Hardwood flooring has an elegance, charm, and sophistication that has been enjoyed for centuries. Although older hardwood flooring can be kept in good condition with proper care, many of the newer hardwood floors benefit from advanced technologies that produce more durable finishes than older flooring. It is fully expected that hardwood flooring will remain one of the most popular and beautiful flooring materials for years to come.
Types of Hardwood Floors
There are several different types of hardwood flooring, which all come with unique advantages and disadvantages.
1. Solid Hardwood Flooring
The most classic type would be solid hardwood floors. Solid hardwood floors come from one piece of wood, cut into narrow planks. The look of solid hardwood floors is the look that all other types of hardwood floors and many laminate floors try to emulate.
2. Engineered Hardwood Flooring
Engineered hardwood floors are composed of many thin layers of wood piled and compressed on top of each other. These floors tend to be less expensive than solid hardwood floors and can be installed almost anywhere in the home regardless of the type of material it's installed over.
3. Longstrip Hardwood Flooring
Longstrip hardwood floors are basically the same as engineered hardwood floors and are made in the same fashion. The difference is that longstrip hardwood floors, as their name implies, have longer and wider planks than regular engineered hardwood floors.
4. Exotic Hardwood Flooring
Exotic hardwood floors are also available to the consumer. These floors are made from wood species outside of the United States. These floors offer a unique variety of colors and patterns than more well-known domestic wood. Exotic hardwood floors are also available in solid and engineered fabrication.
Each of these types of hardwood flooring react differently to the material they are placed over and the amount of moisture they can come into contact with. They have different installation techniques. There is no one preferred type over another. The style of hardwood flooring you choose should be a decision based on your lifestyle, the construction of your house, your finances, and your personal taste.
Installation of Wood Flooring
Hardwood floors can be nailed down, stapled down, glued down, or installed as a floating installation. The specific installation process that you use will depend upon a combination of the type of hardwood flooring, the subfloor, and the installer's preferences.
The current trend in hardwood flooring is to employ glueless installation. This installation is used with engineered hardwood floors and is very similar to the popular style of "clic" laminate flooring. This type of installation allows you to fit the pieces of your floor together as if they were a puzzle and is popular with the do-it-yourselfer crowd. This popularity is due to the ease with which these floors can be installed and the absence of a mess from complicated glues.
Care of Hardwood Floors
The longevity of your hardwood floor depends on the care you give it. Contrary to popular belief, water, Wet Swiffers and Murphy's Oil Soap are not good for cleaning and maintaining hardwood flooring. Any moisture can damage a hardwood floor and leave stains that can only be removed with resurfacing. Murphy's Oil Soap or wax can leave the finish of your floors looking dull. Hardwood flooring is an investment and the best way to take care of that investment is to follow manufacturer's guidelines and cleaning product instructions to ensure that your hardwood flooring stays beautiful for years to come.