About Wood Flooring

One of the most popular flooring materials for centuries, hardwood (and softwood) has endured due to its versatility, availability, and undeniable beauty. Wood floors require minimal maintenance, are fully recyclable and do not trap dust, dander, pollen or allergens. Broadly appealing, wood adds visible charm and a unique character to any setting.

Softwoods + Hardwoods

Softwood flooring is derived from species that tend to mature quickly and be readily abundant. Pine, fir and cedar are quite common, and the rapid growth of these species leads to the wood being less dense and somewhat less durable. More susceptible to dents and scratches, softwoods also tend to be more challenging to refinish. Despite these drawbacks, softwood floors, especially old ones, are prized for their patina and character. And being locally sourced and relatively quick growing, the flooring is far more eco-friendly than its hardwood counterparts.

Hardwood flooring is harvested from slow growing trees like Oak, Walnut, and countless other species, resulting in a more dense and durable material. Prized for their rarity, color, and grain, many hardwood species are not not native to the United States and sourced internationally. Their slow growth and limited availability contribute to their higher price, but their relative exclusivity and unique characteristics are still coveted by designers, builders and homeowners with adequate budgets.

Solid Wood vs. Engineered Wood

Nearly all wood flooring falls into one of two categories; solid or engineered. As the name suggests, solid wood flooring is made of one species throughout its thickness. It can be sanded and refinished numerous times throughout its lifespan, yielding real advantages over engineered options.

Engineered wood flooring looks like solid wood flooring but it manufactured by sandwiching a thin layer (veneer) of desired wood over a less-expensive substrate of plywood. By reducing the amount of precious wood used to manufacture engineered flooring, it is typically less expensive than solid wood. The thickness of the surface veneer varies greatly between manufacturers and has a direct impact on how many times the floor can be sanded and refinished.

Solid wood flooring is available in long planks milled with tongues on one side and grooves on the opposite edge, allowing the boards to interlock when installed. Most solid wood flooring is .75” thick and available in a variety of widths and lengths. The flooring can be prefinished or unfinished and is typically nailed to a subfloor, requiring some skill and knowledge.

Though engineered flooring can have the same look as solid wood, the base-layer of plywood provides excellent stability and minimizes the swelling and contraction you get with solid wood. They are designed to install without nails and can be floated or glued in place, making them easier to install for most DIYers.

To learn more about solid wood and engineered would, check out this great article on The Spruce.

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Benefits of Wood Flooring

To learn more about wood flooring, we suggest you read Hardwood Flooring Information, A Beginner’s Overview of Natural Wood Floor Covering by Joseph Lewitin.

Unique: Every plank, board, or strip used on a hardwood floor is a work of natural art, with unique patterns, and colors. This is compounded by the fact that there are dozens of different species of domestic, imported, common, and rare hardwoods to choose from, each with a particular grain, color, and characteristics. That ensures that each installation of this material is a one-of-a-kind feature.

Over time wood is going to change. It will acquire subtle shadings of color, and pick up small scratches, nicks, and dents, which will collect on the surface to create a unique personality for your floor. That is the kind of character that cannot be bought but can only be attained over years.

Large Spaces
Wood is a particularly good flooring material for large open spaces. That is because the grains and patterns found within its surface will help to break up the monotony of the room, acting as a backdrop, while also working to infuse interest and design into the space. This effect will be compounded by the use of plank, parquet, and small piece decorative hardwood installations.

Heat Retention
Hardwood is a moderately warm flooring material that maintains a relatively even temperature at all times of the year. Warmer than natural stone, but not as snug as carpet, hardwood is compatible with underfloor radiant heating systems, which allows you to keep them toasty even in the winter. This is also an efficient way to contribute to the warmth of the entire room.

Soft Under foot
Wood floors usually have a moderate amount of give underfoot. This is especially true when they are installed on joists, or over some sort of insulating underlayment. However, avoid installing it directly on concrete, as this can lead to it being very rigid and uncomfortable.

This can be one of the biggest drawbacks when it comes to hardwood flooring. Not only will you occasionally get problems with squeaks in the floorboards, but unpadded hardwood can also be very loud when heard by neighbors or family members who live down below. However, installing a cork or foam underlayment can help to solve these issues.

Mach + Rico Project Pricing Includes:

Onsite designer to assist with design and material selection.

  • Floor Leveling
  • Sound Proofing Membrane
  • Water-based Finish
  • Stair Set Installation 
  • Stair Set Finishing
  • Shoe Molding
  • Nosing 
  • Covering
  • Accent Details