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Another crucial decision to make when you decide to install a hardwood floor is what kind of wood to choose. There are issues of both substance and style that need to be taken into account. For instance, light wood may be more appropriate for a casual setting, while dark wood lends itself to more formal surroundings. There are no hard and fast rules, simply select what strikes your fancy and fits into your budget. Remember that different types of woods can vary greatly in price.

Obviously, there are too many species of wood to list in this article, but let's take a look at some common flooring choices:

Red oak - Red oak is the most popular flooring option in the U.S.. Reddish in color with a coarse grain, it's a stiff and dense wood that resists wear.
White oak - White oak is brown in color but can have a grayish cast. The grain is similar to red oak, with more burls and swirls. It is harder and more durable than red oak.
Birch - Birch can range in color from light yellow to dark brownish red. It's softer than red oak, but is still a strong wood.
Beech - Beech has a reddish brown color and a very consistent grain. It is quite durable and has excellent shock resistance.
Pine - Pine is a yellowish brown color and contains a lot of swirls and knots. It has a natural resistance to insects and is about as hard as red oak.
Cherry - Cherry wood is a light brown color. Because it's a soft wood, cherry isn't often used for a whole floor. Instead, it makes an excellent decorative or accent wood.
Douglas fir - Douglas Fir is a yellowish tan color. This wood is about half as soft as red oak and can dent easily. It is only appropriate in certain flooring situations.

Wood Finishes

A finish is a top coat that will protect your floor from everyday wear and tear. The finish is also what gives the floor its natural color & luster. Finishes are a great way to personalize your hardwood floors. Whether you like light-colored wood or dark, a satin finish or high-gloss, the options are endless.

When considering finishes, you need to decide whether you want to apply it yourself or buy pre-finished flooring. Pre-finished flooring offers a wide variety of wood species and saves hours of labor and cleanup, while unfinished wood floors allow you to have a customized color and finish. Though pre-finished flooring can cost as much as $1.50 more per square foot than unfinished, it may save you some mistakes. You also get an extended factory finish warranty with pre-finished floors. Regardless of whether you opt for pre-finishing or finishing the floor yourself, you will need to know what types of finishes are available.

There are two kinds of hardwood finishes: surface finishes and penetrating finishes.

Surface Finishes

Surface finishes are the most popular kind. They require a stain to achieve the desired color and then a top coat of polyurethane or varnish for protection. Surface finishes are easy to maintain and quite durable. The four surface finishes are:

Oil-Based Urethane - The most common surface finish, oil-based urethane is applied in two or three coats and is available in gloss, semi-gloss and satin sheens. The downside to this type of finish is the drying time -- up to 8 hours for each coat. You will also need adequate ventilation. And, keep in mind that oil-based urethane finishes do yellow with age.
Water-Based Urethane - A good option for the DIY-er, this finish dries quickly and cleans up easily with soap and water. Water-based urethane has less odor than oil-based urethane and doesn't yellow over time.
Moisture-Cured Urethane - Slightly more durable than others, this finish is most often used on commercial projects and is best handled by a professional.
Conversion Varnish - Because of the strong odor and fumes, this finish should only be applied by a professional.

Penetrating Finishes

Penetrating finishes penetrate the wood deeper than surface finishes. The finish soaks into the wood and then a wax is applied to give a low-gloss sheen. With this finish, wax needs to be reapplied periodically and only certain cleaners can be used on the floor. For this reason, surface finishes may be a better bet for the non-professional installer.

Next, as if there weren't enough options already, you also have to select the sheen of your finish. Sheen is the shine of the floor. You can choose from high gloss (very shiny), low gloss or satin finish.

Though high-gloss finishes look professional, they show scratches more easily. Low-gloss or satin finishes are typically used in residential hardwood floor installations. Keep in mind that if you go with pre-finished flooring, you will need to make the finishing decisions when you order the product.

Antique Kentucky Chestnut Oak/Oklahoma Heart Pecan

Cumaru/Australian Cypress

Installation

Whether it is the natural beauty, ease of maintenance or the durability you seek, wood flooring is a great choice for you and for generations to follow to enjoy.

