Laminate flooring is made of synthetic materials and contains no natural wood products. For this reason, laminate flooring is extremely resistant to moisture. The finish of laminate flooring is plastic-like and extremely durable. Laminate flooring is available in a wide range of colors and finishes that mimic wood flooring, tile, and stone. Laminate flooring is often called a floating floor, as it does not require the use of glue or nails to adhere it to the subsurface. This is a good choice for areas that see an extremely high traffic volume or are susceptible to scratching or gouging for other reasons, such as pets.
Solid hardwood flooring is milled from a single piece of lumber, and it is available either unfinished and prefinished. Unfinished hardwood flooring is sanded, stained, and coated onsite after installation. This method allows for custom stain colors to match a home décor, or simply to create a unique appearance. The downside to unfinished flooring is that there is often a considerable mess from sanding the flooring as well as fumes from the stain and urethane coatings. High quality contractors do have equipment that will minimize the dust from sanding process. They may also offer low VOC stains and water-based urethane coatings to reduce the fumes associated with oil-based products. This finishing process can be done multiple time in the future to restore the beauty of the floor as it wears over time. Solid hardwood flooring is best installed over a wood subflooring material as it is generally nailed or stapled to the subsurface. Always install solid wood flooring above grade as it is highly susceptible to moisture and may warp in damp areas.
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