All wood flooring, regardless of width or length, that is one piece of hardwood from top to bottom is considered solid hardwood flooring. Unfinished solid hardwood flooring is sold in the form of rough boards. They are generally easy to install but finishing of the boards need to be done on site. The cost of finishing is seperate from the cost of the wood. In order to gain the best results, it is recommended to sand and stain the floor and then apply 3-4 coats of varnish. This process can take 3-5 days to complete. Prefinished solid hardwood flooring is sold as ready-to-install wood boards that have already been sanded, stained, and finished. A wide variety of wood species are available in a range of grades, colors, sizes, and shines to work with any style. It is quick and easy to install.
A prefinished engineered hardwood flooring is sold as boards made up of a hardwood surface (the wear layer) glued on a plywood base. It is more stable than solid wood as it has been designed for use in areas with variable humidity levels. The boards can be glued directly onto concrete, an acoustic underlay, or even a subfloor with a floor heating system and can be stapled to a plywood subfloor. Quality can be determined by 4 factors: the thickness of the wear layer (should be at least 5/32” thick), the number of plies that the plywood is made of (should be at least 5 ply), the surface cutting procedure (should be dry sawn), and the precision of the cut.
Glueless Engineered Hardwood
Glueless engineered hardwood flooring consists of boards of read hardwood with a high density fiber cor and a fastening system at each end. They are also known as “floating” floors because they don’t need glue, nails or staples. Since they can be installed quickly and easily, they are a practical and elegant way of owning genuine hardwood floors that have the advantage of being movable.
Varnish applied after installation are less wear-resistant than factory finishes, and only the application is guaranteed. Prefinished floors are finished with multiple coats applied in ideal conditions and dried under ultraviolet light, and are garunteed for 15, 25, or 30 years. These finishes are exceptionably durable. If you follow the maintenance procedures, they will last far beyond the warranty.
Each species of wood has its own grain, color, and vaining. Your choice of species depends on your personal preferences and the effect you want to achieve. The most popular species are oak and maple, followed by birch, ash, beech, cherry, and walnut. Exotic, deluxe woods are also available, such as Brazilian cherry, mahogany, sapele and tigerwood, which are very warm in color and extremely hard. For home use, the hardness factor is not a serious issue. It is important though, to not choose a species from picture but to ask to see a sample.
There are 3 main glosses on the market today. High gloss is a very bright, smooth finish that tends to highlight scratches or marks of any kind and makes dirt and dust more visible. A semi-gloss is a medium-bright finish that is the standard for prefinished hardwood floors. A low gloss is becoming more and more popular because it minimizes the appearance of scratches and marks. It stays looking new longer than glossy finishes.
Grading is a means of rating boards according to variations in the wood’s natural color. For example, “select and better” grade woods are more uniform in color than “exclusive” or “traditional” grade, which presents greater, more pronounced natural color variation.
Your floor’s worst enemies are water, soap, and sand. Don’t use a wet mop or commercial soaps. All you need is a damp cloth, or use the care products recommended byt the manufacturer, and vacuum regularly.