Introduction To Wood Flooring
Hardwood floors are a beautiful addition to any home, and come in many different types and styles. Because so many different materials and finish options are available, owners and installers can choose the products that fit their budgets and design. Different installation and finish options give yet more choices to suit any flooring situation, be it a floor in new construction or a replacement floor in an existing area.
When most people think of wood floors, they think of natural-wood floors – strips of solid wood that have been milled to the correct dimensions and thickness. These floors are the most durable option – they can last for generations – but are typically the most expensive. They can be refinished many times over their long lives. Wood flooring material can be made from many different species of wood, and can be finished in any style the owner prefers. These floors are typically nailed to the subfloor; the labor to install and finish these floors also adds substantially to the cost.
Natural wood floors are also available pre-finished. While this adds to the cost of the materials, factory applied finish is typically cheaper than installer-applied finishing, and lasts longer. There are also fewer options with regard to the finishes available.
A less expensive option for wood flooring is engineered-wood flooring. These floor coverings look like natural wood when installed, but are in fact constructed of layers of wood bound with adhesive (like plywood). These products are always pre-finished, and can be installed with nails or adhesive; in some instances, they can be installed as a “floating floor,” without nails or glue. They are less expensive than natural wood flooring materials and have similar installation cost (when compared to prefinished natural-wood floors). Some of the less expensive engineered wood flooring materials have a top layer that is too thin to be refinished, but most can be refinished years later when the surface begins to show wear.
Although not true wood flooring, synthetic wood flooring materials are popular with many homeowners because they are inexpensive to purchase and install. Pergo flooring is a top-selling example of this type of floor. These floors also last many years, and are typically installed as a floating floor or with adhesive. They are constructed from synthetic materials and thus feel more like a vinyl or linoleum floor than a true wood floor, but they are styled to give a reasonable facsimile of the appearance of a wood floor.