It’s the perfect shade of red to go with your very favorite outfit. But while you’re applying it, the phone rings. It’s only your friends confirming your presence at the party tonight. You return to finish your nails, only to find that Timothy, your Bengal, has tilted the container over on your brand new pale gray floor and is now staring at his handiwork in fascination.

How can you restore your floor to its original unblemished pearly allure in time to make it to your best friend’s birthday bash?

Find out how to remove nail polish from your hardwood flooring from our pointers provided below.

nail polish on hardwood floors

How to Remove Nail Polish From Your Hardwood Flooring

The last thing you want is your favorite brand and shade of nail polish on your floor. Especially since any mishaps on hardwood floors can’t simply be banished with harsh soaps or solvents and a stiff-bristled brush.

Reacting as fast as possible is key here, especially given the porous nature of wood.

But even though it seems like the next natural thing to do, don’t go reaching for your nail polish remover just yet.

There are a number of remedies that can ensure you will be able to get rid of the offending stain and restore the smooth appeal of your floor as shown right here.

1. White Sugar

To remove the stain while it is still wet and without risking the finish of your hardwood floor, sprinkle a generous amount of sugar on the still wet nail polish, ensuring you cover it completely. The crystals will absorb the polish and all you will have to do is wait for it to dry.

Once the polish has dried, you will simply be able to brush up the colored, clumped sugar with a brush or broom.

But what if you weren’t lucky enough to spot the mishap on time and the nail polish has dried up or there are still tell-tale stains even after you’ve taken this first step? The following solutions will come in handy.

2. Mineral Spirits

A more refined version of paint thinner, mineral spirits can be an excellent remedy for tackling dried nail polish or any lingering residue following an application of white sugar.

Before you use it, however, you will need to dab your floor in a corner to check for any unusual discoloration.

If you are able to proceed, you will need to apply a small amount to a cotton bud, a rolled wad of cotton, or a clean cloth and rub the stain gently following the grain of the wood.

It is important to apply only slight pressure when cleaning the stain. Any vigorous scrubbing could damage your floor’s finish resulting in yet another quandary.

3. Rubbing Alcohol

It’s best known as a household disinfectant and is pretty versatile for solving knotty little problems in the home. Hence it’s no surprise that rubbing alcohol is also ideal for cleaning dried-up nail polish as well.

There is also the fact that it is a more suitable option compared to nail polish remover.

The application process is pretty similar to that of mineral spirits.

You will need some cotton wool, a clean cloth, or even a cotton bud and will also have to apply the rubbing alcohol to your material of choice before rubbing at the stain taking special care to avoid unstained parts of your floor.

If the stain happens to be particularly persistent, a slightly different approach may be required: you may need to soak cotton wool in the solvent before placing it over the stains on the floor and then wiping it gently afterward.

You will also need to avoid any vigorous rubbing since doing so could also damage the finish.

4. Hairspray

This blend of polymers, propellants, and fragrance which is meant to provide your hair with both sheen and structure, can also function as a surprising remedy for getting rid of any tell-tale lingering nail polish stains.

All you will have to do is simply spray it once you have already cleaned the floor, let it sit for half a minute and then wipe it off with a clean cloth.

You may need to repeat the procedure if the stains happen to be particularly persistent.

Once you have gotten rid of the stains, you will also need to use a manufacturer-approved cleaning product to completely remove the hair spray from your floor.

Should You Use Nail Polish Remover?

Ideally, you should not. This is because most nail polish removers contain acetone, a solvent that may not only cause damage to the finish of your hardwood floors but also alter their color as well.

It is worth noting that while it also consists of additional chemicals other than acetone, nail polish remover is considered capable of damaging your floors to the same extent as pure acetone.

However, certain experts may recommend the use of the chemical itself.

That said, they advise applying the acetone in a corner or location where any such changes in coloration are likely to be unnoticed.

They also advise lightly touching the stained surface with the fabric to which the acetone has been applied and cleaning up the spot afterward to remove any lingering traces of the solvent.

Other experts recommend using varieties of nail polish remover which do not continue any acetone.

However, it is best to contact your manufacturer to ensure you make the right decision.

So, what should you do if the spill is extensive and has somehow gotten all over your floor, tempting you to unscrew a bottle of acetone-based nail polish remover?

Seeking out the services of a flooring professional might be the best solution.

They would not only be in the best position to get rid of the stains but also be able to restore your hardwood floor to a state of uniform perfection.

Two weeks after you have moved into your dream home, you pop out to do some shopping. On your return, you find Cookie and Fudge, your two Labradors, lapping at a pool of water on the pale golden wooden floor of your dining room.

What should you do to clear up the spilled water on the wood floor and minimize water damage to your hardwood floors? What issues are likely to arise as a result of the incident?

In this post, we examine the answers to these questions in detail to enable you to handle such an occurrence effectively and as a result, minimize the risk of further damage to your floor.

What To Do If You Spill Water on Hardwood Floor?

When any spill occurs, you will need to act as quickly as possible. Taking prompt action can enable you to forestall the possibility of your floors sustaining any serious damage, and possibly prevent any reduction to the value of your home, and even damage to your property as well. 

The following steps will enable you to get rid of as much moisture in the shortest possible time and greatly reduce the risk of any of the above issues occurring.

1. Identify the Source of the Spill

The first thing you need to do is determine the source of the water (once you’ve gotten your pets out of the room to prevent them from spreading even more water all over your home). You would need to find out whether it is due to a leak, a burst pipe, or simply the result of your pets turning over their water bowls.

This step is of paramount importance since attempting to mop up the water without being able to stop it from its source will defeat the purpose of getting rid of it.

2. Remove Any Furniture and Furnishings

Once you have cut off the flow of water, you will need to remove any mats, rugs, or carpets in the area. You will also need to remove any furniture as well. The furniture and the furnishings will have to be placed in an appropriately safe place.

Doing so will enable you to assess the full extent of the spill, and also ensure you can prevent any furniture or soft furnishings which have not been drenched from getting soaked.

Taking this precaution will also enable you to prevent any soaked items from constituting an additional risk to your wooden floor.

3. Mop Up the Water

This task is best handled using absorbent clothes such as old towels to be able to get rid of the excess water as promptly as you can. If you have to deal with a significant amount of water, you will need to make use of a wet vac. You will also need to use it even if you are dealing with a spill that has been mopped up with towels to ensure you can target any moisture which has seeped between each plank.

4. Get Rid of Any Residue

Depending on the source of the spilled water on your wood floor, you may have to deal with lingering silt or mud. This residue will need to be cleaned up thoroughly as well to not only restore the surface to its pristine state but to also reduce any possible risk of staining.

5. Disinfect the Surface

Getting rid of any water spilled on your hardwood floor is only one part of the task of minimizing damage to it. Another risk that occurs due to the spill is that of mold that prefers moist, warm, organic surfaces. This fungus can cause damage to your floors, furniture, and soft furnishings and most importantly can negatively affect your health.

You will need the following:

  • Gloves
  • Mask
  • Absorbent cloths
  • Cleaning cloths
  • Spray bottle
  • Disinfectant (store-bought or homemade — a solution made from 1 cup of water and ¼ cup vinegar.)

You will need to ensure the entire room is ventilated properly and spray the disinfectant on the part of the floor affected by the spill. You will also need to clean the surface thoroughly with it and clean it up with absorbent cloths at once.

Following this procedure, you should make use of the wet vac to eliminate any excess moisture your floor has been exposed to as a result of this step.

If you have any questions, we have a detailed guide for disinfecting your hardwood floors here.

6. Switch on Your Dehumidifier

Dehumidifiers are excellent at eliminating any excess moisture from the air and in this instance, they will dry it out and also dry out your floor as well.

Air conditioners are also capable of functioning as dehumidifiers to some extent and should be switched on as well as any fans in the room.

To eliminate as much moisture as possible, you will need to run these appliances for an extensive period (between 24 to 72 hours).

As is required during the disinfecting process, you will also need to leave the windows open during this step (unless there happens to be a downpour).

7. Assess the Extent of the Water Damage

Despite your efforts, and depending on the circumstances of the spill, there will be the possibility of lingering moisture in your wood floor. As a result, you will need to use a moisture meter to regularly check for the presence of any excess moisture during the weeks following the spill.

Issues Which May Arise Due to Neglecting Water Spilled on Wood Floor

Due to the organic nature of wood and its tendency to absorb water, spills should be taken seriously.

Merely mopping up the pooled water and moving furniture aside to dab up any in concealed areas will not be sufficient in the event of a spill. Failure to implement the above steps may result in the following issues:

1. Cupping

Exposure to water may result in an imbalance in moisture levels in the planks of your wood floor with higher levels being present at their bases. This could result in their sides expanding so that they are raised higher than their centers giving them a convex shape — an occurrence known as cupping. Learn how to fix cupping in hardwood floors in our detailed article.

Cupping in hardwood floors

2. Buckling

If the spill happens to be especially large and is not handled immediately in an effective manner, the exposure to the excess moisture may result in the planks actually lifting from the floor resulting in an uneven surface. This occurrence is referred to as buckling. It may be resolved by removing the affected planks, thoroughly drying the underlying surface, and adding new replacement planks. For more details, check out our article on how to fix buckling in hardwood floors.

buckled hardwood floors

3. Mold Damage

Mold tends to thrive in the presence of moisture and organic material, hence an unattended spill could provide it with the ideal opportunity to spread in your home. The fungus also tends to propagate promptly as well.

The presence of unattended moisture in your floors could attract spores which will begin to reproduce while feeding on the wood. They could also spread to other sources of organic material such as paintings, furniture, drapes, and upholstery and damage them as well.

The presence of mold in your home could irritate the eyes, noses, and throats of residents. It could also trigger allergic reactions and even result in more grievous issues such as serious damage to the lungs.

We recommend going through our article on removing mold on hardwood floors.

What to Do In Case of Major Water Damage to Your Hardwood Floor?

In addition to buckling or cupping, another sign which is likely to alert you to the presence of water damage is the appearance of stains on the affected parts of the hardwood floor.

