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Types of Wood

Why Wood? There are so many styles and so many reasons to love wood flooring! Wood flooring is easy to clean, won’t trap dirt or dust, and can even add value to your home. There are incredible choices in wood flooring, and while most people choose their wood flooring to achieve a certain “look,” remember to consider manufacturing and function when choosing your wood flooring.

To explain types of wood flooring, we have to look at a number of different features. First, there are two types of flooring; then we look at unfinished or pre-finished flooring, and finally we decide how we want it to look and function.

TYPES: Engineered or solid

Engineered Wood: Engineered wood is created by laminating a thin, high-quality wood surface onto a substrate. It almost always comes pre-finished.

Engineered wood is often a lower-cost alternative to solid wood, and once installed it is usually very hard to tell the difference between solid and engineered wood floors. Depending on the thickness of the top layer, engineered wood flooring may or may not be appropriate for refinishing. Unlike solid wood flooring, engineered wood can be used in basements, is less vulnerable to moisture, and can be used over a radiant floor. Engineered wood flooring can be much thinner than solid wood, and therefore can be used over an existing floor. It is available in strips, planks, and parquet.

Solid Wood: Solid wood flooring is just that, milled boards of natural lumber. Solid wood flooring is so desirable it actually can add value to your home! Solid wood flooring requires some care, but can always be sanded and refinished, retains its value, and with good upkeep can last 100 years or more. Solid wood flooring is not suitable below ground level, on concrete slabs, or on a radiant heat system. It is available in traditional strips, more rustic planks, or intricate parquet. Solid wood flooring comes either unfinished, or finished.

STRIP FLOORING: The most common wood flooring, strips are the same width, usually 1 ½ or 2 inches wide. “Rochester Strip” flooring: The new standard strip is 2 ¼ inches wide.

PLANK FLOORING: Plank flooring is wider than strip flooring, from 3 to 8 inches wide, and plank widths can vary in the floor.

FINISHES: Finished or unfinished

Buying unfinished wood flooring means that the sanding, staining and sealing all happen in your home. With pre-finished flooring, the wood is prepared in the factory and is simply installed.

The drawbacks of unfinished wood flooring include the dust and fumes in your home during installation. The benefits include the flexibility to get creative with the stains and finishes you choose for your floor, and any irregularities in the floor can be sanded out on-site.

Pre-finished floors have their pros and cons, too. The drawbacks of pre-finished wood flooring are that slight variations in the depth of the boards or bumps in the sub-floor can’t be sanded out during installation. The benefits are that you avoid the fumes and dust, and can walk on your floor as soon as it is installed! Also, the factory finish is likely to last up to 25 years; the finish completed in your home lasts about 10 years. At Messner, some of our warranties extend to the lifetime of the floor!.  

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