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What is solid prefinished hardwood flooring?

what is solid prefinished hardwood flooringWhen shopping for hardwood flooring you will find there are two types of actual wood flooring currently on the market. These are solid hardwood flooring and engineered flooring. Solid hardwood flooring is available in both unfinished and prefinished varieties.

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While the actual wood is still the same in both varieties, prefinished hardwood flooring is ready to be installed on your prepared surface and then you are done. There is normally no difference in how the floorboards will be installed between the two types.

Unfinished hardwood will require staining, varnish, or sealing depending on what look you desire. Prefinished hardwood boards will have several coats of factory-applied finish on each and usually will be beveled on at least two if not all sides.

Looking Past the Finish

Once you look past the option of whether to choose unfinished or prefinished hardwood flooring, you will see there is no difference with the actual length, width, and thickness of the boards. The normal lengths of the boards range from one foot to six-and-a-half feet, with a width between two and one-quarter inches and six inches. The thickness will usually be 3/4″, but 1/2″ thickness is also available for some varieties.

what some solid prefinished hardwood flooring isThe installation for unfinished and prefinished hardwood flooring is the same. The subfloor or concrete slab will require the same preparation for each. Depending on the method of installation that you or your contractor choose, the floorboards will either be nailed or glued into place.

History of Prefinished Flooring

What you may not know is that there is a history behind prefinished flooring that begins with the housing boom that took place soon after World War II. Before that time, there were very few manufacturers of this product and the product itself was considered a novelty.

The main reason for the popularity of this flooring was that homes financed through the Federal Housing Administration had to meet certain requirements. One of these requirements was that anything that was financed through the mortgage would need to last the life of the mortgage. Carpeting just did not fit the bill, as most mortgages were for 30 years.

As most production efforts in factories had been directed toward the war effort, new opportunities were sought to shift gears toward products for domestic use.

Many companies switched to producing products to meet the demand for all the new homes that were being built. During this time, most floors were made from oak, with only a few choices available in finishes.

When the FHA changed its requirements for building materials in 1966, prefinished hardwood flooring fell out of favor with consumers. The new trend turned toward wall-to-wall carpeting. This left the hardwood flooring industry with the need to reinvent itself in order to survive and gain favor again with consumers.

Prefinished Hardwood Makes a Comeback

The hardwood flooring industry was hit hard when the consumer preference switched to carpeting, and it needed to develop new products to entice customers. New innovations in installation methods and durability, along with a wide variety of new styles and finishes, brought forth a rebirth of the industry.

what solid prefinished hardwood flooring isAs consumers were looking for ways to decrease the amount of time they needed to maintain their homes, no-wax finishes such as polyurethane became popular. This made hardwood flooring even more durable.

The introduction of engineered hardwood floors made hardwood flooring even more attractive and attainable to consumers. Flooring could easily be purchased at stores specializing in materials for the do-it-yourselfer. A room’s worth of flooring could now be easily installed with little effort over a weekend for little expense.

The hardwood flooring industry suffered another jolt during the 1990s with the introduction of laminate flooring. Once again, this shakeup led to innovations in the industry, with the introduction of aluminum oxide and other mineral-based finishes.

These new finishes proved to be more durable and scratch-resistant than previous types. With this innovation came the offering of longer warranty durations, which many consumers found attractive.

Hardwood Flooring Today

Hardwood flooring has become even more popular among homeowners, as many have caught the do-it-yourself bug. No longer is the homeowner limited to the choice of oak hardwood flooring only, with just a few choices of finishes. With the wide variety of woods and finishes available, the only difficulty one may encounter will be making a decision on what to choose for your installation.

what is solid prefinished hardwood flooring likeIt is not hard to find prefinished or unfinished hardwood flooring in any of the big-box home improvement stores, flooring stores, or online retailers. Learning how to install the flooring has become even easier with all of these retailers offering instructions and online videos on how to install.

Advantages of Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood flooring adds value to your home. Most homebuyers prefer the option of having hardwood flooring when shopping for homes, as reports that these homes seem to sell faster.

Part of the rebirth and the popularity of hardwood flooring are the advantages it has specifically over carpeting and laminate flooring. Not only does it usually come with a longer warranty, but it is able to be rejuvenated through refinishing when it starts to look a little worn or scratched.

Solid hardwood flooring can be refinished through sanding, staining, and resealing. Laminate flooring cannot be refinished.

Once the finish is worn through, the floor needs to be replaced because it is not real wood. Instead, it is just a photograph of wood grain that is sealed on top of material that is made from wood and paper products.

what solid prefinished hardwood floors areWhile hardwood flooring may be slightly more expensive than laminate, it will last much longer.

Health Benefits of Hardwood Flooring

With the increase of young children and adults suffering from allergies and asthma, installing hardwood flooring is a wise choice. Many people have chosen to replace their carpeting with hardwood flooring in their homes to alleviate allergy and asthma symptoms. This is because pollen, dust, and dust mites, which are allergy and asthma triggers, can hide in carpeting. Even after vacuuming, these allergens can remain in the carpet fibers or even be pushed underneath the carpeting.

It is easy to see dust and pollen on the surface of your hardwood flooring. You can easily sweep it up with a broom or a damp mop specifically suited for cleaning dust from your floors. Your vacuum can also easily collect any dust that might collect in between floorboards.

Protecting Your Hardwood Flooring

If you have installed hardwood flooring, you will want to shelter it from harm  to protect your investment. This can be as simple as putting throw rugs and runners down in high traffic areas to lessen wear and tear. Normal household cleaning, such as sweeping or vacuuming up debris such as sand and dirt that is tracked in, will help keep your floors looking great. Sand acts as an abrasive to the finish of your floors, so you will want to clean it up quickly.

what is a solid prefinished hardwood floorIf you have pets, you will want to make sure you keep their nails trimmed to lessen scratches on your floor. You will also want to place mats under any water or food dishes to avoid spillage on your hardwood floor.

Water is the enemy of hardwood flooring. Make sure that you put down mats near any sinks to avoid any splashes coming in contact with the floor. If it is raining, you will want to put down towels near you entranceways to collect any water that may be tracked in by your pets, your family members, or your guests.

Despite your best efforts, there may come a time when you get a scratch or small dent in your floor. Don’t sweat it! With proper cleaning of your floors, most imperfections will remain unnoticeable due to the nature of the wood itself, as long as the finish remains intact.

Once the finish starts to wear away, you can either refinish your floors yourself through sanding and recoating, or hire a professional.

Alternatives to Hardwood

what are solid prefinished hardwood floorsYou may have rooms in your home that just are not suited for having hardwood installed. These could be rooms where you have a large amount of traffic constantly going through. Perhaps you have a daycare in your home with children doing a lot of arts and crafts or a room that is used in a business.

You may want to consider another option of flooring for this type of room, which will offer extra durability and stand up to heavy-duty cleaning.

One such option you may want to consider is the offerings available from Azrock, with its vinyl flooring line. Vinyl flooring can offer an inexpensive alternative to wood flooring that will stand up to the abuse to which children and pets may subject your floors.

With all of the colors and varieties available, including styles that simulate the look of wood, you can creatively make your own unique look. This is especially important if you are installing flooring for your business.

Whether you choose prefinished hardwood or any other flooring material, you cannot go wrong when you view all your options HERE!

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