Flooring: foundation of your home design
Regardless of the style or finish
you select, wood flooring is easy to maintain.
Simply sweep the floor regularly and mop to
remove surface dirt and debris. Floors with
beveled edges need a vacuum bristle brush
attachment to remove dirt between the floorboards.
There are two types of wood flooring on the
market today: solid and engineered. Each is
available in a variety of species, widths
and styles. Which you select depends upon
where you want to use it in your home.
- Solid wood: Literally solid from
top to bottom and generally ranges in thickness from ¾-inch to 5/16-inch.
Solid wood floors are ideal in family and living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms,
kitchens and powder rooms. Solid wood flooring should not be used in the basement.
- Engineered wood: Flooring is manufactured
using three to five layers of different wood veneers. The sub layers can be the
same species or different species. This is a stable floor and the wood will expand
and contract less than a solid wood floor during fluctuations in humidity and
"Pricing between solid
wood flooring and engineered wood flooring
depends on a variety of issues including species,
thickness, width and other manufacturing issues,"
says Korczak. "In addition, each manufacturer
has proprietary pricing structures, so there
are no hard and fast rules regarding pricing
differences between the two types of wood.
In other words, engineered products are not
don't recommend that homeowners install wood flooring themselves -- especially
for non-prefinished products," he adds. "Moisture testing must be conducted
before installation can begin, acclimation of the wood should occur and the subfloor
must be prepared properly. A weekend do-it-yourself homeowner will not be familiar
with these steps, which are critical to the long-term life of the floor."
styles, species and finishes
A homeowner considering a wood floor
needs to know that hardwood flooring is manufactured in three styles: strip (usually
2¼-inch to 3¼-inch wide), plank (commonly 4 inches or wider) and parquet
(an inlay of different color wood in a geometric pattern or mosaic). Each style
is available in both solid and engineered as well as in a variety of species,
colors and widths. It's all a matter of personal taste. Choosing the right species
of wood flooring for your home is strictly a matter of style, budget and personal
preference. Decide if you like light, medium or dark wood. Do you want domestic
There are three basic finishes
-- gloss, satin or matte. They will vary depending
on whether they are water-based or oil-based
as well as by the manufacturer. Within different
manufacturer's products, you'll get different
options. For example, oil-based finishes offer
high-gloss and semi-gloss. If a water-based
product is being used, high-gloss is not available.