Understanding Types of Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood Flooring Is Available in Many Beautiful Types

The most common hardwood flooring types in use around the Reno/Tahoe area are Solid, Engineered and Longstrip. The “classic” hardwood strip type flooring uses 2 ¼ inch wide planks which are ¾ of an inch thick, although sometimes narrower widths or a thinner gauge can still be called “classic.” Wide planks and Percale mosaics round out the other types available for use in your project.

American hardwoods tend to be the most popular choice. Oak, both Red and White; Cherry, Maple, Hickory; White Ash and Pecan. There is also an excellent market for the exotic hardwoods like African Teak, Brazilian Cheery and Tigerwood.

Solid Hardwood Flooring Pros and Cons

Solid hardwood flooring offers the advantage that it can always be refinished and re-coated, literally for decades. You’ve probably walked on solid hardwood flooring which was well over a century old. That floor possessed a rich patina and character only a beautiful older floor can attain. Solid hardwood floors are a single piece with tongue and groove sides, available unfinished or pre-finished, depending on your needs.

The primary drawback to solid hardwood flooring is that it can be very sensitive to moisture. Consequently, solid planks are typically nailed down over sub-flooring. They shouldn’t be installed directly over concrete slabs or below ground level.

Engineered Hardwood Flooring Pros and Cons

Engineered hardwood flooring can be used in many areas of the home where solid hardwood is not recommended. Typically constructed of three thin sheets of wood which are laminated together to form a single plank, the “plies” are laid cross-grain to each other. This manufacturing method creates a hardwood floor which is not only structurally stable, but is also not drastically affected by changes in moisture and temperature. It also keeps the plank from expanding or shrinking. They can also be installed practically anywhere; on top of wood sub-floors, directly on concrete slabs and even in basements. The only “drawback” to engineered hardwood floors is that can only be refinished a finite number of times. Eventually (like, a few decades later) they will need to be replaced.

Longstrip Hardwood Flooring

Longstrip hardwood flooring is simply an engineered flooring product created with several thinner wood layers glued together to make a single plank. The center ply of a longstrip plank uses a softer wood to make the tongue and groove section. That softer layer serves to hold that planks together more securely. Longstrip planks are designed to be “floating,” (meaning no nails or glue) but they can also be glued or stapled at need. They can be installed over a wide variety of sub-floors and on any grade level. The top layer can be almost any hardwood species too, giving you a tremendously large variety of looks to consider.

If you would like to discuss all the hardwood flooring options available to you here in the Reno/Tahoe area, please contact me today. Artisan Hardwood Floors has become the premier hardwood flooring installer in the region because of the attention to detail and exceptional service we provide every client.

Sorin Giurca