Save Time With a Prefinished Wood Floor
Factory-finished products mean less work on site, but they demand a more careful installation.
Synopsis: Installing prefinished flooring means that homeowners can enjoy their new floor immediately, without having to wait for it to be sanded and finished. Because of this, however, the installation must be done more carefully. Minor mistakes, such as a dropped hammer or a rock stuck in the sole of a boot, can have costly consequences. Author Charles Peterson, a certified wood-flooring inspector, recommends rethinking every detail, from the type of boots you’re going to wear to the placement of your tools when not in use. He also includes suggestions for preventing damage to the finish, and what to do when the flooring does need to be refinished. Finally, he provides a list of things to consider when shopping for prefinished flooring.
When working with prefinished flooring, it’s important to keep in mind that the finish is permanent. While that may sound a bit obvious, many contractors who are used to installing unfinished wood flooring sometimes find it difficult to transition to prefinished products. They’re used to working atop floorboards that will receive aggressive sanding before the job is done — a safety net of sorts. However, the margin for error when installing prefinished floorboards is small. The most minor mistake or oversight — a dropped hammer, a rock stuck in the sole of a boot, an exposed fitting on an air hose — can have costly consequences. From job-site setup to the layout to the actual installation, getting every detail right is imperative.
I recently installed solid, 3⁄4-in.-thick, prefinished, quartersawn white oak of various widths in my house. The installation process is similar regardless of the type of prefinished flooring you choose. Many of the important lessons that you’ll learn here can even be applied to the installation of prefinished engineered flooring.
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