Hardwood floor panels stand out in the area of aesthetics, styling, and quality. They retain a timeless appearance, ageing with grace over the years. It is interesting to note that this unique flooring provides comfort and warmth to homeowners without floor insulation. There is no denying that hard flooring gives one’s apartment a “home-like” relaxing vibe. How are hardwoods made? Highly-trained, experienced fellers cut down deciduous trees, which undergo processing and treatment procedures to become suitable for flooring. Some factors come into play when selecting hardwoods, including dimensional stability, texture, and hardness. These woods range from maple to the American white oak.
Hardwoods come in various species, colours, patterns, and properties. Each of these elements makes a wood unique, whether it be solid wood or engineered wood. It is necessary to find the ideal wood that suits one’s location, lifestyle, and taste. Interestingly, these materials are easy to clean, using a professional wood cleaning product. A quality wood floor is highly durable, lasting beyond a lifetime. These boards are easily remodelled, replaced, or reused for a different application.
Is Hardwood Flooring the Right Choice?
Currently, most homeowners focus more on eco-friendly products. Hence, there are environmental concerns about deforestation. Most rain forest zones in the globe risk depletion each passing day due to illegal logging activities. However, there are woods harvested according to monitored and controlled environment conditions, including the Lacey Act of 1990. Woods farmed under strict regulations undergo certification, which means that homeowners can use them for building construction and flooring. In the absence of this certificate, kindly avoid purchasing such flooring materials.
Hardwood floors come with several benefits, ranging from durability to cost. These construction materials provide an ideal way to go green.
As discussed before, one unique feature that stands out with hardwood floors is durability. When maintained properly, these materials outlast other flooring products. Also, homeowners can restore them to their original form and aesthetics without difficulty.
- Design Options
Hardwood panels are available in varying sizes, thicknesses, grains, and colours. Due to the features, individuals can enjoy design versatility when flooring their homes, offices, and other buildings. They also come in various stains and finishes that give one’s home a distinct appearance and feel. Hardwoods can either be unfinished or pre-finished, depending on the buyer’s preference.
Hardwood flooring appreciates the value of people’s homes; hence, making it an ideal investment opportunity. They retain their aesthetics and structural integrity, including the fact that they stay in vogue for years. Most realtors consider this feature a strong selling point.
- Safety and Comfort
Hardwood is one material that is easy to clean. As a result, it does not retain dust, dirt, and pollen known to cause allergies. Although this material features a hard surface, it provides comfort and warmth to occupants. Homeowners can walk comfortably on hardwood floors, unlike other floorings. Additionally, hardwoods give the right acoustic – not muffled, and at the same time, not hollow.
Types and Grades of Hardwood Flooring
There are various hardwood types: solid hardwood, engineered hardwood, acrylic impregnated floor, and reclaimed and recycled hardwood.
- Solid Hardwood
Solid wood has a standard thickness of ¾”, while the thin profile variant measures 5/6”. Three different sawing methods influence the hardwood cost and stability: Plain or flat sawn, rift sawn, and quarter sawed. When flooring a home, it is easy to join these hardwood panels as they have a unique locking method that comprises a tongue and groove edge on each side of the board. One side (tongue) interlocks with the other end (groove) to create a fixed pattern floor type. These wood panels can last several lifetimes.
Based on the extra layer of wood above the locking mechanism, solid hardwood panels are easily polished and refinished multiple times. Although solid woods cost more than engineered woods, they provide the right value for a homeowner’s money.
- Engineered Hardwood
Engineered hardwood comprises a core board and a real hardwood veneer joined together using special construction glue. This type of hardwood provides more stability than its counterpart – solid wood. Hence, external factors like humidity or temperature cannot affect it. Engineered wood veneer can be sawn using three different methods: rotary peel, dry solid-sawn, and sliced-peel. Homeowners can install engineered hardwood over radiant heat or any floor grade or type, including a concrete subfloor. It is also possible to float the wood. Besides, these wood panels cost less than solid hardwoods.
- Acrylic Impregnated Floors
This flooring type features a wood panel injected with acrylic compounds to strengthen the material, providing enhanced durability and aesthetics. It is not uncommon to find acrylic impregnated hardwood panels in places with heavy foot traffic, including commercial areas. They outperform standard wood floors.
- Reclaimed and Recycled hardwoods
Reclaimed and recycled hardwood comprises a core board, and a real hardwood veneer joined together using special construction glue. This material stems from old building woods, sunken boats, and logs buried in rivers and lakes. Reclaimed timbers can serve as engineered or solid wood panels.
Hardwoods have various installation methods, depending on the type of wood panel that needs installing. Interestingly, all processes are straightforward and take less time to set up. They include floating, glue application, nailing or stapling, and glue-less clicking.
With this technique, home construction workers install hardwood floor panels over any surface without necessarily attaching them to the subfloor. There is an underpad or moisture barricade that sits between the engineered wood and the subfloor.
- Glue Application
Another way to install hardwood panels is to glue them to the subfloor using adhesive. This process works for engineered woods.
Nailing or stapling involves attaching the hardwood to the subfloor using unique construction nails or staple pins. It is easier to fasten the wood panel to the subfloor using a staple gun and staple pins than nailing it. Homeowners installing hardwood panels for the first time should hire a certified professional’s services as it is not only risky to carry out personally but also leave messy work.
- Glue-less Clicking
Homeowners can attach hardwood to the subfloor by snapping one panel with the other without adhesive.
Maintaining a Hardwood Floor
Hardwood floors are known to last through several generations when taken care of properly. As discussed before, they age with grace. Hence, to maintain them, a homeowner must keep a regular cleaning schedule, which includes dusting, sweeping, vacuuming, and mopping. There are special cleaning agents that leave an allergy-free area on the wood panels. Avoid using steam or wet mops as it destroys the wood finish in the long run. It is also necessary to refinish the wood panels every three to five years.