- What is Hardwood?
- How is Hardwood Flooring Made?
- Benefits of Hardwood Flooring
- Installing Hardwood Flooring
What is Hardwood?
Solid hardwood floors have been around for centuries and with the proper care and maintenance can last for 100 years or more. Hardwood can be manufactured using a wide variety of wood species and can be pre-finished at the factory or finished on site after it is installed. Varying plank sizes, textures and stain colours can produce unlimited options. Many of the characteristics of wood floors are based on individual preferences but there are some limitations to consider because of the natural attributes of wood. There is a myriad of species that can be used for flooring and they vary greatly in density and hardness. The hardness of the wood species is rated on the Janka Hardness Scale which provides consumers with valuable information in choosing the right wood for their flooring project.
How is Hardwood Flooring Made?
Solid hardwood flooring is milled from a single piece of timber that is kiln or air dried to reduce the moisture levels in the wood. The moisture content at the time of manufacturing is carefully controlled to ensure the product doesn’t warp during transport or storage. After the drying process is complete the timber is typically cut in one of three ways: flat-sawn, quarter-sawn or rift-sawn and the cutting method used will greatly affect the final look of the floor. Once the desired size of plank is cut, it is then milled with a tongue and groove design. Finally it is pre-finished at the factory or shipped unfinished for onsite finishing after the installation is complete.
Benefits of Hardwood Flooring
Hardwood floors offer a warm and comforting feel that will add beauty to any room in your house. With a myriad of options available for wood species, colour and finish, customers can create the unique look they desire. Hardwood floors can also be refinished many times without replacing the product itself, thus enhancing the long term investment to consumers. The unique beauty of real wood is seldom duplicated by other types of flooring. The overall quality of hardwood floors varies greatly depending on the origin of the product and the level of quality control at the manufacturing facility.
Installing Hardwood Flooring
Hardwood floors are mostly manufactured 3/4″ thick with a tongue and groove for installation and have traditionally been installed by nailing the product down. There are now specialty adhesives that allow some hardwoods to be glued directly to the sub-floor. With the creation of theses specialty adhesives hardwood floors can now be installed on either plywood or concrete. Since wood flooring is a natural product that can react dramatically to varying levels of moisture and humidity it is not recommended for below grade installations. However there are thinner hardwood products on the market (5/16” – 7/16”) that can be glued down to concrete below grade. The key to a quality installation begins with proper sub-floor preparation which should be solid, level and dry. The long term value of your hardwood floor will be greatly enhanced by following the manufacturer’s guidelines for installation, care and maintenance.