Choosing the right real wood flooring is critical if you want to get the most durability and longevity for your money. Many people choose a flooring material solely based on looks. This is a mistake.
You must understand the terminology used for describing wood flooring and how different specifications affect the performance of the flooring. Not all floors are created equal, and not all have the same intended use. Before you purchase any type of wood flooring you should understand what you are getting. Making the right choice will ensure your real wood floor will provide lasting beauty to your home.
There are three basic types of real wood flooring. Unlike veneers or laminates that consist of a thin layer of wood and synthetic materials the rest of the way through, real wood floors contain wood all the way through. Here are the three main types of flooring:
Solid. Any flooring that is solid from top to bottom is considered a solid wood floor. One main concern with a solid wood floor is that humidity and temperature changes can cause the wood to expand and contract. Depending on the size of the room, the expansion can cause buckling and contraction can cause gaps.
Engineered. An engineered flooring material is similar to plywood, where multiple layers of wood are glued together with the grains running in opposite directions. This creates a floor surface that is more stable in humid environments such as kitchens and bathrooms.
Acrylic Impregnated. This type of real wood flooring is typically used in commercial applications. It is created by injecting an acrylic compound into the wood. This creates a very hard and durable surface.
How the wood is cut during the manufacturing process will affect the stability and appearance of the wood.
Plain Sawn. This is the most common method of cutting real wood flooring. Each cut of the lumber is made parallel with the last cut. This is the most economical method since it produces the least waste. This also produces wood that has more variations than the other cutting method.
Quarter Sawn. For this method, lumber is first cut into quarters before being cut into strips. This creates wood flooring with a vertical grain that will expand and contract vertically instead of horizontally during humidity changes. Flooring cut this way have a very tight-grained appearance.
Now you understand the basics of real wood flooring, and you should have enough knowledge to select a flooring option that will suit your particular application. There are also many finishing options and species of wood to choose from. Each of these selections will give you different appearances and different levels of durability.
These are the criteria that affect the performance of real wood flooring. However, there are other specifications such as grading and floor styles that will affect the overall appearance of the flooring. These specification are covered in more detail at our website.
Making the right selection of real wood flooring is important. You want something that will fit the look of your home, but it must also perform well under the conditions in which it will be used. Careful selection will ensure that your money is well-invested and you’ll enjoy the beauty of a real wood floor in your home for a very long time.