3. Choosing Hardwood for Your Specific Needs
After you have determined whether either type of hardwood flooring,
engineered, is even
a good choice
for your room, and you have considered the kind(s) of installation you may
encounter, your next big factor would be the hardness of the floor, how
dense it is, how resistant to denting. Is this floor for Grandma’s bedroom,
a playroom, or a dance floor?
Solidity, Durability, Hardness, Strength
For example, Lapacho’s number is 3864, which means that it takes 3864
pounds-force to embed that steel ball into a wood plank made of Lapacho.
Despite that high number, it remains true that, to our knowledge, there is
no hardwood plank in existence which can withstand that wonder of physics we
call the High Heeled Shoe, but most other common household and business
stresses can be handled if you pick the right species. You see, because of
the structural strength properties natural to wood, most hardwood flooring
really can withstand a surprising amount of abuse. Nevertheless, the
hardness range is still pretty broad. Knowing Janka ratings can help you not
so much with selecting a final, specific species, but you can look at a
range of them, usually choosing from anything at or above your needed
Plank Lengths and Widths
Board widths can influence the direction you will choose to lay your floor. Now generally, hardwood flooring is installed perpendicular to the floor joists. Laying the hardwood planks across these, perpendicularly, provides the most stability for a floor. There are cases where a parallel installation would be okay, but those would be for circumstances so specific that this post could not advise you on that. We apologize, cut off our topknots and hang our heads in shame for coming up short here. Please, though, get expert advice on something like this, from someone who can actually see your floor in person.
Length needs to be considered, primarily the issue of having either one
standard length, such as all boards at seven feet or four feet long, or
random lengths. That will affect the pattern on your floor. Also, longer
lengths can be easier to install. If there are less planks to lay, there
will be less steps to take in installation.
Unfinished or pre-finished hardwood?
Solid hardwood flooring is composed entirely of one wood species, usually
milled from one single piece of wood, and whether full planks or strips, is
the most demanding type of flooring to install. It is the only type of
installation which can add sanding the floor and applying a finish into the
process, though Floors To Your Home primarily (often only!) sells
pre-finished flooring, so for our products you may not need those steps.
With pre-finished, the coating is applied in a controlled environment where
there can be no dust at all, a situation almost impossible to achieve in a
home (especially when woodwork has recently been done). Early coats of
finish are able to contain aluminum oxide, which strengthens the finish, and
because they are set with ultraviolet rays, all of the solvents are inert
even before they are packaged. This means that there are no gasses or
harmful chemicals to deal with in the home. Factories finish wood at a much
lower cost than do installers, and where in-home finishes often top at three
coats, in a factory finishes can go up to nine coats. Still, seams between
planks cannot be sealed in a factory. On the floor, this could allow spills
leak through, so in some areas a top coating may still be needed. Likewise,
if a pre-finished wood is subjected to a color change via sanding and
refinishing, the factory finish is what will be sanded off. In any situation
where you are finishing a floor, consider that sanding a whole floor can
generate a considerable amount of dust. Also, any unwieldiness with a sander
could leave marks or dents. If you are not confident of your abilities, we
highly recommend that you go with one of our pre-finished floors.
A Random, but Very Important Tip
How much to get? Out of all of our ordering tips, this is the best one. Measure your room, multiplying the width and length to get your total square footage. It is a good rule of thumb to order about 10-15% percent extra flooring in case you wind up with any cutting mistakes, or damage a board in the installation process, or even make a slight error in your sq.ft. calculation. Also, it can be good to have replacement boards for any future repairs, as finding an accurate match years down the road might be a pain.
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David is has written and made videos about flooring products and installation since 2011 at Floors To Your Home (.com), where he is also the PPC Manager, a Researcher, a Website & Marketing Strategy Team member, Videographer, Social Strategist, Photographer and all around Resource Jito. In my spare time I shoot and edit video, put together a podcast, explore film history, and mix music (as in ‘play with Beatles multi-tracks’). Connect with W. David Lichty
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