Hardwood Floor Types

hardwood floor

Solid hardwood floors come in a wide variety of species & colors with each plank made of solid wood and milled from a single piece of a tree. Hardwood floors were originally used for structural purposes, being installed perpendicular to the wooden support beams of a building. Modern construction techniques now rarely use wood building frames and solid hardwood floors are used almost exclusively for their appearance. For hardwood floors made from natural wood has some limitations. Expansion and contraction of wood from humidity and temperature have a noticeable effect on hardwood floors. Most commonly, 5" wide and 3/4" thick boards are are the limits of solid hardwood floors without compromising the structure of the flooring. In general we never recommend installing natural hardwood floors over concrete.  Most people think that because this wood is solid wood, that one can sand & refinish it until you reach the bottom of the hardwood-But you can only sand it until you reach the"Tongue"(approximately 1/4").  To insure a sound installation, solid hardwoods need to be nailed down.

Solid wood can be cut in three styles: flat-sawn, quarter-sawn, and rift-sawn. However, because only one side of the wood is visible on flooring, "quarter-sawn" and "rift-sawn" will have the same appearance. Many solid woods come with "absorption strips" - grooves cut into the back of the wood that run the length of each plank. They are used to reduce cupping. Solid wood floors are most commonly manufactured with a "tongue-and-groove" for installation.

Engineered hardwood flooring is made of multiple layers of wood glued perpendicular to each other.  The criss- crossing of the layers make the plank very stable.  The interior layers are actually harder than the top layer. The top of the engineered hardwood floor is glued to the layers to provide stability. Because the inside layers of hardwood are  comprised of so called "scrap" wood this is a more "Green" (environmentally friendly) type of floor.  Because of the engineering of this type of hardwood, it is very stable(more than solids) and most can be installed on all types of sub floor. Engineered wood flooring is the most commonly used hardwood flooring product.

hardwood floor

Telling the difference between solid wood floor & engineered wood floor can be almost impossible once installed. Engineered hardwood floors can be made to look like any natural hardwood floor imaginable. There are many limiting factors when it comes to natural hardwood that give it a more limited scope of use: solid wood should not be installed directly over concrete, should not be installed below grade (basements) and it should not be used with radiant floor heating. Solid hardwood is also typically limited in plank width and is more prone to gapping and cupping with increased plank size. depends on the quality of the engineered wood. Engineered wood flooring has several benefits over solid wood, beyond dimensional stability and universal use. Patented installation systems (such as "click") allows for faster installation, and easy replacement of boards. A lot of engineered hardwoods can be installed using a 'floating' installation, further increasing ease of repair and reducing installation times.

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