Nothing captures the warmth of a room like natural wood flooring. Especially in New England, it is part of our heritage. Not only that, but wood is a renewable building product, and can play a significant role in a green home building project. Many consumers today are buying wood products simply because of environmental reasons.
Whether you have a colonial home or contemporary, there is a wood flooring style that will work perfectly for you.
When we speak of hardwood flooring, it can mean solid, engineered, or laminated wood. The style of hardwood flooring that you choose will depend on where that floor will be installed, and what you want to spend on it.
We strongly recommend a visit to our showroom to any person considering hardwood flooring options. You can handle the actual pieces, see how they are made and understand the differences much better when all of your options are in one place. For example, you may decide that a Brazilian cherry stained engineered floor is close enough to the actual hardwood product, saving you a substantial amount of money in the process.
Bamboo flooring is one of the hardest floors you can install. This surprises some people, because we see little panda bears chewing on it we think of it as a grass. Well, it is a grass – therefore, technically not wood – but it is harvested and manufactured in a very similar way. The bamboo is stripped into layers and bonded together like plywood. Once dried and cured, it is one of the hardest flooring options available today.
Cork flooring is a cool, out-of-the-box flooring type that often gets passed over but deserves another look. Cork is a wood product that is renewable – that is, it is harvested without killing the plant – but Cork is definitely not a hardwood! It has sound buffering qualities and a “cushion-y” feel underfoot that is different from all other wood flooring options. Cork flooring is also hypoallergenic; it has natural inhibitors to mildew and mold.
The most important part of any wood floor is the finish! A quality finish ensures a longer life for your hardwood floor. If you have decided to purchase pre-finished hardwood (either solid or engineered) flooring, then you need to research the best brand and review the warranty closely. If you are installing unfinished hardwood, you will have the option to select the type of finish you want.
Pre-finished hardwood has many advantages, not the least of which is easier installation. The sanding and the finishing has been done at the factory. No mess or fumes to tolerate in your home. Pre-finished hardwood is also more resistant to moisture because it has been sealed on all sides. But, with pre-finished, what you see is what you get. Choose your color selection carefully!
Unfinished hardwood flooring allows versatility to the installer to blend colors or choose a different finish. One advantage to finishing a hardwood floor after it is installed is you have a smooth, tabletop finish that does not allow dirt in between the cracks. The disadvantage to installing unfinished hardwood, of course, is the labor involved to finish it.
One last word about quality. Aside from the quality of finish used on a pre-finished hardwood floor, be aware that lumber is graded according to quality. The same well-known manufacturer can sell up to four different grades of quality. What these grades are called will vary, depending on the source – something like “clear” or “premier”; “standard” or “common”; “rustic” or “utility” grade. A higher grade of hardwood flooring will have less knots, streaks, or similar defects resulting in less waste when the flooring is installed.