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Solid hardwood floors are made of planks milled from a single piece of timber. Solid hardwood floors were originally used for structural purposes, being installed perpendicular to the wooden support beams of a building known as joists or bearers. With the increased use of concrete as a subfloor in some parts of the world, engineered wood flooring has gained some popularity. However, solid wood floors are still common and popular. Solid wood floors have a thicker wear surface and can be sanded and finished more times than an engineered wood floor. It is not uncommon for homes in New England, Eastern Canada, USA, and Europe to have the original solid wood floor still in use today. /h3>
Solid wood flooring is milled from a single piece of timber that is kiln or air dried before sawing. Depending on the desired look of the floor, the timber can be cut in three ways: flat-sawn, quarter-sawn, and rift-sawn. The timber is cut to the desired dimensions and either packed unfinished for a site-finished installation or finished at the factory. The moisture content at the time of manufacturing is carefully controlled to ensure the product does not warp during transport and storage.
A number of proprietary features for solid wood floors are available. Many solid planks of wood come with grooves cut into the back of the wood that runs the length of each plank, often called 'absorption strips,' that are intended to reduce cupping. Solid wood floors are mostly manufactured .75 inches (19 mm) thick with a tongue-and-groove for installation.
When considering a new floor for your home, most people end up weighing the options of whether to go with hardwood or laminate. Understanding everything that sets these two apart can appear to be difficult at first. To benefit you we created this simple guide comparing hardwood to laminate and showing the pros and cons of each type of flooring in terms of look & feel, expected lifetime, maintenance + repair, and environmental impact.
Hardwood flooring is more eco-friendly, easier to repair, lasts a lot longer, looks and feels more natural and interesting compared to laminate flooring which takes less intensive maintenance, is less susceptible to damage from moisture & temperature changes, has a harder, slightly more durable surface and is manufactured with chemicals like melamine & aluminum oxide that are harmful to the environment…
Laminate is a synthetic flooring material consisting of multiple layers that is manufactured to look like actual wood. Laminate flooring is mostly made up of melamine resin and fiber board at its core and the outer layer is then texture and finished to appear to be the real thing.
Engineered reclaimed hardwood flooring is real wood planks either cross-laid layers of solid wood with a pre-finished or natural solid wood lamella top-layer or cut, routed and planed solid wood with a tongue and groove feature to aid installation.
Hardwood preserves the unique texture and appearance of the original timber it was cut from while laminate is just an imitation, some higher end laminate flooring may be able to fool the casual onlooker but there are more differences than just look and feel.
Comparing hardwood to laminate visually is night and day, even to the untrained eye. While laminate flooring uses predefined patterns that repeat every 5 boards using an imprinting method it is easy for anyone to notice the pattern, opposed to hardwood, especially reclaimed hardwood flooring where textures, colors, widths, lengths, and character can change wildly from plank to plank.
How long a floor will last depends on traffic and maintenance mostly.
Most laminate flooring is created by binding melamine resin and aluminum oxide at high pressures and extreme temperatures making it harder in most cases than natural wood in addition to being more resistant to moisture, fading and staining.
It takes on average about 20 years or more for a family to wear down the finish on a laminate floor, a relatively short period compared to hardwood flooring.
Laminate can’t be sanded and refinished, rather after accumulating significant wear & tear, dents + scratches, eventually, the flooring will be completely destroyed.
Authentic hardwood floors can last a lifetime or even a few lifetimes if properly cared for. 40 - 80 years on average for well-maintained floors and then you’re only required to refinish rather than replace.
One of the main reasons we’re in the business we’re in is because of the resilience of hardwood flooring, engineered reclaimed hardwood will be softer than pressurized composite surfaces, as a result, it can dent, scratch more easily and be more susceptible to moisture and temperature fluctuations. A significant perk is that a damaged wood floor can be spot repaired by simply sanding and refinishing the affected area whereas damaged laminate would need to be replaced, creating more waste and higher costs.
Different finishes on hardwood offer certain advantages where reclaimed stressed woods with a natural finish will allow dents, scratches, and stains to blend into the look while the look of a laminate floor could be ruined by something simple like a stain or severe dent/scratch damage.
Once it does come time to replace an old hardwood floor, unlike laminate flooring, the materials can be recycled/reclaimed or even disposed of without harming the environment.
Wood breathes, it’s an organic material that came from a living source. As such it responds naturally to fluctuations in temperatures and moisture in the air. Depending on the materials temperatures and moisture should be controlled within certain ranges recommended by the manufacturer. Laminate is less susceptible to humidity changes and temperature fluctuations and as a result, is more commonly found in bathrooms, kitchens, and basements.
Maintaining a laminate floor is simple, sweep + mop regularly and be careful not to drag furniture around to prevent scratches. Hardwood flooring on the other requires a little extra elbow grease. Take care to use special cleaners on your hardwood flooring and try to avoid generic household surface cleaners unless cleared by the flooring material supplier/manufacturer.
