Hardwood flooring adds a natural beauty to any home with timeless, elegant looking wood planks available in varying grades of hardwood. Hardwood is a completely organic product, unlike laminate which is constructed of synthetic materials. Available in either solid or engineered hardwood, both are organic products and are a great investment which improves the value of your home.
Hardwood flooring is separated by grades of hardwood, ranging from the “character” or “building” grade which allows for putty to fill knots and cracks to be filled, to “common”, “select” and “clear” which is wood with minor color variation, sound knots only and minimal stains or splits. When you have an idea of the grade of hardwood you’re looking for, you can decide if you want solid or hardwood flooring and whether you’d like prefinished or unfinished wood. Great Western Flooring is here to help you evaluate all your options with solutions that meet your flooring goals and your budget.
Types of Hardwood Flooring
The difference between solid hardwood and engineered hardwood is that solid hardwood flooring consist of planks which are solid wood throughout the entire body, typically milled to 3/4″ thick and may be manufactured in varying widths. Solid hardwood planks are more susceptible to climate changes and humidity and will contract or expand making them less dimensionally stable than engineered hardwood. Solid hardwood may only be installed above grade or on approved wooden subfloors, they must always be glued, stapled or nailed down and may not be installed in a “floating” style of installation.
Engineered hardwood are real wood planks which are plied together to manufacture the body of the plank with a top layer of a real hardwood veneer. They are cared for and maintained the same way as solid hardwood and are a popular choice of hardwood flooring installations as they can be installed on plywood, above or below grade and even on radiant heat systems. Engineered hardwood may come in either prefinished or unfinished styles and may be refinished depending on the thickness of the top layer.
Hardwood Flooring Finish Options
After choosing solid or engineered hardwood, it’s time to determine the finish option for your hardwood flooring. There are many advantages to installing prefinished hardwood planks as they are manufactured for long lasting durability and maintenance free upkeep. Prefinished hardwood typically comes with 7 to 9 coats of aluminum oxide finish which is a stronger finish that what can be applied in the home.
Prefinished hardwood is typically cured with UV curing methods for a flawless finish with no visible particles or dust. Hardwood styles today deliver durable beauty that can be guaranteed for up to 50 years. Prefinished wood facilitates a smooth installation as it is ready when it arrives and requires no wait time to walk on it.
Unfinished hardwood flooring is just that, raw, unfinished wood of your species and grade of choice which is typically in a solid wood type. Sanding, staining and finishing are all completed after installation in the home, which provides some limitations but also some benefits. If you want to perfectly match the stain to your home décor, you may choose to finish it after installation to suit your particular needs.
Maintaining Hardwood Flooring
Maintain your hardwood flooring to preserve the natural luster by dusting regularly with a dust mop or a vacuum with a floor brush attachment. Be careful not to vacuum with the beater bar engaged as this will damage your hardwood surface. Clean up any spills quickly and use a commercial wood cleaning product periodically for a nice thorough cleaning.
Using a wet mop with the right products is recommended and never use a steam mop as it may cause irreversible damage. Hardwood flooring requires refinishing at least every 10 years and possibly more often on high traffic floors.
Great Western Flooring offers more than 35 years of experience helping customers achieve the floor of their dreams with quality tile and flooring products. We are the leading tile and flooring company serving residential and commercial clients in and around Chicago. Contact us for more tips on how to select and maintain the right type of hardwood flooring.
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