The team here at Ecodure Flooring has compiled a handy and thorough guide to help you come to the best decision about your residential or commercial flooring. Flooring 101 will define important flooring terms. Flooring 101 will equip you with all the questions you need to answer before you can narrow down the wide variety of options that Ecodure Flooring provides.
Glossary of Flooring Terms:
- Solid Hardwood Flooring
- Engineered Hardwood Flooring
- Laminate Flooring
- Bamboo Flooring
- Janka Rating
- Finish in Place (or on site)
Hardwood comes in a wide variety of species and lumber grades, providing a unique pattern, colour, and character marks. Colour and grain pattern is dictated by the species and the particular part of the tree where the wood is cut.
SOLID HARDWOOD FLOORING
Let’s first discuss the difference between solid hardwood flooring and engineered hardwood flooring. Solid hardwood is milled from a single piece of timber and consists of just one species. This solid piece of wood can vary in width and thickness and different surface treatments may alter the finished look. This type of hardwood flooring is recommended for on-grade (first floor) or above grade (second floor) levels. It is generally nailed or stapled during installation.
The Advantages of Solid Hardwoods:
- Instantly increases the value of your home
- Can be refinished and sanded repeatedly
- A wide variety of colours, species, and finishes to suit any décor
- Various levels of durability that corresponds to your family’s activity level
- Extremely easy to clean and maintain
- Given their insulation properties solid hardwood floors decrease drafts and lower power bills
ENGINEERED HARDWOOD FLOORING:
As the name implies, this option is man-made and allows you to install a hardwood floor practically anywhere in your home – even below ground level. This type of wood can be installed directly over concrete. Engineered wood consists of a thick top layer and backing of solid hardwood, with an inner core of dense material that makes it resistant to changes in temperature and humidity, unlike solid wood.
The Advantage of Engineered Hardwood Floors:
- Multi-ply construction gives engineered hardwood superb stability and strength
- Does not react adversely to humidity – does not expand or contract if installed properly
- Can be sanded and refinished – but only a limited amount of times
- Can be installed on all levels of your home, as well as concreate slabs
- Generally easier to install than traditional solid hardwood floors
- Comes in a vast variety of colours, species, and finishes
- Can be used with radiant heat
- Typically, less expensive than solid hardwood floors
Bamboo Flooring is simply breath-taking; however, it has much more than just aesthetic appeal. Bamboo is not actually wood, it is a hollow type of grass that can be harvested every 5 -7 years, unlike other hardwoods that take anywhere from 15 to 100 years. Bamboo Flooring has become quite popular in the last decade. It has been installed worldwide in posh hotels, retail outlets, galleries, workplaces, and homes. Bamboo Flooring is the hardest “wood” flooring on the market – harder, stronger, and more stable than most other timber floors with a tensile strength to rival steel.
The Advantage of Engineered Hardwood Floors
- Aesthetically Pleasing
- Extremely solid and durable
- Grown in controlled, FSC Approved plantations, without any need for fertilisers or other chemicals
- Top-notch eco-credentials
- Dent and Scratch-Resistant
Ecodure is the sole distributor of COREtec® Flooring here in New Zealand. This is an engineered luxury vinyl flooring and is the absolute best alternative to laminate flooring. COREtec® flooring is made from recycled wood, bamboo dust, limestone and virgin PVC. This innovative flooring alternative is extremely popular in the states and will soon be taking New Zealand by storm.
The Advantage of COREtec® Flooring
- 100% Waterproof
- Will Not Expand or Contract
- East to Install – on any Surface
- Superior Scratch Resistance
- Reduces Noise
- Pet Proof
- Easy to Clean
- LIFETIME Warranty
The Janka scale essentially measures how strong a wood is by calculating the amount of force that is needed to drive a .44inch ball halfway into a plank of wood. The size of the dent indicates how durable the wood is. It is important to note that even if your wood of choice has a high Janka rating, it does not automatically mean that is scratch proof.
Most clients prefer prefinished over finished on site because it means less time and less work. These prefinished boards will be produced in a dust-free environment so there will be no bubbles or dust bumps on them. Several coats of urethane are applied to the hardwood floors and then they are UV dried to create a longer lasting finish. It is important to note that UV drying is not something that can be done at home. When the pre-finished floors are installed they can be recoated in your home to revitalize their finish and fortify their innate beauty.
Finish in Place (or on site)
The advantage of deciding to finish your hardwood floor on site is that you are able to create a unique look by choosing your own stain and finish. That being said, it is almost impossible to create a dust-free atmosphere in your room, so you may end up with dust bumps and imperfections once the floor has been laid down. There is also the chance of brush marks and sanding marks, but they can be screened and recoated a second time.
Tips About Finishes:
- The glossier the finish, the better it will withstand busy foot traffic, but will show that traffic more than a matte finish
- An oil finish is more durable, but there will be odours during installation
- The most popular finish is polyurethanes, but they must be refinished once the wear and tear shows.
Moisture Content & Stability
Concrete, plywood and particleboard are the three most common types of subfloors. The one thing that you need to be aware of is the moisture content and stability of the subfloor. It must be extremely dry and stable before you lay down wood flooring. If the area is damp, it will seep into your brand new wood flooring, causing significant and costly damage.
There will be creaking, hollow sounds in some areas, and your floorboards may actually pop up if you do not stabilize your subfloor before installing your hardwood floor. If your subfloor is unstable, Ecodure’s professional installers can provide you with several solutions – such as installing a layer of plywood or using a subfloor screed.
It is best to use engineered wood if you have a concrete slab subfloor. The thickness of the veneer on engineered hardwood comes in many different varieties. If the concrete is on grade then solid wood can be glued down by Ecodure’s professional installers, but you must keep in mind that it will be difficult to undo if there should be a leak and there is also the chance of toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Our team will help you assess the situation and act accordingly.
Plywood & Particleboard
Solid wood or engineered wood can be used with plywood, which is fortunately the most common subfloor. Particleboard, a cheaper form of plywood, was mainly used under carpet in homes that were built in the 1970’s. If you want solid or engineered hardwood floors you will have to replace the particleboard with plywood.
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