Squeaks are a common issue with hardwood flooring and have a number of causes. Squeaks can occur between the hardwood flooring and the subfloor or even between the subfloor and the floor joists. Solid wood floor joists can shrink ¼”. If the subfloor isn’t glued properly to the floor joist, it can create a gap between the subfloor and the floor joist and cause a squeak.
Herringbone hardwood flooring has been popular for hundreds, if not thousands of years. They can be found in castles throughout Europe and luxury homes across North America. A herringbone installation provides a client’s home with a unique, traditional look.
At Gaylord hardwood flooring, we offer some very beautiful exotic wood species. We have experimented in manufacturing over 20 species of wood from all over the world. However, we have found that most foreign species do not hold up well in our dry environment and we have settled on only 4 species we are comfortable selling. Jatoba, Tigerwood, Cumaru, and Sucupira. All of these species are from Brazil and purchased from mills that practice sustainable harvesting.
Jatoba is also known as Brazilian Cherry and is probably one of the most commonly used exotic species in hardwood flooring. Jatoba has similar looking characteristics to that of our domestic cherry, but is much harder. In fact, it is 81% harder than red oak. It has a slight red tinge which deepens to a deep red when the wood is fully matured.
Tigerwood is a very unique looking wood that isn’t for the faint of heart. The sapwood of Tigerwood is a brownish white to dirty gray colour, while the heartwood is reddish brown to light golden brown. The species has a very unique wavy, interlocked, irregular grain. It darkens and becomes richer with age. It is roughly 30% harder than red oak.
Sucupira is also known as Brazillian wild walnut. While most of the other Brazilian woods have red undertones, the sucupira is browner making it very popular for clients trying to avoid having red in their floor. It has a very unique grain pattern and some beautiful colour variation. It is softer than the other exotic woods but is roughly the same hardness as hickory which is the hardest North American wood we offer.
Cumaru is also known as Brazillian teak. The cumaru ranges in colour from a light brown to a dark brown with a slight red tinge. It has a nice amount of colour variation; it is less subtle than tigerwood and a little bit more varied than jatoba. It is 2.75 times harder than red oak.
Because these woods are so naturally beautiful, we typically don’t put a stain on them. Since the exotic woods are so dense they are very durable and hold up well in a busy household. If we finish these floors natural, you will be less likely to see gaps between the boards if they occur in the winter months because it is the natural wood all the way through. If you have any questions about our exotic hardwood floors, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Is acclimation a myth?
When asking about a hardwood flooring delivery, you’ve probably had someone tell you “the wood must sit in the home for two weeks to acclimatize”. This is an old myth from the days when wood wasn’t properly kiln dried. The wood would need to sit in the home in order to actually dry out. Hardwood lumber is now properly kiln dried this is not required.
The Problems with Acclimating Wood Flooring
In most cases this would do more harm than good. For instance, consider the example of a new home. There are thousands of gallons of excess water in the home. The hardwood flooring delivered will be the driest material on site and will absorb the moisture like a sponge. After absorbing moisture the wood will expand. If it is installed at a high moisture level, when the home adjusts to normal living conditions there will be significant gapping throughout. See gapping picture on the left.
Acclimation in Dry Conditions
The opposite will be true if the flooring has been acclimated in an environment that is too dry. It will absorb moisture in normal living conditions and permanently cup. Since each individual board has a different grain pattern, it will expand and contract in different ways, creating width variations. So you may have one end of the board that is bigger than the other making it very difficult to install, especially in wider boards.
How Width Variation Occurs
Here are two boards from the same batch of wood that have been acclimated in the wrong environment
Gaylord Hardwood Flooring is dried between 6-8% making it ideal for normal living conditions so in most cases it doesn’t need to acclimate at all.
We often have clients asking about oil finished hardwood flooring. Oil finishes have a very lower sheen providing a natural look that is extremely popular. Oil finish flooring is marketed as a very forgiving, low maintenance options. The fact is, oiled finished hardwood floors are very high maintenance.
How to get an "Oil Finish" without the maintenance
At Gaylord Hardwood Flooring, we offer many options that will give you the appearance of an oiled hardwood flooring, but without all of the maintenance. Our finish consists of 10-coats of polyurethane, enhanced with titanium oxide, that has a 40-year finish warranty. Meaning; our finish will not wear through for 40 years, and we guarantee it. Some companies selling oil finished hardwood floors offer a "lifetime guarantee", but then go on to say the floors need to re-oiled periodically. This statement would be like us saying "you have a lifetime finish warranty, but need to have it refinished every few years". Does that make any sense?
