TYPES OF WOOD

 

Solid Wood

Available in Maple & Oak (red & white)

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 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.

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. To ensure that you are buying responsibly harvested wood, confirm that it's certified by the Forest Stewardship Council or similar environmental agency.

Pros:

You can usually find local and FSC certified woods

Wood floors are natural looking and beautiful

Solid wood floors are quite durable.

Cons:

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

Bamboo Flooring

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.

Pros:

Bamboo is renewable; sustainable; very strong;

Bamboo is very durable

It’s antimicrobial.

It's now available as FSC certified as well as formaldehyde-free.

Cons:

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.

Engineered Wood

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.

Pros:

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.

Cons:

It will often contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the lower layers

It is less durable than a floor made of solid wood only.

Pre-Finish Flooring

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. Prefinished 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 on pre-finished boards see “TYPES OF FINISH” page on this website.

Reclaimed Wood

Depending on your taste and what you do with it, reclaimed wood can give you a floor with a lot of character. You can find and reuse old flooring, even use old barn boards for a beautiful and rustic look. Barn boards are usually much wider and have a rich colour and history. Also old wood reclaimed from rivers and lakes can be considered superior in quality with a more sophisticated colour pattern and rare to find. Low levels of oxygen reduces the rate of rot and the water pressure forces the sap out of the trees. When it comes to finishing and maintenance, treat sunken timber as you would any other hardwood or softwood.