The Varieties of Hardwood Flooring
Hardwood flooring is any material made of wood that is specifically designed for application as hardwood flooring, either decorative or functional. Wood is an extremely popular choice as a primary flooring material in many homes and comes in a variety of species, stains, colors, and cuts. Hardwood floors offer unique texture and tone, which make them ideal for any room of the house. In addition to their beauty, hardwood flooring materials are easy to maintain and will last for decades with proper care.
There are two different types of hardwood flooring: solid and engineered. Engineered woods are made by injecting mold or pressure-treated wood into layers, with each having a different look. The real difference between the two is the manufacturing process. Engineered hardwoods are usually more durable and cost less than solid woods. Solid woods may be more expensive but are usually constructed with the same procedures.
Of the two main hardwood species, maple and oak, the most common types used in America are walnut and oak. They are generally available in all shades of brown, from light pink to dark mahogany. Oak and maple are very popular for their grain patterns which range from circular to fine grain. Walnut grains are more prominent and appear more worn on solid wood.
Most solid hardwood flooring can be stained to achieve any color or shade, although darker shades are generally more durable. For floating floors, a clear wax coating is typically applied to the surface, followed by a high-quality urethane finish. Finishes such as these are generally recommended for hardwood flooring installed in high traffic areas.
The installation process is not difficult and can be completed in a few hours. Typically, two planks are laid, one across the full width of the room, while another is laid perpendicular to the first. Each of the planks is then provided with a matching stain color that matches that of the wall or room in which they are to be located. If using standard planks for floating hardwood flooring then the second board will need to be purchased at the same time that the first set is being installed.
A wide variety of stains is available for hardwood flooring comes in a wide variety of colors and finishes. These include natural stains like those found in oak or more stringent synthetic finishes. Colors are generally offered in white, ivory, or various pastel hues. Finishes range from oil-rubbed sanding to high-quality electrostatic attraction electroplating. These finishes provide deep protection to the wood and give the room an overall warm feeling. Depending upon the style, some may also offer slight variations in the spacing between planks.
Many people often wonder what type of finish is used on the polyurethane that is commonly used as a protective coating on hardwood flooring. Most polyurethane finishes come standard in a two-stage system that offers a slower drying time than oil finishes and an increased level of durability over water-based finishes. For areas where an oil-based coating is desired, then a polyurethane coating with an oil base is recommended. In places where the desire for a water-based finish is more powerful, then a polyurethane-coated finish can be added.
The most common woods used to produce hardwood flooring comes from North America. However, other woods that are commonly used are imported from all over the world. Some of these include mahogany, teak, maple, oak, cherry, ash, walnut, and birch. The different woods each have different characteristics, prices, and requirements to be used for hardwood flooring. It is important to be sure that the one being purchased will meet the specific needs of the area to be treated.