FLOORING

A technologically advanced, fashion-forward floor that combines the superior durability and solidity of engineered hardwood with a floating feature, similar to laminate, that lets you install them on any subfloor. A patented "click" design with self-locking joints makes them literally a snap to install. Made with a super-strong, recycled HDF (high density fiberboard) core.

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QUESTIONS ASKED AFTER INSTALLATION OF A FLOOR

 

What inconveniences can I expect during the install?

You must expect there will be noise created by the installation process; unless arrangements are made in advance, the installers must do all their cutting in the general area of the installation.

What do I have to consider with Children and pets?

Children and pets are intrinsically fascinated by the activity surrounding the installation process; and must be kept away from the workspace.

What can I expect from the installer during the install?

You should expect a clean, professional, floor laying expert who respects you and your home. There should be minimal discussion as he sets to his work at hand with the objective of laying your floor quickly and up to standard. For his breaks and lunch he may leave, sit in the room he is working or sit outside. When the install is complete the floor should be broom swept.

What should I be prepared for when the install is complete?

Repainting of the baseboards and ¼ round can be expected after our work is complete.

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QUESTIONS ASKED DURING AN INSTALL

What inconveniences can I expect during the install?

You must expect there will be noise created by the installation process; unless arrangements are made in advance, the installers must do all their cutting in the general area of the installation.

What do I have to consider with Children and pets?

Children and pets are intrinsically fascinated by the activity surrounding the installation process; and must be kept away from the workspace.

What can I expect from the installer during the install?

You should expect a clean, professional, floor laying expert who respects you and your home. There should be minimal discussion as he sets to his work at hand with the objective of laying your floor quickly and up to standard. For his breaks and lunch he may leave, sit in the room he is working or sit outside. When the install is complete the floor should be broom swept.

What should I be prepared for when the install is complete?

Repainting of the baseboards and ¼ round can be expected after our work is complete.

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QUESTIONS ASKED BEFORE INSTALLING A FLOOR

Wood floors add value and beauty to your home, but as with any major home improvement, you can expect some measure of inconvenience and disruption. There are some preparations you must make before the installation can proceed, to ensure a satisfactory result:

What is expected of me before the install day?

1. The building should be completely closed, with outside windows and doors in place to prevent exposure to the elements.

2. All trades using water and/or other liquid components, such as drywall crews, painting contractors, or ceramic tile installers, should have their work complete before the hardwood floors arrive on site. The temperature and relative humidity must be at “normal living conditions” – that is, between 15 – 24 degrees Celsius, and between 35 – 55% relative humidity. If you are planning on air-conditioning your home, then that system should be in place and operating before the hardwood is installed. Temporary heating systems can greatly increase the humidity level in the building, so they should be disconnected, and the permanent heating system should be functional at least 3 days prior to installation of the flooring.

3. All furniture and appliances should be removed completely from the work area. Old floor coverings such as carpet, vinyl, etc. should be removed and the subfloor should be re-nailed to eliminate/reduce squeaks before the new hardwood is installed.

4. Plastic sheets can be hung over doorways leading into the work area to reduce the spread of work generated dust. Cutting and sanding wood produces a lot of dust, there’s no way around it. Some companies will see the dust as being your problem. They may do a quick vacuum and wipe a rag over the floor. At Darmaga we use dust bags for the mitre saws. After the project is complete we sweep the floor. Please note with any installation of floor there is always dust created and may take a few cleanings to get it to an ideal state.

5. Flatten Subfloor. It is rare that the floors in a house are truly flat this is especially true for older homes. The most common problem with flattening negligence, are areas where the flooring sinks, squeaks, or bounces when walked on. In most cases, where the level is off only a small amount, this will not deteriorate the integrity of your flooring; however this is not always true if your floor is off substantially. Dealing with a wooden subfloor is much easier to work with than a concrete sub floor; however in both cases, the solution is adding leveling compound or adding substrate to low spots or if possible, grinding down high spots. A FLAT sub floor will yield flooring that feels nice and solid, and lasts longer! At Darmaga we can help with minor leveling issues, which can be done at time of installation. After the carpet is removed you will be shown the area of concern and you will be given a price by our office before we proceed. For more in-depth leveling issues, which cannot be determined or foreseen at the time of the estimate; it is recommended you find a professional contractor you trust.

Are there extra costs that may arise during an install?