This discoloration may be caused by nails becoming rusted, the presence of mold, or the reaction of the tannins contained in the wood to the presence of water.  

The following steps will need to be taken depending on the extent and the nature of the damage to restore your floors to normal:

1. Drying

Occasionally, cupped hardwood floors may flatten over time as they dry out. However, this may take up to half a month or even longer. The use of dehumidifiers and special fans can help to shorten this process. 

2. Removing Damaged Planks

In the event of permanent damage to part of your floor, you will need to remove the affected planks. 

It is worth noting that you will also need to remove adjacent planks to those damaged by mold or stains.

This is due to the fact they may very often be affected as well even though it may not be immediately visible.

3. Checking the Subfloor

You will also need to check the subfloor and the underlying concrete to ensure they are both free of mold and moisture. If this is not the case, you will need to remove the subfloor and dry out the concrete. You will also need to replace the subfloor and install a moisture barrier following which you will be able to add the new planks which should ideally be from the same batch as those already used for your floor.

4. Sanding and Refinishing

This procedure is often carried out to correct cupping in flooring. However, special care must be taken to ensure the planks are dried out properly, failing which crowning may occur.

This procedure may also be an option when replacing part of the wood floor with new planks to provide the entire surface with a uniform appearance.

Figuring out how to remove haze from a hardwood floor can be frustrating. You might have applied various methods to return your wood floors to their former beauty.

Yet, each attempt seems more disappointing than the last one. You might be wondering if your hardwood floors are actually getting hazier despite your efforts or if it’s your imagination. Relax. You’re not losing it. Honest.

In this article, we’ll discuss the causes as well as what to do about the cloudy film on your hardwood floors.

haze on newly installed wood floors

Why Do Your Hardwood Floors Look Cloudy(Hazy)?

Knowing the cause of haze on your hardwood floor is half the battle won. So, let’s take a look at what the trouble could be:

1) Trapped Moisture

If you’ve noticed cloudiness after refinishing your wood floor, the likely cause is insufficient drying time between coats of varnish. To remove the white haze from your hardwood floor, first, try doing nothing. It might be possible for the moisture to leave on its own in a couple of days.

2) Wax Build-up

Very few hardwood floors are finished with a penetrating seal anymore, but if your floors are sealed with wax, occasional waxing is called for. Frequent waxing is not.

Also, today, most hardwood floors are coated with a polyurethane finish. The coating doesn’t need to be waxed at all. Putting wax over a polyurethane finish will invariably leave a film on your hardwood floor.

Learn: How To Remove Wax Buildup From Wood Floors

white cloudy film on wood floors

3) Inappropriate Cleaning Solution

There are more floor cleaning solutions available on the market than ever. But not all floor cleaning solutions are good. Not all are intended for all hardwood floor finishes. It isn’t always easy to navigate a clear path to the solution that’s best for your hardwood floor. Cleaning a urethane-coated floor with a solution not intended for such can cause trouble. So be sure to read labels.

4) Inappropriate Application Of Cleaning Solution

Applying too much cleaning solution can result in hardwood floors that have an uneven, white, cloudy film over them. Here again, strong emphasis is placed on the importance of labels. Follow application and/or dilution instructions to the letter. More isn’t necessarily better. A stronger solution isn’t necessarily better either. “More” and “stronger” aren’t always as easy to remove.

5) Infrequent Change Of Cleaning Pad

To do its job effectively, a cleaning pad must be clean. Frequent rinsing and wringing will keep the pad clean, but the less you need to touch a dirty mop pad, the better. With plenty of clean mop pads on hand, there’s less chance of dragging dirt and germs across all the hardwood floors in your house. There’s also less handling of dirty pads.

Because most mop pads are machine washable, you can simply toss the used and dirty pads into the washing machine when you’re done cleaning your hardwood floors. Frequent changing of mop pads is better than frequent rinsing of the same mop pad. Better for your floors and better for you and your family.

6) Tap Water, Rain, And Snow

If it comes from nature, it’s good. Right? Mmmm… not necessarily. Your hardwood floors also come from nature. Trees need water to grow, of course. But your floors’ polyurethane coating doesn’t and hopefully, your floors have stopped growing. Your hardwood floors and the polyurethane that coats them should have limited contact with water.

This should especially be the case with hard water. Hard water, rain, and snow can do to the surface of a floor what they can do to a shower door. They leave an ugly white film that’s made from hard water deposits. Use water to damp mop only. Then use a flip-style mop and the chenille side of the mop pad to wipe the surface completely dry. Keep plenty of extra mop pads on hand.

If hard water constantly reminds you of its presence, use a neutral pH solution to clean your floors.

Snow is particularly loaded with salt. This makes long winters even longer for hardwood floors where entry mats have inadequate bristles and poor absorption.

Popular Remedies For Getting Rid of Haze on Hardwood Floors

Here are a few of them:

1) Olive Oil Mayonnaise For Floor Blushing

Blushing is the term used when moisture is trapped between or under the layers of a hardwood floor’s finish. The popular remedy for this involves spreading olive oil mayonnaise over the cloudy areas of the floor.

This might seem a little whacky until you think about the science involved:

Because oil is heavier than water and the two don’t mix, the oil displaces the water. The water has nowhere to go but the surface where it’s met by the mayonnaise. High fives and bonding follow. Wherever one goes, the other goes.

Naturally, when the mayonnaise is removed, the water goes with it. Thus, no more blushing.

Here’s what you’ll need:


  • Remove area rugs, furniture, and all other items from the entire room.
  • Dust and damp mop.
  • With the rubber spatula, scoop out enough mayonnaise to spread a layer over the affected area of your wood floor. About ⅛” to ¼” thick.
  • Let the mayonnaise sit without drying, for one hour.
  • Use the paper towels to wipe the mayonnaise from the floor. Depending on the size of the affected area, you might need a generous amount of these.
  • Working in small sections, damp mop with the short-napped side of the mop pad to remove any oily residue.
  • Use the long-napped side of the mop pad to wipe the floor dry.
  • If some haze remains, repeat the process. You’ll need to use your judgment or best guess to increase or decrease the time between application and removal of the mayonnaise.

2) Vinegar To Remove Haze Caused By Hard Water, Cleaning Solutions, Or Floor Wax

Vinegar is another popular remedy for hazy hardwood floors. Most wood flooring manufacturers and professionals advise against it. We’re no exception.

Yet, there’s an increasingly popular belief about certain household products. Accordingly, if a solution is acidic, but diluted with water, it will clean your floor and do it safely. So, it’s the solution to use.

Following that logic, diluted battery acid will also clean a wood floor without damaging it. But no one seems to consider using it to clean a floor. Maybe this is because battery acid isn’t a household product.

Whatever the logic used, people seem to be unshakeably convinced that white vinegar can do no harm. Irreversible staining of raw wood and clouding on coated wood floors aside, this may be true.

Still, this is as good a place as any to offer advice to first try new solutions in an inconspicuous area of your floor.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • ½ cup Vinegar
  • ¼ tsp. Dish Soap
  • 1 Gallon Warm Water
  • Microfiber Spin Mop and Bucket


  • Remove rugs, furniture, and other objects from the workspace.
  • Thoroughly dust the floor.
  • Mix all ingredients into the bucket.
  • Dip the mop in the bucket and wring it out until it’s almost dry.
  • Move the mop in an ‘S’ pattern across the hazy area of your hardwood floor.
  • To be sure the floor doesn’t dry on its own and leave streaks, dry the floor with a microfiber cloth as you go.

This method is also used to deep clean hardwood floors.

Now that we have the condiments out of the way…

Remedies For Removing Haze From Hardwood Floors That Work

Apart from removing the finish altogether, there are two solutions for removing the ugly white film. In the right measure and correctly applied, the haze will be removed while the wood and finish remain uncompromised using either of these two solutions. Both solutions also function as disinfectants.

1) 3% Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is the quintessential cleaning solution. It cleans, disinfects, is odor-free, and very inexpensive to buy. The solution is almost invariably sold in dark brown containers. This is because hydrogen peroxide is sensitive to light. It also has a shelf life of about six months to a year.

Whether or not there’s haze on your hardwood floors, hydrogen peroxide will leave them clean, disinfected, and looking refreshed and restored. To use hydrogen peroxide to remove haze from your hardwood floor, 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 Bottle of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide 
  • 1 Clean Empty Spray Bottle
  • 1 Flip Style Mop
  • Several Two-Sided Microfiber Mop Pads


  • Remove all rugs and furniture from the work area.
  • Dust and damp mop the floor.
  • Transfer the contents of the hydrogen peroxide bottle into the empty spray bottle.
  • Working in 2’ x 2’ sections, spray the floor with the peroxide.
  • Let the peroxide stand for several seconds without allowing it to dry.
  • Use the wet side of the mop pad to work out the haze.
  • Spray again.
  • Use the chenille side of the mop pad to wipe the floor dry. You might need to put a very small bit of back into it.
  • Change the microfiber mop pad frequently throughout the process until the floor is clean.

2) Ammonia Based Or Ammonia Free Window Cleaner

Follow the instructions for cleaning with hydrogen peroxide. Substitute peroxide with an ammonia-free window cleaner. If this doesn’t remove the haze, try substituting with a conventional ammonia-based window cleaner instead.

Once all the haze has been removed from your wood floors, be sure to clean the rugs and dust furniture before bringing them back into the room.

Installing a hardwood floor is all about protecting your investment with good techniques.

No matter how nice of hardwood material you buy, even a simple mistake installing the floor can throw off the beautiful, seamless look of a new hardwood floor.

The easiest way to make your new floor look more professional is to do a great job staggering the wooden planks. If you do this right, the flooring will appear as one beautiful surface from wall to wall. If you mess it up, you will create patterns that are impossible to overlook and leave an amateurish feeling in the room.

You want your expensive hardwood floor to look as warm and natural when it’s in your room as it did when you picked it out from a website or catalog. The best way to do this is by following the steps in this guide to nail a carefully randomized installation that will let the beauty of your new floor shine.

