Hardwood flooring or laminate? Lots of people have this question in their mind. Before you make that decision, take a look at most frequently asked questions and answers about wood flooring below.
Wood Flooring Guide 2017
What You Need To Know About Wood Flooring
Whether building a new home or tackling a remodeling project, you can be confident that genuine hardwood flooring will add significantly to the beauty, quality and value of your home. Here’s what you need to know about flooring basics:
What do I ask for if I want genuine hardwood flooring?
There are two types of hardwood floors: solid and engineered. Solid is one piece of a 100 percent solid wood species, easily sanded and refinished. Also a 100 percent wood product, “engineered” is a higher-performance product made by bonding several wood layers with the feature species showing. Many, but not all, engineered wood floors can be refinished.
How do I know where to start?
Think like a designer. Think color. Yes, wood has color, too. Each species (whether or not it is stained) has a color ranging from cools (yellows), warms (reds) and neutrals (umbers or naturals). Some woods change color over time; grain provides texture and interest. Make your choice under the type of light you’ll have in your home.
What about gloss?
You can have low gloss, satin gloss or high gloss. It is part of the look, as are the rustic, hand-scraped or smooth, tailored contemporary styles. How you show off your floor depends on lighting.
Where can I use hardwood flooring?
Pretty much throughout the house. Solid is recommended at or above ground level due to sensitivity to moisture. Engineered can be used virtually anywhere, even over concrete.
How to Install Laminate Flooring
Different Types of Wood Flooring
Solid wooden floors
These are one solid piece of wood that have tongue and groove sides and come in either pre-finished or unfinished styles. Solid wood floors are sensitive to moisture and it is not recommended to install these floors below ground level, or directly over a concrete slab.
These floors are for nail-down installations only. You can refinish, or re-coat solid wood floors several times, which adds to their appeal and to their long life. There are solid floors that are over 100 years old and are still in good condition.
All solid wood floors will react to the presence of moisture. In the winter heating months, moisture leaves the wood causing the floor to contract which leaves unsightly gaps between each plank. In the summer months when the humidity is higher the wood will expand and the gaps will disappear.
If there is too much moisture it may cause the wood planks to cup, or buckle. This is why it is important when installing a solid strip floor to leave the proper expansion area around the perimeter and to acclimatize the wood prior to installation.
Engineered wood floors
These floors are constructed from several wood plies that are glued together. The centre core is generally a softer wood material and is used to make the tongue and groove. A hardwood finish layer is glued on top of the centre core and another softer wood ply is attached underneath the core. This top ply is also called the finish layer and can be constructed of almost any wood specie.
Wood always wants to expand in a certain direction. In the presence of moisture solid wood planks will always expand across the width of the planks, rather than down the length of the boards. To avoid this problem, manufacturers of engineered planks place each ply in the opposite direction of each other. This is called cross-ply construction.
Once the wood layers are glued together the plies will counteract each other which will stop the plank from growing or shrinking with changes in the humidity. Engineered wood floors are designed for the floating installation and can be glued together or some now come with a click system.
Veneer wood floors
They are very similar to laminate floors. The only difference is that with a veneer flooring to top wear layer is a thin piece or real hardwood instead of a photographic image as in laminates. Veneer flooring is usually around 8mm in thickness with the top hardwood layer being around 0.7mm. Advantages of a veneer floors are that they are fast and easy to install and you have a real hardwood floor.
Factory Pre-finished Wood Flooring
Most factory finished hardwood floors have several coats of finish applied to the wood’s surface. As example, many wood floor companies are applying 6-10 coats of a ultra-violet (UV) cured urethane. This would be extremely difficult for someone to duplicate on a job site finish, not to mention how many days it would take. This is one of the reasons why many flooring mechanics, flooring retailers, and builders are pushing pre-finished hardwood floors. Instead of taking several days to install and finish a new hardwood floor a pre-finished hardwood floor is generally done in one day.
The most common finishes are:
- UV-cured – Factory finishes that are cured with Ultra Violet lights versus heat.
