Hardwood Flooring Definitive Guide (2018 Updated)


There are many wood options available to meet everyone's needs.
Hammer-in pads for your furniture can extend the life of your floor.
Stains can dramatically change the look of your floor.
Vents, borders, and medallions can brighten up existing floors.
Refinishing an old hardwood floor is more sustainable than replacing the floor.
If you just purchased a new home you might want to have your floors refinished prior to moving in. Not only does this save you money, you do not have to move all the furniture twice.
You can spice up your existing floors by installing borders and medallions.
Hardwood floors raise the value of your home.
Hardwood floors look newer, longer.
Hardwood flooring expresses history throughout a home.
Area rugs in high traffic areas will help to prevent exposure to dirt and water.
Existing stairs can be easily refinished for a brand new look.
Choosing a hardwood floor company that is licensed & bonded can save you money down the road.
Adding quarter round to the trim may enhance the appearance of your new hardwood floors.
Waterborne finish delivers low VOCs.
Wood floors make your indoor air quality better.
Acclimation is key for proper installation.
Maintenance coats keep your wood floors looking like new.
Preparation is key to a proper installation, sand & finish.


"The Kinseys were very professional and spent time with me discussing the project and what I was looking for in terms of color before I even hired them. I wanted a dark color, but I didn't like the stain on the oak boards. After seeing some pictures, I had my heart set on 3-inch Brazilian Cherry. The installation went quickly once the wood was acclimated. Ryan and Jess finished up with the Trio sander and I could definitely see a huge change in the final sanding process. I wanted a base finish that was going to last a lifetime. I chose Waterborne finish knowing that there would be zero odor afterward. I was surprised by how the Brazilian Cherry looked when the job was complete. I don't think I'm ever going to sell my home. Thank you Ryan and Jess."

Tom P.
Camas, WA
"The Kinseys were very informative about refinishing my oak floors. They sold me on their craftsmanship and product line. I'm happy to say that the job went smoothly and I didn't think my floors could look as good as they do. Thank you Kinsey Hardwood Flooring for all your hard work."

Joanne S.
Portland, OR
"I was undecided about extending more hardwood flooring throughout my house. I wanted the floors to match but I knew that the floors I have now are 2.25-inch white oak and were installed in the late 80's. Kinsey Hardwood Flooring came and gave me a bid and educated me very well on how critical it is to match the existing species and grade. I felt very confident that my floors were going to match up just fine. Jess and Ryan performed a perfect blend when weaving the floor together. I was so excited to see my house full of beautiful hardwood floors. The sanding process was fast and shockingly clean. I picked the eco-friendly finish that was commercial grade and I got three coats. It was nice to step away from the Swedish odors from my previous house and use a low-odor but very strong and durable waterborne finish. The job and the decision to use Kinsey Hardwood Flooring was well worth the wait. Fantastic job guys."

Greg B.
Portland, OR
"I had Kinsey Hardwood Flooring do everything to the floors. They demoed the carpet and padding and removed all the staples before installing 3-inch maple. The house stayed very clean and the job site was always looking very professional. Ryan and Jess met all the scheduling requirements. I felt like I could trust these guys in my house and trust that they would give me an exceptional job. After the install was done, I could see their work and was impressed. The sand and finish was icing on the cake. The products they used were outstanding. The waterborne finish they applied worked out perfectly for me and the odor was very low to nothing. They exceeded my expectations. Thanks Kinsey Hardwood Flooring."

Joe N.
Portland, OR
"Kinsey Hardwood Flooring did a great job on refinishing our old Douglas fir floors. Keeping the dust to a minimum was crucial for us. The Kinseys pulled through with flying colors. Jess's and Ryan's work was excellent and they were a pleasure to be around. Having the owners on the job sure made a difference in quality from our past experience. Thank you guys."

Lisa & Ken M.
Portland, OR
"My husband and I wanted a more durable, easier-to-clean floor for our hectic family lifestyle. We chose Kinsey Hardwood Flooring to install hickory hardwood floors because of the wood's density and longevity, as well as the toughness of the waterborne finish they used. They were so understandable in the way that they conveyed information to us about the high-quality products that they use. The owners, Ryan and Jesse, were both on the job, exceeding my and my husband's expectations. We love the job Kinsey Hardwood Flooring did."