Stagger Flooring for Strength and Stability

Laying your hardwood floor with good staggering technique makes a more beautiful floor, but did you know that it’s also essential for the strength of the floor?

Hardwood floors are like a puzzle of interlocked wooden pieces. They need to be strong enough to walk on and to hold heavy furniture. Proper staggering helps to dissipate this weight across all of the nearby boards.

Wood flooring is also known to expand and contract slightly as temperature and humidity change. It’s like a living material. If you have weak staggering patterns in your floor, it’s more likely that your floor will buckle when this expansion occurs, creating unattractive gaps in your floor, or worse.

Staggering your wood planks properly is what makes the floor strong. It’s similar to how a brick wall is built: the bricklayer doesn’t stack bricks in tall columns that can fall over. Instead, the bricks overlap to create one strong wall.

You may also want to check our guide on acclimating hardwood flooring correctly.

Overlap Wood Floor Planks by at Least 6 Inches

The basic rule to remember for creating a strong stagger is that all planks should overlap by 6 inches or more.

This means that the short joint between planks should be at least 6 inches away from the nearest joint in any adjacent row.

This type of stagger will lock the flooring tightly together. This is especially important on the first 2-3 rows of wood flooring that you lay because these will create a strong base as you lay the following rows.

This is also the first step to creating a stagger that looks good. Parallel seams within a few inches of each other will be very obvious when you look at the finished floor.

Avoid Creating a Patterned Appearance

We always recommend a randomized installation of hardwood floors because it creates a floor that looks seamless and draws attention to the natural color and grain of the wood, rather than the joints.

patterned wood floor installation

Some installers and DIYers choose a rigid, patterned look, but they can appear amateurish and distract from your wood floor’s natural beauty. Here are the common patterns that you should avoid:

Stair-Step Pattern

We recommend avoiding this pattern when you are laying the stagger for a hardwood floor.

You can create a stair-step pattern on the floor if you are using boards of the same length and you offset each row by the same length. For example, staggering the joints in each new row to be 6 inches to the left of the joint in the previous row.

This will create a diagonal pattern of joints across the room. If you crave an orderly, patterned look, you may choose the stair-step technique. Just know that you are choosing to emphasize the joints in the floor over the more subtle beauty of the flooring itself.

“H” Pattern

The “H” pattern is another one to avoid.

This pattern forms if you use planks that are all the same length and you offset each row by half of one plank. This makes the seams line up on every 2nd row of flooring, so you can easily see two columns of alternating joints that line up across the room.

This is another pattern that is obvious to the eye and will take the focus right off of your gorgeous flooring with its natural patterns and color. All you will see is the pattern of short joint lines. Again, it’s a fine option if you prefer the orderly appearance, but the best recommendation is to randomize your layout so that the joints disappear and the wood itself is the focal point.

avoid h joints

How to Randomize a Wood Floor Layout

While the ideal appearance for a hardwood floor is a completely randomized installation, that doesn’t mean that you can achieve this look by chance. It takes a lot of patience and planning to make sure that every row is unlike those around it.

If you just install the boards one by one as they come out of the box, you will likely create patterns by accident.

This section will show how to lay out hardwood planks ahead of time in a process called “racking.” You will choose planks and lay them out next to each other on the floor to see how they look, before locking the tongues or gluing them down. Racking a floor is great because it lets you experiment and make changes.

Once you’re satisfied with the layout, you can just move your racked rows slightly out of the way and install them using whatever method your flooring requires.

Not all hardwood products are the same. Some materials come with boards of all the same length. Others include 3 or more lengths of board inside the cartons. Each has its own challenges to randomizing your layout and avoiding a patterned stagger.

Randomizing Hardwood Flooring of Varied Length

To prepare yourself for racking a beautiful, random installation, first lay out the wood planks in stacks of matching size. Create stacks of 5-10 of each size a few feet in front of your first row.

Always mix wood pieces from different cartons as you make your stacks. This is because one package can have significant color differences from another carton. If you just lay wood from one carton at a time, you can end up with all dark pieces on one end of the room and all light pieces on the other end.

Once you have the stacks sorted, start racking your first row by choosing a variety of lengths and laying them out end-to-end.

When you create the following rows, pay attention to the joints in the row behind it. Make sure there is always an overlap of at least 6 inches in between joints on adjacent rows. Remember that this is especially important on the first 3-4 rows you lay out because they will create a strong foundation for the rest of the floor.

Once you rack 3-4 rows, stand up and look at them from a distance. Are there any obvious stair step or “H” patterns, or any joints too close together? Now is the time to rack a different combination of planks to remedy the problem.

When you are satisfied that the several rows you have racked to install create a random stagger pattern with at least 6 inches of overlap on all joints, you are ready to install them!

Randomizing Hardwood Flooring of the Same Length

Begin laying out your flooring for the racking process by opening several cartons of wood and creating stacks across the room just in front of where you will lay your first few rows. This will make them easy to reach as you lay them out. Stack 5-10 planks in each pile.

Always mix planks from several different cartons because the color of the material can vary from box to box. Pulling planks from multiple boxes will spread out the wood from each carton and hide any color differences.

If your hardwood is all the same length, you need to cut your starting end piece on each row to be different from the piece that started the previous row.

As long as your starting board overlaps the adjacent joint by at least 6 inches, the stagger will continue across the whole row.

The fastest way to create a good stagger when working with boards of the same length is to take 4-5 planks out to the chop saw and cut each board to a different length. You can use these cut ends to start several rows at once. You can trim the unused cutoff ends to complete the rows on the wall opposite your starting boards.

When you make your starter cuts and rack 3-4 rows by laying them out on the floor, stand up and look at the flooring from a distance. Are there any joints that are too close together? Are there any stair-step patterns or H-patterns in the rows you racked for installation? If so, choose a longer or shorter starting piece to offset the joints in the row.

Always remember to keep at least a 6-inch overlap between seams for stability and appearance.

When you have created a good, randomized stagger across several rows, you can install the boards you racked and repeat this whole process for the following rows.

As soon as a floor is installed, day one begins. The fact that day one might have been a long time ago doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything wrong with your floor. A well-maintained floor can last for generations.

A timeworn floor is another matter. Floors not properly maintained can get old in a hurry. Where floors are finished in some areas, but not others, cleaning them as they are and leaving them that way doesn’t make much sense.

In this article, we’ll discuss how to clean your worn-out hardwood floors without refinishing them so that they preserve their natural, unfinished look. If you don’t care for the idea of a polyurethane finish, you’re not alone. But we’ll be discussing something else as well.

Perhaps your aim is to avoid any more chemicals or chemically-based products in your home than necessary. This makes you part of a growing movement toward a safe and sensible way of life. This movement isn’t merely a popular trend. It’s more of an outlook. This outlook is becoming the norm and it’s here to stay.

If you’re looking for a way to restore your hardwood floors and keep them looking good without spending a lot of money, this has never gone out of style.

Follow along as we look at age-old, natural, low VOC, and inexpensive ways to get and keep your aging, timeworn floors clean and looking good.

old hardwood floors

Sanding Old Hardwood Floors

Over time, a hardwood floor’s finish will become thinner over the high traffic areas first. But getting your floors completely clean and even looking will involve removing the rest of the finish. A floor sander is usually required for this type of work. You can rent one of these at your local home improvement center.

However, if you’re not used to working with a floor sander, this fact could evidence itself later on. Not only will a professional sanding save a lot of frustration, but it could also save your floor.

There Are Limitations When It Comes To Sanding Old Hardwood Floors

A hardwood floor can only be sanded so many times before replacement should be considered. If your hardwood floors have already been sanded too many times to survive another sanding, a professional will be able to determine this.

If replacement isn’t an option, but your floors are still good for another sanding, there’s only one chance to get it right. Let a professional do this.

Removing Finish From Old Hardwood Floors Without Sanding

If you decide to save your hardwood floor’s last sanding for another time, this is understandable, but you can still remove the finish and get the entire floor clean.

In this case, consider a wood stripping product. Granted, it’s a chemical, but considering the likelihood that your hardwood floor is finished with polyurethane and sanding isn’t an option… For a stripping product that’s methylene chloride and NMP-free, we like Citristrip Gel.

As with any product you intend to apply to your hardwood floor, it’s always best to first test it in an inconspicuous place before proceeding. Be sure to follow the instructions printed on the product label.

How To Remove Stains From Hardwood Floors Without Damaging Them

If your hardwood floors are old, sanded thin, and stained, then damage is the last thing you can afford. You’ll need to use extreme caution to get them clean. You’ve already used a chemical to strip them. This alone might have done a good deal to remove dirt.

To assure your floors are as smooth and even in porosity as possible, try not to use an abrasive pad or fabric to remove any residual stain. This is especially important because by the time you’re done reading this, you might change your mind about finishing your hardwood floors. Anything’s possible.

For stains that remain on your hardwood floors, identification of the causes might not be possible. But in most cases, the more troublesome of these are likely to be dark in color. It’s a reasonably safe bet that these stains are the result of spilled food or pet urine. Possibly, a human accident.

black stains on hardwood floors

What if the stains are foul-smelling?

How To Remove Foul-Smelling Stains From Old Hardwood Floors

For foul-smelling stains, this means that whatever caused the stain is still present. Depending on how long this has been the case, the subfloor might be affected as well. Removal of the affected floorboards to address the floor beneath should be considered. Start with the floorboard located at the center of the stain.

With the affected floorboard removed, look at the underside of it. If the stain has saturated it, you’re better off replacing it than trying to get the stain removed.

If it looks like the adjacent floorboards will be in the same shape, remove and check these as well. Continue to work your way outward until you come across floorboards that aren’t stained through and through. That is to say that looking at it from the exposed edge, a significant portion of the floorboard remains unstained. These lesser stained floorboards don’t need to be replaced and therefore, don’t need to be removed.

You can read all about it in our article on how to remove dark stains from hardwood floors.

