Why Use Hardwoods?
Click on the link for some very convincing reasons why.
 
Floorcare & Maintenance
Keep your hardwood floors in top condition with these tips.
 
What To Expect
What to expect before, during & after your hardwood installation.
 
Important Considerations
Steps to take in preparing for your hardwood refinishing.
 
How Hard is Hardwood?
See how your hardwood choice measures up on the Janka scale.
 
The History of Hardwoods
An explanation of hardwood use throughout history.
 
Hardwood Species
Images of popular hardwood floor species.
 
The Character of Wood
Some defining characteristics that set hardwood apart.
 
Grades of Hardwood
A different grade for any floor application: home or business.
 
Making The Decision
Key factors to account for in your decision to have a wood floor.
 
Conservation Information
Information on preserving our hardwoods for the future.
 
 
The richness of a natural hardwood floor can add warmth and charm to any room. Today’s wood floors come in more species and colors than ever before, allowing you limitless choices, each offering its own distinct advantages, and with proper care and maintanence, your hardwood floors can last you and your family a lifetime.
 
  • Wood floors are a natural, non-allergenic product
  • Hardwood floors can add real value to a home
  • Wood floors come in 3 basic types:
 
Solid wood floors (prefinished & unfinished)
  • Cut from tree as a solid piece of wood
  • Will react to changes in humidity
  • Recommended for above grade installations
  • Nail-down installation to a wood type sub floor
  • Solid wood needs proper expansion allowances along vertical walls
 
Longstrip engineered wood floors (prefinished)
  • A type of prefinished engineered wood floor
  • Usually 3 plies of wood laminated together
  • Planks are approximately 8 inches in width and 8 feet long
  • Glue, float, staple or nail-down on all grade levels
  • Some companies make a glueless version, no glue or nails required
  • Can be installed on wood sub floors, concrete slabs and floated over some existing floors
  • Less effected by humidity changes than solid wood floors
 
Engineered wood floors (prefinished & some unfinished)
  • 3 - 6 wood plies laminated together
  • Top finish veneer may be domestic or exotic wood specie
  • Plank widths vary from 2-¼” to about 7”
  • Glue, float, staple, or nail-down on all grade levels
  • Wood sub floors or dry concrete slabs
  • Dimensionally stable, most may be net fitted to vertical walls
  • Less effected by humidity changes than solid wood floors
 
Unfinished hardwood floors
  • With a job-site finish they sand the floor smooth, less chance for overwood
  • Custom stained colors, generally 2-3 coats added of finish
  • Without a dustless sanding system this can be fairly messy
  • Takes several days
 
Prefinished hardwood floors (also called factory finished)
  • Usually installs in less than a day
  • Less messy than job-site finish
  • Limited to manufacturer’s colors
  • Manufacturers can apply 7-10 coats of finish
  • Factory finishes are extremely wear resistant
  • Some manufacturers add aluminum oxide for additional durability
  • Today’s factory finishes are much easier to care for than the old waxed finishes
  • Prefinished trims are not an exact match to the floor
 
  • Wood accents available to create unique looks and patterned designs
  • Variety of wood trims and moldings available
  • Areas with lots of sunlight may effect the color
  • Most hardwood floors can be used over radiant heat with some limitations
  • Wood floor finishes can be used to restore the floors original beauty
  • Mostly used for: living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, dens, great rooms and kitchens
 
Wood Floor Finishes

The days of buffing and waxing your hardwood floor are pretty much gone forever. Today, manufacturers use sophisticated techniques to quickly apply urethane-based finishes right at the factory. These urethane finishes do not require buffing or waxing.

 
By using ultra violet lights manufacturers can quickly apply several coats of urethane finish. This process is called UV-cured urethane. For example, some manufacturers are applying 6-10 coats of UV-cured urethane. In addition, many manufacturers now add small chips of Aluminum Oxide directly into the floor's finish to dramatically increase the life of the floor.
 
This does not mean you should wash your floor with a wet mop, but it does mean that these wood floors won't watermark like the old waxed, strip wood floors. The UV-cured urethane wood finishes are extremely durable and much more abrasion resistant than waxed floors.
 
Factory Pre-finished Hardwood Floors
Wood floors that have been factory finished before they are installed
UV-cured – Factory finishes that are cured with Ultra Violet lights versus heat.
Polyurethane – A clear, tough and durable finish that is applied as the wear layer.

Acrylic-urethane – A slightly different chemical make up than polyurethane but with the same benefits.

Ceramic – Advanced technology that allows the use of space-age ceramics to increase the abrasion resistance of the wear layer.
Aluminum Oxide – Chips added into the urethane finish for increased abrasion resistance of the wear layer. Extremely popular on the better grade hardwood floors.
Acrylic Impregnated – Acrylic monomers are injected into the wood cell structure to give increased hardness and then also applied on top of the planks.
Note: With factory finished wood floors chances are your job-finished wood trims and molding will not match your floor, rather they will be color coordinated.
 
Job-site Finished Hardwood Flooring
Wood floor is installed, sanded, stained and finished at the job-site
Job-site finish means you start with an unfinished wood floor and then the floor is sanded, stained, and finished on the job site. If you want a custom stained wood floor, or a wood floor to match existing trim then a job-site finish is your answer. Another advantage of a job-site finished floor is if you are concerned with height variations between the boards the sanding process will totally smooth out the unevenness. Urethane finishes used on job-sites have been improved much over the years and offer a much better performance.
 
Water Based Urethane – Water is used as part of the chemical make up of the polyurethane finish. Dries faster, but goes on thinner and harder.
Solvent Based Urethane – Oil is used as part of the chemical make up of the polyurethane finish. Dries slower, goes on thicker.
Moisture Cured Urethane – A similar chemical make up as solvent based urethanes, but this finish needs the humidity (moisture) in the air to cure. Very unpleasant odor.

Note: Although contractors doing job-site installations go to extremes to prevent dust, some dust will work its way into other areas of the home.