Buying from Hardwood Flooring Stores vs. Home Improvement Stores

/ August 5, 2015

hardwood floor store vs home improvement store

You’ve made the decision to purchase hardwood floors, now the question is… do you purchase the hardwood floors from a hardwood flooring store or a home improvement store? We’ll give you a few convincing reasons why a hardwood flooring store is your absolute best bet.

Specialized Knowledge

Workers at a hardwood flooring store are a lot more equipped with knowledge of hardwood floors over a home improvement worker who must have knowledge of hardwood floors, refrigerators, barbecues, and many other topics. They do not specialize in the industry so their knowledge may be limited.

Hardwood flooring store workers have the ability to educate you on details such as types of wood to consider based on your home décor, attention to climate, design, and installation. They will also spend more 1-on-1 time with you and will not be in a hurry as a home improvement worker might be who may be responsible for inventory checks, cashiering, etc.


Hardwood flooring installation is very important if you want your hardwood floors to last. Hardwood flooring stores are often work with licensed and certified professional installers saving you the headache of finding a reputable source on your own.

Looking for a hardwood floor installer? Here’s what you should know.


Hardwood flooring stores will have a much wider selection of offerings to choose from. They also swap out their inventories with the latest styles and popular choices that are tailored to specific needs a lot more frequently than home improvement stores.

Home improvement stores typically carry hardwood floors they know they can sell in mass quantities, which is often lower quality flooring due to price constraints. However, the positive side to this is that you may be able to find discounted prices. The saying goes: “you get what you pay for.”


This is a big one. Some home improvement stores may offer enticing warranties to entice you into buying. Almost every hardwood-flooring store will offer excellent warranties for several years (possibly even lifetime), repair policies, and even money back guarantees.

Remember, you’re making a decision to invest in a product you want to last for quite awhile. It’s worth investing more time and money upfront so that you do not run into common problems down the road – costing you far more than what you had to pay upfront!

American Walnut – A Prized Hardwood Flooring Option

/ July 28, 2015

american walnut hardwood flooring
Walnut Natural as part of our Urban Lifestyle Handscraped Series Collection.

American walnut is one of the most time-tested options in both furniture and hardwood floors. Walnut is a popular option because it is revered as a sophisticated choice that has the ability to transform any home into an elegant masterpiece.

Many consider American walnut a luxurious, distinctive option. It is the only domestic hardwood that has an ability to begin as a darker tone and then transform into a beautiful, brown hue in a short amount of time. It’s sapwood features a lighter color for contrast. This amount of color variation is some of the highest we offer at Urban Floor.

Why American Walnut is regarded as a classic hardwood flooring option?

  • Ages beautifully as described above
  • Offers unique color variation from tan/cream colors to purplish blacks and dark browns
  • Is highly sophisticated in nature
  • Used for decorative panels, gunstocks, and many other furniture options
  • Pure and fresh in nature – working well with almost any combination of traditional, interior décor
  • It’s tolerance for nailing, stapling, finishing, and sanding make it an attractive choice for hardwood floors

Fun fact:
Europeans consider American walnut as a symbol of fertility, while Native American Indians consider it a symbol of clarity and focus.

An example of its prized sophistication can be found below.

american walnut sophistication
Walnut Apache as part of our Mountain Country Collection.

A Little History of American Walnut

American walnut is native to eastern North America, but has made its way west, landing in many states located in Central, U.S. American walnut trees grow very tall, sometimes up to 150 feet in length.

Aside from being used in hardwood flooring, American walnut is also widely used in natural medicine, started by Native American Indians as way to eliminate parasites from the intestine. Today it is commonly used as a natural laxative, as well as for its anti-parasitic and anti-fungal effects.

American walnut trees are one of the few tree species with an ability to naturally regenerate when planted. As a result, trees are abundant and serve as a viable source for lumber needs.

Looking to read more about “eco-friendly” hardwood floors? View our article.

Selecting a Hardwood Floor Installer – What Questions to Ask

/ July 17, 2015

selecting right hardwood floor installer
Hardwood flooring remains one of the best investments you can make in your home. However, in order to get the most value out of your hardwood floors – you must choose a hardwood floor installer who knows how to perform the service the right way.

How Do I Know if The Installer Is Installing My Floors Correctly?

If you are not equipped with the knowledge to understand hardwood floor installation, then you’ve come to the right place. We know what to look for and what questions you should be asking in order to gauge just how professional your potential hardwood floor installers are.

#1: Is the installer you are considering licensed?

Licensed hardwood floor installers understand the techniques that are necessary to avoid future claims and issues.

#2: Do they understand the importance of preparing the subfloor?

The industry standard is that subfloors should be clean, flat, and dry. This means no on-site job debris or anything else that may interfere with adhesion. Subfloors incorrectly prepared could result in a handful of problems later on. This is a very important step your contractors should be paying attention to.

#3: Do they understand the importance of controlling moisture levels in your subfloors?