What To Do If Your Old Subfloors Are Foul-Smelling

If the subfloor has traces of stain on it, try using an enzymatic cleaner to consume what’s left of the problem. Apply it liberally to the affected area of the subfloor only.

Also, be sure not to drench the subfloor or allow any of the solution to puddle. Soak up any excess with a clean, dry rag, The solution will continue to do its job even after you’ve done this.

Return to the area in a few hours. If the floor is dry and the smell is gone, spray the solution onto the subfloor again. The moisture will reactivate any lingering odor. Soak up any puddling and allow the enzymes to resume doing their job. Repeat this process until you’re satisfied that the subfloor is completely odor-free.

You can also try soaking stains with hydrogen peroxide. Saturate a clean terry cloth rag with it and lay it over the stain. Cover the rag with plastic food wrap. Keep the wrap in place by setting something heavy on top of it. A water jug will work.

Leave the saturated rags in place for a couple of hours before checking the stain. You can leave the rags in place for up to eight hours.

If a large area of the subfloor is significantly blackened and foul-smelling, it will probably need to be removed and replaced. A professional flooring installation expert or general contractor would be the one to determine this. Because a subfloor must be completely supportive and stable, it’s best to let a professional do this type of work. A professional will also be able to tell you if and to what extent the floor joists may be affected.

Once you’re sure your subfloors are no longer a concern, replacement floorboards can be installed. If you don’t have any of these left from the time your hardwood floor was first installed, there’s another option; Remove an unaffected floorboard and take it to your local home improvement center or flooring specialty store to match it.

If You Don’t Want To Apply A Polyurethane Finish To Your Hardwood Floors

If your floors have no more sandings left in them, the importance of protecting them can’t be stressed enough. You won’t have another chance. If the look of unstained hardwood floors is what you’re after, you can have this while still ensuring their protection.

After all, there’s no point in going to the trouble of cleaning your old hardwood floors if you don’t want to protect them.  Polyurethane offers superior protection and it’s also the longest-lasting.  But if the idea of polyurethane doesn’t appeal to you, there are alternatives.

Clean Old Hardwood Floors and Make Them Shine Without Polyurethane

Sure, polyurethane is available in different sheens. Just buy some in high gloss and you’ve got a shiny floor.

However, when it’s time to restore floors sealed with polyurethane, the services of a professional are usually required.

Paste wax devotees will tell you they love the fact that they can simply remove wax buildup and re-wax their hardwood floors whenever they want to. It doesn’t require calling on a professional to manage this.

When floors are sealed with wax, they can be easily buffed to a gleaming shine. Again, no pros necessary. A wax seal gives owners more control of their hardwood floors because the cost to keep them in good condition is so low.

Try Using A Penetrating Oil To Seal Your Old, Classic Hardwood Floors

For an old-world look, there are also penetrating oils. These aren’t the kind of oil normally found in the kitchen or garage. Penetrating oils dry to a hard finish. They form a seal by binding to the wood on a molecular level whereas polyurethane seals a wood floor by coating it.

If you’re restoring an old, classic home’s hardwood floors, the application of a penetrating oil should be considered. This is chiefly what was applied to floors before polyurethane was invented. Penetrating oils aren’t glossy or shiny, but they bring out the beauty of wood’s grain and color.

Better still, if you discover a scratch on your hardwood floor, simply work some oil into it and buff

The Choice of Hardwood Floor Sealers Is Up To You

Polyurethane, wax, or oil; the choice is yours. Once your old hardwood floors are clean, whatever you decide to apply to them is fine. Keeping your hardwood floors clean, protected, and looking their best is what it’s all about.

Exuberant kids running all over the house, your pet Labrador pawing at the floor in a fit of pique, mischievous teens dragging furniture across the floor to hide broken china. These are just a few factors that can cause scratches on your engineered hardwood floors.

Is it possible to get rid of those blemishes and restore that surface to its former smoothness? And how would you need to go about it?

Find out in this post where we discuss how to fix scratches in engineered hardwood floors and key factors which you will need to take into account to be able to do so.

scratches on engineered hardwood

Things You’ll Need

To make the necessary repairs, you will need the following items which have been categorized according to the kind of scratch you will need to fix.

General Items

  1. Rubbing alcohol
  2. Cotton swabs

For Faint Scratches

  1. Clean white cloth
  2. Extra plank of wood for testing
  3. Markers (clear coat or colored)
  4. Paper towels

For Moderately Sized Scratches

  1. Clean white cloth
  2. Blow dryer/heat gun
  3. Wax pencil

For Major Scratches

  1. Painter’s tape
  2. Putty knife
  3. Sanding sponge
  4. Stain pen
  5. Stainable wood filler
  6. Wipe-On Poly

Preparing the Area  

The first thing you will need to do is remove any furniture or rugs from the area you need to work on.

If you happen to be handling scratches that are spread out, you may need to empty the entire room.

Next, you will need to clean the room thoroughly with a brush or vacuum, and then a mop.

You will also need to apply rubbing alcohol to the area around it and to the scratch to completely remove any lingering debris.

You will also need to ensure you have purchased all the items you need to effect the repairs and have them with you ready for use.

How to Fix a Minor Scratch on Engineered Wood Floors

Faint Scratches

If you have to fix surface scratches on engineered hardwood floors, or a series of them, you will need to try out the marker you intend to use on a spare plank of your flooring, or in a small spot in a corner where it is unlikely to be noticed.

Doing so will enable you to select the right color and prevent you from unintentionally discoloring your hardwood floor surface.

Once you have determined the right color to use, you will need to apply it following the direction of the scratch.

You will then need to wipe the treated surface with a paper towel and leave it to dry.

light scratches on engineered wood flooring

Moderately Sized Scratches

For scratches that are somewhat wider and more prominent, you will need a wax pencil of the right color — you may be able to test it on a white cloth to ensure it is the color you need or on a spare plank that belongs to the hardwood batch in question.

Once you are satisfied that the wax pencil is a matching color, you will need to light the blow drier or heat gun to melt the wax. 

Next, you will need to apply the wax pencil to the scratch and when you are done, you will need to buff it and the surrounding areas using a clean cloth.

Varathane Scratch Repair Pen

This product is ideal for minor scratches and has been specifically designed to conceal them.

It is not only easy to apply but will fill blemishes with a varnish which will dry promptly. The Varathane Scratch Repair Pen also provides a filling that is especially durable and will not crack.

Minwax Blend-Fil Repair Pencil

Produced by a leading brand, the Minwax Blend-Fil Repair Pencil is ideal for those scratches on your floor which are slightly larger than usual. 

It comes in different colors which can be blended to obtain the hue which is just right for your floor.

In addition to being easy to apply, it is also easy to clean with mineral spirits. The result is a durable filling that can be buffed to blend in with the surrounding wooden surface.

How to Repair Major Scratches or Gouges on Engineered Hardwood

Surround the area to be treated with painter’s tape. Next, apply the wood filler as smoothly as possible to the damaged part of the floor and leave it to dry. 

Sandpaper it so that the surface becomes uniform and dabbing the stain on a piece of cloth, apply it to the wood filler.

Wipe off the excess stain and leave to dry. If the treated area seems to have a slight sheen to it, simply touch it up with a small quantity of Wipe-On Poly and rub it in vigorously to create a more uniform appearance.

Minwax Stainable Wood Filler

This product has been designed for both convenience and efficiency. The Minwax Stainable Wood Filler is not only fast-drying but is also easy to sand. 

It is also suitable for both water and oil-based stains and is suitable for indoor and outdoor use.

Sanding Engineered Wood Floors

This process is considered a suitable option for repairing scratches that tend to be rather numerous and widespread.

Unlike solid hardwood floors, engineered hardwood floors are often considered unsuitable for sanding.

And while this may be true in certain respects, it does not necessarily apply in every circumstance. The main qualities which will make surfaces in this category suitable or unsuitable for sanding include:

The Thickness of the Veneer

Unlike solid hardwood floor planks which consist of hardwood in their entirety, only the topmost layer — the veneer or wear layer — of engineered hardwood floor planks are made from the material. It is this difference that makes it possible to sand down surfaces consisting of the former several times.

However certain engineered hardwood floors have particularly thick veneers, i.e., above 3mm in thickness. Those in this category may be sanded.

Hand Scraping

Certain engineered hardwood floors have been treated to make them appear distressed and older, to enhance the character they provide to a home. 

This process is referred to as hand scrapping and it renders engineered hardwood floors less suitable for sanding. Certain experts believe that it may only be possible to sand floors that have been hand scraped once.

Preventing Scratches on Engineered Wood Floors

Protecting your hardwood surfaces from scratches is of paramount importance since they can detract from the beauty of your home if left unattended and if allowed to grow in number.

The following steps will enable you to protect your hardwood floors from scratches and preserve their charm for longer.

Establish a No Footwear Policy

Shoes can often bring in grit and small pebbles trapped beneath their soles which in turn can cause scratches on your floor.

High heels can also cause dents on the surface due to the pressure they apply. The risks posed by footwear means that disallowing them in rooms with hardwood floors will play a role in significantly reducing the risks of scratches and dents to them.

Make Use of Indoor and Outdoor Mats

It may not always be possible to enforce a footwear ban and that is where mats come in.

They serve to catch any lingering grit or pebbles which happen to be sticking to soles, or which might even have snuck into shoes or sandals and stuck to socks.

A rough-textured outdoor mat is ideal for visitors to wipe their footwear on and would see most of the grit removed, and a smoother textured indoor mat can also serve to remove grains of sand that make it past the outdoor mat.

Make Use of Furniture Protectors

The legs of sofas, tables, stools, and chairs can cause damage to hardwood floors, especially when they happen to be particularly heavy.

Felt furniture protectors can help prevent your dining or sofa set from causing scratches and dents on your floors, and are highly recommended as a result.

We recommend checking out our article on keeping furniture from sliding on hardwood floors.

Sweep and Vacuum Often

Sweeping or vacuuming frequently will prevent the accumulation of dirt, sand, and dust which can cause scratches on engineered hardwood floors.

