Selecting new hardwood flooring for your home can be an alarming and unexpected time consuming task. With the never ending selection of hardwood flooring materials available today with as many locations, each offering discounts, advantages and recommendations over competing rivals, home or business owners are often left in a cloud of confusion with difficulty in making a formidable decision. Far too many times, frustrated home and business owners throw up their hands in surrender, giving in to uneducated sales presentations, purchasing the lowest priced wood flooring material to bring closure to a very un-eventual process. Unfortunately, purchasing hardwood flooring material based on price eventually results in floors once installed, with surprising negative consequences in less time than expected.
To date, there are two types of pre-finished hardwood flooring materials available, solid and engineered, available in a wide spectrum of colors and finishes. Where each type of wood flooring material is similar in durability, however there remains a significant difference in composition and pricing per square foot that remains a determining factor often over-looked by price conscious, weary purchasers.
Solid pre-finished hardwood flooring is as the name implies, “solid” wood with un-limited species to choose from. With thicknesses of 5/16″ to ¾” typical, solid wood flooring is fabricated in tongue and groove configuration locking all members together in a “no-glue” fashion. Tongue and groove solid pre-finished wood flooring is typically nailed in with specialized tools, however may be “free-floated” over appropriate underlayment to allow for contraction and expansion during temperature changes. Three- quarter inch (3/4″) tongue and groove solid flooring is not recommended for below grade installations, such as basements, due to adverse effect on the wood when installed over existing concrete surfaces. Buckling, cupping and seam separation are common indications of solid wood flooring installed in improper locations or in an incorrect manner.
Associated costs per square foot for solid hardwood flooring are as expected considerably higher due to solid wood composition. With typical costs per square for material only starting or exceeding $4-$5 per square foot, ¾” solid hardwood flooring should be installed by qualified and experienced flooring installers for best results. Home or business owner installation is not recommended due to the complexity of installation and specialized tools required. Of noticeable cost per square foot concerns, home or business owners should take note of professional installation raising the cost of solid wood flooring exceeding $10-$12 per square foot, however the results far out-weigh the additional cost of the original investment. Solid hardwood floors have a life expectancy of 50 years or more when properly installed with the possibility to change finishing colors by re-sanding, keeping abreast with the latest in interior designs.
Engineered pre-finished wood flooring is rapidly becoming the most popular selection of hardwood flooring beyond the conventional means of floor covering, carpet. Constructed from 3-10 layers of wood, typically 5, the layers of engineered flooring are oriented in opposite directions glued under extreme pressure for endurance. The term, “engineered” has long been associated with stigmas of poorly constructed or “cheap” flooring upon initial introduction; however has little or nothing to do with the composition of pre-finished hardwood flooring material other than a manufacturing process used in the production of this superior flooring material.
Of the five types of hardwood flooring material available, engineered pre-finished wood flooring has gained recognition and notoriety for value and affordable pricing. Similar to pre-finished solid hardwood flooring material, engineered wood flooring material is installed in a tongue and groove manner however offers options in installation over solid pre-finished wood flooring, increasing consumer awareness two-fold.
Nailed, glued, glue less or floating, pre-finished engineered flooring is both “eco-friendly” and “user-friendly”. With latest in installation design technology, engineered pre-finished hardwood floors offer “click and lock” design with no glue, nails or special tools required. The simple “click and lock” technology allows home and business owners to self- install pre-finished floors in their home or place of business saving hundreds of dollars in professional installation costs. With novice experience, a home or business owner can install a pre-finished hardwood floor over s week-end with dramatic results in overall room appearance.
Ranging in pricing and depending on grade selected, engineered pre-finished flooring is available starting at $3.50 per square foot, home or business owner installed. Subsequent selections of better quality grades (thickness of material) and finishes will increase overall costs per square foot accordingly.
Taking all choices, styles and colors into consideration when selecting a flooring material, the eventual outcome will produce a hardwood floor that is beautiful, long lasting, tested by time and performance. While the debate may continue for many years yet to come a home or business owner can be assured of one remaining factor, a superior floor that is solid and engineered.