Hardwood floors are homeowner's popular choice because of hardwood floor's versatility and the enhancement of the beauty of their homes, as well as the value.
Different from laminate floors, which are made of compressed fiberboard with paper pattern layer sealed on the top with an appearance of wood, hardwood floors are entirely made of wood.
There are two types of hardwood flooring (solid and engineered). Here we will discuss the differences:
Solid hardwood flooring is made of one solid piece of wood, instead of layers of wood, solid hardwood floors is ideal for more areas which are at ground level or above and is nailed or stapled to the wooden sub floor. Thicknesses vary. The most common thickness is ¾". 5/16", thin profile options are less common and can be glued over hard surfaces such as concrete.
Engineered hardwood flooring is engineered from multiple layers of solid wood pressed together in a cross-ply (layer) construction, grains run in different directions. The construction makes it dimensionally stable and suitable for stapling, gluing or floating over wood, concrete or your existing floor. 3- or 5-ply construction is typically available, the most common engineered flooring thickness is ½". It is a good option for all areas of the home, due to its outstanding strength and moisture resistance, and especially for below-grade areas such as basements, or radiant heated rooms.
Selecting a Flooring Option
Before selecting hardwood flooring for your home, questions need be answered:
Where the flooring will be installed
The type of sub floor in the area
How much moisture will be underlying the surface
The look of your floor
What is your budget
First consideration is the location, whether above or below grade. Above grade areas are those above ground level, below grade are below ground level such as basements.
In either area engineered flooring can be used, due to its cross-ply construction, which makes it more resistant to temperature and humidity changes. It can be stapled, glued down, or floated over existing flooring.
Solid flooring needs to be nailed to the sub floor and is susceptible to humidity and temperature changes. While it is ideal for more rooms in the house, it is not recommended where flooring is subjected to high moisture/humidity, or standing water.
Hardwood flooring allows you to imprint your personal style; factors for consideration are:
The wood's natural color
The applied stain
The room's lighting
The character of the species
The variation in grain and shade
Strip or plank width
Edge detail, including square, beveled or eased
High or low gloss
Style and texture - rustic to contemporary
A topcoat, or finish, protects and enhances the beauty of hardwood floors. Whether you choose a pre-finished or site-finished floor, personalizing it to your style is an option.
Pre-Finished vs. Site-Finished:
Factory pre-finished floors come in a wide variety of colors, saves your hours of labor, cleanup and exposure to flames. They're easier to install and endure better because they're stained, finished and dried in a controlled environment using high-performance equipment. Once a high-performance urethane coating is applied, pre-finished floors can receive up to 7 passes of ultraviolet light to cure the urethane, leaving a long lasting finish. Most pre-finished floors come with a limited factory finish warranty.
With a site-finished flooring, your contractor or yourself must perform the work, yet you will have the flexibility to customize the finish.
Surface vs. Penetrating Finishes:
The most common floor finish, a surface finish, is easy to maintain, once a stain has been applied, a topcoat of polyurethane is then put on to protect the floor.
Penetrating finishes absorb into the wood fibers, have a matte or satin appearance, is topped with wax which needs to be periodically reapplied and must be carefully maintained with special cleaners.
The floor care is determined on the type of finish your hardwood floor has – surface or penetrating. This will factor in how much is required to keep it glistening. Since most floors now have a surface finish, no longer is needed the water bucket and wax. You really just need to sweep or dust mop weekly, or use a soft brush vacuum attachment. Clean your floors occasionally with a no-wax floor cleaner that has been recommended by wood flooring professionals.