Planning to Put Wood Floors in Your Home? Here’s What You Need to Know
Hardwood floors are both beautiful and functional in any room. They have a timeless appeal that works well with virtually any style of home decor. In addition to hardwood flooring’s desirable appearance, it’s among the most durable flooring options available. You can expect your new hardwood flooring to last a lifetime with proper care and refinishing. Read on to learn everything you need to know about choosing hardwood flooring for your home remodel.
Prefinished vs. Unfinished
Hardwood flooring planks are available to purchase in both prefinished and unfinished condition. The finish consists of a stain that tints the wood to the desired shade and a protective topcoat that prevents damage to the wood.
Prefinished planks have the advantage of providing homeowners the opportunity to see exactly what their floors will look like before the installation, which allows for easier and more accurate pairing for decor, appliances, and paint colors. With unfinished (or “site finish”) planks, it can be difficult to know precisely how your floors will turn out until the finishing is complete.
Another consideration when choosing between prefinished and unfinished planks is that
prefinished planks will end up with a smoother appearance and texture as a final product. This is because the entire floor is sanded and finished as one continuous surface, as opposed to prefinished planks that are individually sanded, stained, and sealed.
Oil vs. Polyurethane Finish
When considering protective topcoat finishes for hardwood flooring, most of the options in the market will fall into one of two categories: oil and polyurethane.
Oil-based finishes offer a soft, natural-looking appearance. However, they also scratch more easily than polyurethane-based finishes.
Polyurethane finishes provide a much stronger barrier against scratches and other damage when compared with oil-based finishes. However, if they do become scratched or damaged, the process of replacing them is much more involved than with oil finished planks.
Solid vs. Engineered
While the more traditional choice is a plank made of solid wood, many hardwood flooring companies now offer engineered planks. Both styles of planks have their unique advantages and disadvantages.
Engineered planks are designed to minimize shifting of the floorboards during expansion and contraction due to heat, moisture, and other elements. Another advantage of engineered planks is that they can be installed directly onto concrete or a soundproofing mat. Solid wood planks, on the other hand, typically require plywood installed beneath them.
The advantage of using solid plank hardwood is that many homeowners feel it offers a more stable surface underfoot. They are also typically more reliable when it comes to sanding and refinishing your hardwood floor down the road.
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