Nobody wants to move all of their furniture out and oil or refinish a hardwood floor. Hence why we put on a finish that lasts.
How easy it is to repair our prefinished matte and distressed floors
Another sales pitch from companies that sell oiled hardwood flooring is the idea it is "easy to repair". I can assure you, our matte finishes are much easier to correct. You can easily rub some stain on the scratch, and you won't be able to notice it any longer. Take a look at the video below for some proof.
Oil finished flooring can change color
We are always matching to oil finish samples. There are many beautiful oil finish colors available. However, they will not always look that way. Over only two years, I witness a costly oil finish floor go from two-toned grey to dark brown due to foot traffic. Some of the low traffic areas, near the walls, are still grey, but the high traffic areas are dark brown. When we match to an oil finish sample for a client, it ensures they get the same look and feel, but the stain color is permanent. Clients always breathe a sigh of relief when they select the perfect stain color. It would be very disheartening to see your beautiful hardwood flooring change to a different color.
Don't fall for the clever marketing of companies that sell "oil finished" hardwood floors. Take a look at some of our beautiful pictures and see how natural looking our matte or distressed hardwood floors look. These options are perfect for a busy household, or those simply going for an easy to maintain floor.
Watch the full video here:
All wood floors have one thing in common. They are only as good as the subfloor beneath them. Everything in your home interacts with your subfloor so making the right choice has a long term effect. Just because subfloors are not visible that doesn’t make them not important.
- Hardwood floors will literally last a lifetime.
- They’re natural—and, as explained below, more environmentally friendly than rumour might have you believe.
- Dirt and allergens have nowhere to hide.
- The wide variety of colours, textures and styles make wood very versatile.
“Thanks so much for the invitation to visit your showroom recently. Congratulations on your 25th anniversary and on the beautiful showroom. The renovated space is an informative and inspirational showcase for all your products. I’m sure visitors will find the room vignettes very helpful when it comes to making a decision about flooring. Choosing flooring is like choosing stone for a countertop – you need to see more than just a small sample to fully appreciate the product. Seeing the product installed underfoot is truly the best way to shop for flooring. The installations show the variations in the grains of the woods and the great number of finish options. I also like the way the wall colours, mouldings, furniture and styling of each vignette help visitors visualize how each type of flooring works with various decorating and architectural styles. You’ve truly managed to maximize all of your square footage. I am amazed at the quality and breadth of your products and look forward to working with you in the future for stories in STYLE AT HOME.”
- Margot Austin
Senior Design Editor
STYLE AT HOME
When discussing delivery and installation dates with clients, they are almost always under the impression that the wood flooring must sit in their home before installation. We’ve all heard someone in the flooring industry say the wood flooring must sit in the home to acclimate for a period of time before installation. There are all different answers from 5 days to 2 weeks or more. This is an old myth from back before wood flooring was properly kiln dried. The wood flooring needed to sit in the home to actually dry out. Wood flooring is kiln dried between 6- 9% moisture content which is the optimum moisture level for a home with normal living conditions.
Problems with leaving the wood flooring on site to acclimate
For a real understanding of where this moisture would be watch our YouTube video Wet Houses: Click Here
In most cases, having the wood flooring sit on site before installation will cause far more harm than good. Take for instance, a new home. The wood flooring will be the driest product in the home and will absorb the surrounding moisture like a sponge. New homes have thousands of gallons of moisture trapped inside creating a very humid environment.
If wood flooring sits on a new home construction site with a relative humidity of 70%, it can easily start cupping inside the boxes within 48 hours. If the wood flooring is in the home while it is being painted, or drywalled, the cupping within the boxes can happen even faster. Drywall mudding and painting can account for over 200 gallons of moisture in a new home. It is all airborne humidity and can create an environment with a humidity level over 90%.
Hardwood Flooring cannot sit on site while wet trades are working.
Also, since wood flooring is a natural product and each piece is different, the boards will not all shrink and expand the same way. Having a board wider on one end or having each board a different width will make for a difficult installation.
For more information on Width Variations, check out our YouTube video: Click Here
The same is true in the humid summer months. If the wood absorbs moisture on site before it is installed, it will shrink excessively when the home is dry or reaches normal living conditions.
