The choice of flooring is one of the most basic yet important decisions a homeowner has to make when undertaking a renovation, as it underpins everything else. While there are plenty of different options, from carpet to terrazzo, one material is the acknowledged standard.. hardwood.
But not all hardwood flooring is created equal, and selecting a product isn’t simply a matter of choosing a preferred colour. A range of other factors can have an impact on both aesthetics and performance. Benefits from wood flooring can be:
Authentic, Natural finish
Easy to clean
Traditionally, hardwood flooring came in thick planks of solid timber. Today, solid hardwood is still widely available, but many companies also offer engineered flooring—planks made with a thinner top layer of hardwood, bonded to other layers designed to prevent the floor from shifting during expansion and contraction cycles. All wood moves in three directions: There’s tangential, radial, and longitudinal movement, With engineered products, you’re creating opposing forces within the board to try to restrict the natural movement of the wood.
For basements and apartments with concrete sub floors, engineered flooring offers an installation advantage. Whereas solid wood is generally installed over one or two layers of plywood, which can raise the height of a floor and interfere with existing doors or marginally reduce ceiling height, engineered flooring can be glued directly to concrete, or over a soundproofing mat, It’s also suitable for installation over radiant heat.
But choose carefully because some engineered floors have top layers so thin that they can’t be sanded and refinished in the future. Higher-quality products feature a thicker layer where you’re getting as much usable wood as you would out of a solid board, noting that with solid hardwood, you can only use the part above the tongue and groove for refinishing.