1. Subfloor -Our estimator cannot evaluate the level or general condition of the subfloor/concrete if it is covered by carpeting or furniture. There may be an additional charge if any extra work is required to correct hidden subfloor/concrete problems.

2. Hidden wires – behind/under baseboards or attached to the bottom of the subfloor must be brought to the estimator’s attention so we can evaluate the best way to proceed without incurring damage, however, Darmaga Hardwood will not be held responsible for any incurred damages to wiring systems. Some wiring systems we have encountered do not conform to building codes so please investigate and /or inform our estimator.

3. Plastic sheets hung – if you would like we can supply or supply and install.

4. Furniture moving – if required we can move furniture but we do not move pianos or appliances.

Do I need to acclimate the floor before installing?

The point of acclimating wood flooring before installing it is to allow the moisture content of the wood to adjust to “normal living conditions” at the site – that is, the temperature and humidity conditions that will typically be experienced once the structure is occupied.

Thus, it does no good at all, in fact; it is likely harmful to store wood flooring at the jobsite under conditions that don’t reflect those normal environmental conditions. Some wood flooring may already be at the proper moisture content when delivered. To allow it to sit at the jobsite under excessively humid conditions will only cause the flooring to absorb unwanted moisture or in the case of overly dry conditions lose required moisture content.

The key message is not that acclimation is good; rather, installers need to understand the dynamics of water and wood and make educated judgments about when and how much acclimation is required. To do so requires knowing what the moisture content of the flooring is at the time of delivery and what its expected moisture content will be “in use”.

What direction do you lay flooring?

When you can, it is suggested you lay flooring with the length of a room; it makes a room feel larger. When you lay with the width, it does the opposite. This doesn’t always work out, as it is also suggested that you lay in the direction of the light source. This helps to reduce the amount of lines you see when you walk through a room, making it look less “choppy”. Our sales staff can work with you to help you decide which is most appropriate for your space, however it is ultimately up to you as to what look you prefer.

Do I need to worry about Insurance of installers?

Yes, for two reasons: First, to protect you against accidental injury. Using a company that does not have proper insurance coverage leaves you open to being sued personally if there is an accident. Secondly, in case they cause damage to your house.

At Darmaga the installers are covered with both workers compensation (WSIB) and liability insurance. No worries for you or us.

What is underlayment and do I need it?

Underlayment is a layer of material which is usually installed on top of a subfloor that provides a surface suitable to receive a new floor covering and acts as a vapour retardant and or sound absorption prior to installing a floor.

The use of quality underlayment is critical to a successful installation and to protect your hardwood floor from moisture issues evolving from your subfloor, especially with concrete subfloor.

At Darmaga we use quality underlay to offer you the security and confidence in your floor installation. If you are going to lay something inferior it is not only a waste of time and money on the product but also on the entire investment of your floor.

Do all companies have the same warranty?

Not at all! If you are purchasing flooring from a company and having your own contractor install the flooring you want to make sure your installer is a professional. You will want to ask what their warranty is. Keep in mind, if there is any concern of factory defect in the product, a floor laid is a floor accepted and will usually void any manufacturer’s warranty. If you are buying flooring on a supply and install basis, you want to make sure the company warrants their installers work and the installers are qualified.

At Darmaga we have industry recognized installers and we fully warranty the work. We work with the installers and the manufacturers so there is no back and forth for the homeowner, if there is a problem (unfortunately that sometimes happens) we resolve it and make it right…right away.

What are the different moldings and what are they used for?

1. Quarter Round molding is used to hide the expansion gap left around walls during installation.

2. T molding is used as a threshold in doorways or as a transition strip where the hardwood flooring meets floor or carpet of similar height. T moldings can also be used to change the direction in which the floor is laid.

3. Reducer molding is used as a transition from the height of one floor to the height of another floor.

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Hardwood Flooring in Vaughan

Our new Vaughan (Maple or Concord) showroom is located on 8830 Jane Street inside the Moscone Tile Centre. Come and see new hardwood, vinyl & other flooring collections.

 

Richmond Hill Flooring Company

Our showroom encourages clients to look, feel and learn about each product. Our experienced product & service specialists will recommend products that would be ideal for your lifestyle & rooms.

 

Hardwood Flooring on Jane Street

We carry unfinished and prefinished hardwood, laminates, leather, cork, vinyl and decorative specialty items such as medallions. We carry a variety of finishes, stains, colours and widths in almost every product.

 

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