For more information, watch our YouTube Video on Acclimation: Click Here
Acclimation of wood flooring depends on the situation
Every situation is unique, and may or may not require acclimation. If someone at a flooring store tells you how long you should acclimate your flooring for without knowing your situation, they have a lot to learn when it comes to the important relationship between wood flooring and moisture.
If you have a cottage that is not heated in the winter; a crawl space; a structure on piers; or any situation that may not be considered normal, please contact us at email@example.com for more detailed information on acclimation.
In the Northeast, we have a very unique climate. It is hot and humid in the summer and cold and dry in the winter. Acclimating your flooring too much to either of these seasons can cause permanent damage to your hardwood flooring. If your wood flooring sits in your home too long in the winter and dries out, it will expand and permanently cup in the summer or when the home reaches normal living conditions. This is why it is typically best to install your hardwood flooring right away. Our warehouse is climate controlled to a relative humidity of 40% which is the optimum humidity level for your hardwood flooring. The moisture content of your hardwood flooring will be between 6-9% which corresponds to a relative humidity level between 30-50%. You do not want the relative humidity in your house to go outside this range, not only for the health of your flooring but for your own health.
Of course, there are situations where wood flooring will need to acclimate. If we are delivering our wood flooring to a very dry region like Alberta or Arizona, we will want the wood to acclimate. The normal living conditions in these areas are on the drier end of our recommended humidity range so the wood flooring will need to dry out before installation. If the wood flooring is installed right away, when it eventually dries out, there will be gaps in the flooring. If the wood flooring is to be installed in higher humidity coastal regions, the wood will need to absorb moisture before installation. If the wood is installed too dry, when it picks up moisture from the higher humidity environment it will expand and could cause permanent cupping. The goal is to acclimate the wood to whatever the normal living conditions are and ensure the wood flooring moisture content is within 2% of the subfloor moisture content.
One of our specialties at Gaylord Hardwood Flooring is our Wide Plank Flooring. We offer planks up to 11.5" wide. Although these boards are sawn to be extremely stable, they still require more than your traditional hardwood flooring installation.
Things to consider when installing wide plank flooring
- If you think about it, a 2 1/4" floor will take 5 times more nails than an 11.5" floor.
- In order to make up for the lack of nails, we put a bead of eurethane based adhesive every 36" for 5 and 6 inch boards.
- For boards wider than 6" we put the bead of glue, every 18 inches.
This installation method is very important in wide plank floors, in order to prevent squeeks. One of the keys is to use an adhesive that allows the wood to move freely, and doesn't restrict it in any way.
Watch our video to get a visual of the entire installation process
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Cupping hardwood flooring
Engineered Hardwood Flooring: What is the optimal thickness and ratio?
Engineered hardwood flooring can be very confusing. This video outlines what makes a high quality engineered hardwood floor. Gregory Gaylord will describe the pros and cons of several engineered hardwood flooring options.
"Just a quick note to commend you and your staff for the excellence of your showrooms, products and customer service. We found your staff to be courteous, friendly and helpful and they helped make our choice of flooring easy. The quality of the flooring is excellent and there was almost no waste when I laid it. The boards were all of uniform dimensions and almost completely flawless. I have laid other hardwood flooring and the difference in quality and uniformity made the job so much easier this time. The finished product looks excellent especially considering the fact that this is an old farmhouse and there isn't a flat or level floor in the place! Again, congratulations to your company for an excellent product and service. I will certainly be recommending Gaylord to anyone who is thinking of hardwood flooring for their home."
- Duane I. Boyd
Tape Is Kryptonite on Hardwood Flooring
In the past few years we have experienced issues with painters tape removing the finish from hardwood flooring. This isn’t something that only occurs with our finish but is a problem across the entire industry. More and more manufacturers are adding this as an exclusion in their warranty.
With hardwood floor finishes being so durable, you have to wonder how this could possibly happen from something as harmless as painters tape. It is actually the chemical resins in the tape used to prevent it from drying out that causes this to happen. These chemicals are trapped under the tape and will eat away at the finish over time. The longer the tape in on the floor, the more likely it will be to cause problems.
