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Hardwood Flooring Checklist

Buying Hardwood Flooring? Know Before You Go!

Download Checklist PDF
PDF icon for PDF fileBuying Hardwood Checklist - 166kb pdf | Download our buying checklist, so you know what questions to ask at your local floor store.
img of checkbox for checklist Questions to Ask What Do I Want to Know? / Key Points About Hardwood Flooring
img of checkbox for checklist What are the benefits of hardwood flooring vs. other flooring? If you are unsure that hardwood floors are for you, this will help you decide.
img of checkbox for checklist What different types of hardwood do you carry and how do they differ? You should be shown the following to get an idea of the brands or types you like:
  • Construction (solid, engineered)
  • Prefinished/Unfinished Edges
  • Species
  • Brands
  • Grains or cuts
  • Widths
  • Textures
  • Price Ranges
  • Installation Methods
img of checkbox for checklist What would you personally recommend for my situation? Consider:
  • The look you are trying to achieve
  • Home décor and furnishings
  • Climate extremes and traffic level
  • Any pets, kids or disabilities you have
  • The type of room (including stairs)
  • Type of subfloor (wood, concrete)
  • Need for sound insulation
  • Lighting
Once You Have an Idea of What Product You are Leaning Toward...
img of checkbox for checklist What grade is this product and what is the expected lifetime? Clear or First: No visible defects or knots; Little color variation
Select or Second: Tight knots; Some color variation
Common or Third: Dark graining; Variations in color; Knots
Rustic/Tavern: Darker graining; Knots; Strong visual imperfections
Exotic: Often have different rating systems than domestic
img of checkbox for checklist What type of finish is used? Penetrating: Includes sealers, resins and oil finishes which work by soaking into the wood and giving it a permanent color.
Surface: Includes urethane, varnish, lacquer, epoxy, acrylic, shellac and wax which are layered over your hardwood floor like paint.
img of checkbox for checklist Can the flooring be sanded and refinished? If so, how many times? Solid hardwood can usually be refinished more times than an engineered. Will you really be refinishing that many times?
img of checkbox for checklist Is the hardwood sealed on all four sides? This prevents moisture damage. Ask your salesperson to show you this.
img of checkbox for checklist What is the level of VOC's released? Purchase flooring that meets E1 Safety & Emission Standards.
img of checkbox for checklist Is this preferred for a DIY installation? Ask for DIY instructions. These can also be found in our installation instructions.
img of checkbox for checklist What does the Manufacturer's Warranty cover and how long does it last? Look for a warranty accompanied by a large US company backing the product. If you find a cheap warranty from a private labeled product without a big US presence, be cautious. Read the fine print!
img of checkbox for checklist What can you tell me about the manufacturer and your experience with their products?
  • How long and how much have you sold?
  • Customer Testimonials?
  • Large or small/private label?
  • # of years in business?
  • Do they provide support?
Other factors to consider
img of checkbox for checklist Is the product in stock or does it have to be ordered? Is there a minimum order? Rare products may take longer to ship. Ask your salesperson to check stock with the distributor. Normally you can order 1 box at a time.
img of checkbox for checklist What is your return policy? Find out penalties, fees and stipulations for returning. Can you return extra hardwood?
img of checkbox for checklist What is the lead time before I can have this completely installed? Consider factors such as ordering the product, waiting for arrival, acclimatization and installation.
img of checkbox for checklist What other accessories or products might I need and do you carry them? Examples: Moisture barrier or underlayment, adhesives, trims and moldings, tools for installation, rugs or mats
img of checkbox for checklist Can you provide care instructions? Follow all the manufacturer's instructions to ensure your warranty is not voided.
img of checkbox for checklist Do you sell cleaning kits and repair kits? Look for products recommended by the manufacturer.
img of checkbox for checklist May I see a sample of the actual flooring? If it is in stock, ask to remove a piece from actual box to inspect it (not all retailers will allow this). If undecided, ask to take a floor sample home. Evaluate how it looks with the other colors and the lighting in the room?
img of checkbox for checklist What financing options are available? Consider financing if you decide on a product that is more than your budget.
img of checkbox for checklist Do you deliver? If so, curbside or stacked in the installation area? Is there a fee? How many days do I have to schedule in advance? Do I need to move furniture? Are there any other preparations that I need to take?
img of checkbox for checklist Do you offer installation? If not, do you have a list of licensed installers &/or contractors you recommend? If not, use's directory search tool; "Find it Locally", to find a local flooring professional, installer (contractor), or cleaner.

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