Hardwood Flooring adds an aesthetic desired by many homeowners and adds value to a house. Depending upon the space and location in which it is installed will determine which type of wood flooring should be used. While hardwood flooring can be used almost anywhere, moisture levels of the room may require additional consideration during installation. Solid wood will expand and contract with changes of temperature and moisture — always bring the flooring into the room three days prior to installation so the planks can acclimate to the room’s environment.
All hardwood floors require a finish to protect the surface against daily wear. Finishes can be done after installation in the building, or in the factory prior to installation. Choose to finish it on site if trying to match an existing floor or if a specific color is to be achieved. Factory finished flooring takes less time to install as it is ready for traffic immediately.
Hardwood floors come in a variety of species and range in thicknesses of ¾-inch to 5/16-inch. Wood can be installed above or on grade. And can be sanded and refinished several times during its lifetime. Wood floors are installed over a subfloor. Above grade usually calls for plywood subflooring while below grade and basements will have concrete. But a moisture barrier may be necessary over concrete. Always check manufacturer’s warranty.
Hardwood planks will range in widths, which create specialized designs in the room. The wider the width, the more of the wood graining is visible. Hardwood flooring is also the most expensive and will vary due to species, plank style and width, and installation methods.
Wood species vary from domestic to exotic. Choosing the species will be determined by taste, design required, and budget. Several domestic woods range in color, such as yellow oak or red oak, and the grain in the plank will be determined by the cut at the mill. Exotic woods may deepen in color as exposed to sunlight in the room. And surface texture may be smooth, distressed, scraped or wirebrushed. Consider all of the above when choosing the plank prior to installation.
Engineered Wood is manufactured from wood veneers that are varied in grain directions to provide more stability and strength. The same wood species may be used throughout, or several species may be incorporated into the plank. Since this is more stable, engineered wood can be used below grade on concrete without significant expansion or contraction. Finished in the factory, Engineered Wood Flooring may be sanded and refinished — depending upon the thickness of the top veneer. Check the manufacturer’s directions.
Engineered Wood flooring is less expensive than solid wood due to its construction — less of the wood species — and will vary in cost depending upon the species in the top wood layer.