Hardwood floors can stand Coca-Cola or red wine a spill here and there but try not to let it sit too long just in case and similar to laminate sweep and mop regularly as well as avoid scratches and dent when moving heavier furniture.
If you are lucky enough to have a floating laminate floor that snaps together rather than one created by gluing the pieces down you may be able to replace individual planks that have been stained, scratched, dented or otherwise maimed. New planks may not match the existing/surrounding flooring with wear and tear, exposure to sunlight and/or age leaving the possibility for them stick out more than the damage did. You won’t be able to sand or refinish laminate flooring either since the wood texture is often printed, painted or even pressed onto the resin like surface, once it’s worn out it’s done and it could mean replacing the entire floor.
Hardwood flooring is far easier to repair than laminate even 200-year-old reclaimed flooring can be restored to a likable, useable finish. Some spot damage may only require a wire brush and some finishing oil, other repairs may take a little sanding, some wood filler, staining, and/or refinishing. Small pieces can even be cut out and replaced if needed and whole planks could be removed and repaired or replaced.
Hardwood floors are more forgiving and have more options for repair and restoration in the long run. This is one of the key reasons we have materials to source for our reclaimed wood flooring products and it’s why the life expectancy of hardwood VS laminate favors hardwood so strongly.
Our reclaimed hardwood isn’t just environmentally friendly, it’s sourced from barns, cabins, and outbuildings where the material would have otherwise been disposed of in some other way. So not only are we using 100% eco-friendly organic material to create beautiful hardwood flooring for homes and offices we are taking the material out of a situation where it might have gone to waste and putting it to good use.
New hardwood flooring manufacturers produce flooring using eco-friendly methods, keeping solid wood flooring 100% organic and multi-layered engineered flooring mostly organic, adhering to strict standards for producing flooring that contains no harmful VOC emissions and uses adhesives that are formaldehyde free.
Laminate flooring, in contrast, is far from organic being that it is created by fusing different synthetic composites and harmful chemicals using extreme heat and tremendous pressure. Large volumes of cheap toxic glues and adhesives, some of which contain formaldehyde and other life-threatening chemicals and materials that continue to exhaust toxic gasses into the air long after installation, potentially adversely affecting the health of the home's inhabitants. Once disposed of the laminate material continues to break down expose the environment to these toxic chemicals contaminating the food, water, and air.
You may have been on the fence about solid, engineered, reclaimed and laminate flooring before, hopefully, our guide has given you the insight needed to determine the best option for your dwelling and can act as a reference in the future for your friends, neighbors, and family. Feel free to share and discuss.
Wood is an organic product that is made of fibers, and therefore it is constantly absorbing nutrients and water. Due to this ebb and flow, wooden floors can occasionally have issues with gapping.
The fibers and structure of wood makes it to where a tree naturally extends itself into the atmosphere so that it will be able to better gain nutrients through it’s leaf system. The trunk of the tree is what regulates this process. This entire process is what makes a tree a living, organic entity. This also means that the slats of wood in your floor are also expanding and contracting.
The conditions of the atmosphere in your home can be affected by numerous variations such as the temperature outside, the number of people living in the home, tightness of the house, and the efficiency of your HVAC. As Winter approaches, and in combination with your heating system, the wood in your house tends to lose moisture, and contract. Due to this, gaps in your hardwood flooring can begin to appear. This is especially common in regions that are normally very dry.
Once a hardwood slat is cut to the accurate dimensions, then the preparation of the surface begins.
The finish not only serves as a way to enhance the appearance, but it also protects the piece of wood from possible damage in the future.
Being a natural substance, the wood’s rings, lines, distinct markings, and patterns all contribute to its initial appearance.
In terms of its relationship to possible gapping, a hardwood finish will regulate the amount of moisture being taken in by the wood and the amount being expired into the air of your home. Therefore, to prevent gapping, it is vital that the finish was completed with skill and applied with efficiency.
A key component of installing a hardwood in your home is allowing the humidity and temperature of the wood to match the ambient humidity and temperature of your house. Should you fail to achieve this equilibrium between the wood and the atmosphere in your home, you may experience some problems after installation. If the wood you are installing has a higher moisture content than the sub-floor, it may contract after installation and cause shrinking and gapping. If the wood is dryer than the atmosphere of your home, then it may increase in size causing buckling and pressure against the outside border of the installation area.
Follow these steps in acclimating your hardwood flooring:
Acclimating durations may change based on local weather conditions, the season of the year, and the tightness of your home. However, a good rule of thumb is to acclimate the hardwood for at least 7-10 days before installation.
The humidity in your home is the primary factor in the expansion and contraction of the hardwood you are installing. Therefore, keeping this factor constant will decrease the chances of issues arising during and after the installation.
