Solid vs. Engineered
When comparing a solid versus an engineered, each offers its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Many customers are familiar working with a solid hardwood, however we find a common misconception about engineered floors is that they are more of laminate-like of product instead of a “real” hardwood. Unlike a laminate, an engineered floor is made by sawing a piece of solid hardwood into sheets, turning every other layer 90 degrees, and layering them on top of one another with a veneer layer on top. Running each layer perpendicular to the one above and below it stabilizes the wood and reduces expansion and contraction. For areas such as ours, where we sometimes experience all four seasons in one day, engineered hardwood can be very advantageous since this stabilization reduces the chance of cupping or crowning.
Pre-finished vs Sanded in Place
There are two primary ways hardwood is finished – pre-finished and sanded in place. If you are considering doing a floor that is sanded in place there are a few key points to consider. First, when hardwood is finished in home, the amount of dust left behind is extremely high which can means that during the installation, you will need to completely evacuate those areas. Also, unlike any of our pre-finished products, controlling the stain color can be significantly more difficult which means more variation may occur. Pre-finished products have two main features that cannot be duplicated in the home. First is the aluminum oxide or titanium dioxide finish that is applied to all of our hardwoods. Both of these finishes can only be applied in a controlled environment and are responsible for the increased scratch resistance. Second, pre-finished floors typically have a UV-cured finish which helps to keep them from discoloring as quickly (products not UV cured will turn a yellow/orange color over time).
Fifty years ago, choosing a hardwood was a simple process because there were very limited choices, however, as the technological world advances, so does the wood flooring industry. With advancements in milling, finishing, and installation methods, the selection process can be a daunting process. When trying to determine the hardwood for your specific needs, several factors need to be considered. Do you go with an engineered or a solid? Should you consider a pre-finished or sanded in place hardwood? Which species of wood offer the durability and look you are interested in? The good news is that even though there are so many possibilities, it’s our job to help you narrow down the choices by looking at your lifestyle, budget, and discussing the styles that appeal to you.