Types of Hardwood Floors
Understanding the basics of the different types of hardwood floors will leave you much better prepared and more confident in your selection. To start off, wood floors are produced in solid or engineered planks and strips; from there you’ll find they come in a wide variety of wood species. To determine which type of floor will work best for that particular room in your Omaha home, you’ll also have to consider the location within your home and the type of subfloor.
The Two Types of Wood Floor Planks
- Solid Wood Floors:
Solid hardwood floors are one solid piece of wood and are generally 3/4″ thick. Hardwood flooring products are produced from a number of domestic and exotic hardwoods including red & white oak, American cherry, hickory, maple, and Brazilian cherry, and are available in several widths. Because solid wood floors are more susceptible to humidity and temperature changes than engineered wood floors they should only be installed above grade over approved wooden subfloors and must be nailed or stapled down. Solid wood floors can generally be recoated and refinished several times.
- Engineered Wood Floors:
These wood floors are produced by laminating several hardwood plies together to form the planks. Most engineered floors can be glued-down, stapled-down or floated over a variety of subfloors including wood, dry concrete slabs and some types of existing flooring. Engineered hardwood flooring has cross-ply construction which reduces the expansion/contraction of planks that is caused by variations in humidity, therefore these floors can actually be installed on any level in the home. Available in plank and longstrip format, hardwood floors come in a wide variety of widths, thicknesses and colors in both North American and Exotic hardwoods.
Exotic Wood Species
Today hardwood flooring is also offered in a variety of hardwood species that are not found in North America. The multitude of hardwood flooring products found at Kelly’s Carpet Omaha includes some of the finest exotic hardwoods from all over the world. These floors offer many unique and visually striking appearances that are distinctly different from the North American hardwoods. Many of these exotic species are photosensitive and may change color over time so sample panels are available to display the level of photosensitivity of each product.
Important Questions When Considering Wood Floors
Prefinished or unfinished?
Unfinished floors require several days to complete the full process of installing, staining and finishing. Prefinished floors are less messy and can be installed in your home and completed the same day. A factory-applied finish, like Mohawk’s exclusive Scotchgard™ or CrystalShield™ finish with aluminum oxide for example, is extremely durable and could not be duplicated with a job-site finish. You’ll have to consider time, process, and durability in addition to simply appearance when it comes to deciding between prefinished or unfinished wood floors.
What is your subfloor like?
Is your subfloor a type of wood substrate or concrete? Engineered floors are ideal for concrete slabs. If you’re working on a remodel project, you may want to consider engineered hardwood flooring that can be floated directly over the existing floor because this eliminates the mess and additional costs of tearing out the old floor.
Where is the room that’s getting wood floors?
Knowing where the floor will be installed is essential. Before you can choose the specific hardwood flooring product you’d like, you must determine if the room is above, on, or below ground level (aka the grade). Engineered hardwood floors can be used in most areas in the home including rooms below ground level. Solid wood floors are approved for above ground-level installations only. These floors perform better in humidity-controlled environments.