Brooms, brushes, and vacuum cleaners should have soft bristles to prevent them from causing scratches themselves on your floors.

It is also important to lift furniture when sweeping or vacuuming to prevent the accumulation of debris beneath their legs as this can also constitute a scratching hazard.

Take Care of Pets’ Paws

Your pets can also play a role in damaging your floors especially if they happen to be particularly active and like to play outdoors and paw at surfaces.

Ensuring you keep their claws carefully trimmed and clean their paws once they come in from a run in the garden or a walk will reduce the risk of them scratching your engineered hardwood floors.

Clean Up Any Accidents Instantly

If any china or crystal is broken, you must ensure you clean it up instantly and take special care to sweep up any broken shards. Failing to do so will place your floor at risk of getting scratched especially in the event of anyone stepping on one of the broken pieces (and will also place residents at risk of injury).

Make Use of Rugs and Runners

Placing rugs at strategic spots such as dining and coffee tables can prevent or at least slow down the wear and tear of your floors and even reduce the risk of their sustaining scratches. 

Rugs can also be used for covering scratches on engineered hardwood floors. 

Runners are also an excellent choice for protecting high traffic areas and can reduce the likelihood of your needing to repair any scratches on your hardwood floors.

As you plan for a new hardwood floor, you have a lot of choices to make. From the species of wood to the color of stain, there are endless possibilities. Some homeowners overlook one of the most important aspects, which is choosing the proper direction to lay hardwood flooring.

This guide will help you understand the various options for hardwood flooring layout design and choose which one is best for your room. With the right layout, you can accentuate nice features in your room or hide the parts you aren’t so fond of. The right flooring pattern has the potential to seriously upgrade your home’s visual appeal.

Types of Hardwood Flooring Patterns

There are several common options that you may choose from when planning your hardwood flooring. They vary in difficulty and some methods work better in certain rooms than other methods do.

Keep in mind that a skilled installer can combine two or more patterns, such as by placing a straight border around a herringbone floor. Here are six of the most timeless patterns:

1. Vertical Pattern

The first two methods, vertical and horizontal, are somewhat relative to the room. But you can think of vertical as laying the boards parallel to your line of sight as you look into the room from the main entrance.

A vertical pattern should be one of the most natural ways to install your floor. The long lines created by the floorboards should align with your sight as you look toward the back of the room. It works great in most rooms, especially those that are deeper than they are wide. A vertical pattern is also easy to install, even as a DIY project. 

vertical pattern wood flooring

2. Horizontal Pattern

Again, horizontal vs. vertical installations are somewhat relative to the room, but horizontal floors usually appear to run perpendicular to your line of sight as you look into the room from the entrance.

The horizontal pattern is natural and easy to install, just like the vertical pattern. You should choose horizontal for rooms that are not deep from the entrance to the back wall. This pattern will draw your eye from sidewall to sidewall instead of front to back, balancing the shape of the room.

horiontal pattern wood flooring

3. Diagonal Pattern

Like the first two patterns, this one lays all the boards parallel to one another. The difference is that instead of running the boards parallel to either wall, they are cut and installed at a 45-degree angle relative to the walls.

This flooring style is a little more visually interesting than vertical or horizontal patterns. It can be a good option in odd-shaped rooms. It will also work magic in a large installation that goes through doorways into multiple rooms. It’s hard to choose between vertical and horizontal installations if you are working in a hallway that opens into multiple rooms, because the pattern that works in the hallway may look bad in the rooms.

A 45-degree diagonal installation, on the other hand, will look great in both narrow hallways and rooms of any shape. The drawback is that they become much more difficult to install than the first two patterns. You will have to be especially careful on measuring and cutting your 3-4 starter from the corner to make sure you get the angles just right.

4. Herringbone Pattern

This flooring pattern brings a look of extra luxury to your hardwood floor. Two boards are laid next to each other at a 45-degree angle to form a V shape. Pairs of boards then lay parallel to continue the V shape throughout the room.

This flooring pattern is like the diagonal method because it will not draw attention to the shape of the room. Instead, for this pattern, the flooring itself will be the center of attention. A herringbone floor, while difficult to install, is one of the surest ways to add class to a room. This hardwood flooring direction does tend to create more waste because the cuts need to be more precise, so you will pay a little more for materials.

herringbone hardwood flooring

5. Parquet Pattern

The parquet method creates a checkerboard appearance on the floor. It is done by forming a square of planks of the same length and butting it against an identical square that is rotated 90 degrees. The alternating squares cover the whole surface of the floor, mixing both vertical and horizontal patterns.

Parquet ranges from small, 2-inch boards forming squares as small as 8 inches up to large squares (3 feet) made of wide planks.

Parquet is moderately difficult to install, though it is easier than the herringbone pattern. It can work well in almost any room, as long as you choose a corresponding size of parquet. For example, large squares for a large living room or small squares for a tight hallway.

parquet wood floors

6. Random Pattern

This pattern begins with the materials you buy. A random hardwood pattern uses boards of varying width to mix large and small rows. You can choose different ratios of large to small, or even use three different widths.

You can combine random installations with the other pattern listed above. It just takes extra planning to make sure that the rows of various sizes fit correctly with the rows around them. For that reason, random floors can be difficult to install well, especially if you are randomizing a pattern other than vertical or horizontal.

random pattern wood floors

How to Choose Which Direction to Lay Your Flooring

Here’s what to consider when picking a layout for your hardwood floors. Some of these ideas are about creating a strong structural floor while some are purely cosmetic. Your choice will depend on the shape and condition of your room, the look you are trying to achieve, and how much you are willing to spend.

Floor Joists

If you are installing hardwood over a wooden subfloor, one of the most important factors is the floor joists. Your hardwood planks should always run perpendicular (or at least diagonal) to the floor joists.

Over the years, floor joists can settle and move slightly. Hardwood floors need a stable, flat surface underneath them. If you lay hardwood in a vertical pattern parallel to the floor joists, the floor will buckle when the joists settle.

Room Shapes and Hallways

Very narrow rooms or hallways will usually look choppy if you lay the planks parallel to the shorter side of the room. Instead, you should run the hardwood pattern lengthwise down the hall or choose a diagonal pattern.

Connected rooms look best if you can run the wood the same way throughout the entire space, but this is not required. You can buy thin wooden transitions to separate the rooms where the flooring changes direction.

Straightness of Walls

If you are installing your hardwood in a vertical or horizontal pattern, it is important that the seams that run the length of the room appear visually straight. You may want to run the wood so that the planks are parallel to the straightest wall in the room. No house is perfectly square, but if yours is really funny, this might be a good factor to consider.

Usually, exterior walls are straighter than interior walls. You may base the installation off of an exterior wall to help achieve a nice straight-looking floor.

Features in the Room

Some rooms have that one piece that makes you say “wow.” Whether it’s a fireplace, a window, or another feature that captures your attention, you should lay your flooring to draw the eye toward it. Usually, the lengthy side of the planks creates leading lines to which you can align with the central feature.


You can always consider the sources of light when deciding which way hardwood flooring should run. Natural light will highlight the seams in your flooring pattern, so a room with a lot of natural lighting may benefit from a more intricate pattern. Or you may consider one large window to be a focal point in the room, and you may want to lay the flooring toward that window.

A glue-down hardwood floor is one of the strongest and most durable floor materials you can choose. These floors are made of engineered wood, which is thin layers glued together for maximum strength and stability.

Gluing down a hardwood floor is a lot of work and requires some special knowledge. This guide is here to tell you everything you need to know to DIY a glue-down wood floor.

To protect your investment in high-quality flooring, it’s key that you follow the steps below and plan ahead at every step. If you do that and install your glue-down floor correctly, it should last you for many years.

Glue down hardwood flooring

How Much Hardwood Flooring Do I Need?

Hardwood flooring is sold by the carton, so you will need to know how many cartons to buy. 

Start by getting a good measurement of the room. If you are buying your flooring in person, the salesman may be able to come to your house and measure the rooms for you.

After you have an accurate measurement of the whole area where you plan to install hardwood, you need to add some extra flooring to account for the cutting process and damaged pieces that you won’t be using. 

Flooring experts recommend you add 5% to the total area for cutting waste. You should also add about 10% for defective or damaged boards in the package.

That means that if you are installing hardwood in a room of 200 square feet, you should order about 230 square feet of flooring (115% of the room’s area).

This much extra wood will ensure you can finish the floor without ordering more flooring and you will probably have a few boards left over in case you need them for a repair in the future.

Quarter-Round and Transition Pieces

Quarter-round is a special trim designed to make the edges of your hardwood floor look smooth and neat as they meet the walls. There are also various wooden transitions you can use to blend your hardwood into rooms with other flooring types.

Measure all the edges of your rooms and choose the right transitions. You may want to order an extra 10%-15% of material, when practical, to allow for cuts and defects.

Order all quarter-round and transition pieces in a matching stain color.

Preparing the Subfloor

The surface below a hardwood floor is very important. It needs to be smooth, clean, and flat to ensure a good hardwood installation. The good news is that engineered hardwood flooring can be glued down on top of a concrete floor and even in a basement, both factors that were impossible with traditional solid wood flooring.

To prepare your subfloor for wood flooring, take a long straightedge or level and use it to check for high and low spots on the floor. If the straight edge rocks from end to end, there is a high spot in the middle. If the ends of the straightedge touch the subfloor but the middle is unsupported, there is a low spot.

Any variation greater than ¼ inch over a 6-foot span needs to be corrected. Smaller variations are ok. If the floor is severely off of level, you may need to lay ¼-inch plywood underlayment across the whole floor. If you just have a few spots to correct, you can use the following steps.

How to Level a Concrete Subfloor

You can fill low spots in concrete with an affordable concrete patch mix. Just spread some of the patch out on the low spots with a wide putty knife and blend it evenly to the edges.

There are some products that you pour onto a floor as a liquid and they then set up as a solid, self-leveling patch. These are expensive and harder to use, so try to stick to a regular patch mix unless you have special circumstances.

