Hardwood flooring creates a wide range of beautiful looks in a home – from contemporary to classic, elegant to rustic, warm and natural to clean and polished.
In selecting a hardwood floor, there are several factors to consider: Grain patterns and hardness of the different wood species, method and quality of construction, plank width and length, staining, and finish. Surface features like beveling or hand-scraping of both the domestic and exotic products also vary widely.
At Monarch Floor and Window Coverings we sell products from dozens of mills worldwide and have the product selection and the expertise to help you arrive at the right decision for your project.
We’ll bring hardwood samples to you, measure your project space, and provide a competitive quote on quality products with the installation method that is appropriate for your space. Contact us today for a free estimate.
Solid Hardwood Flooring
Solid hardwood flooring can be applied on or above grade (at or above ground level). It can generally be stapled or nailed to a wood subfloor and in some cases can be glued to a concrete subfloor.
With proper maintenance, solid hardwood can last for decades and can also be refinished after years of wear to have its original beauty restored.
Solid hardwood flooring is available in several different grades. At one end of this spectrum are the grades that are commonly referred to as “country” or “character” grades. These grades feature mineral streaks, knots, and a high degree of variation in colour between boards. The “select” or “elite” grades are of a cleaner, more consistent appearance, though there may still be some significant variation in colour – depending largely on the species of wood.
A quality solid hardwood will be well-milled with straight boards of uniform thickness, will be protected with a high quality finish, and will be backed up by a reliable manufacturer’s warranty. Generally speaking, longer planks of solid hardwood are more desirable and more costly than shorter planks.
Engineered Hardwood Flooring
Engineered hardwood is a genuine hardwood flooring product that can be installed in certain applications where solid hardwood is not suitable. Typically, these are installations that take place below grade (in a basement), over in-floor heating, or when the hardwood floor is being floated over a concrete subfloor.
Engineered hardwood is made up of a core structure and a veneer of genuine hardwood (also called a wear layer). The core of an engineered hardwood is often constructed of plywood, with several layers of ply in a criss-cross structure. It may also be constructed of high-density fibre board. The genuine hardwood wear layer is the top layer of engineered hardwood and is generally between two and five millimetres thick. It is as versatile as a solid hardwood product in terms of its species, finish, and overall appearance. In fact, engineered hardwood products are often available in wider and longer boards than their solid hardwood counterparts.
It is the core of an engineered hardwood floor that renders it more stable than solid hardwood and makes it suitable for the applications listed above. The ply or fibre board construction of this core helps to stabilize any expansion or contraction of the floor due to changes in humidity and temperature. This reduces the floor’s susceptibility to issues such as gaping or buckling.
The quality of an engineered hardwood floor can be gauged similarly to that of a solid hardwood floor. Additionally, the engineered hardwood should have a well-constructed core and a substantial wear-layer.
Hardwood flooring is available in many species of wood: everything from domestic maple and oak to exotic mahogany and teak, and to alternatives such as bamboo and cork. When considering a species of hardwood for flooring, it is important to consider both the aesthetic and the technical aspects of the many options that are available. Here are some of our popular species for hardwood flooring:
Domestic Hardwood Species
Exotic Hardwood Species
Hardwood Flooring Surface Features
Hardwood floors can be finished in a number of different ways. Planks may have square or beveled edges.
The surface of the hardwood can be brushed to produce a rough texture to the wood or hand-scraped so that the surface of the wood has minor depressions or ridges.
Logs can be sawn in different directions across the grain to produce planks with striking, beautiful and unusual grain patterns.
Finally, the finish coat itself can be applied in varying levels of gloss, right down to a matte or oiled flat finish.
Installation Methods For Hardwood Flooring
The majority of hardwood floors are installed in one of three ways: Nail-down, glue-down, or floating.
Nail-down installation is an option over most plywood subfloors. With a nail-down installation, nails or staples are driven on an angle through the tongues of the floor planks. One difference between this method and the now outdated “top-nail” method is that once the floor installation is complete, the nail heads cannot be seen. Nail-down installations are less costly than glue-down installations in that they spare the cost of adhesive. A nail-down installation results in a securely fastened floor that feels solid underfoot and does not require transition pieces such as t-caps and reducers.
Glue-down installation is a common method for installation of hardwood floors over concrete. It is the most costly method of installation, however it does result in a securely fastened floor with the same solid feel as a nail-down installation. In cases where extra sound-proofing is required, clients may prefer a double glue-down installation, where a cork or specially designed foam underlayment is glued to the subfloor, and the hardwood is then glued to this underlayment.
Floating installation is also done over concrete, however as the name suggests, the hardwood flooring is not fastened to the subfloor. Individual planks are either glued or click-locked together, and the floor is held in place by gravity. Because this method of installation results in a floor that is more susceptible to expansion and contraction than a nailed-down or glued-down floor, it is only appropriate when working with an engineered product, since engineered hardwood is a more stable product in terms of handling changes in humidity and temperature. A floating floor will typically feel less solid underfoot than a floor that has been nailed or glued.
Regardless of the installation method being used, an important step is to ensure that the subfloor has been properly prepared. There are methods for leveling both plywood and concrete substrates, and our professional, qualified installers are proficient with this critical step.
We’ll bring hardwood samples to you, measure your project space, and provide a competitive quote on quality products with the installation method that is appropriate for your space.Contact us today for a free estimate.