WoodCo’s Complete Guide to Wood Flooring

By: Webmaster

November 03, 2017

Flooring

There are two main types of wood flooring: engineered and solid. Whether you are remodeling or building a new home or space, there’s a few things you should take into consideration before you begin. It’s important to note the environment it will be installed in – i.e. how much moisture is in the air, and whether you are installing over a subfloor or not.

Solid Vs Engineered

There are different advantages and disadvantages to selecting one construction of wood flooring over another. Let’s compare engineered and solid wood flooring options.

Solid:

Pros:

+ Excellent resale value: Though you might end up paying a little more for an authentic, solid wood flooring, you will have a guaranteed increase in the value of your home with this option. A solid wood floor is a great investment due to the fact that it’s beauty and structure is sure to last for decades to come with proper upkeep.

+ Long wear life: Solid flooring options can be resanded and refinished several times before the end of its useful life. If your floor is looking dull, it can be sanded and refinished to bring it back to life without having to replace the floor. With proper finishing, your wood floors can last for several decades and look as great as the day they were installed.

Cons:

- Price: When you choose solid wood flooring you have to note the price that comes with a 100% natural wood floor. Though it can add up in cost, solid wood flooring maintains its value over time.

- Durability: Because solid wood flooring is made from 100% wood, this type of flooring is susceptible to movement and scratching. Solid wood is also porous and will absorb moisture in the environment and expand and contract and even warp if there is too much moisture present.

- Installation limitations: Since solid wood floors do not react well to moisture, you have to be a little careful in where you install your wood flooring. Areas like your bathroom or basement are particularly susceptible to moisture and should be avoided. Solid wood flooring also has to be installed over a subfloor so you should plan for that as well.

Engineered:

Pros:

+ Price: most engineered flooring tends to cost less than solid flooring so you can still achieve a great hardwood floor even if you are on a tighter budget.

+ Stability: Since engineered flooring is a natural wood layer on top of a plywood base, there is no need for a subfloor. Since the wood pieces are secured to a plywood base there is also a lower chance of movement in environments with moisture.

Cons:

- Durability: Though it will stand up to more moisture than solid flooring, engineered flooring is still susceptible to everyday wear and tear and scratching.

- Wear life: Engineered flooring will still last a long time if maintained and cared for, however, with a thinner wear layer, the amount of times that an engineered floor can be sanded and refinished is limited and much less than solid flooring. Depending on the wear layer, your engineered floor can be limited in the amount of times it can be resanded in its useful life. With a thicker wear layer, however, like a 6mm wear layer, you can get the same or longer wear life than with a solid.

Finishing

After choosing your wood floor, you should also consider the type of finish you have. This will determine how you should clean and maintain your floors and how often they will need to be refinished.

Types of finishing:

+ Hard Wax Oil: This type of finish soaks into the wood and hardens to form a protective seal which will protect the floor from everyday wear and tear.

+ UV oil: This type of finish is an oil finish that is instantly cured using ultraviolet light.

+ Natural oil: This type of finish can either be penetrating oils or hard was oil finishes. They penetrate into the pores of the wood for a durable and long-lasting finish. Additionally, this finish is also environmentally friendly as these natural oils are refined from vegetable oils and waxes.

+ Aluminum Oxide: This finish is extremely durable and it is typically only used on prefinished planks. It also requires special finishing techniques should you choose this finish. This finish creates a protective layer over the wood. You are therefore walking on the finish rather than the wood like with oiled floors. Important to note, this finish is not as easily repaired if scratched.

Maintenance

For a guide on how to clean and maintain your wood floors click here.

Tips and tricks:

+ When measuring for your space, first determine the quantity needed for the project and add an additional 10% of materials to account for waste. This is so that you can finish the project without having to buy additional materials later on. For patterned floors or rooms with a lot of angles, you may have to increase the amount accounted for waste.

+ Try a sample before you decide. The lighting in the store or online might be different than that of your home, so be sure to ask for a sample of the flooring to see how it will look in your environment before deciding.

+ As always, feel free to reach out to our friendly wood experts for any questions, we'd be happy to help!