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Wood Flooring…Grades, Types and Styles

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Wood Flooring

wood flooringWood Flooring– If all you know is that you want wood flooring in your home, read this quick guide so that your head won’t spin when you talk with your contractor. This will guide you through the basics of wood species, grades, types, and styles.

Wood Species – With over 50 wood species available for wood flooring, red oak accounts for more than 50% of hardwood sales. It’s popular because of its elegance, durability, and cost-effectiveness. Maple is second in popularity for wood flooring. Newer trends show a growing desire for cherry, bamboo, and white oak.

If color is a priority, select a wood species that most closely matches your color preference, and let the natural beauty of the wood shine through.

Wood Grades – Grade refers to the beauty of the wood, not to its serviceability or durability.

Wood flooring – six basic wood grades include:

First or Clear contains only minor visible imperfections and is free from most visible defects and discoloration

Second or Select could contain slight imperfections, such as color variations

Third or Common often called rustic wood because it contains knots and color variations.

Solid vs. Engineered Wood – Many people believe that hardwood and solid wood are synonymous. They’re not. If this is the first time you have heard of engineered wood you may think it’s inferior to solid wood. That’s not necessarily true.

You’ll find most of the popular wood species, such as cherry, maple, oak, and others available in engineered wood. Sometimes called pressed wood. Engineered wood floors will succumb to little, if any, expansion and contraction and are a good choice for rooms susceptible to moisture.

If you want wood floors in the kitchen, bathroom, or in any room where moisture accumulates, consider engineered wood for its great stability.

Wood Styles – Once you’ve determined the species, wood grade and decided between solid and engineered wood, you can move on to the fun stuff…The style.

Common wood styles include:

  • Parquet
  • Strip
  • Plank

Strips and planks are long, linear cuts of woods. The width of the wood is the main difference. Planks range from widths of 3″ to 8″ while strips range from widths of 1 ” to 2 “.  Choosing strips will create the illusion of a larger room.

Use care when selecting your hardwood floors; they can add warmth and beauty to your home for a very long time, even a lifetime.


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