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Types of Hardwood
This type of wood flooring is made from solid pieces of various species of hardwood. Pre-finished hardwoods are sold with a predetermined stain and finish style, which can be refinished multiple times in the future.
This wood flooring is constructed of multiple layers of manufactured wood material (plywood or high density fiberboard) with a pre-finished wood veneer adhered to the surface. Due to being made primarily of man made materials these are typically less sensitive to environmental changes than solid hardwoods.
Laminate Wood Flooring:
This type of wood flooring is constructed of a high density fiberboard core with a printed pattern and pre applied finish. Planks of this material will lock together and “float” over the subflooring. Quality is typically determined by overall plank thickness measured in millimeters, a finish layer rating in “Mil,” as well as the makeup of its core. Recently, many options are now considered to be moisture resistant or even moisture proof (insert link to Mohawk’s Revwood?)
Considerations and General Terminology
A measurement of the amount of force required to embed a steel ball into the wood material. Typically these are compiled into a chart ranking various species’ hardness.
- Temperature- Typically manufacturers’ will require that the ambient air temperature as well as the temperatures of the flooring material and substrate be within 60-80* Fahrenheit.
- Relative Humidity- This is a measurement of moisture content in the substrate, air, and the flooring materials. Typical manufacturer recommendations are for 30-50% RH. Too much can cause swelling and too little can cause cracking in the hardwoods.
Pre-finished Wood Grades
- 1st – Within the manufacturers’ tolerance for usable materials with up to 5% unusable material.
- Cabin/Tavern Grad– Considered to be out of tolerance with the manufacturers’ specifications with no guarantee of fitness or usability as a floor.
- Squared – Creates a flush surface joint
- Beveled– Creates a V shaped groove where planks join
- Micro Beveled – Creates a very small groove at plank joints
- Smooth – Overall smooth to the touch and appearance
- Hand scraped – Roughened texture similar to what would result if the planks had been hand planed. Generates an imperfect and often wavy appearance.
- Wire Brushed – Overall smooth to the touch, but contours the natural grain of the wood to provide visual texture.
A short list of most commonly found options:
- Water Based Polyurethane – Most common option available for hardwood flooring. Provides a clear finish layer that doesn’t alter the color of the stain or wood. This option is reasonably hard and very easy to maintain. Varying gloss levels available.
- Oil Sealer – This is the easiest option to apply to wood flooring, but doesn’t provide additional hardness to the wood’s surface. Reapplying is required every 3-5 years and can only be had in a matte finish. Considered a natural option as Tung oil is typically the main ingredient.
- Hard Wax Oil – Easily applied and maintained, this option provides a warmer look to hardwood floors. However, this option is the least durable and requires application every 2-3 years and can easily be stained from use.
- Aluminum Oxide – The most durable option, but due to the application process can only be offered on pre-finished wood floors and has similar visual characteristics to standard polyurethane. Many of these options will last a minimum of 25 years before requiring touch up or refinishing.