Wood flooring is a beautiful and functional option for living spaces. It's also highly customizable and refinishable.
Oak is the most popular species for floorboards because of its light tan tones and consistent vertical grain. Wider-spaced grain patterns typify lowland oak, while more densely-grained boards are termed mountain or upland.
Real wood flooring is a timeless and elegant choice for any home. It pairs well with most any style of furniture, mirrors or other wall art and complements almost any interior design theme. Wood floors are durable, long-lasting and are easily refinished when they start to show signs of wear. There are several different species of hardwood that can be used for your floors, and each has its own unique look and characteristics.
Hardwood is available in a wide variety of grain patterns and colors, and there are many choices when it comes to staining. From light hues that show off the natural grain to rich, dark stains that make a statement, you can create a custom look to suit your taste and match any decor. Hardwood floors are easy to clean and maintain, so they're a good choice for families with pets or children.
The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) is releasing a formal definition of wood flooring to help consumers and professionals better distinguish between real hardwood flooring and "wood-look" products like laminate, vinyl and composites. The new definition will highlight the unique characteristics of wood and the benefits it offers to homes and businesses.
One of the main advantages of hardwood is that it can be refinished over time. The refinishing process consists of sanding the surface of the planks and then staining them to change the color. This gives you a new, updated look and is much less expensive than replacing the entire floor.
Another advantage of hardwood is that it is a renewable material. It is also naturally hygrometer sensitive, which means it reacts to changes in humidity. It swells in high humidity and shrinks when the humidity falls, so it's important to know what kind of climate you live in before choosing a hardwood.
When working with a customer to select their flooring, RSAs should qualify the customer's lifestyle and aesthetic preferences to recommend the best product for them. For example, if the customer has kids or pets, steer them toward engineered or composite products with water-resistant finishes that are designed to resist damage from spills and other liquids.
Engineered wood flooring is becoming increasingly popular as it is a great choice for homeowners who want the look of hardwood but require a more durable floor. It’s also much easier to install as it is glued together instead of being nailed down like solid wood. It isn’t able to be refinished as often as solid wood but with proper care can last 30 years and more.
When choosing engineered wood floors you will need to consider the thickness of the wear layer, or lamella, as well as the plywood base. The quality of the wood will also determine how long your floor lasts. You will want to avoid a lamella that is too thin and you will also want to make sure the plywood base is marine grade or WBP.
Another important consideration is the width of your planks. Narrower planks are typically less expensive and work well in contemporary homes while wider planks can be used to create a more traditional look. You will also need to decide if you want your planks to be smooth or textured. Smooth engineered wood floors have a clean, smooth surface that is easy to maintain and doesn’t show dirt as easily. Textured floors have dents, scuffs and simulated damage in varying degrees to give your floor a worn, natural look that requires less maintenance and cleaning.
Lastly, you will need to choose between prefinished and unfinished engineered wood flooring. Prefinished floors have a protective coating that helps to keep the floor looking its best and protected against moisture. Unfinished wood floors need to be treated and sealed in your home and may be more sensitive to moisture as it can seep through the bottom of the board.
When shopping for engineered wood floors you will want to compare the price, warranty and color options between manufacturers. Some engineered wood floors are better made than others and will cost more. You will want to check the thickness of the veneer, or wear layer, as well as the number of layers and finish coats that the product has.
Parquet flooring isn’t a traditional plank style of wood floor, but it can be a beautiful choice for any space. It consists of small blocks or “parquet” that fit together to create geometric patterns such as herringbone, basket weave, and brick bond. It’s a complex style that requires professional installation. It’s also not a good idea to try it yourself unless you’re a serious do-it-yourselfer, because even the slightest mistake in alignment can throw off the whole pattern.
Parquet block floors have a textured surface that makes them stand out in a room, and they’re available in many different styles, including herringbone, chevron, basketweave, and brick pattern. Herringbone and chevron are classics, but you can choose any pattern that suits your taste. The patterned surface can change the look of a room and make it feel larger or smaller. If you have a narrow room, for example, choosing a small herringbone pattern may be best to help it appear more spacious.
The cost of a parquet floor depends on the type of wood used, its durability, and how intricate the pattern is. The more durable options, such as oak, are the most expensive. The color of the wood changes as it ages, and oil-based finishes yellow over time, but you can refinish them to restore their sheen.
There are several benefits to choosing parquet flooring over other types of wood flooring. Parquet blocks are less likely to warp or buckle under moisture, and they’re easier to clean than planks. They can also be repaired or refinished in case of damage.
Like all types of hardwood, parquet floors need regular care to stay lustrous. Dirt should be swept regularly, and liquid spills should be wiped up immediately to avoid water staining or warping the wood. It’s best to use a dry microfiber mop rather than a steamer. In addition, a parquet floor will need to be sanded and refinished every 15 to 20 years. It’s also a good idea to keep furniture off parquet floors, as heavy or sharp furniture can leave permanent indentations.
Laminate flooring offers a cost-effective way to get the look of wood and stone floors at an affordable price. It is available in a wide range of styles and finishes to suit your design aesthetic, and it’s also easy to maintain with regular cleaning. Spills, dirt, dust and pet fur sit on the surface layer of the planks rather than penetrating through the core, making laminate a great option for homes with pets or children.
Laminate is constructed of four layers; the base, design layer, core and back layer. It is fused together using high heat and intense pressure. The base, often made of particle board or medium-density fiberboard (MDF), provides structure and durability. The top layer, called the decorative paper or design layer, can be printed with a realistic image of hardwood or stone and includes a protective overlay. This can be embossed to add a texture to the floor, or it may have a wire-brushed or oiled finish that adds to its visual appeal and longevity.
The core of the laminate is usually made of high-density fiberboard (HDF), a step up from MDF. This is a durable, hard-wearing material that can withstand heavy foot traffic and moisture. The back layer is designed to protect the laminate against moisture and to balance the plank. It’s a good idea to avoid using laminate in areas of your home that are frequently wet, like bathrooms or laundries. The moisture can seep through the joints and cause them to swell and warp, which can leave a damp and musty smell in your home.
One of the main differences between natural timber and laminate is that natural wood floors can be sanded and refinished to renew their appearance over time. Laminate floors, however, cannot be sanded down as doing so will reveal the photographic layer beneath and destroy its resilience. If your laminate does become damaged or scratched, minor surface dents can be hidden by applying a wax coating.
Because laminate does not need to be nailed or glued down, it’s more convenient to install than other types of wood floors. Some styles of laminate use a tongue and groove joinery while others are click-and-lock, and both options can be laid over a foam underlayment to soften footfall. These pads are available in a range of thicknesses to meet your specific needs. Look for low-VOC underlayments as they can help reduce the amount of chemicals you’re exposed to when walking on your laminate.