Antique & Reclaimed Flooring Specialist
a division of Design Hardware

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American Hardwood Flooring

American hardwood floors are a natural choice. Wood is natural and grows in our forests. It is beautiful to look at, comfortable to walk on, creates an ambience that lasts a long time and is non-allergenic.Wood is also renewable, unlike plastics and many other modern materials, so when it has to be replaced, one day far in the future, it returns to Mother Nature.

Engineered Wood

Engineered wood floors also refrred to as laminated wood floors are often confused with laminate floors by consumers. Engineered wood floors are NOT laminate floors, so be careful when shopping for a new floor. Engineered wood floors are constructed differently from solid wood floors and offer some advantages over solid wood floors. Thanks to advancements in manufacturing technology, engineered wood floors can be used in almost any room in the home. This includes installing over dry, concrete slabs and some types of existing flooring. So now homeowners can enjoy the beauty of a real hardwood floor in areas they thought not possible before with solid wood flooring.

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Solid Wood

Solid wood floors have been used for centuries and never seem to loose their charm and warmth. We generally think of solid hardwood floors as a 3/4" thick plank that comes in a narrow 2 1/4" strip and has to be finished on the job-site. This is the classic hardwood strip floor.

Today, manufacturers offer solid hardwood floors in a variety of widths, thicknesses, finishes and wood species. The most common North American hardwood species used for solid wood flooring are red oak, white oak, ash and maple, walnut, but you can also get solid hardwood flooring in many exotic wood species, such as Brazilian cherry, Tiger wood, Australian cypress and many others from around the World. Red Oak is still the most popular and commonly used hardwood floor. When we talk about unfinished wood flooring we generally think of solid wood floors. Unfinished solid oak floors come in several different qualities. These qualities are clear, select and better, #1 common, and #2 common. The clear has no visual blemishes or knots and is extremely expensive. The select and better quality has some small knots and very little dark graining, while the #1 common and #2 common have more knots and more dark graining. When buying an unfinished solid wood floor make sure you know which quality you are buying.

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Which is Better?

All three have their pros and cons. Rotary Peeled provides the highest use of raw materials for lowest cost, lowest visual appeal and weakest grain structure. Sliced provides better yield with medium cost, better visual appeal, and better structural integrity. Sawn Face lowest yield for the highest cost, best visual appeal, and strongest grain structural due to a natural sawing process vs slicing or peeling of the grain.

During the manufacturing the wood plies are stacked on top of each other in the opposite directions. By reversing the direction of each ply as it is placed on top of each other helps counteract the natural tendency of wood to expand and contract with changes in humidity levels and moisture. By crossing the plies the finished planks are much more dimensionally stable than solid wood planks and won't show those unsightly gaps that happen with most solid wood floors. This added dimensional stability allows engineered wood planks to be installed over concrete slabs. (Note: the concrete slabs still must be clean and dry. See the manufacturer's installation recommendation for more details.)

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