Follow these guidelines in creating a correct atmosphere for the installation and life of your hardwood floor:
Dragging or pushing furniture across a floor when moving or redecorating is the most common way to damage a hardwood floor. It might be faster than finding someone to help you move your furniture, but it’s not worth the risk of scuffing up your hardwood floors. If at all possible, pick furniture up off the wooden floor to move it. This will probably require you to get some sort of moving buddy, but protecting your wood floor is definitely worth it.
One way to help prevent scratching or gouging is to use an area rug. By keeping all of your furniture on top of a rug, you’ll easily avoid scratches and damage to the wood flooring. In addition to preserving your hardwood floor, you can also add some style to your room or with a colorful rug. For the best size, placement, and material for your rug, check out How to Protect Wood Floors With Area Rugs.
You can add even more protection by using a rug pad under the area rug. Make sure the backing of your pad material is safe to use on your wood floors so it doesn’t cause yellowing or additional scratching. To learn how to prolong the life of your rug and wood floors, see Why You Need a Rug Pad.
If a moving buddy isn’t available, use furniture pads. Furniture and glider pads help cushion the feet or corners of furniture and raise them slightly off the floor. You’ll see them made of felt, cork, and rubber. Felt pads even allow the furniture to be moved around, so it doesn’t have to be lifted or put on wheels. If you have chairs that sit on wood floor, stick felt pads to all their feet; if they shift a bit when people sit down or stand up, the feet won’t scratch the floor. Cut up blankets, quilts, or clothing to create your own pads for the feet of your furniture.
Regularly check old furniture feet and always check new furniture before placing it on your hardwood floor. If the feet have become worn and rough, you may want to do some light sanding with sandpaper sheets or a palm tool to make sure they won’t scuff the flooring.
Picking furniture with wheels, such as cabinets or entertainment units, is an option. The wheels will make it easier to move the furniture from room to room when you want to redecorate. However, the wrong kind of wheels can still leave marks, so try to get non-marking rubber wheels or ball wheels. Be sure to clean the wheels regularly, as dirt or debris that may adhere to them can cause scratches when the wheels are rolled across the floor.
Out of all the spaces in your home that take a beating, your wood floors probably gets the worst treatment. Between the dust, soot, dirt, mud and grit, most floors are in a constant state of uncleanliness. Let’s not even get started on what your pet drags in!
Every ounce of this is forced in between the boards and under the polyurethane finish. After all of this, the solution to the problem can even end up being worse than the problem itself.
“Too much water, any amount of steam!” says Brett Miller, a technical expert at the National Wood Flooring Association. Other no-no’s: strong vinegar or baking soda solutions that can degrade polyurethane, and “glow” enhancers that sound as if they would work on your hair.
As Miller and other experts like to stress, properly cleaned floors are not hard to obtain, especially if you stay ahead of the game. Put down tough-bristled mats, park gritty boots and shoes at the door, sweep, dry-mop, or vacuum often, and when the floor looks dull, get into all the nooks and corners with a damp mop and a neutral solution. So, how do you work to have clean and healthy floors?
As with most things in life, your floors need preventative maintenance. Choosing a soft-bristled broom that is angled can help you get into the corners. Just make sure that it it wide enough to get the job done quickly! You can always vacuum your floors with a soft floor nozzle as well. Things like carpet beaters and brush rolls can damage the finish. Purchasing a robot vac is a great idea, as it can get the work finished for you. Just make sure to shop for one that won’t get itself stuck in a corner, only to end up needing to be charged again. Rid your floor of dust and pet hair by using a microfiber mop head that utilizes a positive electric charge.
Damp-mop with a flat-head mop and microfiber pad or a microfiber string mop that has been thoroughly wrung out. Move with the grain, and control the amount of cleaning solution by using a spray bottle, aiming for a heavy mist or gentle squirt of about a half teaspoon per 2 square feet. No need to rinse. No need to buff either, but cloth diapers and soft socks do work well here.
Letting it go. In most households, wood floors should be cleaned at least four to six times a year.
Ignoring wet or sticky spills. They won’t go away on their own. Did an ice cube just shoot under the table? Go get it.
Bringing on the heavy equipment. You can damage the finish by attacking with a broom meant for the garage or a floor-cleaning machine designed for tougher flooring.
Applying the wrong product. Experts say Murphy Oil Soap can leave a residue on polyurethane. Paste wax simply makes it slippery. As for acrylic polishes that claim to remove the glow while putting more on? They can dull polyurethane—just remove the grime and it will shine.
Flooding the zone. Standing water and overly wet mops shoot moisture between boards and through tiny tears in the finish that form when wood shrinks and expands with the weather. Over time, moisture can damage the wood.
Steam cleaning. Never on wood. Save it for tile, linoleum, and vinyl.
To protect our competitive pricing we have a 200 sq ft minimum order on our barn wood and flooring
To protect our competitive pricing we have a 200 sq ft minimum order on our barn wood and flooring