Many new materials have been invented over the last 30 years but there is no question that quality, hardwood flooring is timeless. A wood floor installation done by flooring contractors with years of experience could last decades. While products like laminate flooring may have a cheaper price tag in the beginning, wood flooring will pay for itself in not only dollars but in the beauty and quality, it brings into your home.
Making the right choice in the type of hardwood flooring supplies is crucial to getting the best results. There are many options to consider that will make a direct impact on the cost, appearance, and longevity of your new floor.
Choosing between solid and engineered hardwood flooring will influence cost, timeline, and where the floor can be installed.
As the name implies, solid hardwood flooring is formed out of a single piece of wood with no added layers. Engineered floors, by contrast, are comprised of at least two layers of wood. A top layer made of the chosen species of wood, the middle layer that is high-grade plywood, followed in most cases by a third, bottom wood layer to serve as backing.
Thanks to its construction, engineered floors can be installed in areas that solid wood is not typically recommended. The construction of engineered flooring makes it more resistant to warping when exposed to moisture, for instance, making it suitable to install over concrete.
Both products can be resurfaced, meaning that the protective finish on the surface of the floor can be reapplied. However, changing a stain color requires plenty of material to sand through. Most solid wood floors are better suited for color changes because of this.
If one is dedicated to their stain color of choice but may prefer a wider plank width or an exotic species of wood at a lower price, engineered flooring will be the clear winner.
Finally, solid and engineered hardwood flooring are available in both site-finished and prefinished varieties.
Choosing between prefinished and site-finished products will greatly affect your choices of species and stains as well as the overall timeline for installation.Site-finishing
is the traditional way of installing a hardwood floor. Raw wood is installed, sanded with power tools, possibly stained, and then finished with a protective topcoat. This method takes more time and labor but enhances the natural beauty of hardwood. This also allows one to customize a stain color to suit one's home.Prefinished
hardwood floors are the overwhelming favorite of the new construction industry due to its fast install times and durable, factory finish. The most common species are readily available in a limited palette of stain colors. Resurfacing prefinished hardwood floors requires more aggressive sanding methods while changing stain colors. This can be extremely labor-intensive, if possible at all.
One final note regarding prefinished hardwood flooring. This product is not sanded after installation, as is the case with site-finished floors. To compensate for whatever minor differences in product thickness/height between planks that may exist.
Small bevels are introduced at the edges of the board. These create little “valleys” that trouble some homeowners when maintaining the floor.