Flooring dominate such a large visual room in your home that you can set an immediate and pleasing tone for richness, warmness and luxury with the right product. Hardwood has long been a premium flooring choice for commercial use and for custom made, upscale homes. Hardwood has become a lot more popular than tile in residential renovations with new, engineered hardwood floors manufacturing processes that lengthen the use of woods into the kitchen, cellar and bathroom.
Natural Hardwood Floors
Oak is the most prevalent hardwood varieties used for flooring, but a variety of additional hardwoods like bamboo, maple, hickory and red cherry are also accessible. Natural hardwood flooring consist of solid 3/4 inch narrow, unfinished tongue and groove boards called pieces (3-4 inches wide) or broader boards called planks (5-7 ins in width). Both board styles lay the same way but indoor designers say that the wider cedar planks, sometimes distressed, impart a more casual or country look to the decoration.
This kind of flooring is installed simply by nailing it to a subfloor of plywood or OSB. Natural hardwood floors are finished in place by sanding the boards to a homogeneous thickness and coating them with a sealer. When the sealer wears away and the surface darkens, the floor can be sanded and refinished, usually through 5-7 times, or until a nail becomes visible. The life expectations of natural 3/4 hardwood flooring is about 100 years.
Installing natural hard wood flooring is labor intensive and time consuming. Laying down, sanding and sealing a hardwood floor usually takes several days. Installation time can be decreased with pre-finished hardwood flooring which eliminates the application and drying time of the finish and sealer. Pre-finished flooring is usually more wear resistant because the manufacturer can apply more durable films in a controlled factory environment. House owners should also consider that on site finishing will emit noxious VOCs into the house environment.
Engineered Hardwood Floors
Engineered hardwood floors are a laminate built from multiple ply layers with a thick hardwood veneer put on layer on top.
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The veneer level is available in almost any exotic hardwood varieties with exotic color and hemp patterns. Engineered hardwood floors tend to be more resistant to moisture than natural wooden flooring, which adds to their appeal because they can be installed in moist regions of the country and in basements along with relatively high humidity levels.
A few brands of engineered hardwood floors have a thin wear layer that can be recoated but you cannot sand the floor in order to stain it or completely refinish it. These less expensive brands come with an expected average life span of 30-40 years depending on usage patterns. Other brands and styles have much heavier wear layers (5/32 inches) that could be sanded and refinished up to as many as 5 times with an average expected life span of from 60-80 years. Thicker wear layers are sawn from the log whereas thinner levels are scraped or sliced. High tech glue is the bonding agent.
One other advantage of engineered hard wood floors is that a floating install can be applied directly over vinyl fabric or a concrete slab or any other existing material that is hard and level without the expense and necessity of a subfloor. Manufacturers recommend that a 4-6 mil vapor barrier become installed over the under-surface if dampness is likely to be a problem.
Conventional finishing products are used on engineered hardwood floors, but other coatings are available that are much more durable than the products available for site application. Quality producers apply 7-10 coats of corundum crystals or diamond dust to make the engineered hardwood finish harder compared to anything that could be applied on site or perhaps purchased in a Home Depot. Engineered hardwood floors come with as much as a 25-year warranty.