Tips for choosing hardwood floors

Hassle factor. Make no mistake: Installing a wood floor is invasive and disruptive. Even before installation begins, wood planks may have to “acclimate” to your environment. That means stacks of boxes will sit in your home for up to two weeks, so the wood can adjust to the temperature and humidity. Existing flooring must be ripped out. Furniture must be removed. Unfinished wood must be cut to fit and sanded, producing enormous amounts of sand dust, akin to a glitter bomb going off, Shipwash says. “Then you have to stain the wood, wait for it to dry, and then sand and seal the wood three times, allowing for the finish to dry between coats,” he adds. “You can’t walk on the floors, and some folks are sensitive to sealer fumes, so you may have to move out of your home for a week or more.” Even though it also has to acclimate, prefinished wood does cut the installation time by half or more. Once it’s down, it’s ready to go.

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