Saturday, March 28, 2009

How To Select Hardwood Part 1

hardwood styles
Why hardwood?
It’s not hard to answer. This flooring product offers many features and benefits to the home. And, perhaps, to your home.
The elegant look of a hardwood floor can add warmth and character to any room. In fact, the natural characteristics of wood add depth and a visual appearance that many other types of floors try to duplicate. Running the boards on the diagonal, or creating a border are just some of the design styles one can consider.

Today you can choose between a pre-finished hardwood floor and one that is unfinished. Pre-finished hardwood comes ready for installation in your home. The hardwood boards have already been sanded, stained and finished at the manufacturing plant. In many cases this can provide a harder, better-protected surface.

Pre-finished floors offer a wider variety of wood species and save hours of labor and cleanup. But unfinished wood floors allow you to have a custom job – you choose the wood species and it’s sanded and the stain is applied on site. With unfinished you also have the chance to level the surface of the entire floor after it has been installed.

Grain:
Hardwood styles are the result of the wood species available. Some of the more common species are red oak, white oak, maple, cherry, white ash, hickory or pecan.

Each species has its own unique graining and texture. The graining on the boards is determined by the way it has been cut.

There are two cutting processes. “Sliced Cut” shows a more uniform pattern, whereas “Rotary Cut” displays a larger and bolder graining pattern. graining pattern.

Colors:
Within each species of hardwood you will have a choice of color and finishes. Here’s where it pays to shop carefully.

When selecting a color, choose one that either coordinates or contrasts with your cabinetry and furniture.
Also keep in mind that darker woods tend to be more formal while natural colors are more casual.

Now don't forget, you're not finished yet. You should be aware that there are different types of finishes depending on whether your hardwood floor is pre-finished or job site finished.

In general, lower gloss levels are better suited for active rooms. This is because lower gloss or matte finishes help minimize the appearance of dirt and scratches. Consider the elegant look of the high gloss finish for a more formal decor.

Upkeep:
The days of having to wax and scrub your hardwood floors are pretty much gone forever. Manufacturers of pre-finished wood floors have developed sophisticated techniques to quickly apply hard, durable, urethane-based finishes right at the factory.

By using ultra violet lights, the pre-finished wood planks can have several coats of urethane applied within a matter of a few minutes. This is helping make hardwood floors both more affordable, and much easier to maintain.
Recently, the hardwood flooring manufacturers have began to add small chips aluminum directly to the floor’s finish which dramatically increases the life of the urethane finish.

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