Monday, August 17, 2009

An Introduction to Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood flooring is made from all natural timber and is offered in two different states: unfinished and pre-finished. Unfinished is when the wood arrives in it's natural state and it is sanded and finished on site when you receive it. However, these days it is much more common for this wood to simply be finished in the factory so it will be shipped to you ready to install. This wood will be either solid or engineered by one of three processes: rotary peel, sliced peel, and dry solid sawed. This article will provide a brief explanation of each of these topics.

When purchasing hardwood flooring, one of your first decisions will be to choose between solid and engineered wood. Solid woods often come in planks that are 3/4 of an inch thick. This type may be installed by nailing it down onto the wood sub floors. One thing to keep in mind however is that it is very susceptible to the effects of moisture and extreme temperatures, which often causes it to expand or contract. Engineered hardwood flooring uses layers of wood veneer instead of the single plank that is used in solid. This veneer will range in thickness. Ultimately this makes it less susceptible to temperature and moisture.

It is quite interesting how engineered hardwood flooring is created which is by three different methods, rotary peel, sliced peel, and dry solid sawed. The rotary peel method is accomplished by boiling the wood in water. Afterward the wood is peeled away with a blade creating a veneer which is then pressed flat. These rotary peeled woods seem to have plywood like appearance when it comes to the grain. One downside to this type is that it is more prone to warp back into its original shape.

The next method by which engineered hardwood flooring is created is the sliced peel method. This process is quite similar to that used in the rotary peel method, but the manner of slicing the wood is different. Here it is sliced from the end of the log instead of the rotary fashion. After this it pretty much follows the same process as in rotary peel. There are a few differences in the finished product however. For one thing, it does not have a plywood appearance and it is not as prone to warp.

Finally, there is the dry solid sawed method of preparing hardwood flooring. Here instead of boiling the logs they are instead kept in an area of low humidity so that the moisture is dried out from the wood cells. This style has the same appearance of solid wood flooring and doesn't feature any problems whatsoever when it comes to warping.

When it comes to choosing the type of hardwood flooring to install in your home, the decision is ultimately up to you. Each of the different types listed above has its own pros and cons, so weigh them carefully before buying.