According to numerous studies, demand for hardwood flooring in the U.S. continues to climb, and resurgence of this material confirms it as the homeowners' floor of choice. No other floor finish makes Americans feel more at home than this appealing and stylish type of wood flooring which adds a touch of elegance, depth, coziness and warmth to residential real estate. Its high-quality rustic appearance, which is available at a low or reasonable cost, also enhances the value of the property. Hardwood floors, which are not only pleasing for the eyes but also for the feet, can match houses of all styles and ages. They are especially suitable for staircases, hallways, dens, and living rooms. Consumers may choose from among an extensive variety of widths, colors, and types of wood. Some of the most commonly-utilized species of hardwood flooring include the following:
- Oak (i.e. white oak, red oak)
- Cherry (i.e. American cherry)
Some consumers prefer an exotic type of hardwood such as Brazilian cherry. The priciest hardwood floors are those made of oak, a material that boasts a first-rate performance. Maple and ash, on the other hand, are ideal for individuals on a limited budget. With proper care and maintenance, these two types of wood, like oak, have long lives.
Types of Hardwood Flooring
1. Solid hardwood floors
Also referred to as 'strip' hardwood, these long strips of wooden boards are available in different lengths and feature tongues and grooves on the sides and ends. The boards are installed one at a time and are sold in unfinished or pre-finished style. Solid hardwood flooring is installed via the nail-down technique. Consumers should keep in mind that this type of flooring is sensitive to moisture.
2. Parquet hardwood floors
This is the most affordable wooden flooring and the most straightforward one for homeowners who are not planning on hiring a flooring contractor since it is the easiest to install. Parquet hardwood floors consist of thin tiles of wood that are manufactured by a machine. The installer arranges the wooden strips and glues them down to the sub-floor.
3. Engineered wood floors
Engineered hardwood consists of boards of several wooden layers that are glued together. The top layer is made of real wood. Installers can float, glue down or nail down this type of hardwood. Some engineered hardwood floors are configured for floating installations (meaning no 'glue' needed). Their tongue and groove sides and ends are either clicked together or fitted like pieces of a puzzle.
4. Factory-finished hardwood floors
The wooden surface of these types of hardwood floors contain several coats of finish. Installation of factory-finished hardwood flooring can usually be completed in one day. Among the most requested finishes are the following: acrylic impregnated UV-cured, aluminum oxide, acrylic-urethane, and polyurethane.
5. Unfinished hardwood floors
These are optimal for homeowners desiring hardwood flooring that is custom-stained or one that matches their trims. The installer sands, stains, and provides a finish to the floor that meets the client's requirements.
6. Veneer hardwood floors
This variety of flooring shares common features with laminate flooring. Benefits of this durable flooring option to the homeowner include expediency and ease of installation.
Consumers should select hardwood flooring that corresponds to their budget and traffic needs, and that falls within their acceptable range of installation complexity.
Homeowners may install wood floors by nailing them down to the sub floor. This is the simplest and one of the most popular methods of laying hardwood flooring.
In this approach, the installer places an underlay between the sub floor and the hardwood floor. The tongue and grooves of the wooden boards are then glued together. The floating installation method, which is clean, simple, and quick, may be utilized in veneer and engineered hardwood floors
The glue-down technique is commonly-used for parquet and engineered hardwood flooring.
Hardwood flooring installation is very feasible for the average homeowner who can simply follow the directions indicated in the user's manual. Individuals planning a DYI installation of their hardwood floor will need the following tools: a pair of gloves and safety goggles, hardwood planks, sanders, pneumatic floor nailers, a hammer, a speed drill, nail guns, and a vapor barrier paper.
Benefits of Hardwood
There are numerous advantages associated with hardwood flooring, and they include the following:
- Economical long-term costs
- Easy to clean (generally, mopping and sweeping suffice)
- Simple to install
- Easy to repair
- Longevity as much as 100+ years (more durable than carpeting)
- Exceptional insulation
- Hypoallergenic and ideal for allergy-prone individuals (Hardwood is not ripe for mold, animal dander, or pollen, and it does not accumulate dust)
- Environmentally-friendly (low amounts of chemical emissions)
- Increased home value
Consumers may locate a skilled hardwood flooring installer by 1) asking friends and relatives for recommendations, 2) searching in the Yellow Pages, or 3) surfing the net for resources on professional home improvement specialists. They may then request quotes from different installers to obtain quality service at premium pricing.
Well-maintained hardwood flooring is built to last. Homeowners will simply have to re-finish sand and finish the floor's coating over time. Periodic care involves sweeping away dust and sand. Rugs or floor mats may be placed at the entrance of the home to further protect the hardwood floor. Additionally, homeowners may clean the floor's surface with a pH-balanced hardwood floor cleaner. Vinegar, wax, and products containing oil should be avoided.