Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the best hardwood for homes with heavy traffic, kids, or animals?

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If your floors need to handle a lot of traffic, you have to look at grain, colour and texture before you make your final decision. Don’t fall in love with something from a magazine or TV show, and don’t base your entire decision on just colour. Be informed. Think about maintenance. Think about your lifestyle. Then think about what you want your floors to look like in 10 years and what you have to do to keep them that way.

Busy life, busy grain: If you have the kind of home where dogs or cats are running around, people are always coming through or kids bring their friends over to play, then you want a busy grain. A busier, grainier hardwood helps hide scratches. Oak, hickory and ash are among the best for this.

Lighter and more natural colours are also better options if you’re worried about scratches, which darker stains really highlight.

More texture, more leeway: More homeowners are also buying textured hardwood (wirebrushed), which comes in oak and ash primarily. Part of its appeal is that it’s new and different. Yes, it costs a little more than smooth wood, but it will look better for longer.

Remember, hardwood is more expensive then carpet or laminate, so you don’t want to have to replace it just because you followed a trend for bold colours, bleaching or hand scraping!

-Article courtesy of Mike Holmes (Postmedia News)

Can I clean my hardwood with vinegar and water?

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Using vinegar and water as a homemade hardwood floor cleaning solution can have a negative effect on your hardwood floor. It’s important to remember that when you clean your hardwood floors, you aren’t actually cleaning the wood—you are cleaning the chemical finish on the wood. The finish is the protective layer of your hardwood floors.

Since vinegar is an acid, it will actually break down the finish on the surface of your floor, and over time it will reduce the shine and leave a dull appearance. Using vinegar and water to clean floors can also lead to an excessive amount of water on the floor, which can cause swelling and discoloration.

Always use a specially formulated hardwood floor care cleaner to maintain the beauty and look of your floors.

Why doesn’t Black Bear carry hand scraped flooring?

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Handscraped wood flooring seems to be the style now like bleached floors were 10 years ago. Then as time passed, you now see no pre-finished bleached floors available. Let me add to this:

  • If you have animals and high traffic, the high edges of the wood will wear out the fastest and the dog will also get it’s traction from that.
  • When time to refinish, this may cost more because the finishers will have to sand all the high edges off to get to the lower wood. This may leave you with a flat smooth look. I’m sure there are other way to do this, but you may be digging deeper into your pocket.
  • Also, stay away from dark colors. Dark colors seem to show the wear and tear much sooner. Natural colored wood in any species would be the best choice for long term maintenance.
  • If you proceed with the handscraped look, try to stay with the solid 3/4″ thick material. You don’t want to run across a refinishing problem with a hand scraped product.

Why are there gaps in between the boards on my floor?

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During the summer months of the year, there is a lot of humidity in the air. Your hardwood floor soaks up this humidity and expands. As the winter months roll around, and the heat is turned on, the floor dries out and starts to gap. There are a couple of tips we recommend to try and avoid this problem. Try to keep the room at a constant 45% humidity level using an air conditioner, humidifier, or a dehumidifier. Also, prior to installation, let your floor acclimate to its surroundings. Two weeks before the floor is to be laid, bring the flooring into the area where the floor is to be installed. Stack the flooring 3-4 bundles high leaving a 6″-7″ space between the stacks. This will allow air to circulate between the stacks and for your flooring to properly acclimate.

Why doesn’t my floor look exactly like the sample in the showroom?

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Although your floor should look similar to the sample in the showroom, there are certain instances when your floor might look slightly different. As a tree grows and matures, over approximately 60 years, it absorbs minerals and other essential elements, which can change the color and appearance of the wood. Even wood from the same tree can show signs of variance. For instance, “younger wood” closer to the outside of the tree will be lighter than the wood from the center portion.