Hardwood flooring is made from solid hardwoods like oak, red oak, maple, cherry, pecan, hickory, ash and walnut. Usually, it consists of long pieces of wood, which have a tongue on one side and a groove on the other side. This tongue and groove keeps the wood joined together. The normal thickness of hardwood used for flooring is ¾ inch, but this can vary. You will need a wooden subfloor as a base to which the hardwood planks are fixed. Hardwood floors are known for their durability.
Types of Hardwood Flooring
Depending on the finishing of the floor, they are divided into two types: prefinished and unfinished flooring. Prefinished hardwood floors are easy to install. All the finishing work on the wood like sanding will have been done at the factory. But, for unfinished floors, you will have to do the finishing processes like sanding after installation. Prefinished floors are more expensive than unfinished floors and they are available in a wide range of colors and species.
Hardwood floors are again divided into two categories based on the layers used. Engineered or multi-layer hardwood floors are made by gluing together very thin sheets of wood called veneer. To finish the process, one solid hardwood plank is placed on top. These types of hardwood floors are moisture repellent. Hand scraped hardwood floors are hand scraped to get a worn look. The main disadvantage is that these floors cannot be sanded after installation. Wood laminate flooring usually consists of one layer of plywood and one layer of veneer. They are sanded and finished at the factory and typically come with a five year warranty.
Based on the method of installation required, hardwood flooring is again divided into three types: strip flooring, plank flooring and parquet flooring. The strips usually come in a standard thickness of ¾ inch and they are nailed to the subfloor. The standard thickness of plank flooring is also ¾ inch and they can be glued or nailed to the subfloor. Parquet floors come as 6” × 6” blocks and they can be glued to a concrete floor.
Hardwood may be expensive up front, but over its lifetime can be cheap compared to other flooring products like vinyl, linoleum and carpeting. It is easy to maintain and very durable. These floors can handle the wear and tear of everyday life. Most of all, they are eco-friendly and are made from renewable resources. They can also be reused and recycled. If anyone in your family has allergies or asthma, going with hardwood is a great choice. Unlike carpet, they are more hygienic, as mold and dust do not get trapped in them. They can also add to the value of your home. Adding surface finishes makes them more moisture repellent.
Care and Maintenance
Always remember to follow manufacturer’s instructions when cleaning. Do not use large amounts of water to clean, as this will damage the floor boards. Regular vacuuming can increase its life-expectancy. Direct sunlight can cause fading, so make sure you cover the windows. Also, walking with high-heeled shoes can leave scratches and dents on a hardwood floor.