When properly cared for, hardwood flooring will last a lifetime and increase the value of a home. Strong and durable, hardwood floors require minimal maintenance and are resistant to spills and stains.
Hardwood flooring helps to limit the amount of dirt, dust, pollen and other particles that collect in your home. Removing these contaminants, especially if you suffer from allergies, fosters a healthier living environment.
Speaking of the environment, wood is a natural and renewable resource. Finer brands incorporate conservation and sustainability practices into their manufacturing operations. For more information about sustainable harvesting and manufacturing practices, visit http://www.forestry.gov.uk/website/forestry.nsf/byunique/infd-7m8fz7
The appeal of solid planks can often be found in their thickness. At 3/4-inch thick, solid flooring allows homeowners to strip, sand and restrain the planks on a semi-regular basis, while retaining its functionality for many years.
Solid hardwood floors will expand and contract with relative humidity changes in your home. Installers compensate for this movement by leaving an expansion gap between the floor and the wall, typically hidden by baseboard molding or quarter round. As a result, solid hardwood is not recommended for areas of the home with high moisture content, such as the bath and basement.
Installation of solid hardwood floors requires that the boards be nailed or stapled down. Nailing involves driving a nail at an angle through the tongue of the hardwood floor into the wood subfloor. The nails are hidden by the groove in the next row of boards. Stapling follows a similar process to nailing.
Engineered flooring is produced using five to nine layers of hardwood, with each layer stacked in a cross-grain configuration and bonded together using heat and pressure. As a result, engineered flooring often has a lower price point and is less likely to be affected by changes in humidity, allowing it to be installed in all levels of the home, including the basement.
Engineered hardwood flooring can be installed in a variety of ways. In addition to nailing and stapling, it can be glued down. For engineered flooring that is 3 inches or wider, the floating installation method can also be used. Whereas gluing involves troweling glue on the floor and setting the engineered planks into the glue, the floating installation method requires foam underlay designed specifically for floating floors, as well as a special adhesive to glue the tongue and groove of the boards together.
Prefinished flooring is stained and sealed by the manufacturer. The aluminum oxide coating on a factory-finished floor provides also provides strong, and durable surface.
Standardized in 1927 by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), the Janka Rating System indicates a wood’s relative hardness.
Testing is conducted by measuring the force required to embed a .444-inch steel ball to half its diameter into a wood sample, a reliable method for assessing the ability of a wood species to withstand denting and wear. Higher ratings are assigned to harder woods, which tend to be more durable than softer woods.
Fortunately for Californians this is pretty much a normalcy since we have very little humidity in general. But there are times when other home environments can cause changes that will affect these parameters.