Types of Flooring
Unfinished vs. Unfinished
Unfinished flooring requires a finish process in which a stain of your choice is applied on-site. For natural finishes, clear polyurethane is applied to the raw flooring after sanding. Generally speaking, this is a several day process due to multiple coat applications and the between coat polishing sessions. The new flooring can be finished with a water-based or oil-based finish depending on the requirements and preference of the homeowner. This process is similar to that of having an existing hardwood floor refinished. In this case, the customer has more control over the luster (gloss / satin / flat /etc.) and color variations as well as additional border/inlay options. This process requires all furniture to be removed and zero floor traffic for several days. Unfinished flooring is a clear aesthetic choice for many but can be a logistics problem for others!
Prefinished flooring is gaining in popularity across the globe. Prefinished flooring differs from unfinished in that it has already been finished at the factory, thus obviating the need to sand and refinish the product on-site! In many cases, this provides a big savings in time and convenience! Typically, several coats of Aluminum Oxide are baked onto the individual planks at the manufacturer, providing a floor ready to be installed after a brief acclimation period in the home. Aluminum Oxide is a harder and more durable finish than typical polyurethanes and prefinished floors are usually sold with long luster guarantees (some up to 50 years). Prefinished flooring is now outselling unfinished by a 10 to1 ratio owing mainly to these factors:
- • Furniture can be shuffled from one area to another and immediately be put back without emptying the entire living space.
- • Can be walked on immediately (glue down next day).
- • Has no odor from chemical stains or finish coat.
- • Has a tremendous variety of species (domestic and exotic).
- • Can be more cost effective and logistically less complicated for home owners.
- • Available in solid, engineered, floating, click, bamboo, cork and laminates.
Solid vs Engineered vs Floating vs Laminate
Depending on type of subfloors, environments, floor traffic, species, climate changes and budget, the type of wood or composite you choose should NOT be based strictly on aesthetics! There is a critical mechanical element involved when choosing a floor. It can be costly not knowing the limitations of a species in your environment! The good news is that most species are available in a product that will suit your taste as well as your specific environment. The type of underlayment and other installation materials (glue/staples/cleats/vapor barriers) have a tremendous effect on a quality installation! (Our estimators are also installers who will thoroughly check out environmental conditions before a project begins)