Hardwood floors are timeless pieces in homes across the world. They’re adaptable to any home style and easy to clean and maintain and can last for decades with proper care. If you’ve recently decided to renovate your flooring, there are a few more things you need to know before installing hardwood floors.

Shopping for the Right Fit

Take some time to make sure you find the best flooring for your needs. For example, if you’re only adding hardwood floors, will the wood match the furniture? Will you need to repaint the walls? Think about what type of wood you want both for aesthetics and functionality. Certain rooms will need different types of wood. The microclimate in the laundry room will be dark and humid. However, the dining room will likely receive more direct sunshine and heat. Light can change the color of the wood over time, and high-traffic areas need wood that’s more scratch-resistant than an area such as a formal dining room does.

Preparing and Installing

There’s an ideal time of the year to buy and install hardwood flooring. DIYers need to read all the installation instructions ahead of time to ensure they can follow all stages of the process. Since hardwood floors have the potential to last for decades, they must be correctly installed. Different woods might be easier to DIY, whereas you might have to call a professional for other woods. For example, solid hardwood must be stapled, nailed, or glued—you should probably leave this type for a specialist. However, engineered wood planks connect to each other instead of to the floor, making them easy to install yourself.

Long-Term Protection

The last thing you need to know before installing hardwood floors is how to preserve them for as long as possible. Many hardwood flooring issues are avoidable. To prevent unnecessary scratches, put felt pads on the bottom of all furniture legs; take off your shoes at the door; clip your pets’ nails monthly; and vacuum regularly. Hardwood floors have different cleaning requirements than tile or laminate surfaces; double-check that your cleaning supplies are appropriate.

By expanding your knowledge of installing and caring for hardwood floors, you can extend their life for decades.