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.
In order for the investment in new hardwood floors to last a lifetime, it is crucial to understand the differences in solid and engineered hardwood flooring. Several factors must be considered to select the best option for each unique situation. Homeowners can feel good about choosing their hardwood flooring if they learn a few basics first.
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