Getting to know Hardwood Flooring:
The elegant look of a hardwood floor can add warmth and character to any room. In fact, the natural characteristics of wood add depth and a visual appearance that many other types of floors try to duplicate.
Each species of wood has its own unique characteristics, additionally the conditions of nature that the tree matured in helps to make each floor exceptional and individual.
Rich, inviting hardwood floors are not only beautiful to live with, they are surprisingly durable and can add value to your home at resale time. Plus, today, there are hardwood options and applications to fit every lifestyle or décor.
Choosing Solid or Engineered Hardwood Flooring:
Engineered hardwood flooring is constructed in a layered fashion similar to that of common plywood with an actual hardwood veneer (layer) on the surface, commonly called the wear layer. Distressed, Hand scraped and smooth textures are all available and there is a wide assortment of species and colors to choose from as well.
The hardwood boards (or planks) have already been sanded, stained and finished at the manufacturing plant. In many cases this can provide a cleaner, harder, and better-protected surface than a site finished job.
One key to look for in choosing an engineered product would be the thickness of the wear layer and the hardness of the species used for the wear layer (see hardness below). Note that wear layer thickness can vary by product, the thicker veneers typically allow for re-finishing.
Finally, engineered products are more stable (expansion and contraction due to variations in temperature and humidity) than solid hardwood due to the way they are constructed.
Engineered hardwoods are most often prefinished by the manufacturer and can be purchased with outstandingly durable finishes (see below), but may be purchased as unfinished as well. Purchasing unfinished is an important option for customers wanting a site finish without the flooring height concerns of a solid hardwood.
(To view engineered hardwood products click here, to learn about wood floor finishing types see below)
Solid hardwood flooring is one solid piece of wood typically made from red oak, but other species such as white oak, maple, cherry, ash, hickory or pecan are available. These floors are typically sanded and finished on site.
Solid wood flooring can be installed over concrete surfaces, but the slab must be above grade and completely dry before the installation begins. The floor will be installed using the nail down method in which the flooring will be fastened to a layer of plywood or 2x4 “sleepers” that have been securely fastened to the concrete slab. The strips or planks (depending on the width) of flooring are typically three quarters of an inch thick, making the overall floor height one and a half (or more) inches thick. The height of solid hardwood floor installed over a concrete slab may cause awkward transitions to other floor types and can cause doors to be cut and thresholds to be raised.
Solid wood floors can be distressed, hand scraped or smooth finished. They are typically finished on site and, if cared for properly, solid wood floors can be refinished multiple times. Note: pre-finished solid hardwood floors are available and are installed in the same manner as unfinished solid hardwoods.
(To view unfinished solid hardwood products click here)
(To learn about prefinished solid hardwood products click here)
Two ways hardwood floors are finished, decide which is better for you:
Site finished hardwood: may be used on solid hardwood floors or unfinished engineered floors. If you want a custom-stained hardwood floor, or a wood floor to match existing trim, then a job-site finish is your answer.
Job-site finish means you start with a bare (unfinished) hardwood floor that will be sanded, stained, (possibly textured) and finished in the home. The other advantage of a job-site finish is, if you are concerned with uneven heights between planks, the sanding process will smooth out the floor. Be warned, though, this can be a little messier project when compared to a pre-finished glue-down application and the entire installation and finishing process takes at least two weeks to complete.
A work of natural art, the elegance of a quality pre-finished hardwood floor adds beauty and value to any home, easy care and durability to any lifestyle.
Prefinished floors are available in both engineered and solid hardwood flooring.
Pre-finished hardwood floors are sanded, screened and stained in highly efficient manufacturing plants with numerous coats of durable finish applied to the wood’s surface. As example, many wood floor companies are applying 6-10 coats of a ultra-violet (UV) cured urethane. This would be extremely difficult for someone to duplicate on a job site finish, not to mention how many days it would take.
Multiple coats of clear polyurethane finish along with high-tech additives provide a very durable and scratch-resistant finish.
Where can I put hardwood floors?
There are limitations on where some wood floors can be installed. This is especially true for the 3/4" solid wood floors. Solid hardwood floors are more susceptible to moisture and are generally not recommended for basements, or by gluing the flooring directly onto a concrete slab.
There are technologies that can help overcome moisture issues such as these but they do increase your cost. We would be happy to discuss these options available to ensure a successful installation.
How wide should I go?
The narrower plank widths are referred to as “strips” and the wider units as “planks”.
You should be aware that plank width can visually impact a room.
Narrow width planks (strips) will expand a room, while wider planks work well in a larger room or area.
Knowing this can give you an edge!
Different hardwood floors have different edges. Hardwood floors come in either a beveled (micro, eased, or full) edge, or a square edge. Today, most hardwood floor manufacturers are calling their beveled edge "eased edge" because the tapered edge is dramatically reduced from the old deep “V”- grooved edges.
The beveled edges do serve a purpose. The manufacturer can produce beveled edge planks faster than square edge, which in turn lowers their production costs. Also, a beveled edge floor is more forgiving when installed over irregular subfloors and you don’t have the problem of overwood (uneven plank heights abutting each other).
Here’s a summary of today’s hardwood edge types:
The edges of all boards meet squarely creating a uniform, smooth surface that blends the floor together from board to board. The overall look of this floor gives a contemporary flair and formal feeling to the room.
Each board is just slightly beveled. Some manufacturers add an eased edge to both the length of the planks as well as the end joints. Eased edges are used to help hide minor irregularities, such as uneven plank heights. Eased edge planks are sometimes referred to as micro-beveled edge.
These products have a very distinctive groove in them. Beveled edge planks lend themselves to an informal and country decor. With the urethane finishes applied at the factory today, the beveled edges are sealed completely, making dirt and grit easy to be swept or vacuumed out of the grooves.
Why you should know your floor’s hardness:
Below are listed the relative hardness for numerous wood species used in flooring. These ratings were done using the Janka Hardness Test, which measure the force needed to embed a .444 inch steel ball to half its diameter in a piece of wood.
The higher the number the harder the wood. Although this is one of the best methods to measure the ability of wood species to withstand indentations, it should be used as a general guide when comparing various species of wood flooring. Certain hardwood species aren't recommended for flooring because they're not hard enough to withstand heavy wear and tear.
The construction and finish also play an important role in the durability and ease of maintenance of any wood floor. You should note: some engineered wood floors are actually harder than their solid wood counterparts because of the way they are made and the use of hardwood core inner plies.
|Wood Species||Hardness Rating|
|Southern Yellow Pine (short leaf)||690|
|Southern Yellow Pine (Long leaf)||870|
|Red Oak (Northern)||1290|
|Brazilian Teak (Cumaru)||3540|
|Brazilian Walnut (Ipe)||3680|
The selection of products readily available for viewing in our Coppell showroom represents a broad spectrum of the most popular flooring trends, but if your product preference is not in our collection, know that you are not limited. We represent a host of local dealers, and any product in their vast showrooms.
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