Buying hardwood floor is not an easy task. There are many different styles of hardwood floors, each with their own unique installation process. Not everyone is an expert on hardwood floors and their installatons. Our philosophy at AcademyFloor is to give you all the information necessary to make your next hardwood floor perfect. We hope our Floor Guide can make your next purchase fast, simple and easy.
What is Hardwood Floors?
Solid Hardwood Floor means you are dealing with 100% real wood. Unlike Engineered Hardwood, Solid Hardwood Floors are made essentially of solid pieces of wood. This is why Solid Hardwood retains the most natural and authentic design of the specific tree being used. (Oak, Maple, Mohagony etc.)
The term Solid Hardwood Flooring was initially used to describe Solid Oak Hardwood Floor, one of the most common species in the western hemisphere (Europe and North America). Till this day Solid Oak is still one of the best selling styles in the Hardwood industry.
Thanks to developments in technology it is now possible to choose from many different varieties of Solid Hardwood species. Not only can you have a unique tree design, you can also choose your width measurement, wood stain style and favorite color. Now you can get your Solid Hardwood Floor in various sizes, from the small size of 2-1/4” floor strips to 3” , 4” , 5” and 6” wide Hardwood Floor Planks. However, if you are looking for something bigger, there are Solid Wood Floors that come in lengths that vary from 3’ to 7’ long.
What's The Difference Between Prefinished Hardwood Flooring and Unfinished Hardwood Flooring?
The two main categories of Solid Hardwood are Prefinished Wood Flooring and Unfinished Wood Flooring. For most residential customers, the number one choice is Prefinished Solid Hardwood Flooring. Our Prefinished Solid Hardwood Floors are sanded, sealed, stained, finished and coated with 8 Layers of Aluminum Oxide. This treatment produces a more durable, strong and long lasting hardwood. We guarantee that our top of the line sealing coat will last longer than any other product you may find within a hardwood flooring supply store or home improvement center. That’s why the Prefinished Hardwood Flooring is a Ready-to-Install Product, for it allows you to walk on your new Hardwood Floor the minute you install it!
The second choice in Solid Hardwood is Unfinished Wood Flooring. These Wood Floors require much time and effort to obtain a high quality finished product, and are NOT Recommended for individual homeowners. When you purchase a Solid Unfinished Hardwood Floor, you have to use a sanding machine to smoothen the wood for the desired grade. Then you will have to stain the wood and seal the floor. This process is long and somehow complicated, since you need to know how to use sanders and sanding machines, how to stain the floor and how to seal it. You may even have to wait (sometimes even days) until the stain or sealer coats are dry. You will also need to buy certain materials, such as sanding papers, wood stains, wood sealers and of course the very expensive sanding machines (there are locations where you can rent a sanding machine). All of these make the Prefinished Hardwood Floor a very cost-effective product, which save you the time, energy and labor of installing an Unfinished Wood Floor.
So What To Choose? Prefinished Wood Floors or Unfinished Wood Floors?
So why would anyone choose Solid Unfinished Hardwood Floors instead of Prefinished Hardwood Floors? Unfinished hardwood flooring allows you to finish the floor however you like. Giving you the ability to choose the specific wood species, sand it to the desirable finish grade (hand-scraped, heavy-distressed or simple flat) and choose a stain from a huge selection of brands and colors – you can even mix stains to obtain a new color – and by that creating your own Special and Unique Hardwood Flooring.
The Unfinished Hardwood Floors also come in different grades:
Select & Better – Style which has a consistent color variation, longer plank lengths and no blemishes or knots.
#1 Common – Style where the planks show more of their natural character, showing shade variation, pinholes and knots.
*Unfinished Wood Floors are reccomended for Contractors and Professionals
Prefinished Solid Hardwood Floors come in a large variety of species and stains. You'll find species such as Solid Oak, Red Oak, Walnut, Maple and even exotic species, like Pilang (Exotic Walnut) or Jatoba (Brazilian Cherry). You can combine White Oak Hardwood Flooring with Walnut Stain, or even Maple Hardwood flooring with Sunset stain.. the possibilities are endless..
What About Refinishing Solid Wood Floors?
One of the greatest advantages of Solid Hardwood is it's ability to be refinished, re-sanded and re-coated for several more times. With a 3/4" thickness, you can refinish the hardwood up to 10 times! This way you have the baility to gain the best value from your product and keep your Solid Hardwood floor for Over 100 Years!
How to Install Solid Hardwood Flooring?
Solid Hardwood Floors react to the presence of moisture and can be effected over time. In the winter, most living areas use heating systems to warm their homes. While we heat our homes, moisture leaves the hardwood floors, causing the wood floor to shrink a little in size, which will eventually open small gaps between the wood planks. In the Summer, in times of high humidity, the hardwood boards expand and that is what makes the gaps between the planks disappear. Too much moisture can cause the Hardwood Boards to buckle or even break. This is why it is very important to check the installation area for moisture, with a Moisture Test Meter, before the Hardwood Floor is installed!
Due to the sensitivity of Solid Hardwood to moisture, it is not recommended to install them bellow ground level (the basement for example) or directly on concrete!
Usually Solid Hardwood Floor will be installed using the Nail-Down Installation method, using Flooring Nail Guns or Flooring Stapler with the appropriate size of nails, staples or fasteners. Some Solid wood Flooring (usually the thinner ones) can be glue down too – according to Manufacturer instructions.
Solid hardwood Flooring is your best choice when thinking of the future. This is a lifetime product! Thanks to its thickness it can be sanded and refinished again and again, with different stains and finishes for many more years to come. Hopefully now it is obvious why solid hardwood flooring increases the value of your home and is the most valuable choice in the Hardwood Flooring World!