- Polyurethane – A clear, tough and durable finish that is applied as a wear layer.
- Acrylic-urethane – A slightly different chemical make up than Polyurethane with the same benefits.
- Aluminium Oxide – Added to the urethane finish for increased abrasion resistance of the wear layer, which is becoming extremely popular on the better grade wood floors.
- Acrylic Impregnated – Acrylic monomers are injected into the cell structure of the wood to give increased hardness and then finished with a wear layer over the wood.
Unfinished Wood Flooring
If you want a custom stained hardwood floor, or a wood floor to match existing trim than a unfinished hardwood floor is your answer. Unfinished means you start with a bare hardwood floor and than the floor is sanded, stained, and finished in the home. This can be quite a mess and the process does take several days, but your floor will have a finish to you requirements.
Why Wood Flooring
Wood floors add to the beauty and sophistication of any house to a great extent. These floors have a different aura about them and can make even a really dull interior decoration look good. The floors are long lasting and can be maintained with very little strain on one’s pocket. The variety of wood floors allows people to pick and choose. The floors are of different types like the following:
1. Solid Parquet Floor 3/4” & less
2. Engineered Floor – Strip, Plank, Parquet
3. Solid Plank Floor 3/4”*3” and up
4. Solid Strip Floor – T & G up to ¾” up to 3/4”
These type of floors can be unfinished, prefinished, impregnated or multiply.
Wood floors need to be installed in the rooms. According to personal choice, installations can be floated, glued, or nailed/stapled. Floated or glued installations can be laminated or engineered. But the nailed/stapled installation cannot be laminated. It can be engineered.
Wood Floors are a lifetime and more importantly, one time investment. They enhance the value of the house, but definitely do not make the consumer go through recurring costs. These floors are easy to maintain. Just sweeping and cleaning with the specific products for this purpose is enough. Mopping with a damp broom or cloth should be avoided as water can harm the floor. Most wood floor manufacturers have specific cleaning products for the consumer. The entire house can have wood floors but it is always a good idea to leave the bathroom aside.
Floors and walls create a basic feel about a room. For example, grey walls create a melancholy feel in a room, again pink or lemon or sea green walls gives a much more cheerful and positive feel. This is something intangible, difficult to explain with words. The the same goes for floors.
Wood floors offer the consumers a great deal of variety in colour. Interior decoration will demand any pattern or colour, but generally red oak, natural, maple natural are very popular. It is better to remember that darker floors go well with traditional or formal interior decoration.
Lighter colours are suitable for more casual rooms. Exotic wood floors like Brazilian Cherry, Brazilian Walnut, Santos Mahogany have gained acceptance. However the type of floor in the room will always be dictated by individual taste and needs.
Hand painted Wood floors add something special to the room and have become very popular. It is possible to have the floors painted, stained, tinted to have the desired effect. Painted floors give an impression of being a designer one by using different techniques.
Those who want wood floors in their house should keep some points in mind:
What to look for in wood flooring
First decide if you want engineered or real wood flooring. Engineered flooring tends to be more durable as it is constructed similarly to plywood. The wood is layered so the grains run in different directions and then it is pressed together into a plank. Real wood is referred to as solid. These planks are made from one long piece of real wood. Solid is real, engineered has a tendency to look not quite real. Usually it is too shiny and has a slightly plastic sheen.
Some types of solid hardwood flooring come prefinished. It is not terribly hard to finish a wood floor yourself, so unless you find exactly what you are looking for in a prefinish, you should consider applying your own finish. This way you get the sheen and coloring that you want to match the rest of your home. There are innumerable stains available and you can be sure to find the exact color perfect for your existing furniture and decor.
There are multiple methods of installation as well. The method you use depends on the type of wood you end up choosing. You might need to nail down your wood floor. This means attaching the boards to the subfloor using flooring nails. Similarly, you might staple the floor down using a pneumatic stapler. Some engineered floors need to be glued down to the subfloor. For this you use a trowel and flooring adhesive.
