Hardwood floors suggest warmth and richness. With proper care, hardwood rarely needs replacing, and actually increases in beauty over time. The most common and desired hardwood species is oak because its relatively neutral color goes well with most decors. Other species and finishes are available in a range of colors, from light (more informal) to dark (traditionally formal). Lowe's is happy to provide this information as a service to you.
Types of Hardwood Flooring
There are two types of hardwood flooring:
Engineered flooring is manufactured in a manner similar to plywood, where three or five thin sheets (plies) of wood are laminated (glued) together in a crisscross formation for strength. A top layer (veneer) of hardwood is added as a finished top layer. Engineered flooring is available as strips or planks. Strips are 3" or less in width. Planks are over 3" wide. Engineered floors are very stable and can be installed on any grade level. Although engineered wood floors are manufactured through a laminating process, they are not the same as a laminate floor.
Solid floors are cut from solid pieces of wood and milled to standard specifications. The flooring can be installed as planks or strips.
- A longstrip board is constructed of individual slats glued together end to end to form strips. The strips are then installed as tongue and groove.
- Parquet flooring is normally a 12"x 12" square consisting of narrow strips of wood. The parquet tiles, often of varying finishes, are arranged in geometric patterns.
Some wood flooring is pre-finished, others will require finishing and sealing. Many wood floors can also be refinished. A surface stain can be removed and re-stained. Penetrating stains have in essence become part of the wood and are permanent. Check the manufacturer’s specifications about refinishing.
Whichever wood floor you choose, you install it using one of these methods:
- Nail down — attached to a wood subfloor with flooring nails.
- Staple down — attached to a wood subfloor with a pneumatic stapler.
- Glue down — engineered floors are applied to the subfloor with trowel and adhesive.
- Floating — tongue and groove floor planks are glued together. Rather than fastened to the subfloor, the floor rests on a pad between the floor and subfloor.
Installing a wood floor can be a larger investment than other flooring options. With proper care, a quality wood floor lasts the life of the house and adds to resale value.