Three General Types of Hardwood Flooring
Most hardwood flooring these days is made from American hardwoods such as white ash, white oak, red oak, pecan or cherry, or the newer exotic hardwoods, like African Teak, Tigerwood, Brazilian Cheery, etc. However, generally speaking, there are three common hardwood flooring types available in the market – solid, engineered and longstrip.
Solid Hardwood Flooring
Comprising traditional solid hardwood floors is one piece of wood with tongue and groove sides. Most of them are made unfinished, but there are a lot of pre-finished 3/4-inch solid hardwood floors. What’s great about them is that you can refinish and recoat them repeatedly through their entire lifespan — which can span up to decades or longer.
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Being a natural product, hardwood flooring can expand or contract in response to moisture across the seasons. When it’s cold outside and warm inside, the wood may contract, sometimes leading to gaps between planks.
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As summer comes and increases humidity, wood floors expand and those gaps begin to disappear magically! When there’s too much moisture, the planks can buckle or cup, which is not exactly nice.
Solid Oak Flooring
Oak is usually used for building solid unfinished wood floors. There are so many different qualities you can choose from — careful what you’re buying. Clear oak is like a flawless diamond – no blemishes or knots – and thus can be very pricey. The cost can be lowered if you choose select oak or better oak, which are both with small visible knots, a tiny bit of dark graining maybe, and loads of character!
Engineered Hardwood Flooring
Engineered wood flooring can be used in parts of the home in which solid hardwood is not advised. To make engineered wood, three or more thin sheets of wood, otherwise known as plies, are laid in directions opposite each other (called cross-ply construction) and then laminated together to create a single plank.
The cross-ply approach creates dimensionally safe hardwood floor that is not affected by moisture and temperature changes, owing to the counteraction of the wood plies that prohibit the shrinkage or expansion of the plank.
Versatility is another advantage of engineered hardwood. It may be installed virtually anywhere, including above wood concrete slabs, sub-floors, and even in the basement.
Longstrip Hardwood Flooring
Longstrip hardwood floors are actually engineered floors, but the top, finish layer is made up of many thinner wood plies that are glued together, making a single plank. A softer wood material is usually at the core of a longstrip plank, and it is used for making the tongue and groove.
Almost any hardwood specie can be used for the top layer, which is made of smaller separate pieces typically laid in two or three rows. Longstrip planks are good for any grade level and may be used over a whole variety of subfloors.