The easiest method is floating installation. The planks lock together using tongue and groove slots that are pre-cut into the wood. Some types of wood require that the boards be glued together others just click into place. Either way, this is the easiest type of installation to do yourself.
So, when you start looking into wood flooring, think about the look you want to achieve, how much you want to spend, and who is going to do the installation.
Better Air Quality With Wood Floor
Allergy season is in full swing and an estimated 35 million Americans suffer from health problems as a result of allergens. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air quality is one of America’s top environmental issues, with pollutants such as chemicals, mold, dust, dander and pollen contributing to various ailments.
To help cut down on allergens caused by poor indoor air quality, many experts suggest adding wood flooring to a new or existing home. Wood floors contribute to better air quality because they don’t collect the dust and dirt that are often embedded in carpet. As an added benefit, a new wood floor can last three to six times longer than carpeting.
Further, carpet can hide the harmful bacteria, mold spores and pet dander that researchers say could be responsible for the increase in asthma cases in the U.S.
“Over the years, we’ve seen a number of allergy and asthma cases attributed to poor air quality in people’s homes,” said Dr. Neil Schachter, professor of pulmonary medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
A recent EPA study also found that hardwood floors greatly reduce the accumulation of toxins. To help improve indoor air quality, Schachter offers these simple tips from his book, “Life and Breath.”
* Check your air conditioner. Check the ducts in your central air-conditioning unit once a month to remove extra water that may have accumulated.
* Inspect your walls. Wallpaper is a potent food for dust mites and mold, both of which can grow behind the wallpaper. Use flat, washable paint instead.
* Avoid carpet in the bedroom. It is estimated that the average bed contains 10,000 dust mites, which usually burrow deep into carpets.
“Wood floors are not only beautiful, they’re also renewable and extremely durable,” said Kelly McCloskey, president and chief executive officer of the Wood Promotion Network. “And by installing wood floors in their homes, consumers send a signal to the industry to plant more trees, resulting in more forestland.”
Wood Floors Buying Tips
Just like wooden wardrobes, wooden tables, wooden chairs etc, add value to the overall look of the house, wood floors too have an elegant and sophisticated charm. Wood floors can make a dull room look great.
The use of wooden floors has been going on for centuries. The floors last long and can be maintained easily. Wood floors are cheaper compared to other floorings. You can choose the wood floor according to your specifications. There are lots of varieties and designs available.
While buying the wood for flooring make sure you choose the right ones. Here are some tips to help you.
You can buy different wooden paints for the flooring. Try to buy the best one, which would suit the look and feel of your home. You can easily unfurnish and impregnate the wood floors without much time and money, and this is one of the main reasons why people love having wooden floors.
You can install wooden floors in the rooms of your choice. There are various ways you can install such as gluing or nailing it to the ground. You can laminate the wood floors and make it look more polished and shiny.
Most people think that wood floors do not last long, but this is a myth and it is a one-time investment and enhances the look of your home. You can decorate the wood floors with many designs and also paint with the colors of your choice.
You can buy oak, maple, teak wood, etc, for your flooring. The color of the flooring depends on many factors like the colors of the wall, curtains, ceiling etc. Most people prefer darker wood floors and lighter wall colors. If you have a casual room then you can go for light colored wood floors.
Hand painted wood floors look very attractive and artistic. You can design the floors yourself or hire a professional wood painter, who would design and paint according to your specifications. If you have any doubts on what type of wood to use for your wood floors, designing, painting, etc, then it is advised that you contact a wood flooring professional.
A wood flooring professional has experience and knowledge in creating wood floors, so you can contact them and get a quote. You can search for a wood floor professional in yellow pages or on the Internet and hire them for your work.
Laminated Wood Flooring
Laminated wood flooring is the hottest floor-covering product in America. Created in Europe, the product has now been in use for over 20 years. Laminated wood flooring is an interlocking system that is installed on top of an existing substrate. This type of laminated wood flooring has been used in the renovation of older buildings throughout Europe.
This floating laminate installation can be used on any hard, flat surface and is easy enough to be a do-it-yourself application. “Floating” as used here means that the new floor is not attached to the floor underneath and the joints are glued together.
