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Hardwood Flooring – Emerging New Trends

Construction of hardwood floors has seen huge advancements. There have been huge advancements in the construction of hardwood floors. These technological advances have made it easier to install many types of hardwood floors. Most of the hardwood floor suppliers can work with customers to find out just how much work they really want to do on their own. For example, you can now order wood floors that are pre-finished -- which does not require you to finish or seal the floor before or after the installation. In fact, it is now possible that the floors finished from the factory can be installed right away out of the box. These types of advancements make it easier than ever before to install a hardwood floor by yourself.

There is a vast variety of choices in flooring, and more specifically hardwood flooring, today. They can range from a wide variety of styles, installation options, and finishes. Innovations in hardwood flooring is erasing the lines between the many different flooring categories and the raw materials used to create flooring types include gin bottles, corn sugar and the staves from old wine barrels. This gives the final consumer the many options to choose from depending on their budget and taste.

To choose the type of hardwood floor that best fits your space, budget, and style preferences is an important step in planning the installation of your new floor. You should never confuse the floor type with wood variety -- they are two very different things. Let us start by discussing the types of hardwood floors to consider.

Solid Wood Flooring

Solid wood flooring is available in three broad categories. Each type is available in both an unfinished and a pre-finished version. Unfinished flooring requires to be sanded at the job site and finished after the installation is complete. The pre-finished flooring is sanded and finished at the factory -- hence it can be installed as is and no further work needs to be done. Solid wood flooring comes in three main types:

Strip flooring - This type of flooring is denoted by the thickness and width of the wood planks. Although the strip flooring comes with a fixed width, the thickness of the strip flooring may vary. The range of thickness for strip flooring may range from 5/16th of an inch to 3/4ths of an inch in width. Strip flooring is only available in widths ranging from 1-1/2 inches to 2 inches and 2-1/4 inches.

Plank flooring - Plank flooring is available only two different thicknesses, but it can have widths of varying degrees. The thicknesses in plank flooring can be of half an inch or three quarters of an inch, whereas the width can range from 3 inches to ask much as 8 inches.

Parquet flooring - Parquet floors have a very different look from typical hardwoods. Parquet flooring is made up of different geometrical patterns, which are composed of some individual wood slats that are held in place by utilizing mechanical fastening or even an adhesive.

Engineered Wood Flooring

Engineered flooring is made by the process of bonding with real wood the layers of plastic laminate veneer. What really sets apart the engineered wood flooring from the laminate flooring is the fact that in the laminate flooring there is no actual wood.

Acrylic-Impregnated Wood Flooring

This type of wood flooring refers to the one in which throughout the thickness of the wood there is an infusion of sealant and color. Acrylic impregnated wood flooring is very hard and durable and it is very resistant to moisture and scratches. According to the World Floor Covering Association, once acrylic impregnated wood flooring is installed, it is very difficult to tell the difference between a solid wood floor and the other wood floors. Solid hardwood strip floors are the preferred flooring option when it comes to hardwood flooring, though engineered flooring is rapidly becoming very popular because of its low cost factor. This brings us back to deciding which type of hardwood flooring would be best suited for you.

You need to keep several things in mind when you are choosing the appropriate type of wood flooring for your home or office. There may be a little more effort required in the maintenance and upkeep of solid hardwoods as compared to the engineered wood flooring, but they can always be refinished and re-sanded. Additionally, making a decision either in favor of strip, parquet or plank is essentially a matter of taste preferences. If thin and long planks of wood interest you, you should choose strip flooring. If you would rather have very wide planks of wood, then you can go with plank flooring.

Deciding on the type of wood is also a very crucial decision to make when you decide to install a hardwood floor. There are issues of both substance and style that need to be taken into account. For example, light wood may seem to be more appropriate for a casual setting, while dark wood gives more character to typical formal surroundings. You need not go by any set rules, just select what seems appealing to you and is as per your budget. Prices can vary pretty dramatically for different types of wood.

Red oak - Red oak is the most popular flooring option in the U.S. Reddish in color with a coarse grain, it's a stiff and dense wood that resists wear, but not as well as white oak. White oak - White oak is brown in color but can have a grayish cast. The grain is similar to red oak, with more burls and swirls. It is harder and more durable than red oak.

Birch - Birch can range in color from light yellow to dark brownish red. It's softer than red oak, but is still a strong wood.

Beech - Beech has a reddish brown color and a very consistent grain. It is quite durable and has excellent shock resistance.

Pine - Pine is a yellowish brown color and contains a lot of swirls and knots. Pine is as hard as the red oak and it is claimed to have a naturally-occurring resistance to insects.

Cherry - Cherry wood is a light brown color. Because it's a soft wood, cherry isn't often used for a whole floor. Instead, it makes an excellent decorative or accent wood.

Douglas fir - Douglas fir wood comes with a yellowish tan appearance to it. Douglas fir is almost half as soft when compared to red oak and is known to develop dents easily. Douglas fir is generally considered only suitable for some very and certain flooring situations.

When pricing the different flooring options, it is important to remember that flooring is priced by the square foot. It's a good idea to get your measurements first. Once you know the square footage of the area to be covered, you'll be able to estimate the cost.

As you are deciding what variety of wood to use, you might want to also consider the relative hardness of the wood. The relative hardness of the hardwood flooring material is based on the Janka Rating system, which also is liable for measuring the force that is necessary to drive a 0.444-inch steel ball into the piece of wood, in such a manner that almost half the diameter of the steel ball would be embedded. The higher the number from the test, the harder the species of woods.

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