With over 30 years of experienced craftsmanship, John’s Hardwood Flooring can transform any room in your home, into a warm and inviting space with the warmth and natural beauty of wood flooring.
In addition to a natural finish, you can select from a wide variety of stains/colors to choose from to meet the needs of the decor in your home.
Various widths and species of wood flooring can give your home a unique look. A simple feature strip around the hearth of your fireplace or perhaps a wood medallion in your foyer will accent your home nicely.

Our custom work is second to none and we are committed to providing our customers with only the highest quality of flooring available.

In addition, you may wish to install a pre-finished hardwood floor. Pre-finished flooring already has the stain and finish applied and only requires the floor to be cut and installed, eliminating the need for sanding.
Sometimes a wood floor can solve a design or structural problem. For example, strip flooring nailed firmly to the sub-floor and can actually strengthen a marginal floor system so you end up with a firmer, quieter walking surface. A wood strip floor is really a floor, not just a floor covering, like carpet or vinyl.
Call us today at (877) 442-9996 to schedule your free in home estimate and see why so many families have chosen John’s Hardwood Flooring over the years to perform the work in their home.

Installation Methods

You've chosen the type of floor you want. You've even chosen the type of finish you want. Now, it's time to install your new floor. But, first, you have to make one last decision. There are four hardwood floor installation methods from which to choose:

Nail Down - Nails are used to fasten the wood to the sub-floor. This method is often used with thin wood flooring.
Staple Down - Staples are used instead of nails to attach the floor to the sub-floor.
Glue Down - Engineered wood floors and parquets can be glued down. The wood is adhered to the sub-floor or concrete with a strong adhesive.
    Floating - This is the fastest and easiest method of installation. Floating floors are not attached to any sub-floor, they simply float above it. Either adhesive is applied to the boards to keep them together, or the boards are made to simply snap together. Usually a pad is placed between the wood floor and the sub-floor to protect against moisture and reduce noise. Floating floors can be installed over almost any surface.

Several manufacturers have created floating installation systems that are very easy for the consumer to install themselves -- making this an excellent option for those of you interested in a DIY project. Because this is the best possible option for DIY-ers, let's go over the steps for installing a floating hardwood floor.

Types of Floors

Choosing the type of hardwood floor that best fits your space and DIY abilities is an important step in planning the installation of your new floor. Don't confuse floor type with wood variety -- we'll cover selection of wood variety in the next section.

For now, let's discuss the three main types of hardwood floors to consider.


Solid Wood Flooring

Solid wood flooring comes in three main types. Each type is available in both an unfinished and a pre-finished version. Unfinished flooring must be job-site sanded and finished after installation. Pre-finished flooring is sanded and finished at the factory -- so it only needs installation. The three main types of solid wood flooring are:

Strip flooring - This type of flooring is denoted by the thickness and width of the wood planks. Strip flooring has a set width, but the thickness can vary. Strip flooring ranges in thickness from 5/16 of an inch to 3/4 of an inch thick. It is available in widths of 3/4 inches up to 2 1/4 inches wide.
Plank flooring - Plank flooring only comes in two thicknesses, but unlike strip flooring, the widths can vary. It is available only in thicknesses of 1/2 inch or 3/4 inch and a range of widths from 3 inches up to 12 inches and can still be a tongue and groove floor.
Parquet flooring - Parquet floors have a very different look from typical hardwoods. They are made up of geometrical patterns composed of individual wood slats held in place by mechanical fastening or an adhesive.

Engineered Wood Flooring

Engineered wood flooring should not be confused with laminate wood flooring. Engineered flooring is produced by adhering layers of plastic laminate veneer with real wood. The main difference between this type of wood and laminate flooring is that laminate flooring contains no actual wood. Look for more on laminate wood flooring later in this article.
Acrylic-impregnated Wood Flooring

Acrylic-impregnated wood flooring is infused with sealant and color throughout the thickness of the wood. So, what is normally a surface "finish" is actually consistent throughout the wood. This type of flooring is most commonly used in commercial, not residential, projects. This type of floor is very hard and it is highly resistant to moisture and scratches.

Canadian White Hard Maple/Northern White Ash