Choices of laminated flooring
A water-resistant glue is recommended by most laminate flooring brands. The glue is used on every plank, between the tongue and grooves. The amount of glue used varies by brand. Pergo laminated wood flooring requires enough glue to completely fill the groove; the excess is squeezed out when the tongue and groove are interlocked. This particular laminated brand has a unique PerCore base layer that soaks up the glue.
Pickering brand laminate flooring, meanwhile, requires only a 1/6-inch drop of glue on the groove. Formica flooring requires a 1/8-inch bead in two places on the groove or tongue. All of these laminated flooring brands give you the same results, with different installation methods – Alloc flooring has a patented system that doesn’t require any glue.
Laminate flooring has four main elements that are bonded together. First, a durable, decorative surface made of resin-based melamine/aluminum oxide is affixed to a moisture-resistant wood core. A backing is then added to the core’s bottom side. On top is an aluminum oxide layer, providing stain resistance.
By using existing counter-top practices and adding more protection to the top layer, laminates have evolved into the perfect floor covering. Some manufacturers say their laminate floors are as much as 20 times harder than any laminate counter tops, thanks to a dense, resin-filled wear layer that’s resistant to stains, scratches and even cigarette burns.
The most common styles of laminate wood flooring have a wood-grain appearance. But some manufacturers offer laminate flooring in realistic stone and marble patterns. Laminate floors are produced as long, rectangular planks, usually around four feet long and 8 inches wide. Some manufacturers offer square tiles and double wide planks, as well.
Engineered Wood Flooring
Engineered Wood Flooring is a Great Alternative To Solid Hardwood Floors.
It has been one of the great innovations in flooring to hit the market. Engineered hardwood is not made from solid wood.
It consists of several layers and only the top layer is the actual hardwood that you always dreamed of having for the floors of your home. The layers underneath are specifically designed to give you maximum wear and tear and they give you practical flooring for just about every room of the house. Engineered wood flooring has advantages over solid hardwood that make it very attractive.
For one thing, engineered wood flooring is not as costly as solid hardwood flooring. The other layers of the engineered hardwood flooring are plywood or high density fibreboard. They are molded together under high pressure in a factory setting. Engineered hardwood floors will not expand and contract as solid hardwood does with changes in humidity and temperature. You can install it over just about any type of existing floor and by following special instructions you can install an engineered floor over radiant heat sources.
Engineered wood flooring in one of the most versatile choices that you can make when it comes to flooring in your home. It has many practical applications. You can install it over an existing concrete floor or one made with inferior grade wood. You can glue or nail it down and there are also forms of engineered hardwood floors that are glueless, forming a floating floor. It is an excellent choice in areas where there are drastic changes in temperature and humidity. However, engineered wood does not perform well in rooms of the home where there is an excess of humidity and moisture, such as in bathrooms or mudrooms.
One of the major reasons that many homeowners choose engineered wood flooring is its fantastic price. You have the same look and texture of hardwood, but it seems as if you are getting the hardwood at a wholesale price. Engineered hardwood floors are easy to install and the instructions are clearly printed inside each carton of flooring. You do have to make sure that the subfloor is clean of dust and dirt before you start so that any small pieces of rock won’t work their way up through the flooring.
In the line of engineered wood flooring, you can get various types of wood, stains and finishes. You can also choose prefinished and unfinished hardwood, but if you are looking for an easy project, then it is best to go with prefinished. This way when you have the engineered hardwood flooring installed, you don’t have to bother applying any stain or finish. You can just sit back and enjoy your engineered wood flooring.
Parquet Wood Flooring Guide
Once you get the hang of laying parquet flooring it is a breeze. The best thing to do is to begin by laying out the design or pattern you want on your floor to make sure you have it right. Do this before you attach it permanently, it is not easy to get back up once it is down.
It is easy to make a mistake while laying a parquet floor so it is best to buy about 5 percent more wood than you think you will need to cover accidents. It is better to buy the extra up front so you don’t have to stop in the middle of you installation to run out for a couple of pieces. It’s good to have a bit extra anyway because as time goes on you will need it to repair any damage that your floor sustains through regular wear and tear.
