What is the best Hardwood for me?
The best hardwood flooring for you is the one, that best fits your traffic needs, installation challenges and budget. The hardwood industry has created hundreds of options to meet any of these challenges. Below are some examples of a few types of solid hardwood flooring.
Unfinished Hardwood Flooring (sand on site):
Often refers to a solid wood flooring that is 2 1/4" to 5" wide and 3/4” thick and comes unfinished. Although a lot variation of widths and lengths are available as manufacturers try to get the best yield out of available material. Unfinished Hardwood flooring have been around the longest and offers the largest range of colors and finish options. Some of the great things about this wood are, it can last up to 100 years, it is the only hardwood that increases the value of your home, can be matched with new or existing solid wood flooring very easy, can cost less to purchase the material and can be refinished many times in the life of the floor. Unfinished hardwood flooring is the most common hardwood you find in homes today. This type of hardwood requires sanding and finishing on site.
Prefinished Solid Hardwood Flooring:
Prefinished solid hardwood flooring is end matched with a tight micro beveled edge, and comes with several coats of aluminum oxide finish applied in the manufacturing process. It can come in sizes from 2 1/4” to 5” and there are a few companies putting out larger widths. Almost all prefinished flooring made in the world has a micro bevel. The bevel is the area between every board in the floor. Prefinished flooring manufacturers have to cut these bevels into their flooring so the floor will lay flat when it is installed. Unlike unfinished solid hardwood no sanding is required after installation, however damage to this type of flooring is very hard to correct often hard to hide and almost always costly. Usually you may have to replace the entire board or boards to correct the problem. Matching this type of flooring is next to impossible as many manufactures will put out at product line for a short time then discontinue it later making it extremely hard to find board replacements if problems ever occur. Some of the advantage of this kind of flooring is, it does not require sanding after it is installed, can sometimes cost less money to purchase material and can be refinished almost as many times as unfinished solid hardwood.
Engineered Hardwood Flooring:
Is a hardwood somewhat new to the hardwood market and often gets confused with laminate flooring. Both products can have a similar construction, but an engineered hardwood floor has a real wood layer and not a photograph reproduced in a resin and printed on the surface like laminate does. Much like prefinished hardwood flooring, you can run into the same repair problems with some products. This type of flooring should you try to refinish it has a much smaller wear layer then the 3/4” solid hardwood flooring, often being as small as 1/8” to 1/16” thick giving a very small layer to refinish shorting the life of the floor. At best you might get 1-3 refinishes done to this type of flooring and a professional is suggested as it can be very easy to sand completely through the thin layer of the veneer exposing the plywood underneath. Some of the advantages of this flooring is it can be used in situations were a floating floor is required and can have higher tolerances to moisture.