Wood flooring is timeless. It enhances the warmth of any home and complements the decor of any room. The state-of-the-art technology and almost limitless choices of today's stains, finishes, styles and designs make wood flooring one of the most practical, easy-care and versatile floor coverings today. Maintained properly, wood flooring should never have to be replaced.
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For a long time, hardwoods have been the choice for many, many people. It continues to be one of the most popular and fastest growing of the flooring options. This is because hardwood meets many features and benefits that people are looking for when looking for new flooring options. The timeless, sophisticated look of a hardwood floor can add warmth and character to any home. Hardwood floors offer a rich, inviting appearance that are not only beautiful to live with, but they can also add value to your home.
Solid wood flooring:
Made from one continuous piece of wood. Most is 3/4 inch thick. When you look crosswise at a piece of solid flooring, you may see growth rings or striations, but there are no layers or ply. Wood strips are anywhere from 1-1/2 inches to about 2-1/4 inches wide. Planks are wider than 2-1/4 inches. Most strip and plank flooring is milled with tongue-and-groove edges so boards will fit together, but some planks are flat-edged for a more rustic look.
Types of wood:
The hardest species are hickory, pecan, hard maple, and white oak. Next on the list: white ash, beech, red oak, yellow birch, green ash, and black walnut. Cherry and mahogany are softer, but still make gorgeous and durable floors. Pine is a softwood, so it may dent and ding, but for many homeowners, that adds to the floor's charm. And, like hardwoods, pine should last the lifetime of your home. Southern yellow pine is the hardest pine and is recommended for higher-traffic areas. Heart pine, from the center section of old-growth Southern longleaf yellow pine, is difficult to come by and expensive, but some experts say heart pine rivals red oak in hardness. Pine flooring is often sold in widths from 4 to 16 inches to simulate what was used in Colonial-era homes.
Engineered wood flooring:
Made from layers of wood stacked and glued together under heat and pressure. There are usually three or five layers stacked with grains running perpendicular to each other. All wood expands and contracts with heat and humidity, but engineered wood is more dimensionally stable because the layers keep the movement in balance.
Because it is less inclined to swell and shrink, engineered wood can be laid in areas where solid wood cannot, such as over concrete or in high-moisture areas.
Usually four or more coats of ultraviolet-cured urethane resins is one that the manufacturer applies at the plant. Because the finish is applied under strict environmental controls, manufacturers say it is more consistent and durable. Factory-finished floors can be installed right out of the box, making them wonderfully pain-free when you are trying to live in a house where the floors are being replaced. There are many different stain colors and finishes to choose from.
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