If you’re a condo owner, hardwood flooring can make your new home reflective of your personality and character.
Naturally, hardwood, with its warmth and versatility is a popular choice; however, installation in a condo is different than installing in a traditional home.
What are some of the basic questions you need to ask yourself—and your condo corporation board?
When you live in a condo, you share a lot with your fellow condo-dwellers. This includes the elevator, parking spaces and access to the building itself. Even the very atmosphere between units is a shared commodity. With this in mind, ask yourself:
Is there a contractor parking area where my vendor can deliver my hardwood flooring?
Do I need to book the elevator to allow for access to my delivery, and will the size of the elevator accommodate the length of my flooring?
Are there rules or regulations regarding the hours during which construction work can be done, the types of tools that can be used, or whether there is a designated workspace for the cutting of the hardwood?
What type of hardwood flooring can be used in a condo?
Now that you’ve got the logistics figured out with your condo corporation, you’re all set to go. You can create a living space that is not only warm and inviting but durable and practical. Newer condos are built with a concrete subfloor; therefore, hardwood flooring customers are generally limited to the use of engineered hardwood for their condo flooring needs. Because engineered wood, by its very definition, suggests that lengths are pre-determined, it’s imperative to know the length your building’s elevator will accommodate. Hardwood floor designers have already discovered the benefits of running longer boards from the entrance of the home to the back in a traditional house. The same holds true for condo living. Again, longer boards train the eye to see a large, expansive flow of colour and design, making even a small living area seem larger than it is.
What hardwood flooring customers need to know about laying flooring on concrete:
By its very nature, concrete absorbs noise—both structural and airborne. For this reason, you will require a sound barrier. To know which classification to use– a sound barrier underlay or specific glue that provides a barrier– you will need to check with the condo board of your building to know which is approved. The following are three different ways that engineered hardwood can be installed:
Full Glue—the wood planks are glued directly to the cement flooring
Double-Down Glue—the wood is glued to an underlay which is then adhered to the subfloor.
And finally, Floating (the edges only are glued) and there is a specific acoustically designed overlay between the flooring and the cement subfloor.
Condo Logistics for Hardwood
Installing hardwood floors in a condo requires more preparation and planning than in a residential home. This is due to a combination of various condo board rules, booking elevators and service entrances, parking arrangements, and the logistics of transporting the wood planks themselves. Here are some pointers to keep in mind so you don’t get caught unawares when installing hardwood flooring in your condo.
Book the Elevator
Some condo boards limit the hours workers can spend in your condo or may only allow work to be done during specific windows. There may also be limits on the types of tools and equipment that can be set up in your condo or on the balcony. For the purposes of installing hardwood floors, this means you need to check and see if a band saws or chop saws can be used in your condo. If not, then the cutting will have to be done in the parking lot and additional arrangements have to be made.
It’s best to assume that you won’t be able to carry the wood boards up the stairs and will need to use the elevator unless you live on the second floor. This means that timing of the work needs to be known well ahead of time so you can make the necessary bookings. It’s a good rule of thumb to add some flex time onto any estimations so you don’t find yourself scrambling.
Get a Site Visit
Having your contractor visit your condo beforehand goes a long way in making sure the final job goes smoothly. During the site visit, remove a section of the carpet or existing flooring to expose the subfloor. This will let your inspector know whether the subfloor requires additional prep work before the hardwood flooring can be installed.
Get a Sound Barrier
Concrete absorbs and spreads sound waves so you will need to get a sound barrier to place over top of the subfloor. This can come in the form of an underlay or even sound-absorbing glue. Your condo board can help you learn the required Impact Insulation Class and Sound Transmission Class ratings.
Don’t Be Discouraged
These additional steps can seem daunting at first glance but it is important not to let yourself get overwhelmed. Choosing hardwood flooring in your condo is a great investment and even if you aren’t familiar with the process, condo boards and our flooring experts are.
Hardwood flooring customers have learned that knowing what the condo corporation approves of, is the first time-saving step in creating a beautiful oasis of privacy and luxurious comfort. We hope that these tips have helped you as you embark on your own hardwood floor journey.