The Basics


Types & Grades of Hardwood


Is Hardwood Flooring Right For Me?


How Hardwood Flooring is Made


Hardwood Flooring History


About Hardwood Flooring


Buying Help


Hardwood Moldings, Trims, & Accessories


Hardwood Species


Colors, Finishes, and More


Hardwood Flooring Buying Guide


Hardwood Buying Checklist


The Janka Hardness Scale


Install, Care & Repair


Hardwood Installation: Pro or DIY?


Hardwood Repairs Home


Repairs, Refinishing & Recoating Home


Installing a Hardwood Floor


How To Finish Hardwood Floors


Cleaning and Maintenance of Hardwood Floors


Hardwood Resources


Hardwood Flooring Glossary


Hardwood Flooring FAQ


Hardwood Flooring DIY Videos



About Hardwood Flooring

iStock 000003764840XSmall About Hardwood Flooring

Throughout history, hardwood flooring has set the standard for beauty, richness, and style in the most elegant homes. No other flooring offers the timeless quality of wood with the undeniable warmth and comfort that says “welcome home”.

Hardwood flooring is almost exclusively manufactured from wood harvested from deciduous tree species, trees that shed their leaves in winter. Woods used in flooring are chosen for how well they wear over time, measured in terms of hardness and dimensional stability, and for color and grain ranging from the palest shade of white oak to the crimson tones of padauk or the rich burgundy black of mahogany.

learning 460 hardwood flooring About Hardwood Flooring

The huge variety of styles, colors, and species in both solid and engineered woods makes hardwood flooring an option for any décor. While location should be considered when choosing whether to put down a solid or engineered wood, there are so many choices available that you will be able to find a floor that fits your lifestyle, your location and your style.

Care and cleaning of today’s wood flooring is quick and easy. Tedious, back breaking paste wax is a thing of the distant past. The advanced finishes on today’s floors need little more than some sweeping or vacuuming to remove any grit, and damp mopping with a simple solution of white vinegar and water for further cleaning. Occasional use of a professional wood cleaning product made especially for your floor may also be recommended. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for details.

A Word About Sustainability and Value

The watchword today is “green.” People often ask about the sustainability of wood flooring and how its purchase will affect the Earth’s delicate rain forests. Deforestation is due to irresponsible, illegal logging practices, and you have the power to do something to stop it. Every piece of flooring that is farmed and logged responsibly will carry a certificate of compliance with the Lacey Act. If you find flooring that doesn’t, don’t buy it. It’s that simple. To make a difference, buy certified wood.

Consider this: when you purchase a quality wood floor, it can last several lifetimes, and when your great grandchildren or their children finally decide it’s time for new flooring, the boards can often be removed, re-milled, and reused for a new purpose…and possibly another hundred years of use. Wood offers the ultimate in sustainability and value, because when you purchase quality wood, you’re buying a century worth of floor. When compared to frequent replacement cost of any other flooring, longevity alone is well worth the initial outlay and no other flooring raises the value and saleability of your home like warm, natural wood.

Check Out These Resources

Is a beautiful, easy care hardwood floor in your future? We’ve put together plenty of information to help you make an informed decision. Making the right decision is crucial, because the hardwood flooring you choose will be with you for a very long time to come.

Is Hardwood Right For Me? – Determine whether or not hardwood is the best choice for your project

Types – Learn about the different types of hardwood

Buying Guide – Learn how to make an informed hardwood flooring purchase decision

Installation Guide – Learn how to install hardwood flooring

Cleaning & Care – Find out how easy it is to care for a hardwood floor

FAQs – Find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about hardwood flooring

Glossary – Familiarize yourself with common hardwood flooring terms

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

John Finan February 16, 2011 at 4:22 pm

Why must I install an engineered floor over concrete?
Why can I not install a solid board over concrete.
The constraints of my install disallow me from putting subply over my concrete, thereby forcing me to look at other options.
Can I glue the engineered flooring to the concrete? Do I need a padding, cork, felt or other?
What is the worst that can happen if I glue down solid 3/4″ boards to the concrete. I just don’t want to give up the option of being able to have multiple sanding/refinishes by using an engineered product. Please advise. Thank you very much.
John

Barry June 29, 2011 at 4:31 am

I love hard wood floors, although I have 3 small kids one 5 years old thge other is 3 and the new one is almost a year old, how can I maintain my hard wood floor with kids and toys all over the floor? Any ideas out there?

norman holtzman July 20, 2011 at 1:28 pm

i plan to install an enginnered wood floor on concrete. the board i am looking
at has an oiled finish, not a poly. is this a good finish? how does it wear. I was told it
is easy to touch up being an oil finish. the finish is on hickory veneer.

David Tomson August 3, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Hi Barry

To keep hardwood floors in prestine condition with 3 children is not realistic. The best option to go with these days is to get a handscraped floor or go with a lighter color. Both options will tend to hide any imperfections or “character” that is added by your kids. If you already have the floor down, then best thing to do is use a Swiffer type mop and spray bottle with warm water. This will get any dried spills like milk off the floor. Then I like to use a spray that is meant for non-waxed hardwood floors. This will look fantastic for all of whenever one of your young ones steps into the room but for a short period of time you can bask in glory of a clean hardwood floor.

