About Hardwood Flooring Types & Styles - Engineered, Laminate, Solid

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Hardwood Flooring Types & Styles - Engineered, Laminate, Solid

Engineered wood flooring is manufactured in a method comparable to plywood, where 3 to 5 thin sheets of wood are glued together in a interweaved pattern for strength. Solid hardwood is then added as a finishing top layer. Engineered hardwood flooring is often sold as strips or planks. Hardwood flooring strips are 3" or less in width. Hardwood flooring planks are over 3" wide. These types of engineered wood floors are very secure and can be installed in any level of your home or grade level. Engineered wood floors are manufactured similar to that of laminate flooring, but they are decisively different. Laminate flooring utilizes a number of materials such as resin, wood fiber & paper that are compressed to create the final product. The shell of a laminate flooring plank is actually an image, added as a thin decorative layer. This layer is then treated with a durable finish for the final laminate product.

Solid wood floors are cut from solid pieces of wood and milled to standard specs. This type hardwood flooring is normally installed as planks or strips. Solid wood floors are frequently found in older homes and usually consist of long thin strips of wood that have been nailed into the wood sub floor. Due to their durability and beauty solid wood floors remain a fashionable choice for new installations as well.

  • Best for installing at or above ground level; install over a wood sub floor.
  • Will range in thickness from 5/16" to 3/4"; typical widths include 1-1/2", 2" and 2-1/4".
  • Can be sanded & refinished numerous times for enduring value and presentation.
  • Usually available in pre-finished or unfinished pieces in an assortment of wood varieties.

Wood Flooring Styles - Hardwood flooring comes in three styles - Strip, Plank and Parquet.

  • Strip Flooring - Longer, thinner pieces with interlocking tongue-and-groove construction. The most frequently used type of solid wood floor.
  • Plank Flooring - Comparable to strip flooring but wider, with widths up to 8" or more. It also has a tongue-and-groove construction and often comes pre-finished. Normally available in both engineered and solid wood.
  • Parquet Flooring - A string of large, square wooden tiles, that can feature artistic patterns held together by glue or other fasteners. Also available in both solid and engineered wood.

Whichever hardwood flooring type you select, installation should be done using the methods below:

  • Nailed Down Floors - Attached to a wood sub floor with flooring nails.
  • Staple Down Floors - Attached to a wood sub floor with a pneumatic stapler.
  • Glue Down Floors - Engineered floors are applied to the sub floor with trowel and adhesive.
  • Floating Floors - Tongue & groove floor planks are glued together, rather than fastened to the sub floor. The floor then rests on a pad between the floor and sub floor.

A hardwood floor can be a superior investment compared to other flooring options. With appropriate care, a quality wood floor lasts the life of the house and will ultimately add to the resale value.

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