Hardwood has an excellent reputation when it comes to types of floors. A lot of that admirable track record has to do with how it looks.
A beautiful hardwood floor is almost universally appreciated, and many wood floors still look great after enduring decades of the comings and goings of families, visitors and even a variety of pets.
However, things can go wrong even for the best Red Oak hardwood floor.
So, what are the different types of wood floors, how should you care for your hardwood floor once it has been installed, and how can you restore a floor that hasn't been looked after sufficiently?
If You Already Have A Hardwood Flooring Installation
There are some basics to keep in mind, and probably the most important is to keep excessive moisture away from the floor, or to clean up spills without delay. Even when cleaning the floor you should at most use a damp mop, with no dripping water, and even then it is usually recommended to use an appropriate wood floor cleaner.
Your floor should be cleared regularly of dust and sand particles which could scratch the surface, so best practice is to use floor mats or runners which help catch these elements, and then also to dry-mop regularly.
Other culprits that will surely degrade the appearance of your floor are unpadded furniture feet, and heavy furniture being dragged over the unprotected floor. And then there are the padded feet belonging to pets which can scratch the floor if you don't trim those toe nails regularly!
What can you do to get a great but neglected hardwood floor back to its former glory?
This link will take you to a great article showing how this can be accomplished, in this case with a 72 year old oak floor!
Still Unsure About The Best Type Of Wood Floor For Your Family?
Hardwood flooring is known for adding structural strength, value and a unique sense of warmth old-world charm. You can choose from a wide range of wood species, finishes, stains, cuts and surface treatments.
Types Of Hardwood Floors - Popular Wood Species
Popular wood species for hardwood floors are Oak, Cherry, Birch, Maple, Alder, Brazilian Walnut and American Black Walnut.
Types Of hardwood floors - Surface Textures
Wire-brushed wood floors
These floors are also referred to as wire-scraped wood flooring. It simply means that the planks have been brushed with a wire brush to remove the soft, upper layer of wood. This gives you flooring with a more textured, 'lived-in' or older look. You gain access to more of the character of the hardwood planks, in a sense.
On the upside, this gives you a floor that is less likely to show scratches and scrapes, as these tend to blend into the wire-brushed appearance. As the softer layer of wood has been removed, the floor may also be more resistant to scratching. Another benefit is that the floor should become more slip-resistant.
On the downside, the rough texture can sometimes be more difficult to maintain, although not everyone agrees with this. Another drawback may also become apparent when refinishing. Remember that the soft upper layer of the wood is gone. Usually refinishing of hardwood planks can be done two or three times, each time removing more of the upper layer through the sanding process. With wire-brushed floors this won't be possible.
Distressed wood floors
These are floor planks that have been distressed or scraped by machine. These won't give you the unique appearance of hand scraped floors, but will be less expensive. You may find that the look isn't as natural as you would have liked, as a machine is likely to leave noticeable repetitive patterns on the planks.
Handscraped wood floors
This is the real thing! In this instance the floor planks are distressed by hand. With this floor you should get a very natural and unique end-result. The floor will be texture-rich. The texturing will vary according to the level of scraping. As the scraping is done by hand, this usually results in a more costly floor installation. You may find that hand scraped flooring is more durable than smooth floors, as scratches tend to 'disappear' into the scraped surface. An example of this is Mazama Handscraped Tropical Collection Wood Flooring in Acacia, Oak Blackmoon or Mongolian Teak.
Smooth wood floors
This is the least labor intensive option, so should normally be most affordable. This type of flooring installation will give you a smooth, untextured appearance. The planks won't have the time-worn look of a hand scraped floor. One of your options is the Mazama Kempas hardwood flooring range in Royal Mahogany or Jasper Red Oak Flooring. On these floors dust and scratches will be fairly noticeable, due to the smooth surface. You will therefore need to be more careful when it comes to protecting the floors.
Basic hardwood finishing options
Unfinished flooring or site finished flooring
In this instance, installation of the floor has to be followed by finishing. You can choose from a number of finishes and sealers.
Your planks will arrive ready to be installed and used. You won't have to worry about details such as sanding or finishing. One of the best finishes is aluminum oxide for extra durability. This finish has to be applied at the factory, as special equipment is needed to speed up the drying process. This gives your flooring a tough and durable layer that can withstand lots of foot traffic!
Choosing the right type of wood floor for your home, can be quite a challenge. You will need to do some homework to make sure that you make the most of this home remodeling investment. It is a good idea to get your hands on some samples to enable you to see how particular species, finishes or textures will fit into your existing decor.