2018 Wood Flooring Guide (part 1 of 2)
Welcome to the Morgan Contractors 2018 Wood Flooring Guide. In this two-part series, we’ll explore the ins and outs, pros and cons, and important considerations around this timeless building material. In part one we’ll explore what hardwood flooring is and the basics of the 3 primary types and their installation. In part two we’ll look at the specifics, details, and even a few tips and tricks when updating your home to hardwood floors.
We hope our 2018 Wood Flooring Guide helps you better understand this popular flooring material and enables you to make the best decision for your home and budget.
Introduction to Wood Flooring
This material is popular because of its longevity, durability, aesthetic qualities and even its limited environmental impact. To give just one example of its timeless (literally) qualities, there are intact wood floors in ancient European castles and buildings at least several hundred years old!
Wood flooring is an appropriate and manageable choice for most homes. Besides its durability, it’s a great way to create a visual continuity throughout a home, even with multiple floor plan layouts.
When building or remodeling, most hardwood flooring comes in strips approximately 1.5 to 2.5 inches wide, or as planks about 4 to 8 inches wide. In the United States, the most popular species of trees that produce usable hardwood flooring are the oak, maple, and black walnut. There are also regional varieties available such as pecan and mesquite. These offer unique grain patterns, but may not be easily or cheaply available everywhere.
For an exotic look, there are also tropical hardwood species available in some areas such as the Brazilian cherry and African Padauk. Your contractor or another lumber supplier will be able to help you find these imported materials.
Finally, beyond the species available, there are also numerous coatings available for prefinished hardwood. These additives include chemicals and substances like aluminum oxide, ceramics, and acrylic polymers – all of which yield incredibly tough surfaces.
Next, we’ll examine the three primary types of hardwood flooring.
Wood Flooring Guide: 3 Types of Hardwood
Solid wood must be nailed to a subfloor structure or bed. One of the many benefits of solid wood is that it can be refinished many times so it looks fresh and beautiful throughout its lifespan. Solid wood flooring is commonly available in wide planks, narrow strips, and parquet squares. Your contractor should be well-versed in the installation of all three types.
Strip flooring is the most common and traditional of all wood floors. Strips run between 1.5 and 3 inches wide.
Planks come in pieces about 3 to 7 inches wide. You often see plank flooring in larger rooms and other open spaces around the home.
Parquet flooring comes in either preassembled tiles or custom-made individual strips. Parquet flooring is best used to create a unique and uniform look for your wood flooring. Example patterns include herringbone, weaves, and geometric shapes.
At most home supply centers, you’ll find prefinished and unfinished options for all three styles. Thickness for each run between 5/16 to .75 inches.
As for price, you’ll find significant variation. A safe bet for native hardwood flooring costs is about $3 to $8 per square foot, while exotic species can run to $14 per square foot or more. Typical contractor installation costs run between $5 to $12 per square foot.
There are two other options available, which are becoming more popular in today’s building projects.
Engineered hardwood flooring indicates a material that has been made with pieces of 100% real wood and laminated into a single plank. Pieces of higher-quality wood are layered over cheaper plywood before lamination.
The primary benefit of engineered wood is that it is far more moisture-resistant than traditional hardwood. This construction makes the flooring more stable and much less vulnerable to changes in temperature and humidity than solid wood.
Due to its moisture-resistance, we suggested considering engineered wood for your kitchen or basement. It offers a variety of options for installation as well and can be glued, nailed, or snapped in place over a cushioned pad. You’ll find the price of engineered wood comparable to that of solid wood.
What about Bamboo Flooring?
You’ve likely seen bamboo become more popular as a material for everything from flatware to clothing fiber, and now, as a useful flooring choice. It is sustainable and tough and often thought of as wood – despite being a type of grass. Bamboo strands are layered and fused together to form strips or planks just like traditional hardwood.
Most bamboo is imported, coming from Asia or parts of Africa. While the cost is like that of equivalent wood products, you may encounter higher prices depending on the market.
Many homeowners enjoy the sustainable and ‘green’ nature of bamboo. It does cause significantly less environmental impact than hardwood, and with the right finish, can look almost identical.
Expect to pay $3 to $8 per square foot for bamboo flooring, and $7 to $12 per square foot installed.
Next time, in part 2 of our wood flooring guide, we’ll explore the fine details involved in the various types of wood flooring available for your home.
At Morgan Contractors, we have more than 18 years of experience providing quality home improvement services, including wood flooring installation and repair, to the Tristate area. So, if you are looking for a safety-compliant, fully insured, highly reputable company for your next home improvement job, we are it!
For more information about how we can make your next wood flooring project a success, to request an estimate, or for general questions, please contact us today or call 201-401-1800.