Where we see this happen most often is on the flooring near stair nosings or other transition pieces. These areas are prone to this for two reasons. #1 at a nosing or transition piece you have people stepping on the tape constantly, further pushing the chemicals into the finish. The second reason is that these are often pieces that have been ripped along the sides or cut at the ends. Since the surface isn’t entirely sealed, the chemicals are able to get in under the finish which causes the most damage.
Some brands of painter’s tape are safe on hardwood flooring but only for a short period of time. Say 24-48 hours or so. Typically, when someone puts tape on their hardwood floor to install protective paper, it is on the flooring for far longer than 48 hours. The safest way to prevent this problem is to avoid putting tape on the hardwood flooring altogether. If you are installing protective paper or something similar to prevent damage, be sure to tape the paper together and not directly to the hardwood flooring.
Why We Love Selling Wide Plank White Oak Hardwood Flooring
When we tell people we manufacture and sell solid hardwood flooring up to 11.5” wide, they look at us like we are crazy, especially if they are in the flooring industry. To most people, the wider the board the more likely you are to have problems with cupping, gaps, etc. We can happily say that our wide plank live sawn white oak is our most trouble free hardwood flooring option, and the one where we receive the fewest complaints.
The live sawn method of sawing the boards makes it incredibly stable, minimizing cupping, gaps, and squeaks if installed properly. Of course, all of these problems can occur in environments with extreme humidity fluctuations but happens significantly less than other hardwood flooring options.
Because of the rustic look and texture of most live sawn floors you hardly notice cupping if it does occur. When you have a hardwood floor with a smooth finish and a high gloss, especially in a dark floor, even the slightest cupping is very noticeable. This makes the live sawn white oak an ideal hardwood flooring option for a cottage environment which will have more relative humidity fluctuations than a normal home.
In an extremely dry environment, even hardwood floors as stable as our live sawn white oak can shrink. In a rustic wide plank hardwood floor, gaps are almost expected and really don’t take away from the overall look and appeal of the floor. In a traditional hardwood floor, especially one with a dark stain, gaps in the floor are magnified. This is especially true with very light woods like maple, hickory, and ash. If the flooring has a stain, the tongues on the boards are still white and when the wood shrinks, this white tongue is exposed. This isn’t an issue with natural floors but very noticeable when the wood is stained.
Of course, most people expect engineered hardwood flooring to be our most problem free flooring option but it isn’t. When a solid wide plank live sawn white oak floor is dried out, it shrinks and the worst case scenario is you get some gaps between the boards. When a wide plank engineered floor is dried out, the surface wood layer shrinks and the plywood below doesn’t. This causes the surface wood layer to check and crack. When we make the wide plank engineered flooring with a two-pass or distressed finish with a low sheen, these cracks are less noticeable, but are still there. With proper humidification these cracks should close up but will always be there.
Another reason we have so few complaints with our wide plank live sawn white oak is because of its rustic appearance. Clients buying this floor are expecting a lot of character and not a perfect floor. Wood is a natural product and there is no such thing as a perfect floor. If a live sawn white oak floor gets dented or scratched, it adds to the character and charm of the floor. On a standard hardwood floor with a perfectly smooth finish, these same dents take away from the look of the floor and are considered by most clients to be an issue requiring repair. These dents and scratches look especially bad on a floor with a dark stain and a higher gloss finish. So there you have it, those are the reasons why I would much prefer to sell someone wide plank live sawn white oak than any other floor. It makes the world a better place for everyone.
Me- I don’t receive complaints. People call to tell me how much they love their flooring which is very rewarding and music to my ears.
Builder- The builder doesn’t have to be as cautious when protecting the hardwood floor on the jobsite. With a standard hardwood floor, it is like everyone working in the home is walking on eggshells. Installer- The wide planks and long boards make the installation faster and easier. If the installer drops a tool on the floor or dents it somehow, it only adds to the look. Face nails can be used a little bit more in certain areas because when filled properly, they will rarely be noticed.
Homeowner- Any floor, no matter how hard the wood, is going to get dented and scratched. With our wide plank live sawn white oak, these dents either add to the look or can easily be touched up so they aren’t visible.
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You May Be Paying Way Too Much for Your Wide Plank Flooring
In his book “All Marketers are Liars,” Seth Godin describes and compares the Volkswagen Toureg to the Porsche Cayenne. He states that they are virtually the same care and are actually built in the very same factory. The Volkswagen is $36,000 and the Porsche is $80,000. The book was written in 2005 so I am sure those prices are different now but it is easy to understand the point he is trying to make. It is the same car but once is more than twice as expensive as the other.