When humidity levels are high, moisture levels will elevate. When moisture levels rise, you begin to have floors expanding. When it begins to dry out, they begin to shrink. This process is natural. However, by factoring this in at the start of installation you can prepare for it.

Optimal hardwood floor installation should only happen when the subfloor has picked up the excessive moisture and then swelled. This allows for enough space for the floors to expand and contract naturally avoiding any future damage.

In short, your contractors should be leaving enough expansion area for the floors.

#4 Tool Evaluation

Moisture meters. To factor in moisture levels, a tool known as a moisture meter is used to help. If your installer shows up without this tool, it’s a bad sign.

High RPM saws. These are necessary for providing clean cuts that do not have the potential in damaging your floors.

Air compressors. You must have the right air compressor to make sure the finishing touches on your hardwood floors are on point.

Nails & Fasteners. You should see quite a bit of nails or fasteners because a common mistake contractors make is not using enough fasteners. In other words, they’re trying to cut corners.

Measurement tools. If your contractors begin installing without spending time to accurately measure and lay everything out, then problems may arise.

It takes time to properly install hardwood floors. Licensed contractors are your best bet as they are required to know and understand the trade in order to obtain their license. By simply knowing what to expect, you can help yourself weed out those contractors that may be trying to cut corners, which doesn’t benefit you or your beautiful hardwood floors.

Correctly Coordinating Cabinetry with Your Hardwood Floors

/ July 8, 2015

When’s the last time you saw an example of alliteration? Sorry, back on topic: cabinetry. It’s beginning to be a common trend: matching your hardwood floors with the cabinetry around them, or vice versa. Truth is, this actually works out to be very stylish! The trick is finding the correct ways to coordinate them.

coordinating cabinetry hardwood floors


Contrasting is almost always a go-to option when it comes to designing anything. If you can’t think up something royal and you’ve spent many hours trying to find the right combination then it’s time to take a break, settle down, and look into the magical art of contrast. There are various ways to utilize contrasting, which we touch on below.

Color Wheel

If you have access to a color wheel (they can also be found online) you can use it to your advantage. Take the color of your hardwood floors or cabinet, find it on the color wheel, and see what colors are adjacent to the one you’ve chosen or directly across from what you have chosen. The color you see is what you should select!

Hue Got It!

Here’s a little 101 before we dive into our explanation.

Hue = basic color
Shade = basic color with black added
Tone = basic color with gray added

So here’s the deal. Start with a hue as a base color and then when it comes to your cabinets, begin looking at different shades and tones of that color to see how well they work. Pick the best combination you like! It will help complement everything.

Monkey See, Monkey Do

In other words, whichever hue, shade, or tone your hardwood floors are find the EXACT same color and then apply it to your cabinets. It’s the easiest approach that doesn’t require extensive mental work to figure out. ☺

So whether you decide to contrast, mix things up, or stay the same – we’re sure you will find a combination that meets your tastes and we hope our guide has narrowed your selection down.

We also offer a small guide on selecting the right wall color to match your hardwood floors.

Selecting the Best Wall Color for Your Hardwood Flooring

/ June 29, 2015

best wall color match hardwood floorFinding the right wall color to match your newly placed, beautiful hardwood floors can be a daunting task for many. We understand this, which is why we’re giving you a few interior design tips in order to help you select the best matched wall color for your hardwood floors.

Playing it Safe – The Neutral Approach

Sometimes you just want something easy that you know will work with anything and guess what – that option does in fact exist. They’re called neutral colors and aren’t meant to make any bold statements – yet still provide an appropriate style that can be appreciated.

Despite what the color or hue of your hardwood floor is, these wall colors are sure to mesh very well:

  • White
  • Ivory
  • Cream
  • Tan
  • Taupe

Bold Looks – Contrast

For those looking to make bold statements with both walls and floors that stand out, then you’ll need to find contrasting colors. The best advice is to find out what undertone your hardwood flooring is (if you don’t know, call your hardwood floor distributor/salesman and they will tell you) and then use a color wheel to find the exact opposite color.

For example, say your hardwood flooring has red orange undertones (i.e. Rochester), then a color such as blue-gray will work very well.

matching wall color example

The Rochester – Can you spot the red orange undertones?

A rule of thumb here is if it’s a warm color, then contrast it with a cool color. Simple enough, no?

Center of Attention – All Eyes on The Floor

Sometimes you want to purposefully place more eyes and attention on your floors over all other décor in the room. Contrasting could work well for this, but we have a better suggestion: selecting a color based on intensity.

What we mean is if say you have dark wood floors and want to maintain attention on the floors, then you’ll want to choose a lighter color such as light gold, pale blue, or peach. It’s not a contrast that would put emphasis on both the floors and the walls. It’s a design technique used to keep your floor center stage.

Pro tip: You should never be afraid to ask for someone’s opinion on a design idea you have as it will help you narrow your choices down by exposing you to different perspectives.

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