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The elegant look of a hardwood floor can add warmth and character to any room. Rich, inviting hardwood floors offer timeless beauty and can add value to your home at resale time. Plus, today, hardwood types are more diverse and delightful than ever.

As the consumer demand for hardwood floors has grown, manufacturers are producing better quality finishes and using superior construction techniques.

Hardwood floor types

Hardwood Maple NaturalSolid wood floors are one solid piece of wood with tongue and groove sides that can be unfinished or prefinished. Pre-finished hardwood comes ready for installation in your home since boards are already sanded, stained and finished by the manufacturer. This can provide a harder, better-protected surface and saves on labour and cleanup time. Unfinished wood floors allow you to have a custom job... you choose the wood species and it’s sanded and the stain is applied on site.

These floors can be refinished, or recoated, several times, which adds to their appeal and to their long life in your home.

Solid wood floors are sensitive to moisture and are generally not recommended for basements or installing directly over a concrete slab.

Oak is the most popular species used for wood flooring due to its durability, graining and natural characteristics. Maple is also a popular choice with its subtle grain characteristics offering an elegant and sophisticated style. Also available today are many exotic species of wood for hardwood floors, such as Jatoba, Cabruva, Tigerwood and many others.

Engineered wood floors are generally manufactured with several thin sheets of wood that are laminated together to form a plank. The sheets are stacked on top of each other in opposite directions.

The advantage of cross-ply construction is that the plank will not expand or shrink with changes in humidity and it is quite versatile. You can install these floors over concrete slabs in your basement as well as anywhere else in your home.

Engineered floors will range from 5/16" to 3/4" in thickness, and vary from 2 1/4" to 7" in width.

Because engineered wood floors are made up of several layers of wood, the top finish layer can be a totally different wood species. A variety of domestic or exotic hardwood species are available such as Oak, Maple, Hickory or Cherry. You pick the one that suits your style!

Hardwood BambooBamboo flooring can be an attractive alternative to hardwood because it is eco-friendly, dimensionally stable, harder than Northern Red Oak and hard Maple, can either be nailed-down, glued-down or floated, and is resistant to flammability. Unlike hardwood, bamboo is not a product of trees; it’s a fast growing grass. When bamboo shoots are cut the roots remain and fresh new sprouts begin to grow. The species used for flooring is harvested from selected groves in Southern China and is not eaten by Pandas.

Bamboo flooring comes in planks and is installed just like engineered hardwood floors. It can be installed over many different types of subfloors.

Hardwood Styles

Within each wood species you will have a choice of colour and finishes. Darker woods tend to be more formal while natural colours give a more casual look. In general, lower gloss or matte finishes help minimize the appearance of dirt and scratches and as such are better suited for active rooms. For a more formal décor, a high gloss finish generally gives a more elegant look.

Hardwood floors come in boards of various sizes. The width of the board can visually impact a room. In general, narrow width boards will expand a room, while wider boards will work well in a larger room.

Engineered woodHardwood floors come in either a bevelled edge, or a square edge. Square-edged boards create a uniform, smooth surface and the overall look of the floor is contemporary and gives a formal feel to the room. Bevelled-edge boards have a distinctive groove in them and are suitable for an informal or country décor. A bevelled-edge floor is more forgiving when installed over irregular subfloors and you don’t have the problem of uneven plank heights abutting each other.

Maintaining a healthy humidity level in your home is a must if you choose hardwood flooring. Most manufacturers recommend that relative humidity be kept between 40-60% year round. This can be achieved by using humidifiers or dehumidifiers as required.

With all the choices out there, you can be confident of finding the hardwood floor that’ll suit your lifestyle easily, beautifully and durably.

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