Mary & Bill C.
Vancouver, WA
"I just want to say, "Thanks guys for making what I thought would be a nightmare job into a dream job." I was skeptical about having my oak hardwood floors refinished because of all the horror stories I had heard about dust. When I saw how Kinsey Hardwood Flooring conducted themselves at the estimate, my worries were leaving me as they discussed their dustless system and how clean they would keep the house. When I showed up at the house to see the progress, I was happy to see that they had hung plastic and tape over all the cabinets in the kitchen, and they were keying on protecting the important things that I couldn't get off the walls. My house was 98% dust-free just like they said it would be. They were very respectful and they made the job a joy to have done. I highly recommend Kinsey Hardwood Flooring to anyone. I can't wait to have you guys back to do more work."

John & Sarah G.
Lake Oswego, OR
"I'm a wife and a mother of three and I want a respectful company in my home and I want my family to be safe from any toxic finishes on my new hardwood floors. In my search for a hardwood floor company I wanted to use a family-owned and operated hardwood company. I decided on Kinsey Hardwood Flooring. When Jess came to my house to do the estimate he politely introduced himself and told me a little bit about what his company stands for. We started talking about family and the environment as he was measuring. Then he started telling me how environmentally-friendly hardwood flooring is. Jess was explaining how the forests are harvested to make these hardwood floors, what woods are quickest to regenerate, how hardwood flooring actually has a positive impact on the environment, discussed different types of low-toxicity finishes, etc... I said, "WOW!" I couldn't believe how green hardwood flooring is! Jess told me about all the different woods that would best suit my wants and needs. After talking for a while I decided on having lyptus hardwood flooring installed with waterborne finish. I had Kinsey Hardwood Flooring install lyptus flooring throughout my entire house. What a glowing difference. The job went perfectly smoothly and we were back in our home before hew knew it. My house was spotless! Awesome job guys! Thank you so much Jess & Ryan."

Beth A.
Camas, WA
Jesse & Ryan, Thanks for the great job on my maple floors. I have to say that the floors actually look better now than they did when they were originally installed. The finish is perfect and your work was done on time and on budget. You left my home clean and dust-free. Thanks again!

Patrick B.
Camas, WA
"We'd been thinking about getting hardwood floors in our house for quite a while, got a couple different estimates, but were concerned about price and disruption to our living area during installation. We support using local, independent business over big-box stores so I found Kinsey Hardwood Flooring in Woodland, WA through a simple Google search. We already knew what we wanted so when Jesse Kinsey came to give us an estimate, I was impressed with how passionate he was about hardwood flooring! He convinced me of his expertise, his bid was reasonable, and he seemed excited to get started. I was impressed with how conscientious he was to keep ALL the dust out of the rest of the house and his focus on installing floors with expert precision. He seamlessly blended new flooring into the existing floor and fixed a former flaw along the staircase. Jess did an excellent job! We are so pleased with the results and wholeheartedly recommend Kinsey Hardwood Flooring."

Dottie T.
Woodland, WA
"My wife and I contacted Kinsey Hardwood Flooring because they are a local, family-owned business. We found them to be very responsive, prompt, and thorough. They restored our walnut floors to their original luster. It was fun to work with true craftspeople who get excited about real wood flooring products. We unreservedly recommend Jesse and Ryan for your hardwood flooring needs."

Keith and Sharon P.
Woodland, WA
"Kinsey Hardwood Flooring came to do an estimate for me on an install, sand, and finish that would best match my decor. They were so knowledgeable and they were able help me decide on 4-inch walnut for my house in no time at all. I couldn't ask for anything better. Thank you Ryan and Jess."

Barbra K.
Portland, OR

Now is the time for you to install wood floors into your home. The durability and beauty of wood flooring will add value to your home and add instant elegance. Best of all, there is a cornucopia of wood colors and styles that will make your interior dreams come true.

What do you need to know about hardwood floors before you contact your local wood floor installation and refurbishment professionals? Obviously, you want to know how much will the hardwood floors cost and whether you should buy wood flooring or engineered wood flooring. You will also want to ask your hardwood professional whether they will need to install a sub-floor or incur any other expense.

