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Your Choices When it Comes to Hardwood Floors

Updated on March 9, 2012
Dark finish solid hardwood flooring.
Dark finish solid hardwood flooring. | Source

Solid or Engineered Wood Floors

As a provider of hardwood flooring in Monroe, I often get questioned on the different options one has when it comes to choosing a style, color, or design for their new floor.

When it comes to new flooring, hardwood is certainly an appealing and very popular choice for homeowners, interior designers, and homebuilders. If you are considering installing hardwood floors and aren’t too familiar with the types of hardwood floors available, the following information will help you out.

To start, there are two main types of hardwood floors – solid hardwood and engineered hardwood.

Wood Flooring Cuts Diagram

Diagram showing the different types of solid wood flooring cuts.
Diagram showing the different types of solid wood flooring cuts. | Source

Solid Wood Flooring

Solid hardwood planks are cut from one solid piece of wood, typically in one of three ways:

Plain saw cut - this cut is popular for showing off the grain patterns in the wood and is considered the standard method of cutting a log for flooring.

Rift saw cut - this cut is made from the center of the log and involves an angle adjustment for each cut to create planks with very similar grain lines.

Quarter saw cut - this cut is given its name by cutting planks from quarter lengths of logs, and similarly to the rift sawn planks, this cut provides fine grain lines.

Engineered Wood Multi-Ply

Illustration of multi-ply engineered wood with a thin veneer finish.
Illustration of multi-ply engineered wood with a thin veneer finish. | Source

Engineered Wood Flooring

Engineered hardwood is most commonly multi-ply and three-ply planks constructed with plywood and a veneer finish.

Multi-ply - this type of hardwood plank can range from 5 to 11 layers with the top layer being the veneer finished wood.

Three-ply - this hardwood board has a balance sheet on the bottom, a core layer of plywood in the center, and a veneer finished top layer.

Things you ought to know about hardwood flooring:

  • Width of Cuts

There are two standard widths for wood flooring cuts: (i) strips – boards 2 1/4 inches wide and smaller; (ii) planks – boards that are larger than 2 1/4 inches wide to around 6 inches.

  • Origin of Wood

In the hardwood flooring industry, wood products are categorized as: (i) domestic – woods from North America, such as maple, oak, white oak, cherry wood, walnut, and alder; (ii) exotic – imported woods like mahogany, tigerwood, Patagonian rosewood, zebra wood, and African mahogany from plaes like Brazil, the Far East, Africa, and Autrailia.

  • Wood Textures

The four main types of wood textures are: (i) smooth – a glossy finish floor without texture grooves; (ii) distressed – a distressed look that makes a room feel warm accomplished either by hand or machine at the factory level; (iii) hand-scraped – this look is designed to give a noticeable distressed look, with each plank having a unique look; (iv) wire brush – this method of finishing is designed to see and feel the grain in the wood.

Types of Hardwood Flooring Video


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