Today’s hardwood flooring captures the beauty of many species of real wood and brings it into your home, giving you high performance floors that deliver timeless beauty and outstanding quality and durability. Hardwood flooring comes in either solid or enginneered, and can be prefinished at the factory or site finished on the job as outlined below:
Solid wood is just that – one piece that is milled from lumber. It comes in a variety of widths, from 2-1/4″ to 5″ wide. It also comes in different thicknesses: 3/4″ is standard, but you can also find “thin profile” solid that is 5/16″ thick.
Keep in mind:
• Moisture and extreme temperature changes can cause solid wood to shrink and expand, potentially causing gaps between boards during colder or dryer seasons
• 5/16” thin profile solid wood can be installed directly over concrete; 3/4” can’t
• All solid hardwood can be sanded and refinished if needed (required every 15-20 years)
• All urethane coated floors can be recoated as needed to renew the surface of the floor. This is more economical than sanding and refinishing
Prior to the development of engineered hardwood flooring, hardwood products could not be installed on slab or in your basement without a special subfloor system. Now you can enjoy real hardwood flooring in those areas without all that fuss and expense. A special cross-ply construction eliminates the problem of expansion and contraction usually associated with solid hardwood.
Engineered wood is real wood, but instead of one solid piece it consists of three to 10 thin layers of wood, called plies, that are assembled and glued in a cross-ply construction. The top layer of wood can range from 1/16” to 1/6” thick. Overall board thickness ranges from 1/4” to 3/4”. Due to its multi-ply structure, engineered wood is much more stable than solid wood and is less susceptible to shrinking and expanding with changes in temperatures and humidity.
Don’t become overly concerned with thinner or thicker top wood layers associated with engineered products because it’s the finish you are walking on. Generally speaking you won’t need to re-sand and finish these products; just re-coat them unless you need to change the color.
Keep in mind:
Engineered wood can be installed directly over concrete and can also be installed below ground level. Engineered wood with a top layer thinner than 1/10” cannot be refinished; however, it can be recoated to renew the surface of the floor.
Wood Floor Finishes: Site-Finished vs. Prefinished
A prefinished, or factory finished wood floor, creates a no muss, no fuss installation. There’s no dust from sanding, no fumes from chemicals, no waiting for the finish to dry. These floors are warranted to last longer than site-finished floors–typically 15 to 25 years, versus three to five years. This is because factory applied urethane finishes are much tougher and longer lasting than site-applied finishes.
With all the color choices available in pre-finished hardwood flooring, there’s no need to custom stain site-finished floors to get just the right look for your home. If you like the look of site-finished flooring, but want the durability of prefinished flooring, choose a product with a square end and edge.
Advocates of site finishing like the fact that the floor can be sanded after it’s installed to even out any imperfections. Site finishing also gives you the widest selection of stain colors to choose from. However, on-site sanding and finishing can produce heavy fumes, messy dust and significant waiting time from when the floor is laid until it can be enjoyed. In addition, labor costs for on-site finishing may drive up your installation costs.
Factory finished flooring usually installs more quickly and without the dust and odors that are involved with on-site finishing. However, even though factory finished flooring comes in a variety of colors, on-site finishing allows for a closer color match with existing woodwork or cabinets.Both factory finishes and on-site finishes are available in either high gloss or matte. Both types have exciting new finishes developed with space age technology. These finishes are not like grandma’s old wood floors because they require no waxing.
You should feel comfortable with either choice. However, factory finiishing offers many nice advantages. Factory finished flooring is inispected for defects at the mill so you receive first choice every time. On-site finishing depends on the quality of the workmanship that day.
Special considerations when selecting hardwood flooring
Direct sunlight can affect the color of hardwood stains, therefore closing curtains or shades during peak periods will reduce damage. Area rugs left in place for extended periods of time may expose a shading difference once they are removed from the remainder of the floor. Also, consider whether you want a matte finish or a glossy finish.Large pets with sharp toenails can also damage even the best finishes.
There is no substitute for a knowledgeable salesperson
If you’ve looked around, there are so many varieties and colors that it can be super confusing. Our knowledgeable design people can help you sort out colors and styles and match them to your performance needs so that your purchase makes sense while achieving beauty and quality for your home or office.
The installation process is just as important to a successful project as the products that we sell. Our craftsmen deliver the end product that ulitmately makes our clients proud of their project. We pride ourselves on our quality of installation. Each member of our team knows our commitment to doing a job right. We reinforce this by a system of continuing education and certification, training programs and seminars, and on the job implementation. Our installers are our own employees and work strictly for us, unlike the independent installation subcontractors that most others use. LEARN MORE