Once the floors are installed, you will want to know how do you care for your wood floors. How do you keep the wood from being scratched? What can damage the floors and what are the ways to prevent anything destructive happen to your beautiful investment?

Here are some of the important details you need to know in order to ask the right questions and make the wood flooring decision that will make you happy for years to come.


Be Floored With Your Investment: Why You Should Choose Hardwood

Hardwood floors are a stunning addition to your home. The lasting color and natural beauty of wood looks sensational in any style of home. Whether you decide to install wide planks or small square parquet flooring, wood flooring can express your arty interior dreams.

Deciding between wood flooring and carpeting can be quite a dilemma. While carpeting is very cozy and the cost is lower than wood flooring, carpeting needs to be replaced as little as five years after it is installed.

Hardwood floors are often accused of being cold, particularly in colder climates. Underground flooring and area rugs near sofas and under tables can be a warm solution. Your local professional hardwood installer can offer you satisfying solutions to owning beautiful flooring and keeping your home feeling cozy and warm.


Is hardwood flooring expensive?

Hardwood floors offer classic beauty and longevity. There are such beautiful wood options like Brazilian Cherry, Red Oak, White Ash or classic Maple. With solid hardwood flooring there is a cost for professional installation. These costs drive up the price of owning beautiful hardwood floors. But once the floors are installed, the maintenance is very easy and the room looks elegant. Most of all, this is a lasting investment that does not need to be replaced for a quarter of a century. This is an investment on your home that you will never regret.


Engineered Hardwood vs Solid Hardwood

Hardwood floors are the traditional floors made of one hundred percent wood. Homeowners and interior designers find that hardwood floors can match or compliment other wood features in a home. Considered more quiet, these floors are long lasting and are very solid. They are usually installed and then the varnish and topcoat are added after installation. These beautiful floors are easy to care for.

The biggest downfall of solid hardwood floors is that they are very sensitive to the elements. They can suffer from sun damage, but water is particularity dangerous to wood floors, from water drops to humidity. Hardwood installed on the second floor can be noisy with creaks and snaps heard below.

Engineered hardwood floors is also made of wood, but the wood is not a solid piece like hardwood floors. Instead, it is made of layers and layers of thin strips of wood with a piece of solid wood on top. It is installed without any sort of glue and nails, over a thin foam.

Engineered hardwood is created to withstand a variety of natural obstacles, particularly moisture. One thing that engineered hardwood cannot withstand is sanding. So if there are scratches or damage of any kind, this sort of wood has to be replaced, not sanded.


Which Do You Choose: Click Lock vs Tongue and Groove

Deciding whether to have click lock or tongue and groove isn’t one of the most obvious choices. There are benefits of both as well as some issues. It comes down to installation ease and expense.

Tongue and groove is old school traditional design. Using planks, the tongue slips into the groove. More labor intensive, the wood is secured by using glue or installed with well placed nails. These wood floors can be installed on a sub-floor or can be floating. Environmentalists will be happy to note that going the tongue and groove route will have very little wood waste.

Tongue and groove is more expensive because you must have a professional to install the floors. Because they are installed with an adhesive, tongue and groove floors are less convenient when it comes to repairs. Repairs are more labor intensive which means you will be digging into your wallet a bit more when you repair a tongue and groove floor.

Click lock floors are very popular with those who go the DIY route. These floor boards are made to look like real wood. They are made of either engineered wood or laminate with a layer of paper on top. These floors offer a lot of variety of colors and styles including thicknesses.

Click lock floors are easy to install because of the easy snap and no messy glue. They can be clicked into What is especially easy is that these floors can be installed over pre-existing floors. This means that you are saving money by avoiding the time of tearing out an old floor, or the expense of building a sub-floor.

Although a sub-floor is not necessary, there can be some sound issues with click lock floors. Although the floors are securely locked with a snap, moldings may be needed to give your wood floors a finished look.


When Is The Best Time To Replace My Hardwood Floors?

