TYPES OF WOOD
Available in Oak (red & white), Fir, & Maple
Available in narrow strips, wide planks, and parquet squares.
Strip flooring is the most popular and traditional of all wood floors, and the strips you can buy measure between 1-1/2 and 3 inches wide. Planks range from about 3 to 7 inches wide. Parquet flooring comes in preassembled tiles or it's custom-made. Parquet is ideal for creating eye-catching geometric shapes, weaves, and herringbone patterns. All three flooring styles come unfinished or prefinished and in thicknesses ranging from 5/16 to 3/4 inch.
Many homeowners choose traditional, unfinished hardwood-strip flooring in either white or red oak or maple because it's affordable, attractive, and they can choose the stain color or leave it natural. However, unfinished wood requires sanding, staining (if desired), and a clear topcoat finish.
White Oak usually has straight grains and is my favorite for taking in stain color. Amazing without stain, it naturally comes in hues of slightly gray to golden brown and is harder than red oak.
Red Oak is the softest wood, has a lot more variation in the grain pattern and a classic rosy color that differentiates it from other hardwoods.
Maple is lighter and creamier in appearance than both red and white oak. It is complex and grain patterns can vary from non-existent to wavy to straight and with color ranging from mostly light to streaks of dark brown. Maple is harder wood than oak.
Fir is usually seen in slightly wider strips and is found in most old and craftsman style homes around Seattle.
Remember that while wood is a renewable resource, some species take so long to grow and are being harvested so quickly that they're no longer considered sustainable or eco friendly. To ensure that you are buying responsibly harvested wood, confirm that it's certified by the Forest Stewardship Council or similar environmental agency.
You can usually find local and FSC certified woods
Wood floors are traditional, classic, natural looking and beautiful
Solid wood floors are easy to clean, long lasting and quite durable.
They will get scratched, there is no way around that, but less so with harder woods like maple or oak. Pine for example is very soft and will unquestionably pick up dings and scratches through normal wear and tear.
Wood floors are susceptible to UV rays and will start to yellow over time; they can leave color variations around furniture and area rugs that don't move
Though it is often thought to be wood, bamboo is actually a fast-growing grass that needs no pesticides or fertilizers. Bamboo plantations provide bird and insect habitat and have a turnaround time of 5 years from planting to harvesting.
Bamboo is renewable; sustainable; very strong;
Bamboo is very durable
It's now available as FSC certified as well as formaldehyde-free.
Bamboo is harder to install and can splinter
It has a large carbon footprint since it comes from Asia, and there have been questions raised regarding working conditions for those in the industry. Its is always good to checking sourcing information for any materials you order.
Engineered wood is comprised of several layers of plywood forming the core of your flooring, with a top layer of hardwood. When finished, engineered wood will look like any other hardwood floor.
Solid and stable;
Relatively good soundproofing
Looks like any hardwood floor
Helps reduce demand on forests by using leftover scraps of wood in the laminate core.
Engineered wood floors lend themselves well to in-floor radiant heat.
It will often contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the lower layers
It is less durable than a floor made of solid wood only.
It can not be sanded or finished once damaged
Pre-finished hardwood floors are growing ever popular especially in condos with strict HOA rules and basement remodels where traditional hardwoods are not an option because of a concrete subfloor. It is called pre-finished because the chemical finish is applied at the factory in a commercial setting, not in your home after the install process.
Pre-finished wood flooring costs more than unfinished flooring, but doesn't require sanding or finishing. As soon as you install the last plank, you can nail up the baseboard trim and carry in the furniture. Pre-finished flooring also comes in thinner planks than unfinished flooring, which creates less trouble when transitioning from one room to the next. It does come with its own challenges though.
For more info See Prefinished Hardwoods in "Types of Finish" Page
Depending on your taste and what you do with it, reclaimed wood can give you a floor with a lot of unique character. A favorite among artists and designers, reclaimed material should only be used if you are expecting a "rustic" look and appreciate the beauty of individual abnormalities in the wood. It is fun, environmentally friendly and adds a personal touch to clean modern design.
You can find and reuse old wood flooring of all kinds, even use old barn boards for a beautiful and rustic look. Barn boards are usually much wider and thicker and have a rich history. You can also use old wood milled and reclaimed from rivers and lakes which can be considered superior in quality with a more sophisticated color patterns. When it comes to finishing and maintenance, treat sunken timber as you would any other hardwood or softwood for drying and acclimation times. There are unlimited possibilities when using reclaimed wood, but it is also special and each project requires advanced planning and communication before starting. Educate yourself on what to expect from reclaimed material and realize that it is rarely an easy process but usually a very rewarding result.
Feeling wild? Need to stand out? Only the best for you? Exotics include Hickory, Cherry, Walnut, Teak, Mahogany, Tigerwood and many, many other species. Exotic hardwoods are usually more expensive and each floor is a one of a kind adventure. They will not only give you a lifetime of interesting new details to discover within your floor, but they will insist on being a conversation piece with every new visitor that graces your home. Most exotics are harder wood than traditional hardwoods and can require special ordering, longer wait times and special care when installing due to density. They are popular though because they boast deeper tones, more vibrant colors and have such unique patterns and grains that you cannot help but want them. Just like anything boldly immaculate, it is worth the extra time and effort to get it right. Exotics are not for everyone, but that is also what makes them so alluring and grand!