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Your Basic Guide to Hardwood Floors: Types, Finishes and Choosing the Best Flooring For Your Home

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Hardwood flooring comes in many styles and sizes. And if you want to turn your vision into a reality, you have to choose the right kind of hardwood flooring for your home! In today’s post, we are giving you all the important information you have to know about hardwood flooring:

There are two basic types of hardwood flooring: solid wood and engineered wood. Both types come in an array of wood types, textures, and colors. The type of flooring you choose will depend on various factors including the size, price, wood species, ease of installation, the room itself and the type of subflooring you have.

Solid Wood Flooring

Solid wood flooring comes in three types: narrow strips, wide planks and parquet squares. And of all types, narrow strips is the most popular. The planks can range from 3 to 7 inches while the strips are about 1 ½ to 3 inches wide. The parquets come in pre-assembled tiles, but you can also get customized designs made from individual wood strips. All three types of solid wood flooring come in either pre-finish or unfinished styles. The best type of solid wood flooring is unfinished red oak or maple. Unfinished red oak or maple flooring is affordable and develops a lovely natural finish over time.

Engineered Wood Flooring

Engineered wood flooring is the most popular wood flooring type among DIY-ers. This flooring is comprised of three or more layers of wood, glued together into a long plank. The top layer of an engineered wood flooring is covered with a thin, solid wood veneer. Because engineered wood flooring is more stable than solid wood, it’s less likely to chip or split. It’s also resistant to warping or shrinking.

Engineered wood flooring comes in various types, each one categorized under soft wood or hard wood. They also come in pre-finished and unfinished planks though the latter is rarer.

Unlike solid wood flooring, engineered wood flooring will snap together and “float” over a thin layer of foam-rubber underlayment. There’s no need to hammer the tiles in, so installation is quick and seamless. This is the reason why DIY-ers prefer engineered wood flooring over solid wood flooring.

Types of Finishes

All types of wood flooring have a finish. The finish protects the material from wear and tear, sealing the wood from moisture, fungi, and oil.

Unfinished Wood Flooring

Unfinished wood flooring are sanded down wood flooring. Your installer will sand the wood down and install the planks on the job site. After sanding, a clear topcoat is applied on the flooring. You can also apply a stain for a specific look. Compared to prefinished wood flooring, unfinished wood flooring is more affordable.

Pre-Finished Wood Flooring

This flooring does not require sanding at all. As soon as the flooring is installed, it can be used. Unlike unfinished flooring, prefinished wood flooring comes in thinner planks.

Factory Finished Wood Flooring

This type of flooring is available as unfinished wood flooring. But the flooring has already been sanded and the finish is applied prior to installation. As soon as it’s installed, the flooring is ready to use.


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