Hardwood flooring does not simply refer to one type of flooring, but rather covers a group of floor covers including solid wood, engineered wood, laminates, and synthetic/plastic laminates. When choosing your hardwood flooring you need to understand these different types and where they are best suited.
Solid Wood Hardwood Flooring
The first type of hardwood flooring that one can get is solid wood flooring, which also consists of a number of different sub-categories including strip, plank and parquet. Solid wood flooring lasts a number of generations if sanded and refinished over the years, but also tends to expand and contract depending on the humidity of the area in which it is placed. When laying solid wood hardwood flooring contractors normally leave a small gap between the floor and wall to compensate for this.
Engineered Hardwood Flooring
Engineered hardwood flooring is made by combining a number of different types of woods and wood grades together under heat and pressure. Although these types of hardwood flooring are less likely to be affected by the humidity, they often do not last as well as solid wood hardwood flooring as they can be sanded a lot less, if at all. Engineered hardwood flooring is created in plies with a covering called the wear layer. The thicker the wear layer, the more often the product can be refinished but it will also cost more.
Another type of hardwood flooring is the wood laminates where a plywood base is covered with a layer of veneer. These also do not last long compared to solid wood hardwood flooring and the manufacturers' warranties generally only cover five years.
Synthetic laminates of hardwood flooring come consist of a fiberboard center and are covered with a high-pressure laminate. They cannot be sanded but the manufacturers' warranties generally last for 10-15 years. When plastic laminates wear out they do need to be replaced.
How to Choose your Hardwood Flooring
When deciding what hardwood flooring you are going to use there are a number of things which you will need to consider. The first will probably be your budget - how much can you, or are you willing, to spend on your hardwood flooring? You also need to know where the flooring will be used and consider what type of hardwood flooring is best used in this specific area. Always use a professional hardwood flooring installer to install your hardwood floors and ask them if you have any questions.
How to Choose your Contractor to Install Hardwood Flooring
When choosing a hardwood flooring contractor you should have as much detail as possible about the type of hardwood flooring you want, where it will be used, and any other details that you can get such as cut, dimension, quality, dimensions, pattern and color. You should also get hold of the contractor's references before making your decision and follow these up to see what others have thought of them. Before starting work get a proper written contracting stating how long the job will take, what the warranties are, and when they will be able to install it.
There are a number of different types of hardwood flooring, each with their own particular characteristics. When choosing hardwood flooring you need to consider your budget as well as where it will be used, as different types of hardwood flooring work better in different areas. It is also important that you choose the right contractor for installing your hardwood flooring and ensure that they come with good references and meet your requirements.
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