Hardwood floors are any product made from solid wood, which is specifically designed for application as flooring, both decorative or functional. Wood is an extremely popular choice as a floor covering material and is available in a variety of colours, styles, and types. There are many different varieties and types of hardwood, with the most common being oak, pine, ash, maple, cherry, mahogany, teak, birch, oak, beech, plum, ash, maple, chestnut, plum, poplar, walnut and bamboo. Hardwood floorings are available in any colour you wish, although lighter colours tend to fade and darker colours show more dirt and dust. The type of hardwood flooring you choose will depend on the environment it’s intended for, the amount of traffic it will be subjected to, and whether it’s in a domestic or commercial environment.
A hardwood floor should not be exposed to moisture, dust or sand. In order to maintain its durable qualities, its surface must be protected from moisture, fungi, bacteria, chemicals and rotting substances. Its refinished solid surface can be sanded to provide a highly durable surface, but it must be refinished over again after it has been sanded. Refinished hardwood flooring can be sanded to restore its original gloss and shine, or it can be left in its natural state. Some solid surfaces can even be sanded to the point they are very smooth, without grooves or depressions.
Due to the fact that many hardwood floors are sensitive to moisture, any spill or leak will require immediate repair. This may require the assistance of professionals who specialise in refinished hardwood flooring. In some cases, the stain could be left for several days to dry without exposure to moisture. Once the stain has dried, it can be buffed vigorously to remove the excess stain, and then resealed.
Hardwood flooring can be obtained in two basic types, solid and engineered. Engineered is another term for “instant hard” due to the fact that it is usually constructed using a veneer which consists of a thin veneer layer glued to a wooden core. The engineered flooring systems have excellent damp proof properties, are very durable and are fast to install. These systems are available in a wide range of styles such as: shag, runner, Queen Anne, lap and more. The grain in the wood will generally be visible if you look closely.
The term floating installation is used to describe a method of installing flooring that involves spreading the boards apart evenly, but not under any chance of them touching. For this reason, floating installation is only recommended for busy areas or flat floors where water might seep in between layers. Installing floating floorboards can be an arduous task because it requires expert craftsman skills. The advantage of floating installation is that it allows wood fibers to move under the subfloor over short distances.
Another form of hardwood flooring that is commonly installed is rustic hardwood floors. Rustic floorings are those that contain large amounts of natural fibers and knots. The knots in rustic floorboards provide a unique texture that can add character to a room and make it appear more authentic. The drawback of rustic hardwood is that it does not offer the same amount of durability that engineered hardwood does.
The term laminate is used to describe a surface consisting of a thin plastic layer bonded to the wood. This plastic is virtually impossible to stain, scratch or cut. In addition, engineered hardwood flooring consists of a solid plywood base with a layer of laminate on top. Engineered laminate is extremely durable and offers the best scratch and damage resistance of any type of hardwood flooring.
Laminate is made of two different layers – the top layer is basically a solid hardwood backing and the second layer is a clear resin. While it can be stained and finished like a solid hardwood floor, it cannot be scratched, polished or cut and is not nearly as durable. Engineered laminates are available in a wide variety of colors, patterns and textures. Although it can cost more than solid hardwood, many homeowners choose this floor covering because it is more durable and easy to maintain.