hardwood flooringYou hear about hardwood flooring all the time, but are all created equal? Which hardwood floors should you choose for your property? Hopefully, this small guide to hardwood flooring will help you with that question.

Laminate Floors, the Cheapest Option

If you’re looking for the cheapest wood floors that you can possible get, then laminate floors are your best option. They are made of a very thin layer of about 3/8 of an inch thickness. There is a clear protective layer that goes on top that sits on top of the fiber. The protective layer has a photographic membrane that looks like wood. Installing it is easy – all it takes is clicking them together. A gap of ½” is required to allow the floor to contract and expand.

Engineered Hardwood, the Hard Option

When you’re looking for something thicker and harder, this is the best bet for you. It is made up of five layers of hardwood that are glued together. The thickness varies and they prove to be quite durable under humid conditions and heat, which is why a lot of people opt for this type. It is also pretty resistant to scratches like the more expensive hardwood floors. This is usually installed by gluing down the groove style boards and tongue.

Pre-finished Harwood, Beauty at a Low Cost

Usually, you have to pay a lot of money to get the look that pre-finished hardwood offers. They look and feel like traditional wood floors, but don’t cost as much. It is made up of multiple factory controlled lacquer layers, which is usually made of aluminum oxide. This makes it scratch-resistant. Installation of this flooring requires nails and hammer or nail gun.

Unfinished Solid Hardwood, the Most Common

This is known as the original wood floor, which is why it’s the most commonly used. It is nailed down and then sanded before the finish is added. This could include the use of staining of polyurethane varnish. Some people decide to leave its natural look instead. Others use a wax finish. The cost of installation for this style of floor is pretty expensive because of the additonal finish that is needed.

Environmentally Friendly Hardwood Floors

Cork flooring is a great option if you’re looking for hardwood floors that are eco-friendly. It is made of materials that are highly renewable and biodegradable. Plus, it is naturally resistant to moisture and mold. It absorbs sound, so that you don’t hear every step taken around the house. Keep in mind that you’ll need to get the natural cork flooring and not the composite cork, which is PVC backed.
Another option is Bamboo. It is one of the fastest growing trees and is also highly renewable and biodegradable. The cost is high for this because it is grown, harvested and shipped from Asia. It’s common for urea-formaldehyde to be used as a binder, which could reduce the indoor air quality of your home over time.

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