Solid, engineered, finished, unfinished, 5/16, 3/4, Hickory, Maple, American Oak, Siberian Oak, Mahogany, Birch, Walnut, reclaimed, parquet, staining, oil finish, aluminum oxide, Janka scale, wood grain, ceramic finish, floating, nail-down, glue-down.

These are only some of the many things to consider when it comes to hardwood floors at Old World Stone Imports and there are way more than 101. Be educated when you’re looking at hardwood floors because unlike carpet, hardwood floors can last decades and you owe it to your home to know exactly what you’re putting in there. Be ready and be open minded as you attend the school of Hard Wood...Knocks...get it? Whatever.


SOLID vs ENGINEERED

Solid hardwood means actual wood planks (⅝-¾). These can come finished or unfinished (we’ll get to that later) and any wood type, BUT the environment where you live is important to consider. Solid wood is most affected by its environment and fluctuations; for example if you live in a desert and all of the sudden you have your monsoon season and the doors and windows are left open, the hardwood could expand and contract due to rapid change in humidity.

Solid hardwood also leaves you the option of sanding and restaining should you want to change the whole look of the floor again.

Same goes for temperature, if your home is between 68-78 degree Fahrenheit during the winter season keep it that way and don’t let a -50 winter blow your door down. A humidifier will also make a great addition to helping maintain your hardwoods shape and integrity. Manufacturer's also recommend it

Engineered hardwood is still hardwood. It’s like wood veneers. It’s a thin layer of nice wood glued to layers of plywood. This wood is not immune to the environment, but generally it handles fluctuations better. It’s still recommended to have a humidifier in the home and often required if you want the warranty that comes with these floors.

You can sometimes sand this product, only do it once. This wood is thin and you don’t have a lot of room to sand, but it can be done.

As far as pricing goes for either one engineered is around $1-2 less than its solid counterpart. So if you’re staying in a budget engineered is a great option.

PRE-FINISHED vs UNFINISHED vs RECLAIMED

Short and Sweet

Pre-finished hardwood means the wood is stained and ready to put on the floor. Unfinished hardwood is only cut and ready to lay, you have to add the finish during the install. These types of hardwood really depend on your budget. Finished hardwood may be more expensive than Unfinished hardwood, but the finished is done as soon as they put it in. Just sweep the dust from the install away.

Unfinished is less money and more customizable, but that is the secret expense of unfinished hardwood. The installers will have to add the finish and anything else you want added to it (distress, sanding, etc.) and the extra labor will always cost more.

Reclaimed hardwood is what is pulled out of a home and taken to a salvage yard to be used by anyone who may want it. Not a lot of choices when it comes to this, but definitely a viable option for hardwood floors. This option requires patience and lower expectations, it could be a long time before you find enough quality wood of the floor you want.

Finished hardwood takes the win on this one.

WOOD SPECIES BATTLE ROYALE

You know how you’re graded in school, wood is graded too. It’s graded on the Janka Scale from 1 (pillow) to 5000 (concrete) that measures the hardness of the wood. How does the hardness affect your flooring...it doesn’t just something cool to know. All hardwoods are rated for floors so it will come down to 2 things price and personal style.

What affects the price the most is how far the wood is traveling and it’s weight. The harder the wood the heavier it is and the more shipping will cost. We’d all love some amazing exotic hardwood floors (oh snakewood), but not everyone has got that type of money or time to spend.

Here are 6 standard hardwoods that almost everyone offers and that are located here in the U.S. or are regularly stocked.

*Note the pictures below are stained wood floor samples, it’s not the natural wood color. You can easily pick the stain color you fancy most.



Maple
Janka Score 1450. This wood is now not only popular with floors but also became popular with the MLB to make bats with. A fairly low contrasting swirling wood grain with a nice flow.

Hickory
Janka Score 1820. This works in shady chunks and knots in the wood. It will have variations, but all the variations work with each other in an aesthetic way.

Oak
Janka score 1260. Think of this wood as the negative space of Maple with some knots. Nice wood.

European Oak
Janka score 1360. Reverse the other oak and this is what you get. It’s darker with more etched markings, like a sketch drawing

Walnut
Janka Score 1010. Softer, but it has a luminous highlight quality to it. Reminds me a little of the line, “...for amber waves of grain.”

Malaysian Walnut
Janka Score 3680. It’s different from Brazilian Walnut in the sense that the wood grain looks like it’s feathered in instead of etched in.

It’s draw. No one wood is better than the other. It’s all about personal preference.

FLOAT LIKE A BUTTERFLY OR STING LIKE A NAIL

There’s 3 ways to install your hardwood floors and they’re all very close in quality. Before you decide on how you want it installed CHECK THE MANUFACTURER'S WARRANTY. You don’t want to accidentally void anything because these floors can be under warranty for decades which is great news for consumers.

Floating: This is not like a waterbed-like floor. Floating means that the wood is simply placed on the ground and stuck together. By stuck I mean there are small slots on the side of the planks to give the wood stability. No glue, no nails, only wood on the floor. Straightforward and simple.

Glue: This method kind of reminds me of kindergarten when they gave you popsicle sticks and Elmer’s glue that you ultimately rubbed are on your hands and pretended it was skin. Only I doubt anyone would want the glue they use to keep hardwood still. This glue doesn’t wear out.

Nail: This is the standard. Nails even sometimes accompany glue as well because you just can’t beat a nail. It’s also a loud option, but noise is a small price to pay for stability.

FINISHING MOVES

There are way too many different finishes to list, but the basic two are oil and aluminum finishes. This will be difficult for me to remain unbiased, but I will do my absolute best to deliver only facts. Again this will totally come down to your personal preference. When it comes to hardwood the finish is what protects it from scratches, scuffs, gouges, dents, paws, etc.

ALUMINUM: This is layers and layers of a coating slathered across the wood. This finish feels a little bit like a smooth refined shell with a slight sheen. It looks very nice and feels very nice. Obviously dragging chairs across it around the dinner table or other life wares will result in some scuffs, but the nice things about this floor is that it’s very easy to clean. If you do happen to get a nasty scratch there are stain pens you can use to hide it, but you’ll almost always be able to feel it afterwards.

OIL: I LOVE this finish. Even though both of these finishes are applied to real hardwood, the oil seems to preserve the actual feel and look of the hardwood better. It’s still easy to clean and if you get a scratch you can just apply oil or if it’s a really bad scratch sand it a little first and then apply oil. Now it’s as if it’s always been part of the hardwood floor.

Winner? Again personal preference wins again...but really oil is the winner.

RESULTS

Hardwood is just one of the many options we offer at Old World Stone Imports and we’ll gladly help you find the floor that is perfect for you and your home, hardwood or not. Now that you’re educated on your hardwood options you can more easily communicate and understand your needs. That makes falling in love with your home again even better.