Advances in wood flooring during the past few years mean that you now can have wood flooring anywhere in your home or business. Where you want to put it, however, will determine the type of wood flooring you will want to use.
There are two types of wood floors available on the market today: solid and engineered. Some engineered have a HDF core. You can screen and re-coat any* wood flooring numerous times, and the new polyurethane gets rid of the surface scratches that have accumulated over the years. This is usually performed two or three times prior to sanding a floor. If you are considering renting your property consider an oil finished floor over a polyurethane. You will not have the surfaces scratches to contend with and you can fix those scratches with oil.
Solid Wood Flooring is exactly what the name implies: a solid piece of wood from top to bottom. The thickness of solid wood flooring can vary, but generally ranges from ¾" to 5/16". One of the many benefits of most solid wood flooring is that a portion of the wood above the tongue and groove can be sanded and refinished several times. Solid wood flooring can be installed above or on grade wood sub-floors. If you have a concrete foundation, like most of us do in Southern California, special considerations must be made. Solid wood does most of its expansion in the width, so gaps must be left every so often in the middle of the floor to allow for that growth. These close up in higher temperatures, and then reappear in colder weather. More importantly you cannot use just any glue, or you are asking for problems (see photo below). Proper spacing was not given and the wrong glue was used. This problem would have shown up even without the water that accelerated this huge hump in the middle of the flooring.
Engineered Wood Floors are real wood floors that are manufactured using two to nine layers of different wood veneers. The sub layers can be of the same species, different species or an HDF composite core. The grain of each layer runs in different directions, which makes it very stable. This means that the wood will expand and contract less than solid wood flooring during fluctuations in humidity and temperature. The top layer of engineered wood flooring consists of high-quality wood. Some engineered flooring can be sanded and finished as much as a solid price of wood flooring, though most cannot be sanded once. Engineered wood flooring can be installed above, on or below grade.
Keep in mind that sanding is usually not performed on most floors for 10-20 years after installation. Also keep in mind that if you select a distressed flooring, sanding the floor will make it smooth.
*except for acrylic impregnated
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