for Wood Flooring
Wood flooring is available in a number
of sizes and make-ups, each offering
its own distinct advantages. People
are often surprised by the limitless
choices that wood flooring affords them.
Today's wood flooring is right for virtually
every room. Choosing the right kind
and style of wood flooring is not hard
if you are familiar with several industry
#1: Unfinished wood flooring: Unfinished
flooring is a product that must be job-site
sanded and finished after installation.
#2: Pre-finished wood flooring:
Pre-finished flooring is factory sanded
and finished flooring that only needs
#3: Solid wood flooring: Solid wood
flooring is completely lumber. It is
available in unfinished and pre-finished.
Solid wood flooring is produced in:
Strip - in thicknesses of 5/16" to 3/4"
in widths of 1 1/2, 2" and 2 1/4"
Plank - in thicknesses of 1/2" or 3/4"
and widths of 3" to 8" Parquet - geometrical
patterns composed of individual wood
slats held in place by mechanical fastening
or an adhesive
#4: Engineered wood flooring: Laminate
wood flooring is produced by bonding
layers of veneer and lumber with an
adhesive. Laminate wood flooring is
available in pre-finished and unfinished.
These products are more dimensionally
stable and are ideal for glue-down installation
or float-in installation above grade,
on grade or below grade, including basements
and humid climates
Laminate wood flooring is produced in:
Strip - thicknesses of 5/16", 3/8",
1/2" or 5/8" and in widths of 2" and
Plank - thicknesses of 5/16", 3/8",
1/2" or 5/8" and in widths of 3" to
Parquet - one-piece wood tile available
in 9" x 9" or 8" x 8" and other patterns
#5: Acrylic impregnated wood flooring:
Acrylic impregnated is a pre-finished
wood flooring product. Through a high-pressure
treatment, acrylic and color are forced
into the pores throughout the thickness
of the wood. The "finish" is inside
the wood, creating an extremely hard
surface. These floors are highly resistant
to abrasion and moisture and appeal
most often to commercial customers but
are also used residentially. Acrylic
impregnated floors are available in
the same styles as laminate floors.
There are many wood flooring species,
domestic and imported, available to
the consumer today. The following chart
reveals the relative hardness of some
of the most common species used for
wood flooring. The harder the wood,
the less susceptible it is to denting.
The appearance of the wood determines
how it is "graded." All grades are equally
strong and serviceable, yet afford the
consumer different looks.
and ash have four basic grades.
"Clear" is free of defects though
it may have minor imperfections.
"Select" is almost clear, but
contains more natural characteristics
such as knots and color variations.
"Common" grades (No. 1 and No.
2) have more markings than either clear
or select and are often chosen because
of these natural features and the character
they bring to a room.
No. 1 Common has a variegated
appearance, light and dark colors, knots,
flags and worm holes.
No 2 Common is rustic in appearance
and allow all wood characteristics of
maple, beech, birch and pecan
have three grades:
"First" has the best appearance,
natural color variations and limited
"Second" is variegated in appearance
with varying sound wood characteristics
"Third" is rustic in appearance
allowing all wood characteristics of
Wood flooring can be enhanced with something
as simple as a strip border around the
perimeter of the room or as ornate as
a coat of arms in a foyer or a great
room. Custom designs can give a homeowner
a "one-of-a-kind" floor and are a wonderful
way to put a splash of personality and
individual character in a home.
Media - By combining wood with several
different media such as slate, stone,
marble, metal or ceramic tile, floor
designs and patterns come to life. Adding
detail with paint is another alternative.
Designs properly applied will enhance
and differentiate any wood floor. Use
a solid gloss or semi-gloss paint to
make stripes, checkerboards, stenciled
borders or even flower or animal scenes.
The paint must be compatible with the
finish and the floor must have two coats
of finish over the paint.
Species - Mixing wood species is
another way to create contrast in wood
flooring. Oak is not the only wood type
being used today. Maple, birch, walnut,
Brazilian cherry, mahogany, ash and
many other species offer unique grain
and color specs.
Custom Floors - A floor refinisher
can use different wood stains to create
fool-the-eye inlays, pinstripes or borders.
A simple brass inlay around a fire place
is a cost-effective way to add that
value-added touch. Or ready-to-lay,
prefabricated wood tiles with medallions,
star bursts and elaborate borders are
available through wood flooring dealers.
These prefabricated tiles allow homeowners
to mix and match to create their own
patterns and designs.
Lasting beauty requires minimal care
with today's wood floor finishes. The
right finish protects wood flooring
from wear, dirt and moisture while giving
the wood an attractive color and sheen.
Today most wood floors are finished
with a stain and a top coat. Technology
has provided a wide selection of wood
flooring finishes, each with its own
distinct benefits and appearances.
Finishes - Surface finishes
are very popular today because they
are durable, water-resistant and require
minimal maintenance. Surface finishes
are blends of synthetic resins. These
finishes most often referred to as urethanes
or polyurethanes remain on the surface
of the wood and form a protective coating.
They are generally available in high-gloss,
semi-gloss, satin and matte. Any one
of the surface finishes are appropriate
for the kitchen. There are basically
four types of surface finishes:
1. Oil-modified urethane is easy
to apply. It is a solvent-base polyurethane
that dries in about eight hours. This
type of finish ambers with age.
2. Moisture-cured urethane is
a solvent-base polyurethane that is
more durable and more moisture resistant
than other surface finishes. Moisture-cured
urethane comes in non-yellowing and
in ambering types and is generally available
in satin or gloss. These finishes are
extremely difficult to apply, have a
strong odor and are best left to the
3. Conversion varnish is clear
and dries in about 8 hours. It is durable
and non-yellowing. These finishes have
an extremely strong odor and should
be applied by the highly skilled wood
4. Water-based urethane is a
waterborne urethane that dries by water
evaporation. These finishes are clear
and non-yellowing. They have a milder
odor and dry in about two to three hours.
Stain and Wax - This finish
soaks into the pores of the wood and
hardens to form a protective penetrating
seal. The wax gives a low-gloss satin
sheen. It is generally maintained with
additional thin applications of wax.
Only solvent-based (never water-based)
waxes, buffing pastes or cleaning liquids
(specifically made for wax-finished,
wood floors) should be used.