Solid Flooring is 100% hardwood milled from lumber. As a natural material, hardwood reacts to changes in its setting, like moisture and extreme temperatures, which cause solid wood to shrink or expand. All solid hardwood can be sanded and refinished if needed over the years. Solid hardwood is not recommended for installation below ground level or in bathrooms
Engineered flooring is built up of layers of wood. It consists of three to ten layers, called plies, that are glued together. This multi-ply structure gives engineered wood superior stability, greater than solid wood, which reduces concerns associated with shrinking and expanding when temperature and humidity change. Engineered wood can be installed below ground level making it a great choice for finished basements.
All of the wood species have gone thru the Janka hardness test which measures the resistance of a type of wood to withstand denting and wear.
It should be noted that the test is meant to be used only for “unfinished, open grain flooring” or floors that are coated with natural oils.
With the advent of pre-finished flooring in which hardwood floors are treated with an aluminum-oxide finish that often double or triple the dent and scratch resistance of the flooring.
Other factors affect how flooring performs: the type of core for engineered flooring such as pine, HDF, poplar, oak, birch; grain direction and thickness; floor or top wear surface, etc. The chart is not to be considered an absolute; it is meant to help people understand which woods are harder than others.
There are many types of finishes. When choosing the right type of finish for wood floors, consider where it is being installed and maintenance preferences. All wood floors will require routine maintenance, such as sweeping or dust mopping, to keep them looking beautiful and new, but different wood flooring finishes will have a big impact on how the wood is cared for long-term, as well as how the floor will look in the years to come.
Surface finishes are very popular because they are durable, water-resistant, and require minimal maintenance. Surface finishes are blends of synthetic resins. These finishes most often are referred to as urethanes or polyurethanes, and remain on the surface of the wood to form a protective coating. There are several types of surface finishes available: water-based, oil-based, acid-cured, and moisture-cured.
Water-based finishes appear clear and will resist turning yellow over time. They have a mild odor when applied, and will dry in two to three hours. Water-based finishes are very durable.
Oil-based finishes appear amber in color. They have a moderate odor when applied, and will dry in about eight hours. Oil-based finishes are very durable.
Acid-cured finishes appear clear to slightly amber. They have a strong odor when applied, and will dry in about two to three hours. Acid-cured finishes are extremely durable.
Moisture-cured finishes appear clear to amber. They have a strong odor when applied, and will dry in about two to three hours in humid conditions. Moisture-cured finishes are extremely durable and are more moisture-resistant than other surface finishes.
Hardwax Oil Finishes appear unfinished and matte in sheen. They are made with waxes and oils to give the floor a beautiful natural look. This type of finish is great for high traffic because the finish is very forgiving and is easily maintained. No screening/sanding of the floor is necessary. Most manufacturers of this type of product make a “Refresh” type of product.
Pure Wax finishes soak into the pores of the wood and harden to form a protective penetrating seal, which will appear low luster and amber in color. They have a mild odor when applied, and will dry in a variable amount of time depending on the type of wax used and the job-site conditions. Wax finishes are durable, but will show spots from water and other contaminates.
Acrylic impregnated finishes are injected into the wood to create a super-hard, extremely durable floor. Acrylic impregnated finishes rarely are used in residential applications. They most often are used in very high traffic areas in commercial settings such as malls and restaurants.
Aluminium Oxide floors are urethane combined with aluminium oxide. Aluminum oxide is an additive for urethane-based finishes. It makes these finishes harder and more durable, but can be more difficult to refinish and is not necessarily scratch resistant.
Keep in mind when refinishing a floor, all furniture has to be removed to recoat a urethane type floor as the entire area should be coated for uniformity. Oils, Hardwax Oils and Waxes can be applied around furniture.
Onsite finishing is becoming more obsolete in these modern times. Much of today’s onsite finishing relates to refinishing of existing floors and maintenance.
When purchasing new wood floors prefinishing definitely has its pro’s. Manufacturers have more control over the quality when they finish in their facilities because they can control the enviroment in which the floors are being finished. Also the finishing machinery is typically state of the art in most cases vs. was can be done in the field. For General Contractors, a prefinished product allows them to continue work in areas that would otherwise be closed for installing, sanding and finishing (which can be a very timely process). Ultimately prefinishing is the best option to save money, time and to get the best finish.