You can use a stiff metal scraper or a heavy chisel and a hammer to knock off small high spots on the concrete. 

How to Level a Wooden Subfloor

On wood subfloors, it’s easy to lower high spots with an electric sander. Use medium-grit sandpaper to remove a layer of the flooring until it falls within the ¼-inch over 6 feet range. It doesn’t need to be perfectly flat, just within that allowance.

To raise low spots, you can use the same type of concrete patch material listed above. It’s one of the only ways to spread an even layer of the shape you need. Use a wide putty knife to make the subfloor flat using patch mix. Do not use a self-leveling liquid patch on a wood subfloor because it can pour through any seams in the wood.

Preparing the Baseboards and Doors

When you install a hardwood floor, you will be adding thickness to the subfloor. Most hardwood planks are ¾-inch thick. Raising the floor by this much will require moving all of the trims and door jambs up so that the new wood floor can fit under them. Remove the trim pieces and replace them after the floor is completely installed.

Go around the room and pry all the baseboard trim off of the walls. You might want to write a word or two on the back of the trim so you can remember where it goes, especially if you have many pieces of baseboard. Remove the nails from the baseboards and the walls. You will use new nails to replace the trim later.

Cut under door jambs using a hand saw or an oscillating saw. Measure up from the subfloor and mark ¾-inch or whatever the thickness of your new hardwood so you can slide a piece of the flooring under the entire door jamb. Flooring installers have special saws to cut under jambs quickly, but you don’t need one for your DIY project. 

Before you cut the door jambs, you should remove the doors from their hinges. You might also need to cut some length off of the bottom of the door so it doesn’t drag on the new, higher floor.

Acclimating Hardwood Flooring

You can think of hardwood flooring as somewhat of a living material. It expands and contracts slightly when the temperature and humidity around it change.

This process of expansion and contraction can ruin a new floor if you do not allow enough time for the material to acclimate to the room before gluing it down.

You can check out our article on acclimating new hardwood flooring to ensure your material is ready to be installed.

The basics of accumulating new hardwood include:

  • Let the wood sit in the room where it will be installed for at least 72 hours (maybe longer)
  • Open up the packages so they can be exposed to air
  • Don’t acclimate wood to a room until windows and doors are installed and the paint is dry
  • Run heating and air systems like normal and keep the room temperature at a stable living temperature throughout the process

Choosing Which Direction to Lay the Hardwood Floor

To choose which way to lay your hardwood floor, you should think of both strength and visual appeal.

The most solid direction for your flooring is probably perpendicular to the floor joists beneath the subfloor. You may also consider the seams in the subflooring. You should lay the wood perpendicular to the longer seams so that you gradually bridge any unevenness. These two factors will help make a strong, flat floor for years to come. 

Visually, hardwood flooring looks best if it aligns with the straightest walls in the room. These are usually the exterior walls. You may want to align the flooring parallel to an exterior wall in the room.

If your subflooring is very strong and flat, you can choose to run your hardwood for visual appeal rather than across the floor joists or seams.

How to Install A Glue-Down Hardwood Floor

When installing any flooring product, make sure to read the installation instructions that the manufacturer provides. They will tell you the specifications for your exact hardwood product. Follow them closely to make sure you qualify for any warranty offers.

Make sure you understand and complete the above guidelines for preparing your room, acclimating the flooring, and choosing a direction to lay your hardwood floor.

Throughout all the steps, keep in mind that installing hardwood floors requires patience and planning ahead. Before laying a piece of wood floor, visualize how it will look in the room and next to the surrounding planks.

Also, remember when measuring that you will be using spacers to keep all flooring ½-inch away from all walls. You will also need to leave gaps of certain sizes for any transition pieces where your wood flooring meets another material.

Gather the following tools and materials before you begin and see the complete steps for gluing down your new hardwood floor:

Tools and Materials

  • Electric chop saw or miter saw
  • Electric table saw
  • Nail gun
  • Chalk line
  • Tape measure
  • ½-inch plastic spacers
  • 100-pound flooring roller
  • Flooring adhesive trowel (use the recommended tooth size for your flooring and adhesive)
  • Flooring adhesive (use the recommended type for your flooring product)
  • Clean, white rags
  • Mineral spirits or a urethane adhesive remover

Step 1: Measure the First and Last Rows

To improve the appearance of your finished floor, you should make sure that the first and last rows you install are the same width. After you determine the direction you are going to lay your hardwood floor, find out how many rows will fit in the room.

For example, if you are installing a hardwood product with 6-inch-wide planks, and the room is 10 feet and 2 inches, you have room for 20 whole rows and a 2-inch row.

Instead of having a tiny, 2-inch row at one side of the room, the floor will look better if you cut 2 inches off of the first row and the last row. This will leave you with shorter rows at each end so the two ends of the room look the same.

It’s also important to do this because no row should be smaller than 2 inches wide. If you don’t plan ahead, you may end up with a 1-inch row at the end of the room. Not only will this look bad, but it will also be too small to stick to the glue properly.

It is always better to split the remainder before you start laying the floor and cut the first and last rows in the room to the same width.

Note: Remember that you need to leave an expansion gap of ½ inch between the flooring and all walls, cabinets, and other obstacles. Subtract this gap from your measured end rows.

Step 2: Set Out Cartons of Wood Flooring

Arrange open cartons of planks around the room in short stacks. This will make them easy to reach as you lay the floor. It’s also very important that you pick pieces of wood from multiple cartons.

Wood flooring can vary in color between cartons. Some boxes may be all light wood, and some may be all dark wood. To ensure an even look in your finished room, put planks from a variety of cartons in each row as you install.

Step 3: Do Not Use Any Damaged or Defective Wood Pieces

As the flooring installer, you have a responsibility not to use any planks that you find are defective. As you take a piece of hardwood from the carton, inspect the tongue and groove to make sure they are cut properly and check all corners for chips. Any weird textures or problems with the finish can also be a bad sign.

Since wood is a natural product, it is normal for some pieces to be substandard. But if you find a large number of defective pieces, contact the manufacturer or salesman for a refund of the damaged materials.

If you fail to do this, you forfeit any right to replacement because installing the wood is considered accepting the quality. Do not glue down any piece that you find has problems.

Installing defective wood can also cause buckling or otherwise ruin your new floor. You might also void your warranty by using these pieces. Play it safe and set aside defective material.

Step 4: Set a Chalk Line For The First Row

The easiest way to begin laying your hardwood floor is to start two rows from the wall, lay rows all the way to the far wall, and come back at the end to lay in the first two rows.

To do this, you need to measure from the wall at each end of the room. Use a tape measure to mark the width of the first row (this should be the partial row that you already measured in step 1) plus another whole row.

Once you have a point on each end of the room for the width of the first two rows, snap a chalk line on the subfloor to connect the points.

You will use this chalk line to start laying flooring all the way to the far side of the room. When you are done, you can come back and lay the two rows that you measured in.

Step 5: Lay Out The First Three Rows

This step is about creating a strong and visually appealing base to begin your hardwood installation.

Pick pieces and lay them out next to each other along the chalk line. Do not worry about using any glue or connecting the tongues just yet.

Pay attention to the seams between boards. The seams in adjacent rows should never line up within 6 inches of each other. Overlapping the boards looks better and makes for a stronger floor.

Avoid creating a patterned appearance. A random scattering of seams will always look better than a pattern.

Remember, you cannot change the alignment of boards after you glue them down. Make sure to stand up and look at the arrangement for each row from a distance. If you notice any rows where seams line up too closely, choose a different board or alter the starting place for the row.

Once you have selected boards that look good together, click the tongues together and make sure they fit nicely along the chalk line. 

You will probably need to cut some end pieces to complete the rows. Measure and mark the length you need. Remember to always measure the finished surface of the board, excluding the tongue.

Always use spacers to leave a ½ inch expansion gap between the flooring and all walls, cabinets, and other obstacles. Subtract this length from any cuts you measure.

Step 6: Glue Down The First Three Rows

Once you have laid out your first three complete rows, you are ready to start gluing.

Gently separate the wood pieces you laid out for your first three rows. Lay them nearby so you can replace them after you spread the adhesive.

Use the recommended trowel to spread an even layer of hardwood floor adhesive on the subfloor, starting from the chalk line. Hold the trowel at a 45-degree angle to the floor. Apply firm pressure and use sweeping motions to make an even coat.

Do not spread adhesive on the whole floor. Just completely cover the area you need to glue the first three rows that you already laid out.

After you spread the glue, begin laying boards. Start from the side with a groove end and work toward the tongues. Lay the piece along the chalk line first, then work your way to the other end of the row.

You can work on two rows at a time. This will help create a more stable base as you lay the flooring.

Take the time to tilt each groove around the previous tongue and create a tight fit on every seam. You may need a tapping block to bump the tongues completely into their grooves (preferably a dense plastic block, but a piece of 2×4 and a hammer will do).

Some excess glue will usually squeeze up between the boards. Clean this up immediately with a clean rag and water. You may also use mineral spirits or a urethane adhesive remover on the rag if the adhesive package recommends it.

Step 7: Continue Laying Rows

As you move past the three starter rows, follow a similar pattern. You may wish to lay out whole rows at a time as you did before so you can be sure not to overlap seams within 6 inches of the previous row.

Remember to stagger the starting board length by cutting your first piece of flooring on each end of the row. You can often use the cutoff from your starter plank as an end piece on a later row. Try to do this whenever possible to avoid wasting material.

Spread only enough glue at one time as you can complete it within about 30 minutes. This is probably only 2-3 rows of glue, depending on how long your rows are.

Remember to always plan ahead, avoid a patterned appearance, and never install a defective plank. Also, remember to leave a ½-inch expansion gap between the flooring and the walls.

Step 8: Lay The First and Last Rows

When the majority of the room is finished, you are ready to cut in the last row and first row that you measured for in the beginning.

