Types of Hardwood

PREFINISHED HARDWOOD

Sanded and finished in a factory, prefinished hardwood comes in solid and engineered varieties. Its typical seven to nine coats of finish – including aluminum oxide – give it a finer finish than can be applied manually or in the home.

Prefinished hardwoods are UV cured allowing them to have little or no debris or particulate in the finish.

Most prefinished floors have 25-year wear warranties. With proper care, your prefinished floor may never need to be refinished.

FINISHED ON SITE HARDWOOD

This is simply raw, unfinished wood of any species that has been milled into tongue-and-groove form. It’s usually a solid wood, but also available in engineered varieties.

Finished on site wood is installed raw and then sanded. It is then finished with up to three coats in options. These floors typically need to be refinished every 5-10 years, depending on the wear. You can help postpone your refinishes by having the floors screened and coated.

Primary finishing options include oil-based polyurethane, water-based polyurethane and tongue-oil. More information on these finishes can be found here.

SOLID HARDWOOD

Solid wood floors are one solid piece of wood, are generally 3/4″ thick and are available in several widths. Solid hardwood floors are less dimensionally stable and therefore more susceptible to humidity and temperature changes than engineered wood floors. Solid wood floors are typically only installed above grade over approved wooden subfloors and must be nailed, stapled or glued down. Solid wood floors can generally be sanded and refinished several times.

ENGINEERED HARDWOOD

Engineered hardwoods include layers of wood glued together on the bottom and a veneer of finished hardwood on the top. Because they’re made of real woods, they require the same care and maintenance as real wood products do.

Engineered hardwood floors have cross–ply construction that makes them more dimensionally stable than their solid counterparts. With the reduction in the expansion/contraction of planks caused by variations in humidity and moisture, these floors to be installed on any level in the home and on top of radiant-heat.

Most engineered floors can be glued–down, stapled–down or floated over a variety of subfloors including wood, dry concrete slabs and some types of existing flooring. Available in plank and longstrip format, engineered hardwood floors come in a wide variety of widths, thicknesses, colors and species. Some engineered floors can be refinished, while others cannot. Always check with us before refinishing.

GRADES OF HARDWOOD

Wood is a natural product featuring natural variation in color and knots that reflects the tree’s age and history. To help consumers choose their floors, hardwood flooring is classified in grades:

  • “Clear” grade: color variation is minor, wood is selected for color uniformity, and sound knots are allowed, as are minimal stains, checks or splits.
  • “Select & Better” grade: color variation is moderate, wood is selected for color uniformity, sound knots are allowed, minimal stains, checks or splits
  • “Select” grade: relatively uniform with a little color variation in shade, sound knots are allowed
  • “Select Common” grade: a blend of select and #1 common grade. Color variation is pronounced, sound knots are allowed, some non-natural discoloration are allowed
  • “#1 Common” grade: A nice blend of natural color variations of heartwood and sapwood, all variations are allowed. The wood grain is very visible with its darker color. Unfilled pin knots are allowed, some non-natural discolorations are allowed.
  • “Character” or “Builder” grade: a nice blend of natural color variations of heartwood and sapwood, all variations are allowed. The wood grain is very visible with its darker color. Knots up to ¾” filled with putty are allowed. Cracks and splits filled may be present.”

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