Porsche Cayenne VS. Volkswagen Toureg
Why? Is it simply the name Porsche that causes people to spend the extra money? “I drive a Porsche” definitely sounds a little bit more prestigious than “That’s my VW” no matter how nice the vehicle is. Is it really worth paying twice as much for something just to get you from A to B? For many people the answer is yes, and I can’t say I blame them. If you have the money you can buy whatever vehicles you want. I’d potentially do the same assuming I didn’t work for my parents! This is a really interesting comparison and I’d like to take it a step further. What if the Volkswagen was actually better in all aspects? Handling, fuel mileage, longevity, features, appearance, comfort, etc. Would you still rather have the Porsche or is the Volkswagen looking like a much better option? This is the comparison we make to our biggest competitor in wide plank hardwood flooring. Our products are a lot alike in many ways. Our average board lengths in our wide plank hardwood flooring is 6-7’ and so is theirs. Our standard wide plank hardwood flooring offerings come in planks from 4” to 11.5” and so do theirs. There are however, two extremely important areas where we differ. One is our pricing, our wide plank flooring is typically under $15 per square foot and there options are typically well over $20 per square foot. Another huge difference is our finish. We offer 10 coats of polyurethane with titanium oxide and a 40 year warranty, their finish has a few coats of finish and no warranty. Yes, you read that right, people can pay 25-100% more money and get a finish with absolutely no warranty. Huh?
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Gaylord Hardwood Flooring Wins "Best Manufacturer Factory Finished" Wood Floor of the Year
Greg Gaylord accepts award from NWFA Chairman Jeff Fairbanks on Wednesday April 29th
Gaylord Hardwood Flooring was presented with the National Hardwood Flooring Association’s “Wood Floor of the Year” award in the Best Manufacturer Factory Finished Category. Lewis, Greg, and Rosemary Gaylord were on hand to accept the award. The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) has over 3000 members in more than 50 countries worldwide making this award the most coveted in the hardwood flooring industry. A panel of judges comprised of trade and consumer press editors, industry leaders, and professional designers, evaluated the individual categories to determine the winners. The award was presented at the 2015 NWFA Convention held at Edward Jones Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. Some of the visitors/speakers included; Bill “Coach Bill” Courtney from the documentary “Undefeated”, Gary Sinise; best known for his role as Lieutenant Dan in Forrest Gump, and Hall of Fame baseball player Ozzie Smith. The trade show portion of the convention had some pretty incredible exhibits as well as an education demo stage and it was held right on the field where the St. Louis Rams play which was really cool.
"We just had our hardwood floor installed and it looks beautiful. One of the major differences we see with our floor is the length of pieces. I would say that at least 20-30 per cent of each box contained full length pieces. This is a selling point with your firm and I am pleased to say that you were "true to your word". My wife and I have nothing but praise for young Drew Chadwick who installed our floor. First of all, Drew is a very polite and accommodating professional who would answer all our questions. Secondly, and most importantly, we had an issue with one of the floor joists being higher than the rest. This created a challenge for us and Drew called upon your expertise at your factory to arrive at a solution. It is this kind of thinking and support that results in both job and customer satisfaction. I would highly recommend Drew Chadwick for any future installations that you have. He will serve your company well."
- Reg & Val Gore
Hickory Virginia Distressed Hardwood Flooring
Sometimes when clients visit our showroom looking to redo their floors, they do not always know where to begin. One of the questions they ask us is “What if the floor doesn’t match my furniture?” In a lot of home renovations or even new builds, a trend that is becoming more and more popular is for people to install hardwood throughout the entire home. This means not only will the flooring be a part of every room in the home, it will inevitably turn into a very important feature that can define the character and style represented in the home. This is why a high quality hardwood floor that will last over time is a big investment that requires careful selection.
Furthermore, once a client has decided they want to install hardwood throughout the entire home, it is a big decision seeing as once the floor is put down, it is much more difficult to replace, as opposed to switching it out like furniture. By keeping this in mind, clients should envision their new floor as a character defining feature and element they love. It should not just be seen as the finishing touch or accessory that brings the room together but more so like the canvas for the artwork. Investing the money in a good quality hardwood floor that has the right stain and finish for the project in question leaves the door open for limitless possibilities when designing the rest of the home.