Wood flooring is timeless. It enhances warmth and complements décor. Like a fine piece of furniture, wood flooring increases in value and becomes more beautiful with time. In a national survey, 90 percent of real estate agents said that houses with wood flooring sell faster and for more money.
Wood is also a natural, recyclable resource. Buildings, barns, ships and other wood structures have found a second life in flooring. And leading allergists agree that wood floors are the perfect choice for a healthy home. Thanks to state-of-the-art technology and limitless choices in stains and finishes, wood flooring can be one of the most practical and versatile coverings. Maintained properly, a quality wood floor should never need replacing.
But how do you choose the floor that’s right for your particular home? How do you choose a floor that fits your unique lifestyle and family dynamic?
What are the different types of wood floors?
We have design consultants on staff to walk you through the process of selecting the best materials. In the meantime, here’s a guide to the different types of wood flooring you’ll have to choose from in our showroom. Austin, Round Rock, Leander, Lakeway, Westlake Hills, Georgetown TX.
Engineered wood is the most common type of flooring used in Texas homes. Engineered wood floors are real wood floors that are manufactured using 3-9 different layers of wood veneers. The sub layers can be of the same species, or of different species, or can be made from a High Density Fiberboard (HDF). This type of construction makes the product very stable. The top layer of engineered wood flooring consists of high-quality wood and comes in many different species.
Here are some things to consider when deciding whether or not to go with engineered wood flooring.
Engineered wood flooring can be installed above, on or below grade.
This type of wood flooring will expand and contract less than solid wood flooring during fluctuations in humidity and temperature.
While this type of flooring can be sanded and finished, it cannot be put through that process as many times as solid wood flooring.
Engineered wood floors are most often pre-finished with multiple coats of urethane and scratch resistant finishes. These finishes are more durable than anything that can be applied in the home in a site-finished application.
Engineered wood adds very little height to the existing slab.
Engineered wood flooring only requires an easy 1 to 2-day installation process.
Most engineered floors are less expensive than solid wood floors of the same species.
Solid wood flooring is exactly what the name implies: a solid piece of wood from top to bottom. The thickness of solid wood flooring can vary, but it generally ranges from ¾” to 5/16”.
One of the great things about solid wood flooring is that it can be sanded and refinished many times throughout its lifetime. And a high-quality, solid wood floor can last 100 years or more.
Each time it is refinished, you have the choice to keep the same color or go with a new color. Refinishing a solid wood floor can make it look brand new no matter how old it is.
Most solid wood flooring is very easy to maintain. The normal maintenance of a solid wood floor is to simply sweep it, dust mop it, or vacuum it.
It can be installed above or on grade.
However, there are many more things to consider when choosing this classic type of wood flooring.
Solid wood flooring can be more expensive than most other styles of flooring. The process of sanding and finishing a solid wood floor can take 3 to 5 days longer than the installation of an engineered wood floor.
Floor repairs on a small area of your wood floor can be difficult to match to the remainder of the existing floor. Solid wood floors can expand and contract over time with the changes in humidity and temperature. And this can sometimes cause the floors to creak. Water is not kind to solid wood floors and can do significant damage if water exposure is not treated quickly.
When it comes to installation, solid wood must be nailed to a plywood substrate. In Texas, where concrete slabs are prevalent, installing a ¾” plywood substrate can add to the height of the floor. This is important to note because when you’re renovating an existing home, the current height of your cabinets, door thresholds, and stairs can sometimes prohibit the installation of solid wood floors.
UNFINISHED WOOD FLOORING
All wood flooring requires a finish, or a protective coat that seals your floor against everyday wear.
Once you choose the type of wood flooring you want to install in your home, you must also choose whether to go with unfinished or finished wood flooring.
Unfinished wood flooring is a good option if you need a specific color of wood or if you need to match existing flooring.
If you go with unfinished wood flooring, it can be sanded in your home. In that case, the finish will be applied on the job site. And you’ll get to select the amount of sheen you want in your finish, rather than be stuck with what comes in a factory-finished floor.
Factory-finished wood flooring is flooring where the finish is applied at the manufacturer, before being sent to the retailer. This type of flooring has become as widely available as unfinished wood flooring.
Factory-finished floors require less time to install because the sanding and finishing process has already happened.
This type of flooring is ready to be walked on immediately following the installation. It also has a harder surface coating than the site finished floors.
It is best to consult a professional when trying to make the decision on what type of wood floors are best for you. Other factors need to be taken into consideration, such as: How long you plan to own the home, your lifestyle, pets, maintenance requirements, etc. Give one of our consultants a call and we can help guide you through the process of choosing and installing your new floor.
