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Exotic Hardwood Floors

November 13th, 2007 · 1 Comment

Hardwood floors make a statement about the people who installed them, and exotic hardwood floors make even more of a statement because of their beauty are rarity. Not only is exotic wood flooring rare and beautiful, but it also tends to be among the hardest known woods.

The term “exotic” is used to describe anything that is unusual or foreign. When used in context with hard flooring it would mean flooring that is made of an unusual species of hardwood, which may not be available readily or locally.

Exotic hardwood species tend to not found in North America. Instead they are imported from Australia, Brazil, Africa and the Far East. But what is it that makes exotic hardwood flooring so desirable for a home? Well, as unusual as it may sound, the hard wood that is obtained for the exotic category may not only differ according to their species but also may differ from tree to tree belonging to the same species. They have earned the reputation of being exotic because of their distinct color tones, wood grains and textures. Exotic hardwood can be imported in the form of solid wood planks or engineered wood construction.

What makes more and more people choose exotic hardwood flooring over the other forms of flooring available in the market is:
* Their beauty and uniqueness.
* Their versatility to be used in any form of home d?cor.
* Easy maintenance
* Durability – they are an investment for the lifetime.

However let’s not be oblivious to the demerits of using exotic hardwood flooring: –
* The “hard to get” aspect makes them an expensive commodity.
* Restricted usage in moisture prone areas such as bathrooms and laundries.
* Obtaining a bulk supply of the same colored or grained wood for large construction projects can be a problem.

So how are exotic hardwood floors made? Trained wood personnel first sort out the exotic hardwood boards according to their colors, grains and natural characteristics. They are then placed outdoors to allow the moisture content in them to dry down to the ideal levels. Subsequently they are placed in rooms with computerized driers. Once the moisture content is reduced, as per the requirement, the boards are then taken to the factories for processing and finishing.

The methods used for the installation of exotic hardwood floors are 1) nailing 2) gluing 3) floating

Before installing exotic hardwoods, the sub-floors must be adequately prepared and leveled. Most of the exotic hardwoods are recommended for above grade installation because of their tendency to absorb moisture.

Some of the most exotic species of hardwood are Brazilian maple (2345), Brazilian mahogany (3840), Brazilian ebony (3692), Tiete chestnut (3540) — also known as Almendrillo, Brazilian cherry (2350) and Brazilian walnut (3680). Since all these species belong to the hard wood category they are rated on the top in the Hardness Table. This hardness table is constructed with the help of Janka Force test in which a .444 inch steel ball is embedded to half its diameter in the wood and the force that is applied to do so determines how hard the wood is. The harder the wood the more force will be required to drive the steel ball into it.

Between 1700 and 1800 a lot of hardwood trees became threatened with extinction due to vast expanses of southern and eastern lands being cleared. The chestnut tree is an example. The woods from these trees have been reclaimed from buildings constructed then and many have been made available to us today as flooring.

Affordability is certainly not the hallmark of exotic hardwood flooring. Since most of the exotic woods have to be shipped from various parts of the worlds, this makes them quite pricey. Moreover the lack of uniformity in the colors and grains of exotic hardwood makes them difficult to be used for larger construction projects, especially when try to obtain bulk loads of the exact same grain or color. Exotic hardwood flooring is not recommended for below-grade installation because of its inability to withstand excess moisture conditions. Special care is also needed wet rooms, such as laundries and bathrooms, and all spills should be cleaned immediately to prevent damage to your floor.

Technological development and innovations have however made exotic flooring the most “sought after”. Exotic hardwood flooring blends well both with the conventional as well as modern decoration, and inventions have now made it possible for them to be used even in high traffic areas such as the halls, kitchens, bathrooms etc. Owing to their high-grade finishes most of these floors need very little maintenance and have proved their durability for endless years. It is always important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when cleaning your exotic wooden floor as different woods have different cleaning procedures.

Exotic hardwood flooring shows an upward trend in the today’s market and is undoubtedly an interesting option for those that believe in lifelong beauty. Are you looking for something unusual and rare for your floor? Explore the numerous options of exotic woods to see if there’s something that fits your style and budget.

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