Use a table saw to rip boards down for width. Leave a ½ inch expansion gap around all obstacles. Slide the boards under any door jambs (which need to be undercut to the thickness of the flooring, if you didn’t do that earlier).

Step 9: Use a Flooring Roller

This step will probably require renting a specialized flooring roller, but it is critical to ensure your flooring bonds to the glue permanently.

Obtain a long-handled roller weighing at least 100 pounds. Local tool-rental companies or flooring installers can help you find one.

Place the roller at one end of the room and slowly roll it back and forth a few feet at a time. Stand to the side of the roller’s path so you don’t hit your feet.

Roll over the whole floor in all four directions.

This will ensure that every board is pressed firmly into the adhesive and create a strong bond.

Step 10: Install Quarter-Round and Transition Pieces

Once you lay all of the flooring, you will need to hide the ½-inch expansion gap around the room. This is what quarter-round and transition pieces are for.

If you have baseboard trim to replace, use a nailer to attach those first. Then you can use the nail gun to attach quarter-round to the walls.

Measure and cut each piece for length. Miter-cut corners at a 45-degree angle. Lay the pieces in to make sure they fit neatly, then nail them to the walls (never to the flooring).

Follow a similar process to measure, cut, and nail any transitions where your wood floor meets the carpet, tile, or other flooring types, or on stair noses. These transition pieces should be nailed to the subfloor.

If you need to remove glue-down wood hardwood floor, you are in for some hard work. Unfortunately, water damage to your wood floors or other situations might give you no choice but to rip out the old flooring.

Glue-down hardwood floors are one of the strongest, most durable floor coverings and are made to last for decades. That durability makes them extremely difficult to remove by yourself. While it’s hard work, it is not complicated — so if you are willing to get a few tools and put in the time you can save yourself the money that professionals would charge you.

You might rent a power scraper to make things faster, but you will have a lot of sticky work to do by hand. Follow this complete guide for tips and experience you need to remove glue-down wood floors as efficiently as possible.

remove glue down wood floor

Using a Power Scraper vs. Removing Wood By Hand

Most flooring professionals would use a power scraper to tear out glue-down wood flooring. This is a heavy machine with wheels and a blade on the front which can save you a lot of trouble removing the old wood.

These machines are available to rent from large tool-rental stores and some local flooring installers. If you have a way to transport it and are comfortable driving light power machinery, you may consider saving yourself hours of manual work by renting a power scraper.

It’s a good idea to consult with a flooring installer to see if a power scraper is a good fit for your space.

Removing Glue-Down Wood Flooring By Hand

The difficulty of this job will vary based on the type of glue used, how well the glue was applied to begin with, and how wide the hardwood planks are. If you are lucky enough to have small planks that were not installed by a professional, they might come up easily. Most floors installed by professionals, though, will take a lot of work to remove.

Removing glue-down hardwood is a job that requires a lot of patience. When you’re ready to get started, gather the following items and follow the steps below to make your removal work as painless as possible.

Tools and Materials

  • Circular saw with adjustable blade depth
  • Shop vacuum and sheets to protect the room from dust
  • Standard pry bar (large size)
  • Other prying tools or crowbars (optional)
  • Medium-weight hammer (such as a roofing hammer or small sledge)
  • Thick work gloves, knee pads, and safety glasses
  • 6-inch steel scraper or chipper
  • 6-inch razor flooring scraper with plenty of new razor blades
  • Wide painter’s tape if you are only removing a section of the room’s flooring

How to Prepare the Room for Flooring Removal

Tearing out your wood floor will require the use of power tools, hammering, and scraping up old glue. This process will make a huge mess, throwing sawdust, wood splinters, and sticky old glue everywhere.

Protect your home by laying sheets down on furniture or other items that are nearby. This will save you cleaning up a huge mess later and can protect sensitive items, like electronics, from damage.

When you use a power saw indoors, you may also want to use a shop vacuum to catch the sawdust immediately before it blows around the room. Just have someone follow your saw with the vacuum hose.

It’s also important that you wear proper safety equipment. Thick gloves and eye protection are absolutely necessary, and you should wear a good set of knee pads, too. You may need hearing protection when you use the circular saw and may prefer to wear a filtering mask or respirator to be safe. 

Once you and the room are prepared, you’re ready to get work removing the flooring.

Step 1: Pull Quarter-round and Baseboards

Most rooms have a baseboard nailed to the wall that runs around the perimeter of the room. Hardwood floors usually have an additional quarter-round trim. You should remove these trim pieces when you start a tear-out job.

If you plan to reuse them, you can remove the nails and keep the pieces (unless they have water damage or other problems). Mark the back of the trim so you know where they go. Otherwise, you can throw them away.

Step 2: Cut Wood Flooring with a Circular Saw

Because hardwood flooring planks lock together, it is hard to pry them apart unless you cut them first. You need to use a circular saw set to the depth of the flooring to cut the wood into smaller pieces.

Set the saw to cut at the exact depth of the hardwood flooring. If you are on a concrete subfloor, you may want to set the depth slightly more shallow so you don’t dull the saw blade on the concrete. Never set the saw deep enough to cut into the subfloor, even if it’s a wooden subfloor.

Engineered glue-down wood is extremely dense and strong. You can expect to wear out several saw blades while cutting the old flooring.

Make long, straight cuts perpendicular to the long edge of your floorboards. The recommended width to cut is every 2 feet. This will make sure you never have to pry up a piece wider than 2-feet, which will be many times easier than removing longer boards.

If you find that removing 2-foot-wide planks is still too difficult, you can go back and cut the rows even smaller.

Step 3: Pry To Remove Wood Planks

The procedure for prying up wood flooring is to stand facing the board and hook a long pry bar under one long edge of the plank. In your other hand, swing a medium-weight hammer parallel to the floor to force the pry bar under the wood.

If you can’t find an edge to make your first move, use the circular saw to split a board down the middle lengthwise. You should be able to pry up this smaller piece from the middle and work outward from there.

If you can’t get under the plank at all, try hammering the pry bar in at an angle so it starts on one sharp corner. You can also try a different location on the plank or a different shape of pry bar until you find a spot that works.

When you seat the pry bar firmly under the board, pry up on it.

If you are lucky, or if the floor was not glued down well, the pieces will pop up with minimal effort. If your floor is more secure, you might find that you have to splinter every piece as you pry up.

Discard flooring pieces in a large trash can one by one as you free them from the floor. Do not stack them on the floor where you can trip on them. It’s best to clean as you go because this is a messy job already.

If you absolutely cannot get the flooring pried up this way, you might have no choice but to call professionals or rent a flooring scraper. This is the best way to remove glued hardwood flooring.

Step 4: Scrape Small Leftover Pieces

Once you get all of the whole planks off the floor, you will probably be left with some splinters and broken corners still stuck to the glue. Be careful walking on the floor at this stage because sticky glue can trip you and there may be nails or other fasteners under the flooring.

Use a flat steel scraper to break any pieces of wood or fasteners off of the floor. Take wide, strong sweeps and always work away from your feet.

After you bust these smaller pieces off of the glue, you can sweep them up in a dustpan and throw them away.

Step 5: Scrape Remaining Glue

To prepare for any new flooring, you will need to finish by removing all of the old flooring adhesive that is stuck to the floor.

While you may be tempted to go straight for a chemical adhesive remover, this can produce dangerous fumes and it may be hard to find the right solvent for your type of glue.

It’s better to remove the glue manually if at all possible. The right tool for this job is a 6-inch razor flooring scraper. Even with a good scraper, you should only expect to clear a few inches of glue with each stroke. This can be the hardest step in the whole process.

Hold the scraper blade at a 45-degree angle and push hard to cut under the glue. If you’re on a wood subfloor, be careful not to cut into the subfloor when you scrape. Replace your blades often to keep them sharp.

Flooring glue is very strong stuff, so be patient while you scrape the remaining glue and always scrape safely away from yourself.

If you find it’s absolutely necessary to use a chemical glue remover, try different types by testing a small area first. Follow instructions carefully and always ventilate the room and wear a respirator to protect yourself from dangerous fumes.

How to Remove Only A Section of Wood Flooring

The steps above will tell you how to remove any amount of hardwood flooring. If you only want to remove part of the floor, such as to create a tile entry in a room with a wood floor, then do the following:

Use a tape measure and a large square to mark out the area you wish to tear out. Mark these measurements on the old flooring in pencil. Connect the measurements so you have a clear and complete outline of the area.

Use wide painter’s tape to outline the area you marked. This will create a protective layer for the flooring you are keeping so the saw does not scratch the wood.

Apply the tape to the outside of the lines (the area you are not tearing out). The tape should line up with your markings exactly. Lay several strips of tape outward to protect the floor. It should be as wide as the guard on your circular saw.

Set the cutting depth on your circular saw to as close to the thickness of the floor as possible. Tear-out will be easiest if you cut all the way through, but you don’t want to go too deep — especially if the flooring is over a concrete subfloor. Try to set the depth to the exact thickness of the hardwood.

Cut around the entire border that you marked out with tape. Work slowly as you approach the corners so you do not overcut and leave gaps in the flooring (if you do, you will have to fix them with color-matched wood putty).

This will give you a clean border to start your tear-out. Follow the rest of the steps above on the section of flooring that you are removing.

Engineered hardwood floors happen to be a relatively recent invention compared to solid hardwood surfaces.

They came into use about a decade after the Second World War when solid hardwood was largely replaced by linoleum floors due to the rising popularity of concrete slabs.

This development meant that manufacturers had to come up with flooring which was especially stable and more resistant to moisture and temperature fluctuations than solid hardwood, resulting in the invention of engineered hardwood. If you are unfamiliar with engineered wood, we recommend reading our article on what is engineered wood flooring.

In this article, we examine the pros & cons of engineered hardwood flooring. Also, we provide detailed comparisons to solid hardwood and laminate flooring.

Advantages of Engineered Wood Floors

In appearance, engineered wooden floors are rather similar to solid hardwood floors. However, they typically consist of three main layers with the uppermost being made of hardwood. 

