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Your guide of hardwood flooring
Making a stable and reliable floor in your house is one of the most important and even difficult parts of the rebuilding process. Despite the fact that today the quality of the materials and the variety of options is much better in comparison with previous decades, it’s necessary to have at least a basic understanding of what the modern tendencies are and how you can implement them into life.

Here we will pay your attention to one of the main favourites within various houses’ designers and contractors – hardwood flooring.
Variety to choose from

First of all, the most attractive feature of the hardwood flooring is the variety of options you will have.

• Kinds of wood. Most of the customers prefer to use oak flooring, especially its white version. But depending on the overall interior and design of the house as well as the particular room you are planning to use it you can also pay your attention to such materials as bamboo, maple, hickory and even some high-quality artificial options. Also, cherry and walnut are becoming more popular, especially if you have a look at the modern designers’ ideas in famous magazines and websites. All of them have their own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s always better to consider all of them before making a final decision. Especially if you are willing to re-arrange such areas as basement, kitchen, bathroom and some others which require some specific characteristics of the floor.

Color. Of course, wooden flooring involves mainly brown tints, but also you can face such original and interesting options as grey, beige, reddish and even colourful arrangements. Moreover, depending on the particular type of the hardwood flooring installation, you can even create your own combination of the color for your house.

• Types of the panels. Basically, this is one of the most influential parts of the deal as from this point you can choose if you want to follow the ready design or you are willing to be more creative (but also to face some extra difficulties).

- The easiest way is to choose prefinished hardwood which imply factory-prepared panels which you easily can install without any additional works and instruments. This type is especially popular among those customers who prefer to deal with the process of flooring by themselves, without professional touches. Indeed, with prefinished wood even the unexperienced person can easily manage the installation.
- Engineered hardwood is a little bit more difficult option but still pretty ready to be installed in any area of the house. Moreover, here you have one extra benefit in comparison with the previous type – this wood (if it’s thick enough) you can sand even twice. Another essential advantage of this type is that it’s applicable also for the high-moisture areas such as bathrooms, basements and kitchens.

- Solid hardwood. In previous years this was the most common and popular option as the wood itself is thick enough which provides long-life floor for any house. Moreover, due to this feature you can also use the same panels many times without sacrificing the quality and the attractiveness of the floor overall. In many cases this material is still one of the best options but you need to carefully check the quality of the hardwood as well as the particular conditions it can be used.
- Unfinished hardwood. This is the perfect option for those who are willing to arrange something very special and unique for the house. Also, in case the condition this flooring will be used for is very different from the common ones, it may also have sense to check more specified options where you can adjust the features of the materials according to the situation. The main difficulty in this case is that this type of the hardwood will require some extra knowledge, skills as well as additional effort to prepare, sand ad install it so most probably you will need an assistance of the professional contractor.

• Brand. There are many countries which are producing good-quality flooring materials, but of course it’s always cheaper to consider the local brands but only if they have a good and reliable reputation. Nowadays in US the most popular companies are Bruce, Anderson Hardwoods, Shaw Epic Plus Hardwood, Somerset and many others depending on the price rate and variety of the products.
• Methods of installation. Basically, method of the installation is fully depending on the typed of the flooring you are planning to use. Here we just will distinguish these methods in regard to the tools you will need to use:
- Interlocking. Here you just snap together different parts of the hardwood creating a so-called mosaic. It’s helping to create a unified construction without visible edges which also will help to prevent damage and dirtiness between the pieces. Also, advantage of this method it’s the low price as usually such hardwood is produced in massive sector on the factory. The main cons here is that you will not have any opportunity for changes and adjustments within this construction.
- Nails. More traditional way of installing the flooring is still taking place, especially when we are considering solid hardwood flooring. Nowadays you don’t need to put extra effort while using an ordinary hummer – there are many electrical alternatives which are making the overall process much easier and effective. As a result, with nailed flooring you should not be wondering about the long-life of the construction (but you also need to take into consideration that it can be installed only once).
- Glue. One more classical method of the flooring installation in regard to the solid hardwood. As the most important advantages of gluing in comparison with nailing is that here you are minimizing the possibility of the deflection above the subflooring and also provide the floor itself with much better sound and solidity when stepping on it. Also, glue method can be implemented also for engineered flooring to make the overall construction more stable.
- Staple. It’s a simpler and cheaper alternative to the nails (or cleats). You can choose this option if you are dealing with pretty thin hardwood and if the climate is not too cold in the area. Prefinished flooring can also become stronger if you adjust some additional protection and tying with staples.

• Location of the usage. As was mentioned above, the type of the material you need to use fully depends on the particular purpose. Some areas require more attention and protection while others are more universal and almost any kind of the hardwood can be applicable for them. But there are also some areas which you might not consider before but which also can be arranged with hardwood flooring. And stairs design is one of the best examples. Such stairs can be used not only in big houses to get access to the second floor but also within more classical houses as an entrance to bathroom or the kitchen. If all your floors are done with the hardwood, it can be a very nice idea to implement the same wood to make the stairs. And depending on the complexity of the construction, you might need to choose another type of the hardwood.
In regard to the stairs design it also will be useful to know that nowadays you can easily find a great variety of additional elements which can help to make the whole construction much stronger and more stable. Risers, nosing, treads, stringers and many other components can be irreplaceable at some cases or just can help to make the look of the stairs much more attractive.
Main features of prefinished hardwood.

Here we will take a closer look at one of the most common and popular flooring within the modern realities – prefinished hardwood.
Here is the summary of the main advantages and possible difficulties you may face when dealing with this type of the flooring:

• Long lasting life. Floors arranged with the prefinished hardwood can keep their original look up to 25 years while traditional solid materials can get scratches and other damages after first 5-7 years. The main reason of such a great competitive feature is that at factory prefinished wood is subjected to some extra care – aluminum oxide treatment which makes the surface stronger and less affected by external influence. What is also worth to mention is that prefinished wood can also be refinished in case for some reason it was damaged;

• Quick and effortless installation. You can do it even without special tools and instruments as well as with just very basic knowledge about the process overall. Moreover, you can start to step on the floor without risk to damage it immediately after installation (to compare, when using glue and other materials to sand and adjust the solid wood blocks, you need to wait for some time while it’s getting ready);

• Limitation for creativity. In comparison with traditional solid wood for flooring, here you don’t have too many choices – just among the offers from different producers and of different models. But if you are willing to create something unusual and original, you should better to consider options with solid or at least engineered hardwood;

• Necessity of flat base. As the prefinished wood is not required to be sanded (and basically it can not be sanded), before installing the planks you need to make sure that the subflooring is flat and straight enough. Planks can’t be adjusted; therefore, all the imperfection will be visible with this type of the flooring. Another thing, is that the bevels can become visible on the floor, and if you are looking for perfect “unified” floor, you should better consider other options.