Hints & HELP!
Flooring Offers Many Options
submitted by Lorene Bartos, Extension Educator
This article appeared in the February
23, 2003 Lincoln Journal Star Newspaper.
you considering new flooring for your home? Whether you
are building a new home or replacing the flooring in your
present home there are many decisions to make.
floors have long been a premium flooring choice for homes,
and they have become even more popular in recent years.
is the most common wood species used, but a variety of species
are available. Hardwood floors consist of narrow, unfinished
tongue and grove boards called strips or wider boards called
planks. The boards are nailed to the subfloor, sanded to
level any thickness differences and coated with sealer.
When the sealer wears off and the surface darkens, the floor
can be sanded and refinished.
and sealing a hardwood floor can take several days. To speed
installation, manufacturers have introduced pre-finished
hardwood flooring. Once it's nailed in place it usually
isn't quite as even as the finished-in-place floor so each
piece may have a slight bevel on each side. An advantage
of pre-finished flooring is the finish may be much more
recent years a number of engineered wood products have been
introduced such as hardwood veneer glued to a plywood base.
The veneer may either be rotary cut, giving it a plywood-like
look, or sawn, giving a look similar to solid wood flooring.
Traditional finishing products are used on some engineered
wood, but other finishes are available for pre-finished
wood and engineered wood that are much more durable than
the products available for site application. Some use aluminum
oxide crystals or diamond dust to make the finish harder.
These finishes come with as much as a 25-year warranty.
engineered products are impregnated with acrylic resins,
which are then factory hardened. These products are several
times harder than ordinary hardwood flooring and highly
impact-resistant. Plastic laminate flooring also offers
the look of wood. It consists of a thin wear layer, much
like laminate counter tops, covering a pattern layer glued
to fiberboard. Laminate flooring is suitable for installation
in damp areas and is highly impact resistant.
installation specifications vary, generally the installation
begins by preparing the surface so it's as even as possible.
A vapor barrier is applied followed by a thin layer of foam
underlayment. The flooring is then glued and clamped together.
The floating system allows easy installation over concrete
slabs. It also can be installed over existing vinyl flooring.
Engineered wood and laminate flooring offer variety and
uniformity of colors and patterns and durability.
tend to be somewhat cheaper and longer wearing but can't
be refinished and may not offer a quality wood look. Engineered
wood is roughly the same price as pre-finished wood or site-finished
wood but usually can't be refinished as often as real wood.
It also comes in panels, so joints may be more obvious.
Since the difference in appearance can be substantial it's
a good idea to insist on seeing full floor installation
before purchasing rather than making a selection based on
viewing samples alone.
with family, friends and neighbors who have hardwood floors
to see how they like them and to get advice about care before
making your final selection.
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