Wooden Flooring

The Different Types and How to Fit and Refinish a Wooden Floor

Choosing the right kind of flooring for your home is a very important aspect. The flooring covers a large area of any room and can be either be the first or second thing you notice when entering a room. Because of this, the kind of flooring that you have can either break or make the overall effect of your design or décor.

Don't scrimp on your flooring material. Choose the best that you can afford and one that would complement the general ambiance of your home. Wood flooring is a very popular choice for flooring material as wood is quite versatile in terms of usage and type. A wooden floor adds warmth and beauty in any room.

What is Wood Flooring?

Wood flooring is any product made of timber that is used for flooring purposes either for aesthetics or structural stability. Bamboo is considered wooden flooring though technically it is classified as grass. There are two main types of wooden flooring.

Solid Wood Flooring

Solid wood planks are made from solid wood milled from a single piece of timber. These were formerly used for structural frames but today's technology no longer requires solid wood framing. Solid wood are now used exclusively for flooring. However, there are limitations for this kind of wood for typically, a solid wood plank' size is maximized at 5 inches wide by ¾ inch thick boards. The downside of solid wood flooring is that you cannot directly install over concrete. Solid wood has the tendency to contract and expand after installation. The most common of solid wood flooring is the tongue and groove (T&G) type each side of a plank has a tongue and a groove for ease in installation, normally on wooden floor joists. Solid wood planks could either be soft wood or hard wood.

Softwood Flooring - are gymnosperms or conifers. These plants have uncovered seeds that fall to the ground. Examples are pines, firs and spruces.

Hardwood Flooring- are angiosperms or trees whose seeds have some form of covering. Common hardwoods are: oaks, maple, mahogany, birch, ebony, holly, boxwood and more.

Engineered Wood Flooring

Engineering Wood Flooring usually consist of three layers of wood: a top layer made of the actual wood, a middle core usually made of different wood shavings as filling materials and the bottom layer that provides balance. The top layer is the "true" wood that gives an engineered wood plank its character. The thickness of the top layer varies from 0.7 mm to 6 mm. The middle section is usually made of softwood and offers stability to the plank. This type of wood can be installed to any surface thus making this type of solid wood a more preferred flooring material. Laminates and vinyl are not engineered wood. Laminates uses a photographic image of wood and then glued to an HDF core board and then coated with melamine. Vinyl

Types of Wood Flooring

The value of your home will increase once you install wooden flooring. Wooden flooring, especially hardwood is durable and can last a lifetime if taken care of the proper way. The beauty of "true" wood cannot be emphasized enough. There are three basic choices for you in terms of types of wood flooring.

  • Parquet wood flooring is usually 1 inch by 6 inches strips arranged in varied geometrical designs. You can choose the kind of design combination that you prefer for your flooring. Installation is usually by applying glue on the parquet wood and gluing it to a smooth surface to make up the flooring.
  • Planks can be 3 inches to 6 inches in width with length in increments of 2 starting from 6 feet. For engineered planks, width can reach an even 8 inches to 10 inches. Installation can be done by screwing the plank to the subfloor. Nails can be used too especially with planks that have tongue and groove.
  • Strips are normally 2 ¼ inches in width with a length of 1.20 meters to 1.80 meters. Some strips come in width of 1 ½ inches or 3 ¼ inches. Installation is by nailing the strips to sub flooring. Since expansion and contraction are expected with wooden flooring, expansion gaps are provided between the last pieces installed near the wall and wall itself.

Floor Installation and Refinishing

After choosing the type of wooden flooring you prefer for your home, you should make sure that the sub floor where the wooden flooring will be laid on is clear from any dirt or glue residue. Doors leading to and from the room should also be taken out. If there are heavy but movable furniture about, make sure you take them out too. It is best to acclimatize the wooden flooring to the climate and moisture of the room a week before being installed. Bring the wooden flooring materials then. The acclimatization will minimize contraction and expansion of the wooden floor materials.

Floor staining is recommended if you want a different shade of wooden flooring from the norm. There are several stains available for your own choosing. You must remember though that you cannot change the stain from light to dark or dark to light once you have applied it so be very careful with your choice. All wooden floor stains have a three-day dry time so take this into consideration when scheduling laying out your wooden floor. You can apply the stain before nailing the wood floor to the sub floor or you can stain them once they are nailed down.

Wood floors are durable. They Wood will have a long life expectancy if they are looked after properly. One of the ways of doing this is to regularly refinish them. Sanding of the wood floor is necessary to remove any residue of the old finish. Filler of the right stain is applied to the wood to dry after which more sanding is necessary until you remove all the other marks. Vacuum the wooden floor then apply 2 to 3 coats of varnish.