Most rooms are not perfectly square and don’t often go in straight lines. When laying a parquet it is best to start from the center of the room and work your way out from there to the walls. This is very different from traditional plank wood flooring installation but then that is probably one of the reasons you want parquet for your home. By starting from the room’s center you are guaranteeing that the irregularities of the room will only be shown by the flooring in the corners and against the walls. These are the least noticeable in any room.
For strangely proportioned and older homes, parquet flooring is the best to lay. It hides irregularities much better than regular wood flooring and offers a creative person a unique design for their home without having to pay for custom wood. It is also very durable, so families will be able to enjoy for many years after installation is complete.
Exotic Wood Flooring
There are many different types of wood flooring, some common others you’ve probably never heard of. Each type of wood has its own unique characteristics and will respond differently to its environment over time. You need to know what your choice of wood will look like in the long term, some changes might be a lot different than you expect and will not go with your style and decor.
You need to educate yourself about each species of wood and its particular characteristics before you begin shopping for it. Some wood types are not as durable as others, so to be sure you are going to be happy with your floors in the long run you need to have realistic expectations to begin with.
There will be variations in your wood flooring. No type of wood is completely uniform unless it is manufactured that way. The more natural the wood type you choose, the more variations you will see once you floor is installed. Choosing an exotic wood flooring type is becoming more and more popular because of the statement it makes about a person’s taste and style. The most common types of exotics are: Brazilian Cherry, Brazilian Walnut, and Santos Mahogany. Visit http://www.drakeshomeimprovement.com for a complete list.
These are generally imported from South America, Australia, the far East and Africa. Using these wood types for flooring requires that you be well informed as to the wood’s appearance, stability, and hardness and how they react when used in the HVAC systems found in most homes. Be sure the type of exotic wood flooring you choose will work with your home’s environment before ordering and be sure to buy from a reputable importer to avoid be ripped off.
You should always choose your wood style by looking at real samples. Viewing color and grain in photos or online is not reliable enough for you to judge.
Wood Flooring Professional Installer
Want a new wood floor but either don’t have time or just don’t want to install it yourself? How do you find a qualified, affordable, reliable contractor to install it for you? You can ask people that you know or take a look at a few reputable places on the web for advice.
Nail Down – Secret nails are used with a wood flooring nailer and mallet to attach the flooring to the sub floor. Solid Strip floors or Plank floors can only be installed on wooden sub-floors or on batons.
Glue Down – Engineered wood floors and parquets can be glued down. This is when you spread the recommended glue all over the sub floor and lay the flooring into the glue.
Floating – This is when a thin underlay is placed between the wood flooring and the sub floor. A recommended wood glue is then applied in the tongue and groove of each plank to hold the planks together. Engineered & Veneer floors can be floated. This is a very fast, easy and clean method of installation.
First, you should who to call. Floor installers or floor layers are professionals who will come to your home and install your wood floor from start to finish. They come in, go over the entire floor and fix imperfections so the wood floor has a smooth, solid foundation to sit on. The measure out the space they are working in and ready their materials and cut the wood before beginning.
When the installation is finished, you will be sure to have a solid wood floor that fits tightly into the space. This type of full service can be rather expensive but if you don’t have the time or will to do it yourself it is the surest way of getting an floor installation that you won’t have to worry about except to clean it.
If you already have a wood floor that needs to be refinished you can find a professional for that as well. These people would be called sander and finishers. They come in and use specialized equipment to smooth out old floors and apply a finish to it to make it look younger than it actually is. This is more than cosmetic though, the finish on a wood floor protects the wood from stains and other permanent damage. Getting a stain or scratch out of a finished surface is a lot easier than getting out of the underlying wood.
So, if you don’t the have time to be a do it yourself, and many of us don’t, you’ll find more using the web than your local phone directory. Use the terms above to search for and find a professional wood floor installer in your area. You can usually get reviews from other people who have used the service online as well.