I kid but its true. Hope this helps

Dave

Emily Horowitz February 6, 2012 at 7:02 am

I’m just wondering if anyone knows how many trees go into making flooring for an average home? I work with someone in the wood restoration business and this is in the interests of educating people to take care of their interior wood…a fun fact, I guess, but one that might get them thinking and conserving.

Thank you.

Jim June 28, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Just put wood flooring in kitchen and laundry room.What kind of pads should i put on the legs of the washer and dryer.

Edward Schaffitz July 12, 2012 at 3:09 am

John you can glue down 3/4 in material to concrete. Bostics makes a good adhesive as well as uzin mk 200 is also good. Just be sure the moisture content in your concrete is not to high. Its not cheap and can be time consuming compared to a nail down. But it is an alternative ; )

Edward Schaffitz July 12, 2012 at 3:14 am

Jim any felt pads will do just fine avoid rubber bottom protectors .. P&E Hardwood Floors

Brendan Landers September 20, 2012 at 11:18 pm

I have a house built in the ’40′s with a hydroponic heating system, it was installed by the first owner who was a plumber.. It works flawlessly. However since it is no longer a primary residence and will be a rental property, I would like to remove 18 year old carpet and put down Hardwood floors.

Installer says I need 3/4 inch plywood and 3/4 inch engineered flooring, will the heat penetrate 1 1/2 of wood? Or will it pretty much nullify the effect of hydroponic heat?

Thanks for any advice you can give

Chris Stephens November 24, 2012 at 11:27 pm

Hi John,

As others have mentioned you CAN install solid hardwood over concrete; but with normal hardwood adhesive. The reason most companies suggest engineered is because you can float it over the concrete and over a suitable moisture barrier. If you choose to install solid product over concrete, the installation becomes much more complex.

First, you need to verify that the concrete’s moisture content is not too high (which would damage your new floor). This is special chemical tests (calcium chloride tests) or electronic moisture meters. Do not assume that your concrete is OK, because even old concrete can wick up underground water. After you verify the moisture content is suitable, you’ll need an adhesive specifically designed for this. They are usually specified as elastic polyurethane which means that they remain flexible after they dry so that if the hardwood expands or contracts (due to changes in moisture content), it will not fracture the glue and come loose.

Brendan,

Lots of engineered hardwood is suitable for floating over radiant heat and some is available with a click together locking system to make installation easy. I would avoid the plywood and solid hardwood solution recommended by your installer. Of course, as a rental, hardwood may not be your best choice either. Have you considered a floating vinyl plank such as Starloc? It’s warrantied over radiant heat, easy and inexpensive to install, super durable, and looks great.

James December 6, 2012 at 10:17 pm

John, I installed every type of flooring in my life. I have never seen nor heard of any one installing 3/4″ solid wood to concrete. 3/4″ wood expands and contracts when installed over wood. It also comes out of the box or bundle with planks bowed and warped to much to put over concrete because you can’t nail and glue it down so edges are tight together. You have to test for moisture but it is futile. You will never be able to find a 3/4″ product that stays perfectly straight. Another thing that can be a very big concern is substrates of any type need to be very level. I have never had the pleasure of having a level slab of concrete to install any type of flooring. I have an engineered hardwood over concrete in my home and you have to use a self leveling concrete in unlevel areas. Then you put a vapor barrier down. Most underlayments for a floating floor are a cushion and vapor barrier both. In my case I put down plastic first because I wanted a better cushion under foot. I used an 1/8″ rubber pad for engineered wood. Engineered wood usually needs a 1/4″- 1/2″ gap from walls and other permanent structure on perimeter of room. ex: exterior door, tile, or carpet in adjoining doorways, If you leave baseboard on you will need to put a base shoe down to cover expansion gap. I was finishing an unfinished walk out basement so I used a jamb saw and under cut the plastered drywall. I made sure I cut it an extra 1/4″ higher than the wood and pad. It was dusty but made it easier because I could run the hardwood right up to wall. It gave me my 1/2″ expansion gap and I only needed base to trim it out. Make sure you leave enough of a gap from door frames.If doors are already hung, under cut jambs and casings with a sharp cross cut saw with a good set in the teeth or be careful and use a jamb saw. They can splinter as you cut. You can sometimes avoid splintering by moving saw from right to left, the opposite direction of blade rotation. When I installed 3/4″ wood over wood substrate I always nailed and spread a 4″ wide band of hardwood adhesive in between the floor joists.This helped to keep wood from shrinking and getting gaps between boards in winter or driest time of year. That also depends on species of wood on how much movement you will get during the seasons of the year. On your concern of resanding your hardwood floor. First you should only have to lightly sand and finish if you don’t have a lot of deep scratches and dents. You can only sand a little more than an 1/8″ down on a solid 3/4″ wood floor any way. The staples or nails are down that far. Engineered wood has 1/8″ top wood fillet (layer) on a floating type. Good luck The joy of doing a job right and well is a great feel good accomplishment! James

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