Wood flooring adds a brilliant, natural beauty to any room. It’s extremely durable and always in style. With proper maintenance and care, it can last a lifetime. The tricky part can be choosing which type will best suit the needs of a particular space. There are many different choices as well as many price ranges to fit almost any budget. Local experts can help give sound advice before the investment is made, including what type of flooring goes best in certain types of rooms. Take a look at some important things to consider before shopping.
Overview of Basic Flooring
There are two basic categories of floors: factory engineered and solid. Factory engineered consists of multiple layers or veneers made up of different types of wood or composite. The veneers are layered in opposite directions to increase stability and to resist the expansion and contraction that comes with temperature and humidity fluctuations. This type is well-suited for basements and rooms with less stable environments. Depending on the thickness of the top layer, it can be sanded and refinished, but no more than two or three times.
What is Factory Finished Flooring?
Wood flooring can be purchased and installed either factory finished or unfinished. Finished products are generally the easier way to go since it will be complete and ready to walk on immediately after installation. Depending on where it will be installed, unfinished wood can be beneficial. It comes without stain or a topcoat, making it ideal for matching existing floors or for obtaining a specific, custom color. After it’s installed, it will be sanded, stained, and finished with multiple coats of varnish that will both protect it and give it a radiant shine. An unfinished product will require some time to dry after installation and cannot be walked on until the recommended time.
What is Solid Wood Flooring?
Solid floors are as the name implies. It’s made of one solid layer and can vary in thickness up to 3/4″ and as thin as 5/16″. This is the highest quality available since it can be refinished multiple times, allowing it to last almost indefinitely. There are many different species and grains to choose from; among them are cherry, oak, maple, and exotics, such as bamboo and Brazilian cherry.
Different floors offer varying levels of hardness. Choosing the correct species will depend on a few things. The first consideration should be the amount of traffic the floor will be bearing. Pet nails, toys, and otherwise heavy foot traffic will require a harder variety. It’s important to choose one that is readily available or, in the case of exotics, that the trees are being responsibly and sustainably harvested. Some exotics are extremely rare or endangered, making a more traditional species the better choice. Ask a professional for advice on this before deciding what types to choose.