Solid hardwood flooring is a popular choice among homeowners
thanks to its durability and diversity of colors and styles. Wood
varieties include oak, birch, beech, pine, cherry, fir and even bamboo
Most solid hardwood flooring comes in one of three styles: strip,
plank and parquet. Strip hardwood floors range from 1 ½- to 2 ¼-inches
wide. Plank floors are wider, while parquet floors are made of
individual wood squares arranged in a pattern.
Years ago, solid hardwood flooring was used for structural purposes.
Today, it is a mainly aesthetic choice. When choosing a color and
style, keep in mind the installation options for solid hardwood
flooring: tongue-and-groove, click systems and floor connection
systems. Also remember that hardwood should never be installed over
concrete or below ground.
If you install unfinished solid hardwood flooring, you may want to
choose a finish after installation. This will protect your hardwood
floor and give it added color and shine. Surface finishes come in
water-based urethane, oil-based urethane, moisture-cured urethane and
You can also choose a penetrating finish that soaks into the wood,
though this requires periodic waxing and may reduce the number of
cleaners you can use on your floor. Surface-finished floors can usually
be cleaned with a broom or damp mop; check manufacturer recommendations
for a complete list of safe cleaning products.
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