All About Hardwood

Traditionally, hardwood flooring came in thick planks of solid timber. Today, solid hardwood is still widely available, but many companies also offer engineered flooring –planks made with thinner top layer of hardwood, boned to other layers designed to prevent the floor from shifting during expansion and contraction cycles. All wood moves in three directions: tangential, radial, and longitudinal. Engineered products create opposing forces within the board to restrict the natural movement of wood.

Engineered floors also offer the continuity of Solid Hardwood as their top layer can be sanded and refinished in the future. High-quality products feature a thicker layer than other lower-end engineered floors with very thin top layers.

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Hardwood Flooring

There are dozens of different wood species used for hardwood flooring. These include species that are domestically grown as well as more exotic species that are imported from many other countries. Despite the numerous options available, here are the most popular hardwood flooring wood species.

Oak– Oak is loved for its classic look and warmth with an appealing natural grain. It is a very durable wood that takes stain very well. There are two main varieties of oak hardwood flooring: red oak and white oak, the main difference being color.

Walnut– This species is known for its rich brown color that often contains a purple hue, with dark swirling grains. Walnut is a soft hardwood and light weight. It is not ideal for high traffic areas, however walnut does have a high resistance to light damage making it a good choice in areas with year-round direct sunlight.

Maple– Maple is known for is characteristic grain pattern that sets it apart from other hardwoods, as well as its light color and uniform texture. This species is one of the strongest woods, best for high traffic areas and homes with children or pets, and does not require much maintenance.

Hickory– Hickory usually has dramatic grain patterns and is usually a medium tan to light red-brown color. This species is extremely durable, and can last a lifetime. The natural beauty of this wood makes it perfect for a rustic style home.

Teak– This exotic wood species is quickly becoming very popular. Also one of the hardest and strongest woods out there, Teak is very durable. It is loved for its natural shine and finish. Many people leave teak unfinished to let it age naturally creating a unique blend of traditional charm and an upscale look. Teak does require maintenance, by oiling it every few years.

Birch– This species is so abundant that it makes birch a very affordable wood. The grains of this wood is attractive with its creamy white to yellowish color. Birch also holds stains very well, making for a more individualized look. The downside of this species is that it is very soft wood, easy to scratch and dent and expands and contracts more than other species as temperature and humidity levels change.

Mahogany– While being very durable and hard, mahogany is an expensive hardwood. It is one of the most popular wood types used in residential homes due to its beautiful reddish-brown color that looks great installed in any space. It has straight grains that make it look sleek and elegant.



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