Hardwood | Styles

The number of hardwood choices, patterns, colors, textures and price points can intimidate even the most experienced shopper. Knowing the basic styles can provide you with a firm foundation upon which to begin your hardwood-shopping journey. Choosing your ideal hardwood style is all about knowing the right combination of aesthetics, performance and budget that meets the needs of your lifestyle.

Personal Style

  • designs: medallions, running on the diagonal, or creating borders

Types

1. Pre-finished:

  • ready for installation
  • boards already sanded, stained and finished
  • harder, better - protected surface
  • wider variety of wood species
  • save hours of labor and cleanup
  • extended finish warranty

2. Unfinished:

  • allow you to have a custom job
  • you choose the wood species
  • it’s sanded and stained on site
  • can level the surface after installation
  • no extended finish warranty

Location

  • look at installation site for location limitations
  • solid floors - susceptible to moisture, not recommended for basements, or concrete slabs


Grain and cut

  • styles are result of the species available
  • species: red oak, white oak, maple, cherry, white ash, hickory or pecan
  • each species has unique graining and texture
  • graining on the boards determined by the way it has been cut
  • two cutting processes. “Sliced Cut” -more uniform pattern and “Rotary Cut” - displays a larger and bolder graining pattern

Color

  • each species gives choices of color and finishes
  • choose coordinating or contrasting with cabinetry and furniture
  • darker woods- more formal
  • natural colors- more casual

Finish

  • different types for pre-finished or job site finished
  • lower gloss levels - better for active rooms
  • lower gloss or matte finishes minimize dirt and scratches
  • high gloss finish for formal décor

Upkeep

  • no more waxing and scrubbing
  • pre-finished - hard, durable, urethane-based finishes
  • chips of Aluminum Oxide added to increases the urethane finish’s life

Floor protection  

  • factory finished: several coats applied to the surface
  • many companies apply 6-10 coats of a ultra-violet (UV) cured urethane
  • UV cured urethane: difficult to duplicate on a job site finish
  • factory finishes - more consistent and durable
  • do not wash your floor with a mop
  • water is not a friend of hardwood
  • floors won't watermark like old waxed floors
  • UV cured finishes do make floors easier to maintain than waxed floors

Pre-finished choices:

  • uv-cured – factory finishes cured with Ultra Violet lights versus heat
  • polyurethane – clear, tough and durable applied as a wear layer
  • acrylic-urethane – different make up than Polyurethane, same benefits
  • ceramic – advanced technology allowing ceramics to increase wear layer resistance
  • aluminum oxide – added to urethane finish for increased abrasion resistance
  • acrylic impregnated – acrylic monomers injected into cell structure for hardness, then finished with a wear layer

Job-site hardwood flooring

  • start with a bare (unfinished) floor, then sand, stain, and finish
  • if subfloor is acceptable you can have a custom stained
  • can have a floor to match existing trim
  • advantage: smoother floor between planks
  • process is messy and takes several days

Methods:

Water Based Urethane – water used as part of the makeup of the finish
Solvent Based Urethane – oil used as part of the makeup of the finish

Moisture Cured Urethane – similar make up as solvent based urethanes, finish needs moisture to cure

Board widths

  • boards come in various sizes
  • narrower board widths called “strips”
  • wider boards called  “planks”
  • board width visually impacts a room
  • narrow boards expand a room
  • wider boards work well in a larger room 

Edge knowledge

  • floors come in either a beveled edge, or a square edge
  • each edge creates a specific look and feel



Edge types:

  • square edge: edges all meet squarely for a uniform, smooth surface (contemporary and formal)
  • eased edge: boards slightly beveled to length and/or the end joints, hides irregularities, plank heights, also called micro-beveled edge
  • beveled edge: distinctive groove, informal and country décor, beveled edges sealed completely, dirt easy to sweep or vacuum out of the grooves

Species Guide


Red Oak

White Oak

Cherry

Hickory/Pecan

Maple

Pine

Reclaimed Pine

Walnut

Mesquite

Hardness – Janka hardness test

  • measures the force needed to embed a .444 inch steel ball to half its diameter in a piece of wood
  • higher the number the harder the wood
  • one of the best methods to measure the ability of wood species to withstand indentations
  • general guide when comparing various species
  • construction and finish also important in the durability and ease of maintenance

HARDNESS RATING

  • Douglas Fir 660
  • Southern Yellow Pine (shortleaf) 690
  • Southern Yellow Pine (longleaf) 870
  • Black Cherry 950
  • Teak 1000
  • Black Walnut 1010
  • Heart Pine 1225
  • Yellow Birch 1260
  • Red Oak(Northern) 1290
  • American Beech 1300
  • Ash 1320
  • White Oak 1360
  • Australian Cypress 1375
  • Hard maple 1450
  • Wenge 1620
  • African Pedauk 1725
  • Hickory 1820
  • Pecan  1820
  • Purpleheart 1860
  • Jarrah 1910
  • Merbau 1925
  • Santos Mahogany 2200
  • Mesquite 2345
  • Brazilian Cherry 2350