5 Pitfalls to Avoid When Choosing Flooring for Multi-Family Buildings

by Jason Brubaker

Flooring for multi-family buildings can be tricky if not selected with care and installed correctly. Multi-family buildings receive a lot of foot traffic. Along with day-to-day traffic in common areas, you get additional scuffs and dings as tenants move in and out.

That’s why it’s also important to learn what the pitfalls are that clients and industry professionals can encounter when choosing engineered hardwood flooring for multi-family buildings.

We’ve done the legwork for you and compiled the top five pitfalls to avoid when choosing flooring for multi-family buildings. We’ll also offer some tips on how to choose the right products to avoid these pitfalls to ensure your multi-family residence flooring is the perfect fit for the needs.

1. Wrong Flooring for Your Client’s Needs

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There’s nothing worse than choosing the wrong flooring for your needs, and this is sometimes a pitfall that clients fall into. They see the perfect shade and wood texture and fall in love without knowing that that particular type of flooring is not ideal for their needs long-term.

Choosing the wrong flooring for a multi-family residence design can result in having to redo the floors within months due to damage. This is costly, time-consuming and results in lost revenue.

Helping your client determine what they need by gently guiding them in the right direction towards high durability floors and empowering them with the knowledge they need to make the right choice will leave your clients feeling confident and happy with their floors and the service you provided.

Laminate flooring, which is a common option for many flooring needs, is not always the best option, particularly when clients are looking for a truly natural look. While it can sometimes be durable, laminate flooring is synthetic, which means you won’t get the same look as natural wood. Grain patterns will be repetitive and noticeable when spread across a large surface, taking away from the high-quality look that clients desire.

Alternatively, engineered hardwood from a reputable company like Nydree is made from a foundational layer of Marine Grade Baltic Birch, ensuring that it is natural through and through. But it is reinforced with layers of acrylic, glued with marine grade adhesive and then topped with another layer of acrylic, ensuring a 300% increase in durability over other types of flooring. For more information on what engineered flooring can do for your client, check out this article.

2. Flooring Isn’t Durable Enough

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Another pitfall that clients may fall into when choosing the right flooring for their multi-family buildings is the durability of the materials. While we touched on flooring durability in the point above, it deserves a mention of its own.

While some buildings with much less foot traffic can get by with a less durable floor, such as bamboo, ensuring that flooring in multi-family buildings is extremely durable is essential.

Because of the high foot traffic — coupled with the fact that the condition of the flooring reflects on the quality of management — doing your homework on which flooring is the most durable for your client should be top of the priority list.

Factors when considering durability also include weather conditions. Each multi-family residence may have different requirements, from colder, snowy winters with salt and gravel that gets tracked in, to coastal regions where the main damage comes from water and salt.

Not having the highest durability flooring will result in unsightly scuffing, weathering and wearing, or buckling from humidity, melted snow or rainfall — in essence, increased day-to-day maintenance.

For more information on choosing the right flooring for your client, check out this article.

3. Flooring Hasn’t Been Set or Sealed Properly

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Choosing hardwood flooring that hasn’t been set or sealed properly can result in significant damage that requires repairs or replacement, costing your clients time and money and damaging your reputation. Sealing engineered hardwood flooring during manufacturing is a careful process that takes a reputable and trustworthy manufacturer to complete.

With engineered hardwood, each layer needs to be carefully constructed, using top-grade glues and a tough finish to ensure the final product can handle the wear and tear of high-traffic.

The solution to this problem is to check the grade of glue used in the manufacturing process, as well as the quality of acrylic used. The type of wood used is also beneficial because some woods, like softwoods, aren’t as sturdy as hardwoods, and can scuff or get damaged by dropped objects or high heels.

4. Wrong Finish

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A peeling finish is a huge disappointment to any multi-family building owner and can reflect badly on the industry professional hired to help guide them in their flooring choice and installation process.

But the problem with a peeling finish is not just a product that isn’t great quality, but the wrong product choice to start with. Some finishes aren’t hardy enough to sustain the high traffic of multi-family residences. Doing your research is the perfect way to avoid these problems and ensure your client is happy with the final outcome — not only on day one but on every day for years after.

5. Inadequate Expansion Gap

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Wood, like many other natural materials, can expand and contract with temperature fluctuations. A properly installed hardwood floor will have this taken into consideration.

One way to find out if proper gaps haven’t been left in the floorboards is to look for cupping or buckling of the individual boards. This can significantly damage the wood and finish, leading to repairs and even replacement. The worst-case scenario is the entire floor will buckle, which can result in trips and falls and costly repairs.

Ensuring proper gaps are left in the floorboards is the job of the installers. To mitigate any issues, it’s best to check the requirements of the particular hardwood flooring and ensure the installer has as well. For more information on the correct spacing for Nydree’s Maverick collection, check out our installation guide.

Get Started Today

Avoiding pitfalls is critical to not only the happiness of your clients but the success of your business. Meeting your clients’ needs with the best multi-family flooring ideas, including quality and durability that enhance their design dreams, is the top criteria. Here are some amazing multi-family designs to get you and your client inspired.

Ready to get started? Great! Contact us today to request a quote or a sample.