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Hardwood Flooring – What is it?

November 14th, 2007 · No Comments

Installing hardwood flooring, materials which include bamboo, cherry, maple and oak, is a great way to increase the value of your house as you increase your pleasure. Stone floors, such as marble, flagstone and granite, makes a statement too, but has a very different feel than wood. Choosing between hardwood, tile, stone and vinyl really depends on your needs, style and budget.

If you are looking to add elegance, warmth, and style to your home then you should consider installing hardwood flooring.

Hardwood comes from deciduous trees, which are trees that shed their leaves in winter. These hardwood trees have broad leaves and produce either fruits or nuts. There are hundreds of species of hardwood trees but some of the most popular names used in flooring are maple, cherry, and oak.

As with any flooring, there are pros and cons, and hardwood flooring is no exception. The main advantages of using hardwood flooring in your home are:
* Adds warmth and elegance
* Can last a lifetime with proper care and maintenance
* Easy to maintain and clean
* Can benefit those who suffer from allergies

The disadvantages include:
* Cost hardwood flooring can be expensive
* Standing water can cause damage

Hardwood flooring is available as solid flooring or engineered flooring. Solid hardwood floors are solid pieces of hardwood that have been cut into wooden planks generally 3/4″ thick and are recommended for use above ground level and should not be placed over concrete slabs.

Engineered hardwood flooring is made up of several plies of hardwood that have been laminated to form a wooden plank. Sometimes a veneer of hardwood is added as a finished top layer. This flooring can range in thickness from 1/4″-1? and can be installed anywhere in the home, including over dry concrete slabs.

Whichever style of hardwood flooring you choose for your home, installation will require one of the following methods:
* Nail/staple down
* Glue down
* Floating

Hardwood floor finishes include unfinished and pre-finished. Pre-finished flooring offers a wider variety of wood species and can save hours of labor, and you get a factory finish warranty with this style. Unfinished wood allows you to obtain a completely smooth, uniform surface but without a warranty.

You may be wondering how we know which hardwoods are suitable for flooring. The answer depends mostly on your lifestyle and how hard you need the wood to be. The Janka Hardness Test will tell you how hard any given species of wood is. The Janka Hardness Test measures the force needed to embed a 0.444-inch steel ball to half its diameter in wood. The more force needed, the harder the wood. Brazilian Teak (3540), Brazilian Tiger Mahogany (3840), Red Walnut (2450), and Brazilian Oak (1650) are qualified under the classification of hardwood due to their high ranking on the Janka test.

Hardwood has been used in flooring for many decades and its popularity has soared in recent years. Known for its elegance and durability, hardwood has been used on floors in early mansions and modern condominiums. Early homeowners however, did not have the wide selection of hardwood species that we have today; the original hardwood flooring used in these older homes is most likely oak or maple. Over the years, many more species of hardwood have been added to the flooring range along with a wide variety of exotic hardwood flooring options such as Brazilian Cherry.

Hardwood flooring can be very expensive, especially when compared with vinyl, tiles, and carpet, but installing a wood floor in your home can be a larger investment that other flooring options. With proper maintenance, your hardwood floor can last a lifetime and adds to the resale value of your home. Care should be taken in bathrooms, kitchens, and other wet rooms such as laundries, because standing water will damage hardwood flooring. Spills, for example, should be cleaned up immediately to prevent damage.

Installing a hardwood floor adds warmth and elegance to your home. With today’s finishes, these wood floors are now even easier to maintain. Throw rugs at entrances will help trap grit and dirt, and will reduce the chance of scratches. Remember to move these rugs occasionally to provide equal oxidation and bleaching to your hardwood flooring, allowing the entire floor to age evenly. Floor glides or felt and cork pads under your furniture also help prevent scratches. A damp or dry mop, rather than a wet mop, to keep the wood from warping.

Hardwood flooring can be a great benefit to those who suffer from allergies and stressed immune systems. Carpets hold dirt, allergens, and molds, and vacuuming removes only a portion of these. Hardwood floors allow the removal of all these, helping reduce the number of allergens in your home which is great for allergy sufferers.

Hardwood flooring, although expensive, does prove to be cost effective in the long run. There is nothing more striking than a well cared for hardwood floor. And remember, wood flooring adds value to your property.

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