Why Wood Floors?

There are lots of reasons to love wood floors. Not only is wood beautiful, but it’s also easy to clean and hypoallergenic. A solid wood floor will last for more than a century, and the finish can be refreshed whenever it wears thin. And unlike carpeting, real wood floors increases the value of a home.

Because the floor is a substantial feature, the type you choose will go a long way toward defining the space. And because it usually represents a significant investment, you will want to choose carefully.

The good news is that there’s a lot to choose from. Choices today include not only old-fashioned solid wood strips in the usual maple or oak, but also flooring milled from exotic or regional species, or even cut from the remains of 200-year-old barns. The options also include engineered wood products -- authentic-looking surfaces that can take wood floors where they’ve never gone before. And then there’s the growing family of laminates which, while not wood, can satisfy the demand for a wood-floor appearance at a much lower cost.

Solid Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood is an easy way to improve the look, durability, and value of your home.

Solid wood is milled from a single 3/4" thick piece of hardwood. Solid wood flooring expands and contracts with changes in your home's relative humidity. Normally, installers compensate for this movement by leaving an expansion gap between the floor and the wall. Base molding or quarter round is traditionally used to hide the extra space.

There are many species and face-widths to choose from not to mention the stains or Prefinished is a factory finish product that is superior to most in-house finished projects. Unfinished flooring is typically oak, pine or maple due to there prevalence and require a 3 to 4 day finish process depending on whether you choose to stain the wood or finish it naturally.

Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Engineered wood is produced with three to five layers of hardwood. Each layer is stacked in a cross-grain configuration and bonded together under heat and pressure. As a result, engineered wood flooring is less likely to be affected by changes in humidity and can be installed at all levels of the home.

  • Typical engineered hardwood core is made up of multiple layers of wood stacked in a cross-grain configuration which minimizes expanding and shrinking.
  • Engineered hardwood can be installed above, on, or below grade.
  • Engineered hardwood provides an advantage over solid hardwood because of the ability to install in multiple areas of the home.

Location, Location, Location

The location of your hardwood flooring basically falls into one of three categories:

  • On Grade - at ground level
  • Above Grade - any second level or higher
  • Below Grade - any floor below ground level, including basements or sunken living rooms.

Traditional solid hardwood flooring is not well suited for below-grade installations, because of the possibility of moisture issues. The construction of an engineered hardwood gives it enhanced structural stability that allows it to be installed at any grade level when a moisture barrier such as Selitac Thermally Insulating Underlayment or Silent Step Ultra 3 in 1 is used during installation.

What type of sub-floor do you have?

If you plan to install over concrete, you must use an engineered product to ensure structural integrity. Solid wood flooring or Engineered flooring may be used over plywood, existing wood floors, or OSB sub-floors. Be sure to ask your Parsons Sales Representative for specifics on sub-floor requirements.

Will there be moisture in the room?

If you are considering flooring for a bathroom where continuous moisture is expected, you will want to select a product other than hardwood. While the moisture resistance of an engineered hardwood makes it suitable for rooms below grade or ground level when installed with a moisture barrier, it is not advisable to install any hardwood flooring in a bathroom.

Laminated Flooring

Laminate flooring offers a wide selection of designs that offer the look and feel of beautiful hardwood, ceramic tile, and slate. Laminate is a composite designed to endure more-than-average wear and tear. A direct-pressure manufacturing process fuses four layers into one extremely hard surface.

Laminate is constructed of four layers:

  • The back is reinforced with melamine for structural stability and moisture resistance.
  • The laminates coreboard defines its strength and stability, and is moisture-resistant.
  • Providing the floor's beauty, the decorative layer is actually a highly detailed photograph that gives the laminate the appearance of wood or tile.
  • Melamine wear top layer is a tough, clear finish reinforced with aluminum oxide, one of the hardest mineral compounds known to man, to resist staining, fading, surface moisture, and wear.

The resulting floor is a technological breakthrough. There's no staining, no fading, and no wear through. Most laminates are glueless installations that make installing your new floor fast and easy.

Other Noteworthy Features

  • Laminate flooring is incredibly durable and stain resistant. Such problem spills as nail polish, grease, and mustard simply wipe off.
  • Patented tongue-and-groove locking technology eliminates unsightly gaps at the seams.

Laminated flooring is most often a less expensive way to get the "look" you want with a quick and easy installation. Please note however that unlike hardwood flooring, laminates do not increase your homes value.