Choosing a Type of Hardwood Flooring

Today, there are so many types of flooring that we can choose from. Flooring that is made from materials like vinyl, plastic laminate, ceramic, tile, and carpeting. But a recent study has found that Americans are more inclined to buying wood flooring. They have found that from 2002 to 2011, wood flooring was being bought at 900 million square feet annually. This growth in popularity of wood flooring continues to do so because many people seek the beauty that wood flooring can offer and also the warm feeling of being able to walk on a wooden floor.

Flooring

wood flooring

Now wood flooring comes in a number of different types each having its own style. But we can narrow that number into two basic kinds of wood flooring. Those two are solid wood flooring which is also known as hardwood flooring, and engineered wood flooring which is also known as laminate flooring. From the name implies, hardwood flooring, or solid flooring is made purely from a long piece of solid wood. While laminate flooring or engineered wood flooring is several layers or pieces of wood that are being pressed together to form the plank. Today, we are going to focus on hardwood flooring.

Now when buying hardwood flooring, you will find that they come in wide planks, narrow strips, or parquet squares. The most common choice here is strip flooring. They have dimensions of 1 ½ to 3 inches in width. If you buy the wooden planks, they will have a width of around 3 to 7 inches. But parquet is a different story. With parquet flooring, they are tiles that are already assembled in tiles or wood strips. People who go for this option are those who look to have beautiful weaves, patterns, and shapes in their hardwood flooring. All hardwood flooring choices can be bought with or without a finish and they have range of thickness from 5/16 to ¾ inch.

Hardwood flooring is a choice for many homeowners because of their traditional look. Common hardwood flooring choices are maple and red oak because these are the more affordable types of hardwood floors and they look attractive too. You may also opt to give the wood a stain or just leave it in its natural look. If you do go for unfinished woods, you will have to do the finishing yourself, which involves staining, sanding, and adding the top finish which is a clear coat.

But if you don’t want to do the finishing yourself, you may opt to buy the finished wood flooring. However, you should also be willing to spend more with finished wood floors. The advantage here other than saving you time and effort of doing the finishing yourself, is you can immediately move around the furniture and over the floor as soon as you finish nailing down the last board compared to doing the finishing yourself where you will have to wait until it is set. You can also find that prefinished floors can be bought in thinner planks compared to the unfinished ones so you won’t have to go through much trouble anymore.

Historic trends in flooring materials

With all of the possible options available on the market today, have you ever wondered the history of these flooring options and when they were conceived? Each type of flooring has a unique origin, sometime thousands of years old. This blog post will explore some historic trends in flooring. Though not an exhaustive list of all of the flooring materials ever used, it will touch on some of the more popular types of flooring material and their origin, and where appropriate talk about trends in their use in home building.

Historically speaking, dirt floors have probably been the most commonly used material throughout the world. Dirt is actually still used in many parts of the world, especially under developed countries where people lack the financial resources to pay for more advanced flooring. Dirt is quite a good flooring material, it is cheap, hard, and can be very durable if treated properly. Sometimes straw and cow or horse manure is mixed in with the dirt and trampled down over time. This creates an ultra hard, cement like flooring that can actually be swept with a broom. When walked on barefoot, dirt floors absorb oil from the peoples skin, creating watertight barrier.

Stone floor construction became a trend in ancient Egypt around five thousand years ago. Bricks were also developed during this time period, and began to appear as a popular flooring option. There are many variations on this type of flooring. Initially it developed through the use of pebbles. It eventually involved to use smoother, flatter stones and later on people started making mosaic designs in their floors.

The next type of flooring to become popular was in the Roman Empire about two thousand years ago, when ceramic tile making became common. After the fall of the empire, use did not gain popularity again until the middle of the fifteen century in Europe. Ceramic tile is still quite popular in many regions of the world, especially where it is hot. Ceramic tiles maintain a relatively cool temperature, even in high heat. They are also quite decorative and can be colorful as well.

Wood flooring started showing up sometime in the Middle Ages. It was rudimentary at first, and eventually evolved to the craft and art that it is today. Hardwood flooring, while not the most common, is current the most popular flooring material for homes in developed countries throughout the world.

Though its popularity did not catch on until the advent of petroleum based products in the 18th century, the first carpet floor coverings date back more than four thousand years ago. Woven rugs were the first carpets, and were made from all sorts of different types of fibers.

In eighteen sixty three an English rubber maker named Frederick Walton applied for a patent on linoleum. He discovered the substance while experimenting with linseed oil and different types of resins. Thus was born linoleum flooring, a material that remains in used today and reigned in popularity during the late twentieth century.

In the early eighteenth century, an inventor from the United States of America accidentally invented polyvinyl chloride, commonly referred as PVC or vinyl. It quickly became a popular inexpensive floor covering option after the Second World War.

Pet owners beware: the top five things you should consider when shopping for new flooring

Many people say that being a pet owner is an extremely rewarding experience. In many ways, your pets become part of your family, not unlike your children or grand children. They are usually present for important family events, and sometimes even get taken on vacation. Some people even choose not to have children, and keep a whole family of pets in lieu of the more traditional family approach.

That all being said, keeping a pet friendly household can be quite challenging. In some ways, you almost need to pet-proof a house, not unlike how most new parents spend countless hours baby-proofing to keep their precious newborn safe from harm. There are different flooring options for a pet friendly household, and probably the most difficult to maintain and protect is hardwood flooring. Aside from hardwood, there are a few other more pet friendly options that may be easier to maintain and keep clean. This blog post will ask some important questions about what you should consider when deciding on a new flooring material.

  1. What type of wear and tear do your pets typically cause? If you have cats who scratch at carpet, you will definitely want to put in some kind of tile or other hard surface. Otherwise you will quickly find your floor is damaged beyond repair. If you have dogs that are notorious for tracking mud into the home, you may want to avoid carpet as well. Tile flooring is much easier to clean in that regard.
  2. How much time and effort can you commit to cleaning and maintaining your new floor? As mentioned in consideration number one, pets can be quite a mess. Aside from tracking in dirt and mud, pets also shed. Long haired dogs or cats sometimes shed more hair than is feasibly imaginable, making the cleanup process long and tedious. Having carpet means you will constantly be vacuuming up dander and hair. Having a hard floor means that hair balls and tuffs of hair and dust will pile up in corners all over your home and under furniture. This will require constant sweeping and mopping. Hardwood flooring adds in an additional element of cleaning in that they need to be polished on a regular basis. Think about what kinds of messes your animals make and how much time you have to clean up.
  3. Durability is another important consideration. You will want something that can stand the test of time, and hold up for years of use to come. The standard life of flooring varies significantly by type, so be sure to do your research. You also may want to speak with the flooring manufacturer or retail store to see if they offer any type of warranty on the flooring material. This will help with longevity in the event of flooring damage.
  4. What type of features does the flooring material offer is another point of consideration. Some carpets have built in stain resistance, making them an idea choice for pet owners who like to make a mess.
  5. What is your budget for new flooring? This needs to be an important consideration as well as you do not want to go over budget for your flooring project.