Flooring Education

Laminate

The popularity of laminate flooring has gone through the roof in recent years. People these days seem to like things that are cheaper and easier to use or install. With laminate flooring, you can install it a lot faster than traditional hardwood flooring. Plus, you won’t have to spend a lot of money on wood either. Laminate flooring is relatively hygienic and easy to care for. If you are somebody on a budget then laminate is definitely the choice for you.

Another name for laminate flooring is “floating wood tile.” This name is popular in Canada and in the United States, but it is the same type of flooring as laminate. Many people get confused about what laminate flooring actually is. Basically, it is just many layers of material that get compress together through a very unique lamination method. The good thing about installing laminate flooring is that you don’t have to rip up the preexisting floor of your home. Instead, a clear protective layer goes over the existing wood or stone flooring in order to stimulate it. That way the real floor material will not get damaged, which means you can preserve its lifespan. This is one of the greatest benefits of laminate.

Solid

One of the most popular flooring types are solid hardwood floors. Not only are they durable, but you can purchase them in many different styles and dimensions. The wooden planks of hardwood floors come from timber mills. In fact, each plank comes from one piece of milled timber. When hardwood floors were first developed they were only installed near the support beams of a building, which were also made out of wood. This area is where the joists and bearers are located.

The great thing about using solid wood for your flooring is that it brings natural characteristics to our setting. It actually makes you feel like your outside by simply looking at it. Usually, flooring contains thick boards that are no bigger than 100mm. When solid wood is manufactured it cannot go passed 100mm because the floor’s structure would be ruined. However, there are certain manufacturers that can actually produce wider solid wooden boards through special proprietary milling techniques. After all, there is no set standard for the size of hardwood floors in homes or in buildings. They are usually manufactured in a way that will simply perform well in that environment. So, if for some reason you have a big wide open area that needs wide wooden boards then you will need to use the proprietary milling technique to get them. The most important function of hardwood flooring is that it covers the concrete slab that resides on the floor of the building. You also won’t have to give this type of flooring much maintenance either.

 

Engineered

The type of wood flooring that is commonly used all around the world is called “engineered wood flooring.” This flooring is comprised of multiple wooden planks that act as layers to the floor. The very top layer is called “lamella,” which is the wood on top of the floor that everyone sees and walks on. Underneath the top layer are the core wooden layers, also called substrate. These are the layers responsible for the stability of the floor.

Acrylic impregnated wood flooring is another version of engineered wood flooring. This type of flooring contains a thin wooden layer that gets “impregnated” with a liquid synthetic fiber known as “acrylic.” After the acrylic is placed inside the wood, it then goes through a hardening process to turn solid inside the wood. You might be surprised that this impregnated approach actually makes wood harder than non impregnated wooden flooring. A test was done on northern red oak flooring to prove this using the Janka hardness scale. A piece of northern red oak that was not impregnated got a 1290 rating while an impregnated piece scored in the 3000-4000 range. Wood flooring with this amount of hardness is usually needed in settings that will consistently have lots of people stepping on it. This could be a business or commercial setting where you constantly have workers walking back and forth. If non impregnated floors were used then it would have little resistance to wear and dents.

 

Bamboo

Bamboo flooring is a special type of flooring that is made from bamboo plants. You will find that most bamboo flooring products and resources come from companies in China or other areas of the Asian continent. The reason for this is because bamboo plants can naturally be found in this area of the world, so this gives Asian companies an abundant supply to use for resale purposes.

If you are looking for an alternative to hardwood flooring then you should consider getting bamboo flooring. Even though it is physically similar to solid hardwood floors in terms of durability, it is also more resistant to water moisture and insect abuse. Plus, bamboo flooring is considered to be eco-friendly by environmentalists, which means you won’t be contributing to the destruction of trees in order to get the material for your flooring. Now days, there is a new manufacturing technique associated with bamboo flooring called “fossilized strand woven bamboo flooring.” This type of flooring is about four times harder than the traditional bamboo flooring that has about a 1300 rating on the Janka hardness test. The woven bamboo flooring gets a whopping 3000-5000 rating for hardness.

 

Floor Finishes

Wood finishes give your hardwood floors a nice finishing touch. People most commonly use polyurethane and oil to finish their wooden floors. Each finishing type has a lot of different attributes, which coincide with the floor’s maintenance. In the past, people usually mixed varnishes, shellacs and lacquers in with their oils. Now these are less commonly used.

Oil finishing has been around for thousands of years, pretty much as long as floors themselves have. Oil is still used today on floors and has never gone out of style. The oil used for finishing is naturally made from drying vegetable oils that contain no volatile organic compounds. This means it won’t give off an intense vapor pressure when it sits in room temperature.

Before the wood is oiled, steel brushes are applied to the wood in order to remove any existing splinters. After this is done, the oil is then applied.

A newer type of floor finishing that has been around since 1940 is polyurethane flooring. There are many variations of polyurethane flooring, but the two that homeowners would most likely use are oil-modified polyurethane and straight polyurethane. You are probably more familiar with these products under their other names, such as varnish, urethane and lacquer. Most manufacturers of wood flooring and finishing will create a unique brand name for their products.

 

Sanding

The purpose of sanding your floors is to smooth it down after it is installed. After all, floors will typically be a little uneven after the material is installed because of the subfloor that it was layered on. Sanding will completely level out the top layer for you.

Sanding is also performed on older floors that have a worn out appearance. It will help restore the appearance to a somewhat presentable state. To sand your floors, you have to use the finest grade of sandpaper that you can buy. This will get rid of any scratches that are visible and it will even out any stain penetration. Before polyurethanes were used to finish floors, people mixed waxes and oils with their stain finishing. Some of the most common types of finishing were linseed oil and Beeswax. These polymers have the ability to naturally harden over time.