The presence of hardwood in a single layer is what differentiates it from solid hardwood and laminate flooring as the former is completely made of hardwood, and the latter possesses a photographic layer that provides the appearance of a hardwood surface.

Below, we have listed the main advantages of installing engineered hardwood floors as opposed to their solid wood and laminate counterparts.

1. Adding Value to Your Property

Like solid hardwood flooring, engineered wooden floors can also raise the value of your property. Laminate flooring on the other hand is not as highly valued despite being preferred to carpeting or vinyl, and may even reduce the value of a property if the variety installed happens to be especially cheap.

2. Cost (Compared to Solid Hardwood Flooring)

Engineered hardwood flooring can often be a cheaper option since manufacturers often only use the most expensive wood for the veneer. 

This is in direct contrast to solid wood in which the entire plank has to be made from the variety of wood being used resulting in its being more expensive.

The former costs between $4 to $10 per square foot, while the latter costs between $5 to $15 per square foot.

3. Durability (Compared to Laminate Flooring)

Engineered hardwood floors generally have a lifespan of 20 to 40 years, and it is even possible for some of them to last longer. Laminate floors, on the other hand, generally last a maximum of 20 years.

4. Ease of Installation (Compared to Solid Hardwood Floors)

Engineered hardwood flooring is generally considered easy to install and this procedure can be done by an amateur particularly if they happen to be using planks that can be click-locked. What’s more, it is often sold prefinished, reducing the amount of work you will have to do to prepare it for your home.

Solid hardwood floors, on the other hand, are somewhat more difficult to install. They may also be sold unfinished in which case you will need to sand, stain, and apply a finish to your floor once you have installed it.

5. Esthetic Appeal 

Engineered hardwood flooring is capable of providing the esthetic appeal of solid hardwood surfaces. As a result, you can enjoy the same ambiance of sophistication the latter option provides when installing the former. Because it is also available in a wide range of colors and finishes you will also have a variety to choose from to match your preferred style for your home.

Although laminate flooring also provides an extensive range of choices with regard to color and style, it is visibly different from real wood despite being able to resemble it to a certain degree.

6. Hygiene 

Engineered hardwood flooring will not trap any debris, dander or unpleasant floors in the same way carpet might, making it ideal for pets.

It also does not conceal plenty of bacteria or parasites either but can be cleaned instantly unlike carpeting which may not only contain the above but be difficult to clean as well.

As a result, it is an ideal option if you or any members of your household are affected by any allergies.

7. Plank Size

If you prefer wider planks, engineered wood would be a better option for you since these boards are often wider compared to those of solid hardwood and can reach sizes of 7 inches, as opposed to the latter which often have a maximum width of 4 inches.  

8. Stability and Moisture Resistance

Engineered hardwood floors consist of a veneer, a core, and a base layer. The core is made up of layers of wood that are placed at right angles to each other and certain high-quality products may have as many as seven or even twelve layers. 

This arrangement lends engineered hardwood floors a great degree of stability, making them less prone to warping in the presence of moisture.

Solid hardwood floors, on the other hand, are made of one single block of wood and as a result, are less stable in this regard.

This means that they are more prone to crowning, cupping, and gapping due to being more susceptible to humidity.

9. Sustainability

Because only their topmost parts need to be made from solid wood, engineered hardwood floors generally require less wood (up to a third less) compared to solid hardwood floors.

Engineered hardwood flooring comes with a dense core and is also a better conductor of heat as a result. Installing it means you are likely to have to spend less energy to keep your home warm than you would if you opted for solid hardwood floors.

10. Variety of Installing Options

Engineered hardwood flooring can come with either click systems or tongue and groove systems. In the case of the former, you will be able to install a floating floor which you will be able to take with you when you move to a new home, saving money as a result. 

It is also ideal for installing over a variety of subfloors including concrete, particleboard, terrazzo, tile, wood, and vinyl.

On the other hand, solid hardwood flooring can only be installed by gluing or nailing down. It is impossible to install it as a floating surface. 

It is also worth noting that it may only be used for concrete subfloors when being installed above grade. Also, we recommend reading our article that talks in detail about how to install engineered hardwood over concrete.

Disadvantages of Engineered Wood Floors

The style, esthetic appeal, versatility, and ease of installation engineered hardwood floors possess means they can be an excellent option under certain circumstances. However, they also come with several drawbacks compared to solid hardwood and laminate flooring. Some of the most common disadvantages of this flooring option include:

1. Acoustics

Compared to engineered hardwood, solid hardwood possesses better acoustic properties due to its ability to reduce echoes. It can also distribute sound within a space and prevent reverberations more effectively due to its greater density and hardness.

2. Cost (Compared to Laminate Flooring)

Although engineered hardwood flooring can be less expensive than solid hardwood flooring it is more expensive compared to laminate flooring.

(Engineering hardwood ranges from $4 – $10 per square foot, while laminate flooring ranges from $0.50 – $5.)

3. Ease of Installation (Compared to Laminate Flooring)

Although engineered hardwood floors can be installed by amateurs and are easier to install compared to solid hardwood floors, the installation of laminate flooring is a significantly easier process, owing to the ability of its planks to lock onto each other. 

As a result, it is highly popular among amateur decorators, and choosing it may enable you to save both time and money.

4. Ease of Repair

Damage to engineered hardwood can be difficult to repair and it may be necessary for the entire flooring surface to be replaced.

With solid hardwood, you will be able to rematch the floor if only a part of it is damaged before proceeding to refinish the entire surface. Solid hardwood is also ideal for use during remodeling projects when partitions may be removed making it necessary to add more wood. 

5. Ease of Refinishing

Engineered hardwood flooring is generally unsuitable for refinishing. As a result, you will not be able to sand it and apply a protective finish.

The only exceptions are products that come with veneers above 2 mm in thickness and certain premium varieties which can be refinished as many times as hardwood floors.

6. Overall Durability

Despite their robustness and resistance to gapping, cupping, and crowning, engineered hardwood floors generally last between 20 to 40 years.

Solid hardwood floors on the other hand are capable of lasting for up to a century.

7. Susceptibility to Moisture

Despite their ability to handle humidity better than solid hardwood surfaces, engineered hardwood floors can still be damaged by water and every effort should be taken to protect them from spills as a result.

On the other hand, water-resistant laminate floors are capable of handling exposure to moisture better although they are by no means waterproof.

8. Susceptibility to Scratching and Dents

Despite its toughness, engineered hardwood flooring remains susceptible to scratches and dents, making it unsuitable for high-traffic areas. It is also worth noting that it may be impossible to remove deep gouges and scratches in it, unlike solid hardwood floors.

Laminate flooring, on the other hand, is less susceptible to these issues making it a possibly better option as a result.

9. Susceptibility to Sunlight

Like solid hardwood, engineered hardwood is photosensitive and will fade or even darken when it is exposed to sunlight. Most of this discoloration will be caused by UV light, although infrared light can also cause fading as well.

We suggest using light-colored woods in rooms exposed to plenty of sunlight or installing flooring to which a protective coating has been applied.

Alternatively, they also suggest the use of drapes to protect your floors or even UV filtering film fitted on your windows. The latter option will enable you to block infrared rays in addition to filtering UV light and even enable temperature regulation indoors with a possible reduction of your energy bills. Low-E coated glass could also prove beneficial.

Laminate flooring is more resistant in this regard as several varieties come with UV inhibitors. That said they will still fade eventually over time.

10. Toxicity

Even though its manufacturing process reduces waste, engineered hardwood flooring comes with a glued core. This adhesive may contain certain harmful products, unlike solid hardwood flooring which is completely natural.

Solid Wood Flooring vs. Engineered Wood Flooring 

Solid hardwood has been in use for far longer than any other wooden flooring option including engineered wood flooring which was introduced in the 1960s. And as can be seen from the pros and cons of engineered hardwood flooring noted above, both options have their strengths and weaknesses despite their similar appearance. Below they are examined in light of scenarios you are likely to encounter as a homeowner.

Installation Above/Below Grade

Solid hardwood floors: Surfaces in this category are especially susceptible to moisture. As a result, they are unsuitable for installing in rooms below ground level, such as your basement, for example. Doing so will place them at risk of warping and swelling and also encourage the presence of mold and mildew.

However, it is worth noting that these planks may be installed in rooms above ground level since these spaces are less susceptible to water damage than rooms below grade.

Engineered hardwood floors: Being less susceptible to moisture, these floors can be installed below ground level. They can also be installed above grade like their solid hardwood counterparts.

Radiant Floor Heating

Solid hardwood floors: Surfaces in this category are especially susceptible to changes in temperature. Using them in rooms in which radiant heating is used could make them lose their moisture content and dry out. 

Engineered hardwood floors: They are more resistant to changes in temperature and less prone to shrinkage as a result. This makes them a suitable option and ideal for use in rooms warmed by radiant heating.

Installation in Your Kitchen/Bathroom

Solid hardwood floors: Given the porous nature of wood, surfaces in this category are unsuitable for rooms where a great deal of water is used as doing so will place them at risk of damage.

Engineered hardwood floors: Despite being less prone to moisture damage, engineered hardwood floors are by no means waterproof. As a result, they are not suitable either for use in these rooms.

The best options would be ceramic tile or vinyl.


 Engineered hardwood flooring offers a wide range of benefits that make it ideal for your home. These include that authentic natural sophistication associated with wood, better acoustics compared to laminate flooring, and improved air quality and durability – qualities that all enable it to add to the value of your home.

There is also the fact that it possesses greater stability and resistance to temperature and moisture, and can be installed on concrete, above and below grade as well. 

The option to also install it as a floating floor is also an important benefit since it can enable you to save on costs providing you with the option of taking it with you when you move to your new home.

However, it does have its drawbacks as well, such as poorer acoustic qualities, the difficulty involved in repairing it compared to solid hardwood, and less resistance to wear and sunlight compared to laminate flooring.

Yet, there is no doubt that its growing popularity shows the widespread appeal of a sustainable option that is just as authentic in terms of being made from real wood like solid hardwood.