Hardwood floors have incredible beauty, but as with any sort of beauty, there needs to be regular maintenance and eventually, some bigger cosmetic changes. But how do you know when the time has come to replace your hardwood floors?

Have you sanded down your floors three to five times over the life of the hardwood floors? It may be time to replace those floors, depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations. One thing to know for sure, when you can feel the nails under the wood you know that the floor has been over sanded. If this is the case, a quick call to your local professional will determine what can still be done or if it is time for new flooring.

Water stains and damage is one of the top causes for floor replacement. It is very distressing for a homeowner to see their beautiful floors buckling, or wood damaged and peeling. A professional can examine and determine if some boards need to be replaced, if the damage is minimal enough to do some repair work, or if the wood floors need to be completely replaced.

Time is another reason for floor replacement. The years go by fast and despite good maintenance your floors lack that luster they once had. Your floors could even feel a bit soft. If it has been a quarter of a century or more since you last replaced your floors, now is the time to change your hardwood floors and refresh your room.


When Should I Refinish My Hardwood Floors?

There are two reasons for refinishing hardwood floors. The first is when you want to change the color of the wood. The better known reason is when the floors look a little beat up. There could be furniture scratches, sun bleaching or even heel marks that can’t be removed any other way.

Although many homeowners may be tempted to turn this into a DIY project it is best to leave this to the professionals. The pros have the high-powered equipment. Unlike the expensive rentals that DIYers rent, professionals use 220 volt machines that do the job.

Your local professional hardwood floor expert will know how much wood is left on your flooring. This is important as most hardwood floors are three fourths inch thick. The basic requirement to sand down hardwood floors is at a minimum, a teeny tiny one-thirty-two of an inch. Floors need to be refinished around six to eight times before they need to be replaced.


How Should I Clean My Hardwood Floors?

Hardwood floors–whether engineered or real wood–require regular, but easy maintenance to look luxurious and elegant. You want to keep your beautiful floors dry and you don’t want to harm them with dirt, water or the sun. Here are some easy tips to keep your floors looking beautiful.

Use furniture pads under table and chair legs. When moving any sort of unprotected furniture, put a soft cloth underneath the piece and simply glide the heavy furniture across your beautiful floors without creating a mark.

Be observant. Use area rugs in front of the kitchen sink to prevent the wood below from getting splashed. Use a mat at the entrance of the house to protect the floors from water. Make your home a shoe-free household to avoid any footwear marks or dirt trail.

Regularly vacuum or use a soft mop to clean up floors. Be sure to use oil based products to clean your floors. Better yet, consult with a hardwood professional before cleaning your floors. They will advise you which sort of cleaning product that will protect your floors without scratching or damaging the smooth beauty.

Make sure to close the shutters or drapes in order to prevent the sun from invading your house and discoloring your floors. Avoiding any sort of direct sun will keep the color looking rich and natural.


Winter Is Coming: How To Protect Hardwood Floors

If wood was Superman, then water would be hardwood’s kryptonite. No matter where you live winter brings along a cornucopia of water mixtures. These include rain, snow, ice or even variations of snice.How do you shield your floors from any sort of H2O variation?

Floor mats are the number one way to keep the wood floors underneath remaining gorgeous. The key is to fully cover the floors and to pull out the mat to dry. Another option it to layer two mats in the entrance. This way a dry mat continues to protect the wood floors underneath. Immediately dry any moisture from a jacket or shoes hit the wood flooring with a soft cloth or dry mop.

A simple solution to keeping small puddles of water from destroying your floor is to make like the Swedes and have guests take off their shoes near the front door. In wintery Sweden they keep their hardwood floors pristine by wearing only socks and slippers inside of the house. Many homeowners will even have baskets filled with clean socks or knit slippers at the entrance for guests who didn’t bring their own. Sounds good?

Not all wood floor damaging culprits are water. The materials used to combat ice and snow on the other side of the front door can also cause damage. Salt, sand and tiny rocks all get stuck in the soles of shoes and boots. Even after wiping footwear on a mat, they can still attach to the bottom of slippers and stockings and cause major destruction to wood floors. Kitty litter and corn-based melting products can make icy surfaces safe outside, while creating less wood destruction inside.