Wood flooring comes in a wide variety of wood species, surface finishes and widths. Oak is the most popular wood flooring and readily available. Other standard hardwoods include: cherry, maple, walnut, pine, poplar, and ash.
Different Types of Wood Flooring
Solid wood flooring is one solid piece of wood that has a tongue and groove sides. Solid hardwood floors are available in either prefinished or unfinished. Solid hardwood floors are susceptible to moisture and it is not recommended to install directly over a concrete slab or below grade. This hardwood floor should be for nail-down installations only. You can usually refinish a solid hardwood floor several times before it is sanded down to its tongue joints.
Engineered wood floors – Engineered hardwood is in fact produced with three to five layers of hardwood. A hardwood finish layer is bonded on top and another softer wood is ply bonded below the center. The top finish layer can be constructed of almost any hardwood species, finish, or color.
Factory Prefinished Wood Flooring
Most factory finished hardwood has several coats of wood finish applied to the surface. Most hardwood floor manufacturers are applying 6-10 coats of ultra-violet (UV) cured urethane. These finishes remain on the surface of the hardwood and form a protective coating. Surface finishes are popular today because they are durable, water-resistant, and require minimal maintenance. Various gloss levels are available.
The Most Common Finishes:
- Oil-modified urethane offers the amber tones of an oil finish and can be used in a home where lower levels of traffic are likely. It is easy to apply and dries in about eight hours.
- Moisture-cured urethane provides excellent abrasion resistance and good chemical resistance on hardwood surfaces that are exposed to high abuse. Performs well as sealer or finish and is more durable and more moisture resistant than other surface finishes. Moisture-cure urethane is extremely difficult to apply and it has a very unpleasant (toxic) odor.
- Water-based urethane is formulated to provide a high gloss finish with outstanding color and gloss retention and also resists yellowing. They have a milder odor and dry in about two to three hours.
- Penetrating Stain and Wax – This finish soaks into the pores of the hardwood and hardens to form a protective penetrating seal. A rich blend of oil and resin gives hardwood floors a soft, satiny sheen.
Unfinished Hardwood Floors
Unfinished hardwood floors means that you begin with a bare hardwood floor and then the floor is sanded, stained, and finished in the home. The process does take several days, and is pretty messy but your floor will be finished to your specifications.
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