Hardwood flooring adds an air of class to residential and office interiors, and is looked upon as a flooring option that gives a sense of permanence to the ambiance. The most attractive feature about them is the large variety available in terms of surface, species, finish, and stain.
Unfinished Hardwood Flooring
This is that type of hardwood that hasn't been through the final finishing processes, such as sanding, staining, buffing, and coating. The final user is expected to add the required finishing touches. This form of hardwood is useful to constructors, who plan to give their customers the option to customize their own flooring.
Pre-finished Hardwood Flooring
This type of flooring is the most common type found in stores. It is known for its finished and ready-to-install feature. Compared to the unfinished type, it doesn't require buffing or coating, thereby, saving time and energy. Pre-finished flooring is a better, convenient, and cheaper means of getting new flooring for the house.
Solid Hardwood Flooring
Made from milled hardwood planks, this type comprises wooden planks that are generally ¾" thick. Solid blocks are cut out from the tree, which are then sawed to form these solid hardwood planks. White oak, red oak, maple, and ash are common North American hardwood species. This flooring type is also available in many exotic wood species, like the Australian cypress, Brazilian cherry, tiger wood, etc. However, red oak still remains the most popular wood used for this flooring type.
Engineered Hardwood Flooring
This type of flooring resembles solid flooring in appearance, however, the difference lies in the construction process. Engineered hardwood floors comprise layers of wood material glued together, unlike the single block of wood used in the solid type. The layers (3-5 layers) found in engineered wood provide acoustic isolation, increased protection against moisture, comfort, stability, etc. Thus, this type is best suited for moist rooms or basements.
Floating Hardwood Flooring
This type of flooring is actually engineered wood flooring that is floated across several sub-floors, such as Oriented Strand Board (OSB), ceramic tiles, vinyl flooring, dry concrete slabs, etc. Moreover, it is not secured directly to the substrate, instead only the tongue and grooved edges of the planks are locked together. The installation can be carried out by either stapling or gluing. Since this type of flooring is not specific to any sub-floor, it can be installed in areas where traditional hardwood flooring types cannot be installed.
Acrylic Impregnated Hardwood Flooring
This type of flooring is relatively new, thus, not very popular. Nevertheless, it's actually one of the strongest flooring options available today. The most notable feature about this flooring type is the way it is colored. The color and the sealant are infused into the wooden planks, thereby, enhancing its overall appeal. Moreover, they also last longer (than engineered wood). It is also resistant to humidity and moisture, and develops scratches less easily.
Parquet Hardwood Flooring
Parquet flooring is popularly used in many up-scale country clubs and large houses. It is also used to make stylish entryways. Parquet is the North American term used for geometric mosaic. Wood pieces are arranged in square, triangle, or lozenge (diamond) patterns for decorative effect. These pieces are then either glued together or nailed down. When installed, this flooring is known to increase the value of the house! Moreover, it is durable and needs very little maintenance.
Longstrip Wood Flooring
This type of flooring is actually a type of engineered hardwood flooring, and is also referred to as floating wood floors or engineered longstrip planks. Several wooden planks are glued together to form this flooring. The core comprises a softer wood material that is used to make the groove and the tongue. To form the finished layer, a selected wood species is glued to the top of the soft core. Several small, solid wooden planks are used to form the finish layer. Longstrip flooring is appropriate for basements.
Hand-scraped Hardwood Flooring
This type of flooring is hand-crafted, and its vintage look is obtained by using wood-scraping tools. Unlike in the case of traditional flooring, in this type, each plank is shaped and hand-scraped one at a time. Thus, each plank is unique and one of a kind. Moreover, these planks are signed by the craftsman who hand-scraped them. Although highly expensive, this flooring type gives the house a stunning, rustic look.
Hardwood flooring, if well maintained, can last for many years. Avoid using harsh detergents, steel wool, or wax-based cleaners as they dull the finish of the flooring. If you have no prior experience with installing hardwood flooring, then, it is advisable to hire a professional flooring contractor. This way you can spare yourself of any expensive mistakes. Since purchase and installation of hardwood flooring is an expensive affair, make your choice wisely.