Carters Hardwood Floors

Carters Hardwood Floors

Hardwood Flooring, the reason why you are here So what do you need to know about flooring? Well depending on rather you are on a raised foundation ( your house has a sub floor ) sitting on a concret slab or your house sit’s below water grade level your choices in what flooring change dramatically. Below gives you more info on how to find out, and better understand your options in flooring and the area’s in wich your new flooring can be laid down.

Why Choose Solid Hardwood Flooring?

Most people recognize quality with solid hardwood. They are more inclined to go with what they perceive as a better quality building material. The products are more often used in construction with wood subfloors or those built with floor joist systems, more common in northern states with basements below. Installation calls for nailing and stapling with proper hardwood flooring tools. Hardwood floors last longer then engineered flooring do to the fact they have a MUCH larger wear layer.

What is Wear Layer?

Wear layer refers to the top portion of a plank of wood flooring. Wear layer thickness is important when considering the number of times a product can be refinished, especially with engineered flooring.

For an engineered product, the wear layer is only as thick as the species layer on the product. Most manufacturers produce engineered products with enough wear layer to allow for one or more refinishes. Generally speaking, the thicker a wear layer is on an engineered product, the higher quality the product is. For solid floors, the wear layer is all of the wood above the tongue.

What Thickness Is Solid Hardwood?

More traditional solid hardwoods are available in thickness of 3/4 of one inch. This has become more of a norm but thinner products are also chosen for a number of reasons; chiefly because of the cost. Thinner solids start at 5/16 of one inch with more selections at 3/8 to 1/2 inch. If you are seeking appearance and more of a traditional look, most 3/4 solids offer longer lengths with the exception being many imported Chinese hardwoods today. Some have specifications calling for 12 to 48 inch lengths only.

More traditional or mass produced prefinished and unfinished hardwood flooring in the 3/4 format are generally described as random 12 — 84 inch lengths. The numbers may vary slightly. Random is defined as boards starting at 12 inches with maximum lengths of 84 inches, with those in between having no set measurement.  This can be misleading because grade can also play a role. A lower grade will often bring in shorter overall lengths. On the other hand, some unfinished manufacturers have the capacity to custom mill if one desires longer set lengths, thus avoiding the smaller pieces.

Moving on to thinner solid hardwoods, specifically prefinished, overall lengths generally run shorter. Some may still say 12 — 84 but we’ve found a considerable amount of shorter pieces can be mixed in. Other manufacturers may call for 12 -60 or only 12 — 48;  prevalent with BR111 and Scandian exotic hardwoods.  Much like solid 3/4 thin domestic hardwoods can be specified with longer lengths if you can find the source. Imports are more unlikely unless you’re seeking a large quantity.

The most common selected solid hardwood is still the traditional 2 1/4 width, also known as strip flooring. The more recognized prefinished manufacturers offer widths ranging from 2 1/4 up to five, and sometimes seven. On the other hand, mills that saw unfinished flooring can provide 1 1/2 up to twenty, but will depend on the species as some hardwood species do not perform well over a certain width.

What Grades?

When shopping for prefinished solid hardwoods grade is rarely specified. For instance looking in a flooring store and asking what grade a particular prefinished floor may be is likely to bring blank looks. The salesman often has to call the manufacturer because he doesn’t have the information in his pricing and spec sheet. Most all prefinished manufacturers do sell solid hardwoods that will be more uniform in color and appearance (occasional ugly or dark/light boards not included) unless otherwise specified.  Exceptions being cabin or tavern grades that carry no warranties.

Other Solid Hardwoods

For the discriminating buyer, high end solid parquet and herringbone floors can also be chosen but most will require sanding and finishing on the jobsite. Thicknesses vary from 5/16 up to 3/4 of one inch. Pattern styles are unlimited with custom orders.

What Are Engineered Floors?

Engineered hardwood floors are constructed similar to that of basic plywood with the top surface being the actual hardwood. Products come in two to ten ply construction depending on the manufacturer. On the right is a general overview of three strip engineered hardwood, common with original floating floors.

But They All Look The Same!

Engineered hardwoods have been given a bad rap over the years because they all looked basically similar. Earlier versions had one boring looking appearance in that all were rotary peeled. Rotary peeled hardwoods offer a plywood surface appearance. Some like it, others don’t. Several high quality manufacturers have been offering solid sawn engineered hardwoods. Solid sawn exhibits the appearance of traditional 3/4 solid hardwoods many of us are accustomed to.

I have been told It’s Junk!

Ask any craftsman, builder, or installer from the old school what they think about engineered flooring and the answers will likely be the same. Sure, there are many low priced engineered floors out there sold in places like Carpet One, Lowe’s, and smaller retail stores. the only way to get good qaulity engineered flooring is through a licensed Flooring contractor. A licend flooring contractor allows for you to pick a much high quality flooring product from warehouses like Virgina Hardwood and Countrywood Flooring

Times Have Changed With Quality

Times have changed with engineered flooring. Many manufacturers have increased the surface (also known as veneer or wear layer) layer that will result in some engineered floors lasting just as long as more traditional solid 3/4 inch flooring. One of the most important factors contributing to the longevity of any hardwood floor is the amount of refinish able material.

Solid 3/4 hardwoods have approximately 1/4 of an inch above the tongue and groove construction. Once it is sanded to that level, nails or staples begin to appear and should be replaced. The better and thicker engineered hardwoods have 1/8 to 3/16 of an inch above the tongue and groove. Illustration right.

Ideal for Concrete

Engineered floors are the ideal solution for hardwood flooring on concrete, and there are other benefits. Most recognized is the dimensional stability of the way they are constructed. Each ply layer is pressure glued and set in the opposite direction. For those that are concerned with high humidity, engineered hardwoods expand and contract little if any, opposed to solid hardwoods.

How Are They Installed?

Most engineered hardwoods are installed by the glue down or floating floor method. It’s important to note; not all engineered products have the same type of installation specifications. In other words, some may be floating, glue direct, or staple only. Manufacturers specify installation applications for a reason, and we suggest following them.

How Many Plies?

In general the more ply layers in construction the more stable the product will be. However, this should not be a determining factor in your selection unless you’re using the product over radiant in floor heat. You’ll find ply layers vary from two to ten with manufacturers across the board. We find the actual wear layer thickness should be given priority if you plan on living in the home for an extended period of time. On the other hand, if you don’t plan to live in the residence for more than five or ten years others can be chosen at lower costs


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