Types of Hardwood Flooring

DIY Network experts explain the different types of hardwood flooring.
installed pre finished hardwood flooring

installed pre finished hardwood flooring

With some carpentry skills, patience and the right tips, you can install a hardwood floor.

Hardwood flooring is increasing in popularity and is one of the most durable choices -- especially when choosing a pre-finished hardwood floor to install. Some pre-finished hardwood flooring comes with a 50-year manufacturer's warranty. With some basic carpentry skills and a few tips, installing a hardwood floor is a relatively easy do-it-yourself project.

Hardwood floors can be used in any room -- kitchens are very popular now. A 3/4" Brazilian Teak is installed over 3/4" plywood. If you are installing hardwood floors on a concrete slab or have a height problem, use 3/8" materials because they're thinner.

When you think of hardwood floors, you think of unfinished floors that you have to sand and finish. We are installing pre-finished flooring. There is a laminate that has a paper-thin wear layer of wood glued to press board. It is relatively inexpensive, but, in the long run, it's better to use solid wood with a 3/4" wear layer that can be sanded down and refinished later on if there is damage.

There are different options as far as width and grades go. There are basically three grades:

1. Select red oak is a top grade hardwood. This piece is 2-3/4" wide. It usually has very little knots and little color variation. There are wide choices of different species and widths and a number of choices other than oak. The cost of the select is approximately five dollars per square foot.

2. Natural maple has more color variation and small knots here and there. The piece here is 3-1/4" wide and comes in 4", 5" or 6" widths. It is 12 percent harder than red oak, and people use it on gym floors or bowling alleys, etc. The cost for the natural grade is approximately four dollars per square foot.

3. Rustic ash has larger knots and, again, color variation. It still makes a good floor and is lower in price -- the cost being approximately three dollars per square foot. This is a less formal wood and would be good in a family room, etc.

The pre-finished floor saves a lot of labor and is a better finish. They are applied in a factory setting and are sanded three times and usually have eight coats of finish with aluminum oxide on it. The finish is baked on. It is UV cured and as it goes through each layer it is built up and has actual pieces of metal in the finish. The metal pieces give it a very high Taber Test, which is a test done in a laboratory where they test the finish by taking an abrasive wheel and testing to see how many rotations it takes to wear through into the wood.

This article shows how to install a Brazilian Teak floor. It is a solid 3/4" tongue and groove material. There are a number of species -- a purple floor, which is right out of tree purple, a Brazilian cherry or Santos mahogany, for example. With a tongue and groove nail through the tongue and just slide the next piece right over it.

Note: The pneumatic flooring package can be rented from a rental center for approximately $50 per day. Get the staples and nails that fit the particular gun you are using because they are all different. The reason for renting this is because Brazilian Teak is 80 percent harder than oak and you will have a hard time getting the nails through the tongue, and you also risk missing and damaging the flooring. The pneumatic gets the staples in at a precise 50-degree angle through the tongue and the staples will be covered up by the next piece that comes in. This is the precision way to do it and will save a lot of headaches.

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