Hardwood floors are tough, beautiful, and can be installed in almost any room in the house. They increase in value as your home does, can add value when it’s time to resale, and, if taken care of properly, can be a lifetime floor. Hardwood floors are currently the top hard surface flooring in remodeling and new home construction today.
Choosing the right hardwood floors.
Long gone are the days of 3-4 options to choose from. To make an educated decision on what type of hardwood is best for you, you need to know of all the options available to you. That’s why our Flooring Showroom houses over a hundred different hardwood options for you to meet price, practicalitiy, and preference. Contact us today to schedule a your free flooring consultation!
Know your hardwoods
Solid hardwood planks are milled from a single piece of hardwood and covered with a thin, clear protective layer that often consists of aluminum oxide, ceramic or an acrylic substance.
Typically three quarters of an inch, the thickness of solid wood planking enables it to be sanded and refinished many times throughout the life of the floor.
Because the plank is a solid piece of wood, it will expand and contract in accordance with the home’s relative humidity. To prevent warping, the home’s interior relative humidity needs to remain between 35% and 50% all year round.
Solid wood flooring is available in a wide array of wood species—including oak, maple, hickory, and black walnut as well as regional-specific choices like pecan, mesquite and others. The market also sometimes offers exotic species of hardwood from Brazil, Africa and elsewhere.
Hardwood planks classified as “engineered” feature multiple layers (typically three to five) bonded together under extreme heat and pressure.
The layers typically include a top veneer of hardwood backed by less expensive layers of plywood—although some manufacturers use substrates made from recycled wood fibers mixed with stone dust for improved durability and stability.
Because of the way engineered hardwood is processed, it is not as affected by humidity as solid wood planks are. Therefore, the product is often the preferred choice for kitchens and bathrooms or in areas where the humidity level can vary—like in a basement or a part of the house below grade, as long as a moisture barrier is placed between the subfloor and the hardwood planks.
They are also better suited for installing over in-floor heating systems.
Hard Wax Oil Hardwoods (Solid or Engineered)
In contrast to the typical smooth polyurethane finishes, hard-wax oil offers a subtle matte quality that gives the floor a natural look and feel.
The hard-wax oil we use is an all-natural, non-pollutant, non-toxic finish that is VOC-free without the use of biocides, preservatives and benzene. Made from purified, renewable natural resources, like vegetable oil and natural waxes, this finish has the most environmentally friendly benefits and contributes to a healthy living environment.
Hard-Wax Oil finishes typically require a 2-4 year maintenance of the floor and can be used on unfinished solid or engineered hardwoods.
Site Finish vs Pre-finished Hardwoods
Pre-finished flooring is flooring that has the finish applied to it at the factory.
A “site-finished” floor is a floor that is sanded, stained and finished after it is installed on site.
Both will have pros and cons. One being that the pre-finished floors typically have 7 – 9 coats of urethane applied (site-finish: 2-3), resulting in a very hard, smooth, and durable floor. A site-finished floor, with 2-3 coats of urethane, would allow the opportunity to achieve a more custom floor if desired.
At Home Furniture, our Flooring Center will have custom site-finish hardwood.
Sanding, Refinishing, and/or Buffing
At Home Furniture, our Flooring Center can bring your existing hardwood floors to life by refinishing them. Refinishing can restore your existing floor to its original beauty and luster through a process of sanding, buffing, adding sealer (in the case of a natural finish), and applying finish (such as polyurethane, tongue oil, etc).
The first step is to sand the floor several times with different grades of sanding paper. The first sanding is generally with a rough grade of paper based on the thickness of the existing floor and the depth of the scratches. Sanding will remove the existing finish, returning it back to its unfinished state. Once the floor is unfinished, you can choose to stain the floor its original color, choose a new stain color, or simply go with a natural finish. The edges of the floor must be sanded with an edger machine. Areas that are hard to reach will be hand scraped. Once sanding is completed, the floor must be buffed with a buffing machine.
Buffing the floor has two main purposes. First, it smoothens the floor, and second, it causes the natural wood grains to stand out. Once the buffing is completed, the floor must be vacuumed at least twice to completely remove the dust. After the dust is totally removed, the finishing process can begin. If the floor is to have a natural finish, sealer is applied, followed by 2-3 coats of polyurethane, tongue oil, or any other choice of finish (including oil-based and water-based finishes, etc.), based on the customer’s request.