Hardwood Flooring Information
Alexanian's carries a wide selection of hardwood flooring in all our stores!
A huge selection from the leading manufacturers, like: Lauzon, Kahrs, Mannington, Northern, Preverco, Shaw, Muskoka, Verywood.
Plus, Alexanian's installs everything we sell.
There are two basic construction types of hardwood flooring, Solid Wood Plank and Engineered Wood Plank.
Solid Wood Plank
Wood planks are one complete piece of solid wood from top to bottom. The wood flooring planks are usually 3/4" thick, however new technology in milling is allowing for a 5/16" thickness. The most commonly used width is 3 1/4" but sizes from 1 1/2" strips to 7" planks are available in some brands. Lengths of wood planks used for flooring will be random. Solid wood products react to the presence of moisture. In the winter heating months, moisture leaves the wood causing the floor to contract slightly. In the summer months, when humidity is high, the planks will expand. A proper installation is required to minimize the affects of these seasonal moisture conditions. Solid strip or plank floors are installed with the nail down procedure on a secure wooden subfloor.
Engineered Wood Plank
Engineered wood planks are made from up to 5 layers of wood laminated together to become one board. The cross-graining lamination process results in a flooring product that is dimensionally stable and not greatly affected by moisture, compared to solid wood floors. These floors do not expand and contract like solid wood products. Engineered wood floors can be installed on any grade level of the home; below grade, on grade or above grade. Installation options are nail down, staple down, glue down, or floating. The floors can be refinished a number of times depending on the wearlayer. Choosing between engineered wood plank or solid wood plank? It really depends on the application, colour availability or preference.
These wood floors come in many unique patterns, but are generally thought of as 12"x12" squares that fit together in a specific pattern. Parquets are a glue down installation either on grade or above grade.
The Janka hardness test is a measurement of the force necessary to embed a .444-inch steel ball to half its diameter in wood. It is the industry standard for gauging the ability of various species to tolerate denting and normal wear. Below is the hardness of some common species.
Hand or Wire Scraped Distressed Floors
Stressed looking floors are very popular. Scraping techniques involves gouging or scraping with a tool such as a wire brush to bring out the wood's natural grain. This can also add a distressed look to the floor. Intentional saw marks and uneven sanding can also add to the stressed look of a floor.
There are an amazing variety of species available for flooring, both domestic and exotic. Each species has different properties, workability and usage. In addition there are usually many different stains available for the different species. Below are some common species.
Hardwood floors come in either a beveled edge or square edge. The beveled edge is more "forgiving" over slightly irregular subfloors and for slight variations in plank heights.
Although the old method of stain and clear top coat is still used on unfinished wood floors, the sale of factory pre-finished wood floors has grown tremendously. Today hardwood flooring manufacturers are using new techniques to create tough, scratch resistant wearlayers that help prevent moisture from penetrating the wood's surface. The new wood surfaces are also very easy to maintain.
UV-cured - Factory finishes that are cured with ultra violet lights versus heat.
Polyurethane - A clear, tough and durable finish that is applied as a wearlayer.
Acrylic-urethane - A slightly different chemical make up than polyurethane, but with similar benefits.
Ceramic-Advanced technology that allows the use of ceramics to increase the abrasion resistance of the wearlayer.
Aluminum Oxide - Added to the urethane finish for increased abrasion resistance of the wearlayer.
Acrylic Impregnated - Acrylic monomers are injected into the cell structure of the wood to give increased hardness and then finished with a wearlayer over the wood.
Hardwood Installation Methods
Proper installation is critical for achieving the best performance and beauty from your floor. Let Alexanian’s professional installers get the job done right! The following is a brief overview of the most common wood floor installation techniques.
Typically used with the 3/4" solid wood products.
Staples are used versus nailing cleats to attach the wood flooring to the subfloor.
Mastic or adhesive is spread with a trowel to adhere the wood flooring to the subfloor.
Floating floors are not mechanically fastened to the subfloor. A wood glue is applied in the tongue and groove of each plank to hold the planks together.
Grades of Hardwood Flooring
One should be aware of the grade of wood flooring being purchased, especially when looking at what some retailers call "cabin grade or tavern grade".
Cabin Grade and Tavern Grade Warning
These two grades often appear low priced, which can be deceiving.
Alexanian's does not recommend cabin or tavern grade wood flooring for the following reasons:
-cabin and tavern grade wood flooring is 100% seconds
-there usually is no guarantee or warranty
-no returns, even if boxes are unopened
-uneven or missing stain
-excessive knots and knot holes
-uneven thickness (over wood or underwood)
-worm holes and finish blemishes
-damaged tongue and groove and un-precise milling
-stain streaks and excessive warpage
-up to 20% waste factor
-installation more time consuming and costly
-defective material must be selected and cut out
-extra work with warped or misaligned boards
-you assume all the risk of future problems
The uplifting of the edges of flooring due to excessive moisture.
How much moisture is absorbed into the flooring.
Flooring that is factory-finished. No finishing is necessary after installation.
A log that is cut into four pie sections. Sections are then sawn perpendicular to the rings. The resulting vertical grain is more stable and beautiful.
Refers to the type of tree from which wood flooring is made.
Letting flooring adjust to the environment in which it will be installed. This is crucial to prevent excessive expansion or contraction due to humidity in the air or other job conditions.
Care of Hardwood Floors
It is important to follow the manufacturer’s recommended cleaning procedures. Regular vacuuming or sweeping removes abrasive grit, and it is best to immediately tend to any spills.
For detailed care and maintenance tips
visit our care and maintenance page.