Flooring is what gives a home its character and an indication of the lifestyle of its owner. Wooden flooring has always been around for centuries, probably because it was a resource that was always available locally. Hardwood floors have a natural beauty that can suit any decor, be it traditional or modern. It can be used in any room, though it uses in kitchens and bathrooms, or basements may need them to have specific properties.
- Hardwood flooring can be unfinished and then stained to match any other part of the decor. You can also buy flooring that has been pre-finished in a factory, as this gives you the advantage of using it, as soon as it is installed. Solid hardwood floors are made from natural wood and are anywhere between 5/8 to 3/4 of an inch thick. the advantage with solid hardwood floors is that they can be sanded and finished several times, as every such operation will only remove a small veneer of this thickness. Most hardwood floors that are engineered have only a veneer of wood over plywood layers and can go through the sanding and finishing process just a couple of times.
- Hardwood flooring is one that is made from hardwoods, like oak, cherry, or maple. You will also find these floors made of bamboo, which is more of grass than a wood. Mahogany, walnut, and ash are other popular choices for hardwood floors. Teak wood is a choice for which you may have to pay premium prices, as its availability is restricted to a few tropical areas in the world. You can also make hardwood floors from wood that has been reclaimed from older buildings that have since been abandoned. This can cost you less, be environmentally friendly, and get you wood that is completely seasoned and therefore stable, and less prone to any problems from high humidity or other weather conditions.
- Solid hardwood floors can be purchased with a raw face, that allows you to decide on the stain or type of finish that you finally want on the floor that has been laid down. You can also get solid hardwood that has been pre-finished at a factory and this will give you the advantage of not having to deal with the irritating fumes and vapors of the finishing products, while the finishing is taking place. Most engineered hardwood flooring is made from a wood veneer that has been placed on a base of plywood layers that are bonded so that the grain of each layer is at right angles to the layer below it. This greatly adds to the strength of the finished product. Grain patterns, whether in solid or engineered wood can be different and can be a matter of selection. In solid wood, the grain patterns are dependent on how the original wood is cut.
- Most solid hardwood floors come in planks of various widths, though 6 inches to 8 inches gives you a floor with lesser joints. It is customary to manufacture the planks with tongue and groove arrangements so that the floor is homogeneous and makes for planks that will act together when taking any load, thus giving you a real solid floor. It is important that the sub-floor on which such flooring is installed be completely dry and level, as dampness and unevenness are enemies of wooden flooring.
- Hardwood floors can be nailed to sub-floors or even glued on. Solid hardwood needs to get acclimatized to the environment and rooms before any work is undertaken for its installation. The moisture in the wood then adjusts to the conditions that are in the room.