Post details: WOOD FLOORING TYPES

01/15/05

Permalink 09:27:39 am, Categories: Articles, 796 words   English (US)

WOOD FLOORING TYPES


WOOD FLOORING TYPES

Prefinished vs. Unfinished
It’s important to note that iFloor.com sells only prefinished wood flooring, where stains and a finishes are applied in the factory under carefully maintained conditions. We do not sell unfinished flooring that is installed, sanded and finished in the home.

Prefinished wood is excellent for people who want to do installation themselves, but without the sanding and the exhaustive finishing process. Price is generally not an advantage. For the cost of a very high-quality prefinished floor, you can probably find a local contractor to install, sand and finish a floor cheaper.

However, prefinished flooring offers a much cleaner, clearer finish than a floor finished in your home. Because the wood is finished in carefully controlled factory conditions, it does not have the dust, dirt and other particles that are visible in almost any floor that’s finished on site. You also don’t have to move out when the finish is applied.

Prefinished also offers much more variety than standard unfinished flooring. The extra choices give you the opportunity to install interesting African hardwood species like Purple Heart, or to use contrasting species as accent pieces.

For our purposes, we’re discussing only the four prefinished wood choices offered here.

Solid Wood Flooring
Solid wood flooring is the type most consumers recognize, because it’s been available longer. This flooring is comprised of wood strips nailed side by side. It provides excellent insulation, and it adds substantial strength to a home’s structure.

Many people feel solid wood flooring is the most aesthetically pleasing, especially considering the wide range of species and coloration available.

In addition to the many choices available, iFloor.com also offers several brands of “handscraped” hardwoods. These are more expensive, because each board has been hand altered by craftsmen to give the flooring an overall burnished, time-worn appearance. The marks in the floor are unique and intentional, and the flooring gives a room a comfortable, timeless look. Yet these floors have excellent finishes that lock the qualities in place.

Because solid wood floors expand and contract with temperature variation and moisture, they should really only be installed in homes that are climate controlled year round. If there is a high degree temperature variation or humidity present, the floor is likely to experience cupping, warping or gaping. These conditions are not related to the installation and are generally not covered by warranties as they are with other wood flooring options. If you’re choosing wood flooring for a summer house or a cottage that’s often left unattended, unheated and uncooled, then nailed-down, solid wood probably isn’t the right choice.

Installation Method: Nail-down or staple-down only.

The one exception to solid wood flooring that can be installed over concrete is Bruce Natural Reflections Hardwood.

Solid Hardwood

Standard Dimensions Solid Hardwood
Lengths: Random from 12" to 84" in length
Widths: 2 1/4"(most common) also from 1-1/2" strip to 7" planks
Thicknesses: 3/4"(most common) or 5/16"

Hardwood Longstrip Planks
These floors are a version of engineered wood products, but they have their own unique composition, and therefore their own category. The top layer of these long planks is made of individual fillets or slats that are glued together to make up the facing of each plank.

This flooring can be installed where moisture problems would prohibit solid wood. When installed as a “floating floor,” planks can be installed without nails over concrete, and sometimes below grade in basements when the recommended underlayment and vapor barriers are used.

Installation Method: Floating, glue-down, staple down.

Longstrip Plank

Standard Dimensions Longstrip Plank
Lengths: From 82" to 96" in length
Widths: From 5" to 7 1/2" planks
Thicknesses: From 1/4" to 9/16" planks

Engineered Wood
Engineered Wood flooring is composed of 3 to 5 layers of wood glued together in a cross-grain lamination that makes it very resistant to expansion and contraction from temperature changes and moisture. As a result, engineered wood is the only wood flooring that carries a stability warranty. While thinner than solid wood flooring, engineered wood choices are much more stable and dent-resistant and can be installed over concrete. Engineered wood flooring can also be installed above, below or on-grade

Installation method: Floating, glue-down or staple-down, depending on the type of subflooring.

Engineered Plank

Standard Dimensions Engineered Plank
Lengths: From 12" to 72" in length
Widths: From 2 1/4" to 7 1/2" planks
Thicknesses: From 1/4" to 9/16" planks

Parquet Wood Flooring
Parquet Wood flooring is a geometrical pattern composed of individual wood slats glued in place or fastened mechanically. The overall quality of parquet floors can differ dramatically. Generally, the fillets or slats used are often not of the same quality used in other wood flooring.

Installation can be done on- or above-grade per manufacturer’s specifications.

Installation method: direct glue-down method.

Parquet Wood Flooring

There Are No Truly Standard Dimensions For Parquet Floors

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