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Hardwood Buying Guide Flooring Accessories

In addition to your hardwood flooring material, your accessories, which include everything from moldings and trims to underlayments, should not be overlooked. In this section, read through the various accessories to consider incorporating into your project. If you're interested in purchasing eco-friendly underlayments and hardwood flooring accessories, visit our green site at Green.FindAnyFloor.com.

Moldings and trims

The key to successfully transitioning between rooms with different types of flooring is to use the right moldings and trims. Here are the most common trims and moldings:

  • T–moldings: T–moldings are used where floors of similar height meet up, in areas like doorways. T–moldings are also used as expansion joints on large floating floor installations.
  • Reducer moldings: Reducer moldings transition between rooms with hardwood floors and rooms with lower sub–floors, like those floored with concrete or vinyl.
  • Stair Nose: Hardwood flooring can be used to create stair treads by using a floor trim piece called a stair nose. This rounded molding creates the leading edge of the stair tread while the flooring completes the rest of the tread.
  • Quarter Round/ Base Shoe: You can disguise the expansion gap between the floor and the wall with quarter round moldings. Smaller expansion gaps can be fixed with wall base trim. Quarter round moldings are sometimes used for stairs where the tread and riser meet.
  • End cap: Also known as the threshold, this trim eases the transition between rooms with different materials such as hardwood floors through to rooms with carpet, masonry (including fireplaces), sliding doors, or exterior doorjams.

Underlayments

Additional moisture protection and noise insulation for your hardwood floors are established with the use of underlayments. Most underlayments can also serve as a way to cover minor imperfections in the subfloor before installing your hardwood flooring.

  • Moisture protection: a thick plastic underlayment called visqueen is the most common material used as a moisture barrier to protect hardwood flooring. Other options include combinations of plastic and foam which can offer both moisture protection and noise reduction for wood floors.
  • Noise reduction (sound / noise abatement): This noise reduction type of underlayment is used to reduce the noise transmission from one floor level to the next. Sound abatement underlayments are made from several materials including cork and rubber. Cork underlayments are the most popular choice for their sound–reducing properties. However, because cork is thicker than other underlayments (generally comes in 1/4" thickness and greater), it may increase the height of wood flooring to a level that requires modifications of doors and transitions.

Adhesives and Fasteners

As a general rule, always check with the manufacturer's guidelines for your specific flooring when looking into adhesives. Engineered flooring is most commonly installed using the floating method, in which no adhesive (glue) is used between the hardwood and subfloor. However, glue might be required to adhere each piece of flooring to one another.

The two main types of engineered flooring are click lock (snap together) and tongue and groove.

In the click lock system, the individual planks of wood quite literally click together, requiring no glue (adhesive) between the planks. The tongue and groove system usually requires glue to be used in the groove so that a tight fit between the flooring planks is achieved.

Solid hardwood floors that are going to be "nailed down" will require nails (called cleats) or flooring staples for installation. When considering hardwood installation methods with cleats or staples, be aware that professional tools are needed, as well as correct sizes of fasteners per manufacturer recommendation. Always check with your professional installer or hardwood flooring manufacturer for the recommended installation method for your specific hardwood type and flooring project.

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