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Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood flooring adds beauty and elegance to any room. In addition to their beauty, hardwood floors are popular with homeowners due to their durability, low maintenance, and prestige. Real estate professionals agree that hardwood flooring can add to the resale value of any home. Hardwood floors are also an excellent choice for people with allergies. Unlike carpets and rugs, they do not trap dust and other particles that can exacerbate allergies, and they are extremely easy to clean.

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Origins of Hardwood Flooring

There are numerous species of domestic and exotic wood popular for hardwood flooring. One of the most popular is oak, due to its neutral color and durability. Other popular species include ash, maple, teak, cherry, and walnut. In recent years, there has been growing interest in bamboo flooring as well, due to its greater sustainability. Depending on the species of wood and the finish, hardwood flooring comes in a variety of colors to match any d��cor.

Solid Hardwood Flooring

There are two types of hardwood flooring available: solid and engineered. Solid floors are cut from single pieces of wood and milled to standard specifications, usually in one of three types. The most common type is strip flooring, in which strips of wood about 2 �� to 3 �� inches wide are nailed to the subfloor. Plank flooring is similar to strip flooring, but the boards are somewhat wider and may be screwed or nailed to the subfloor. The third type is parquet flooring, which comes in standard-sized blocks in which small strips, squares, or other geometric shapes are laid down in a pattern.

Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Engineered flooring is available in strips or planks. It is made by laminating thin sheets of wood together in a crisscross pattern for strength, with a veneer of hardwood added on top. Engineered flooring is less likely than solid flooring to be affected by changes in moisture or humidity and is a good choice for below-ground installations and other areas where humidity changes may cause expansion for a traditional solid floor.

Pre-finished and Unfinished Hardwood Floors

Hardwood is also available in two forms: pre-finished and unfinished. Unfinished flooring is wood that has not been sanded, stained, or sealed. Unfinished floors must be professionally installed, usually in newly completed homes. Unfinished wood may swell if exposed to excessive moisture so must be carefully stored and unloaded to ensure that this does not occur. Pre-finished floors are easier to install and do not require the labor of sanding and finishing the flooring. Because the finishing process causes toxic fumes, pre-finished wood is also better for homes that will be occupied immediately. People should not go into a home for several days after an unfinished floor has been finished, but for pre-finished floors, the dangerous fumes are already gone and the home may be occupied immediately if necessary. In addition, many pre-finished floors have very durable finishes and come with long-term manufacturer's warranties that an unfinished floor may not have. However, pre-finished floors may not be as smooth as those specially finished on-site. Some stains are surface stains and may be redone in a different color if desired; the color of permanent stains cannot be changed.

For further information on hardwood flooring see the following article from HomeDoctor.net: Kitchen & Bath - Hardwood Flooring.