Civilizations have used wood flooring for centuries. They exude style, convenience, and warmth in a way that other materials cannot. You can achieve either a traditional or modern look with wood flooring. Modern wood flooring materials provide a vast number of options for this.
Since nature determines the patterns and colors of wood, your installation can be one of a kind. You also have a wide variety to choose from because of wood imports from various parts of the world. Alternatively, you can also find a large number of engineered wood options for your home.
Types of Hardwood Flooring
Where solid hardwood imparts a classic, natural elegance, engineered wood provides waterproof and increased strength without compromising on aesthetics. The right material for your wood flooring will depend on your budget and specific need.
Solid Hardwood Flooring
Solid hardwood flooring is merely flooring made of boards manufactured from a single piece of solid wood. The panels are strong and have a thickness of 18-20mm. We know solid hardwood flooring for its classic appeal. You can sand it periodically sanded to restore the polished look many times in its lifespan. Solid hardwood comes from hardwood trees like maple, walnut, cherry, mahogany, or oak.
This flooring type is quite sturdy, but the only drawback is that it may warp in moist conditions. Solid hardwood flooring boards are narrower than their engineered wood counterparts. They are available in both pre-finished and raw, unfinished varieties.
Laminate flooring is made of manufactured synthetic material. It is an inexpensive alternative choice to real solid wood flooring. We make laminated tiles by fusing multiple layers of particle board or HDF core. It has a water-resistant bottom layer. The top layer is made of a layer of real wood with a transparent protective overlay.
Laminate flooring is preferred for their relatively low cost and easy maintenance. It is easy to clean these tiles, and they are resistant to scratches. However, they can swell when in contact with moisture and chip quickly. For this reason, they are not suitable for rooms that have high humidity like bathrooms and laundry rooms. You cannot repair laminate floors if damaged and you will have to replace them.
A form underlayment is first made to install laminate flooring, and then the planks are laid out. We call this the “floating floor” method and avoids nailing down the planks. Once laid, the planks cannot be slid around because of the joining method and the overall weight. Laminated tiles can be made to either be glued together or snapped together.
Parquet wood flooring is made of small slats of wood. These are arranged in a repeating pattern like a basket weave, chevron, and herringbone. For strips made of hardwood, the flooring comes with all the benefits of a hardwood floor. It is also possible to make the strips from engineered wood.
The tiles have a mesh layer in the bottom and can come in both unfinished and pre-finished varieties. Parquet has the same drawbacks as a hardwood floor. It warps in moisture and is not suitable for areas like the bathroom.
Composite Wooden Flooring
We call composite wooden flooring engineered wood. Most of the engineered wood is environmentally friendly. Manufacturers obtain reused or wood from fast-growing trees to make this type of wood. It also uses leftovers from other wood projects.
These tiles consist of chemically bound layers with protective coatings to protect the wood from moisture and scratches. The top layer of composite wood is real wood. So, it allows sanding and polishing to refresh its look.
It is easy to install and can either be nailed down, glued down, or snapped together. Engineered wood is easier to install than solid hardwood options but is more durable than laminate flooring.
While not a hardwood, we have included Bamboo since it’s a good eco-friendly alternative.
Bamboo grows fast and in many parts of the world. It can be ready for cutting in as little as 5 to 6 years, and new spouts grow from stumps almost immediately. These features make bamboo flooring one of the most sustainable options for flooring.
The bamboo tiles consist of compressed fibers under high pressure and temperature. Bamboo is naturally water-resistant. This property makes the flooring handle moisture much better than other hardwood and laminate.
Quercus suber, commonly called the cork oak can be used for flooring also. The outer bark can be harvested every 7-10 years, it regrows and can be harvested again, making cork another environmentally friendly alternative to hardwood floors.
Cork flooring is suitable if your requirement includes soundproofing. While this flooring has been around for over 100 years, it saw a revival due to its environmental friendliness. It comes in over 40 colors and various shapes making it a versatile choice.
Cork consists of air cells that run into millions per cubic inch. These air cells give them cushioning properties making it easy to walk on. They also trap heat and work as insulators. The tiles are durable and resistant to moisture. They are also biodegradable.
The two drawbacks of cork floors are chipping and fading. The material can fade over time and is tough to restore. Due to its soft texture, high heeled shoes, and pet’s claws can chip the top layer creating dents. For protecting the wood from rough contact, you can add polyurethane to the top layer.
How to Take Care of Your Harwood Floors
You can keep your hardwood floors spic and span if you follow these simple steps regularly:
Keeping debris and dirt off the floor is an essential maintenance routine. Debris can cause scratches when people and pets walk over it. Due to this, dirt can get lodged in crevices and become difficult to clean later. Vacuum regularly to avoid long-term damage to your floor.
Use a damp cloth and wipe immediately in case of spills. Use only a slightly damp cloth. Wet material can cause damage to the tiles in the long run. Wipe with a dry cloth to absorb any residual moisture. Avoid walking over your wood floor in wet feet or wet shoes.
Use the Right Chemical
When using chemicals, be careful to use the right ones that don’t fade your wood’s color or weaken it. Avoid harsh chemicals at all times. Every type of wood floor comes with instructions on the kind of chemical to use for cleaning. Follow them diligently. Frequent use of chemicals on wood can result in a built-up of hazing.
Avoid chemicals that advertise to provide a shine on your floors. Shine and polish add a new layer over the tiles that look good initially but can be damaging over time. Such chemicals do not handle wear and tear and can end up giving your floors a scratched look.
Touch Up Regularly
It is impossible to avoid scratches on your wood flooring, no matter how careful you are. Scratches are a normal part of wear and tear and will need frequent touch-ups. Use a stain marker to get the best results for your touch-up process. To avoid scratching wherever possible, consider using pads under the furniture legs.
When you see that your flooring is showing clear signs of wear down, recoat. Recoating involves reapplying a top protective coat and does not need sanding. It follows that extensive damage will need sanding before recoating.
Hardwood flooring is ageless and stylish. It lifts the look of your interiors effortlessly, and they never go out of fashion. It is available in many options, is easy to install, and requires a simple routine. Hardwood flooring may be expensive, but it will be worth the investment.