Solid hardwood is 100% solid wood. Most solid hardwood flooring needs to be nailed to a subfloor and is susceptible to shrinking and expanding from excessive moisture and extreme temperature changes. This makes it unsuitable for installation directly over concrete and is not usually recommended for below grade use. It is normally nailed or stapled to a wooden subfloor.
Engineered hardwood is also 100% wood. Its cross-ply construction allows installation below or above grade even over concrete. It resists expansion and contraction caused by temperature and humidity changes. Engineered flooring is typically glued-down, stapled-down or floated over an existing floor. It is manufactured by permanently bonding together multiple layers of solid wood in a cross ply construction. Engineered hardwood is usually the only type of hardwood that is recommended for use below grade. Your Abbey expert can advise you whether solid or engineered is right for you.
Now, the fun really begins! You get to design you new wood floor.
Species The first step is to look at the different species of hardwood. This is important because the species will influence the appearance and durability. Not all species of hardwood are equally hard. If your floor is in a high traffic area or in a heavily used room then you should consider oak, maple or ash for extra durability.
Traditional oak has pronounced variations in grain and shade while the grain in maple is cleaner and more understated. There are also exotic species available such as lapacho, tigerwood and Brazilian cherry. These have a distinctive combination of origin, color and surface characteristics. Ask your Abbey expert to show you examples of the species that are appropriate for your lifestyle.
Color Color will have a huge influence on your buying decision. There are many colors available because of the natural color and graining of the species and the stain that’s applied to the wood.
Width Hardwood flooring is generally described by board width. A strip is less than 3” wide. Planks are 3” or wider. The width of individual boards has a dramatic influence on the look of your floor. Wide widths will complement a large room but could overwhelm a small area. Select the look that you like the best and one that works with your style and the architecture of your home.
Edge Detail The way that the edges and ends of boards are cut is called edge detail. Edge detail options include square, microbeveled, eased and beveled. If you’re going for a dramatic effect you should select a beveled edge. This emphasizes the definition of individual boards. Square edges bring a smooth and seamless appearance.
Finish Today many manufacturers offer extra tough urethane finishes which means that the hardwood flooring will hold up to heavy use and traffic. These urethane finishes allow the wood to maintain its luster for years without having to wax or refinish them.
Installation Once you have decided on your new hardwood floor the next important step is to have it installed. You’ll have to decide in what direction the floor will be laid. There are also design accents like borders and medallions that will add another design dimension to your room. You can trust your Abbey Expert to provide the appropriate installation techniques that will give you a new hardwood floor that will look stunning and last for years.
Installing a floor with the boards running across the width or on the diagonal of a narrow room will create a more spacious environment.