The last thing you want to walk across in your sock feet is a 4x8 sheet of plywood because you're just going to pick up splinters. If you have a hardwood floor, it should look like fine furniture with a beautiful finish on it.
Wood flooring is timeless. It enhances the warmth of any home and complements the decor of any room. Like a fine piece of furniture, wood flooring increases in value and becomes more beautiful with time. In a national survey, 90 percent of real estate agents said that houses with wood flooring sell faster and for more money.
Wood is a natural resource, renewable and recyclable and leading allergists agree that wood floors are the perfect choice for a healthy home because it doesn’t absorb dust and other allergy causing microbes like carpeting can. The state-of-the-art technology and almost limitless choices of today's stains, finishes, styles and designs make wood flooring one of the most practical, easy-care and versatile floor coverings today. Maintained properly, wood flooring should never have to be replaced.
Solid hardwoods come in three-quarter inch red or white oak. It's the cheapest and most plentiful. Cherry, walnut, mahogany, pecan and maple are available but very expensive. The only way most experts can tell the difference between red and white oak is by looking at the holes in the grain, red wood has larger holes. The difference in quality depends upon who you listen to some prefer white some prefer red. When ordering 3/4-inch hardwoods you can specify or get a mixture of both woods. You can sand and re-finish as often as you need to. However, you will eventually get down to the nail line.
One of the first things you must do before installing hardwoods is allow them to acclimate to the inside of your home for at least 48-hours, preferably a week, in order to allow them to adjust to the moisture content in your home. In order to lay hardwoods on concrete
slab the concrete must first have a moisture content reading because concrete will weep and cause the floors to swell, buckle and crack. installers must spread adhesive directly on top of the concrete then cover it with a poly-ethylene sheet This acts as a sealer between concrete and wood.
A 3/4" piece of plywood is then placed on top of the sealer and adhesive… this is the board they will nail the hardwoods in to. Three-quarter inch is recommended but five-eighths inch is acceptable. Another layer of polyurethane is then laid on top of the plywood and the hardwoods are installed. The hardwoods then have to be sanded and finished after they areinstalled into your home. There is an advantage to this, you can get the exact color and texture you're looking for.
PRE-FINISHED OR ENGINEERED HARDWOODS
Engineered hardwoods, according to some experts, are 50-times more stable than 3/4" hardwoods. The reason is, engineered hardwoods come in 3-ply and 5-ply grades. Each ply of wood has the grain running in the opposite direction of the ply directly above and or directly below. This prevents swelling and buckling.
When you order engineered woods you cannot specify red oak or white oak. It's usually all a combination anyhow. Engineered hardwoods can be sanded down and re-finished three-times. After that you can screen it (re-finish, no sanding) as many times as you want. Engineered hardwoods can be glued directly to the concrete. Some even call for padding.
Grades: this applies to both real hardwoods and engineered hardwoods
1. Plain sawn: determines how the wood is cut.
2. Quarter sawn:
3. Select: best quality of oak.
4. #1 commons: second best quality of oak… the majority of all floors
5. #2-commons: bottom of the line.
Costs: basic grades of 3/4" and engineered hardwoods are comparable around $8 to $10 per square foot. However, because 3/4" hardwoods have to be sanded and finished after installation it will cost you almost double to get them installed compared to engineered woods that come pre-finished.
VINTAGE OR RE-CLAIMED WOOD FLOORS
Chestnut, oak and pine. Re-claimed from old mills, factories, ballrooms, even boxcars. The wood has lots of character, we will have a sample. Very expensive, $15 a square foot.