Hardwood flooring is made from solid hardwoods like oak, red oak, maple, cherry, pecan, hickory, ash, and walnut. Usually, it consists of long pieces of wood, which have a tongue on one side and a groove on the other side. This tongue and groove keeps the wood joined together. The normal thickness of hardwood used for flooring is ¾ inch, but this can vary. You will need a wooden subfloor as a base to which the hardwood planks are fixed. Hardwood floors are known for their durability.
Types of Hardwood Flooring
Depending on the finishing of the floor, they are divided into two types: prefinished and unfinished flooring. Prefinished hardwood floors are easy to install. All the finishing work on the wood like sanding will have been done at the factory. But, for unfinished floors, you will have to do the finishing processes like sanding after installation. Prefinished floors are more expensive than unfinished floors and they are available in a wide range of colors and species.
Hardwood floors are again divided into two categories based on the layers used. Engineered or multi-layer hardwood floors are made by gluing together very thin sheets of wood called veneer. To finish the process, one solid hardwood plank is placed on top. These types of hardwood floors are moisture repellent. Hand-scraped hardwood floors are hand scraped to get a worn look. The main disadvantage is that these floors cannot be sanded after installation. Wood laminate flooring usually consists of one layer of plywood and one layer of veneer. They are sanded and finished at the factory and typically come with a five-year warranty.
Based on the method of installation required, hardwood flooring is again divided into three types: strip flooring, plank flooring, and parquet flooring. The strips usually come in a standard thickness of ¾ inch and they are nailed to the subfloor. The standard thickness of plank flooring is also ¾ inch and they can be glued or nailed to the subfloor. Parquet floors come as 6” × 6” blocks and they can be glued to a concrete floor.
Hardwood may be expensive up front, but over its lifetime can be cheap compared to other flooring products like vinyl, linoleum, and carpeting. It is easy to maintain and very durable. These floors can handle the wear and tear of everyday life. Most of all, they are eco-friendly and are made from renewable resources. They can also be reused and recycled.
If anyone in your family has allergies or asthma, going with hardwood is a great choice. Unlike carpet, they are more hygienic, as mold and dust do not get trapped in them. They can also add to the value of your home. Adding surface finishes makes them more moisture repellent.
Care and Maintenance
Always remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when cleaning. Do not use large amounts of water to clean, as this will damage the floor boards. Regular vacuuming can increase its life-expectancy. Direct sunlight can cause fading, so make sure you cover the windows. Also, walking with high-heeled shoes can leave scratches and dents on a hardwood floor.
Install Hardwood on A Concrete Floor
Hardwood floors are incredibly versatile and durable which makes them perfect for most rooms within a home. You will find these particular floors made from species of wood such as elm, ash, maple, oak, cypress, walnut, teak, cherry, maple, and rosewood—not to mention a few other more exotic varieties as well. Colors will vary according to wood type as will grain, hardness, stability, and durability. The grades commonly assigned to hardwood floors include common 1, common 2, clear, select, grade 1, grade 2, and grade 3.
Hardwood floors can enhance the look of any room if you choose a tasteful color and style for that particular room. When used in combination with well-chosen pieces of furniture and art, hardwood floors bring unparalleled elegance to a room.
Installation Methods for Hardwood Floors
Nail Down — the name really says it all. In this method, nails are used in order to fasten the hardwood to the sub floor. This is appropriate for use with hardwood that is about ¾” thick.
Staple Down — this name may be a little tricky as nails can be used with the assistance of a pneumatic stapler in order to attach the hardwood to the sub floor. Stapling is much easier and quicker than nailing individually and the vastly preferred method of the average do it yourself home repair man or woman.
This method is appropriate for parquets and other patterned wood panels. You simply glue the panels to the sub-flooring which can be either wooden or concrete.
Not quite what it sounds like on one level and yet exactly what it sounds like one another. In this method, the hardwood isn’t actually attached to the sub flooring. When floating your floors you are installing them, typically over a layer of some sort of foam padding, through a method known as tongue and groove.
Much like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, these pieces pop into place in order to form beautiful floors with no worries of nails working their way up. This process allows the installation of hardwood on surfaces that aren’t perfectly even.
While hardwood flooring is relatively easy to maintain the following information might help you prolong the life and beauty of your new floors.
1) Sweep and vacuum regularly to prevent scratching as the result of dust or dirt accumulation.
2) Use doormats at entrances in order to prevent the tracking in of dirt and debris.
3) Use padding on the feet and legs of furniture in order to protect your new floors from the damage they may inflict.
4) Maintain a humidity level within your home of about 45% humidity year-round if possible in order to avoid the possible expansion and contracting of your hardwood floors.
5) Whenever possible, protect your floors from direct sunlight as this can result in fading and discoloration.
You can treat your hardwood floors with a gloss that will help harden it while protecting it from some of the damage that everyday living inflicts on our floors. A hardwood floor that has one of these surface finishes will not require waxing which minimizes the maintenance requirements.
Wax finishes offer a low gloss finish but require buffing fairly regularly in order to restore the sheen. High traffic floors should be protected with acrylic finishes designed to increase the hardness and durability of the wood.
Hardwood Floor Finish
Finishing hardwood floors can be separated into two broad categories. One is sanding and another is chemical renovation of hardwood floors. Sanding has some negative sides to it. Wood wastage is greater and multiplies the urgency of replacing floors. Nowadays the economical way (in terms of both money and wood preservation), is applying chemical finish to the floor.
Chemical renovation is a great way of finishing the hardwood floor. How do you go about it? It is not very difficult. You need lacquer thinner, denatured alcohol, empty screw top, oil finish, chemical-resistant refinish pads, floor polishing stick, and chemical-resistant pan. The first step is to repair the old parts of the hardwood floor. Then you get the wonder of the chemical finish.
In a big container, mix equal amount of thinner and alcohol. Close the container or else the combination will evaporate. Before you begin working on your hardwood floor, pour the fusion in a glass container. Start working from a small section of the floor. You will notice a change. The solution left over in the container will darken. This happens because you immerse the tool back in and the previous finish is mixed in. This solution is to be used to wash any new wood to tarnish it to combine in with the old boards. This is the alternative way of saving the wood chunks of your hardwood floor. It will also save money in the future. So, give a newer beautiful look to your firm hardwood floors.