Hardwood flooring is one of the most versatile and aesthetic flooring choices available. The natural origin of the wood provides practically an unlimited number of unique patterns and color variations. The luxurious feel adds value to any living space, be it residential or commercial.
Two Types of Hardwood
When choosing hardwood you have two choices, natural hardwood or engineered hardwood. Both of these provide a similar look and feel, however the structure of the plank differs and this difference is the main factor that should be considered when making the decision.
1. Solid Hardwood
A plank of natural solid hardwood consists of a solid single piece of wood. The manufacturing of the plank mainly consists of selecting quality wood, cutting the wood to shape and apply finishing as needed. Many view this type of hardwood as the more luxurious option of the two due to it’s elegant origin and the craftsmanship that goes into the construction of the plank.
2. Engineered Hardwood
The look and feel of engineered hardwood is practically identical to that of solid hardwood. The biggest difference is that the planks are produced from multiple layers of wood and other materials. So, even though a plank may look identical to that of solid hardwood, the structure is very much different. The biggest benefit of engineered hardwood is that it performs better in conditions of high humidity and is typically more stable over time.
Additional Factors to Consider When Purchasing Hardwood
Apart from selecting the type of hardwood and the design there are additional items that need to considered.
Type of Hardwood Finish Sheen
A hardwood finish will determine how glossy or matte each plank’s top layer is. This will not only determine the visual look of the completed hardwood installation, but will also determine some finer points that need to be considered:
- Dust and dirt will be more visible on glossier finishes
- Dings and scratches will be better concealed by more matte finishes
- Protection offered does not depend on the level of sheen
Overall the most popular finishes tend to strike a balance between glossy and matte. These provide enough concealment of dings, scratches and dust while still offering a enough gloss to provide a luxurious visual feel.
Hardwood Floors Do Scratch
Needless to say, wood is a material that can get scratched or dented over time. To ensure the longevity of your new flooring we advise you take some recommended precautionary measures. This includes such things as:
- Keeping pet nails trimmed
- Using floor protector pads on the bottom of furniture
- Remove shoes when in the house or have alternative footwear for the home
- Install hardwood only in appropriate places
Following these tips will help ensure the longevity of your investment for years to come.
Hardwood Floors are Susceptible to UV Rays
All wood is photosensitive. This means that the material reacts to light and can change in color. As a result, the constant contact with the sun’s ray can have a strong impact on your hardwood. To help prevent the wood from fading it is recommended to use blinds and/or area rugs in areas of constant sunlight.
Hardwood Floors Retain and Give Off Moisture
Similar to the human body a piece of wood is made up of structural cells. Even when the tree dies and the wood is chopped into pieces the cells are still able to hold moisture. Thus, the moisture level of the living area will influence the moisture level of the hardwood planks. Too much moisture and the wood will expand and swell creating pressure between the single planks causing warping or cupping. Too little and the wood contracts, dries out and splintering can occur. Optimally, moisture levels should be between 35% to 55% humidity.
Choosing the Right Hardwood for Your Project
The biggest differences between solid hardwood and engineered hardwood is the structural composition and the amount of times the flooring can be refinished. In the second regard, solid hardwood takes the prize. The single piece of wood provides much more physical mass for refinishing in later years, while engineered hardwood is restricted by the amount of top layer it contains. However, the layers do have one huge advantage and this relates to the planks ability to withstand moisturize changes.
Now that you know the difference between the two types of hardwood available you must make the choice of which one is right for your project.
Purchasing Hardwood for Your Project
The easiest way to select the right hardwood and ensure the highest quality installation, is to simply visit our showroom and obtain the assistance of one of our professional hardwood installation experts. They will not only help you find the right product, but will ensure the whole process goes as smoothly as possible. The typical steps in the process include:
- Visit the showroom to select hardwood from a variety of options
- Take home samples to determine the right product for your space
- Setup on site estimate at a time convenient for you
- Installation is scheduled, and your are walked through what to expect
- Flooring is installed and you can now enjoy your new floors
To help ensure the process moves along quickly, you can do some preliminary preparation. For example, you may provide our staff with a flooring plan that includes all room exits, adjoining floors, and other specifics unique to your area. This will help the sales representative better serve your unique needs even prior to the in-home quotation.