Why use an expert flooring company for installation?
Choosing the right wood floor for your home is one thing. Installing that floor correctly to ensure that it’s as durable as possible is another skill set entirely and one of the most important aspects of your entire home project.
Do-it-yourselfers can attempt to install their own floors, but it is highly discouraged. There are just so many unforeseen challenges that go along with floor installation that leaving it in the hands of an expert cuts down on any nightmare experiences you may have with faulty installations.
Do you know about The Big Box Scam?
It is a common misconception that the national big box chains can provide flooring installations cheaper that the local privately owned stores. This is simply not true. You should know that what you think you’re saving by using a big box store is always made up for in the hidden components of installation prices. The materials may look more affordable, but once you pay them for a complete estimate, you will find the installation is estimated at such a high price that you end up paying more for a fully installed flooring project, than you would with an expert flooring company such as ours. In addition, all of our estimates are always free.
Here’s a short video of our Chief Executive Officer explaining how the big box stores are scamming you.
As 20-year veterans of the flooring industry, we’ve heard more nightmare stories of floors gone wrong than you can imagine. Don’t let your flooring project be one of them.
Yes, wood floors are great. But what if I have dogs?
It’s true that dogs can be tough on hardwood floors. But it’s not impossible for the two to co-exist peacefully. Lap dogs won’t usually damage hardwood floors at all. But most larger dogs will. Here are some tips on how to maintain that dream home with dog-friendly hardwood floors.
1. Set realistic expectations. The most important thing to keep in mind when buying or finishing hardwood floors is that all wood dents and scratches. It’s just the nature of wood. So don’t expect zero scratching. But you can expect to keep scratches and dents to a bare minimum.
2. Choose a factory-finished wood. Pre-finished wood floors are stained and sealed in the factory with multiple layers of tough-as-nails aluminum oxide- urethane finish. The factory finishes are much tougher than any finish you can get by finishing a pre-installed floor, no matter how many layers you stack on.
3. Consider an engineered wood floor, rather than solid wood planks. Engineered wood floors consist of a top layer of solid wood and layers of wood laminate beneath. Engineered wood floors are more resistant to moisture than solid wood floors, which can be helpful during the house-training phase of your dog’s life.
4. Consider distressed or hand-scraped hardwoods. This is a stylized, rustic look that shows scratches and dents less because the style is already rough. In the same fashion, hardwood that has more knots and character marks will hide dents and scratches just as well
5. Choose wood floors that rank high on the Janka hardness test. This test measures the force required to embed a 0.444 inch steel ball into wood to half the ball’s diameter. It is a good measurement technique to determine the relative hardness across hardwoods. Woods that rank the highest are: Brazilian Walnut, Teak, Chestnut and Cherry, Santos Mahogany, Tigerwood and Hickory, among others.
6. Choose wood floors with stronger graining. Red Oak is a great example of a strong grained wood that does an excellent job of hiding dents and scratches.
7. Use more coats of finish. With enough coats of finish on the floor, the scratch will happen in the plastic of the finish, not the wood. And scratches to the finish can be fixed with a topcoat of polyurethane.
8. Use a tougher finish. Waterborne finish is catalyzed with cross-linkers that provide a tougher bond that is harder to scratch or wear through. It’s a bit more expensive than other finishes, but it’s still only a drop in the bucket compared to what resanding the floor would cost. You can recoat an old finish, even if you’re not sure if it was oil-based or water-based polyurethane, with one of these Waterborne finishes.
9. Use penetrating oil. If you don’t like the idea of layering extra coats of finish, you can use a penetrating oil for a more natural, low sheen look. This does require a bit more maintenance—you’ll need to perform quarterly touch-ups—but the advantage of the penetrating finish is that the maintenance can be done selectively, exactly where the damage has occurred, so you don’t even have to move furniture.
10. Use rugs. Throw rugs down where pets scamper more frequently. If your herd of Labradoddles stampedes to the door when someone rings the bell, use a runner along that path.
11. Keep those nails clipped. This obviously won’t be the whole solution, but it does help to keep your dogs nails clipped regularly.
12. Doggie booties. Most pet stores sell different brands of doggie booties that are just what they sound like, booties you put on your dog’s paws. We can’t vouch for how well they stay on, but we have heard they’re a viable option for calmer breeds.
Doggie booties can be confusing to dogs at first. Watch this hilarious video to see what happens when they’re not quite used to them yet.
Visit our showroom and we’ll take you through some of these options in wood flooring. And feel free to bring in photos of your adorable pets. We look forward to hearing all about them.