Domestic vs Exotic Hardwood?

Jim Williams
Posted in:
Buying Guides

There are many types of hardwood, and most of them are subdivided according to more groups and/or materials. Before you plan to build or refurnish your home using hardwood, it is important to note that different hardwood types are suitable for different situations and places. These are some of the most commonly used hardwood types, what they are, and what they're suitable for:

Solid Hardwood

Solid hardwood is suitable for floors that are on or above ground levels. This type of flooring is long-lasting, and it can be refinished and retouched over several generations. Although, if you are the type of homeowner who considers minor dents, cracks, and scratches in your hardwood flooring part of the character of your home, you may just leave them be. Solid hardwood expands and contracts with changes in humidity, so it's best to keep temperature and humidity levels stable.

Unfinished Hardwood

Unfinished hardwood flooring gives the homeowner more options when it comes to the precise finish that he/she wants. It is important to note installation - the required sanding and finishing can create a lot of dust and mess, and is best done by a professional. Unfinished hardwood flooring gives the homeowner the ability to choose the staining and finishing style that he/she desires, including a variety of options that are not commonly available with prefinished flooring.

Prefinished Hardwood

Prefinished hardwood flooring arrives with a great and long-lasting signature manufacturer's finish that is consistent in appearance. A prefinished floor is guaranteed to cut the costs of having hardwood flooring. It is also the choice for people who are in a hurry, because it can be installed while the owner is already living at home, without the possible inconveniences of additional blasting, sanding, or finishing fumes. Also, most prefinished floors come with an exceptional finish warranty that ranges from 15-25 years.

Engineered Hardwood

Engineered hardwood is great for flooring that is below ground levels, or in homes with higher than average humidity changes. It is made with a few layers of wood, stacked and compressed, and topped with a wear layer of wood that can be refinished. Engineered hardwood is better than solid hardwood in terms of having the ability to withstand changes in humidity and temperature, so it is a more suitable choice when it comes to sub-level hardwood flooring. However, the top layer of wood can come in a wide range of thicknesses, so it's best to find out how often, if at all, your engineered hardwood floor can be refinished.

Laminate Hardwood

Laminated hardwood is a flooring type that is made up of a fiberboard center and layers of laminate, with the top comprised of the printed film image of the wood pattern and a protective surface. This is a tougher version of what we see on kitchen counters. Although this is often a cost-effective option, it is important to note that this is not actually hardwood flooring, and so cannot be refinished. Cracks, chips and scratches will require replacing the section of flooring that has been damaged.

Different hardwood flooring types are suitable for different levels, rooms, and homeowners, so choose the hardwood flooring that suits you and your home best.