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Published at Thursday, August 03rd 2017. by in Flooring.

Strip floors, were once the most popular type of sub-floor installed. But with the introduction of manufactured sheathing products, it has become less utilized. Strip floors consist of 1" by 6" or 8" boards, placed diagonally over the floor joist framing system. It is slightly more expensive to install, and requires experienced tradesmen. To install such floors properly, the lumber should be non-kiln dried, with a relatively high moisture content. This may seem odd, but in reality, as the wood dries out, it will shrink.

Wood strip flooring is one of the oldest types of flooring still popular in the modern age. It consists of wood strips, usually interlocking, which are either nailed or glued to the sub-floor. Often the strips will be prefinished, requiring no post applications of sealers or varnishes. This type of flooring is very labour intensive for installation, as well as being quite expensive to purchase. However, the results are a warm, durable floor surface, requiring little maintenance or upkeep. Wood strip flooring significantly adds to the strength of the support system, reducing the deflection ("bounce") and gives the floor a very solid feel to it.

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Installing interlocking floor tiles is a much easier and user friendly process. They are designed to clip together, eliminating the need for measuring spaces and also leaving room for the tiles to settle. Each tile is surrounded with divots that lock to the other interlocking floor tiles. They clip together easily, much like a jigsaw puzzle, and allow a perfect seamless finish. If a mistake is made while installing the interlocking tiles, it is easy to fix. Simply pull them apart and start over. As no adhesive is generally used, they do not need to be pried up, risking damage to the floor.

Ceramic tile is probably the most durable types of flooring and is typically installed in entry areas, where sand scuffing and water accumulations are the norm. Bathrooms and kitchens often get this type of floor treatment as well, but due to the high cost of installation, homeowners tend to not include these areas. Ceramic tile are typically a square tile, although interlocking units are on the market, in standard square measurements of 4", 6",8" or 12". They are installed by one of two primary methods, either set into a thin mortar bed (called "thinset adhesive"), which also acts like glue, or a heavyset bed of 1-1/2" normal mortar base. For all ceramic tile installations, the floor must be built up to ensure the strength required to prevent tile or joint cracking. Often, installers put down a material called "cement board", which is much like drywall, but is made of glass fibers and cement. In any case, ensure that your installer will offer you a guarantee against future cracking or uplift of tiles. Ceramic tiles require little maintenance, but beware, water on glossy floor tiles can be very slippery, and many a time, a homeowner has resented the installation of a high gloss tile, over a bathroom floor area.

With reclaimed material waste factor is a huge variable. How much effort does the manufacturer take to give you a 100% usable product? Poorly milled with very little defecting and culling done on a solid wood floor that costs $6/sf and has a 15% waste factor actually costs more than a similar product that is milled better costing $7/sf with a 2% waste factor. That extra wastes costs more in shipping and labor to defect. This is one of the hardest things to demonstrate to a customer that the face value costs doesn`t necessarily represent the actual raw material cost unless one is truly comparing identical quality and specified products.

Laying the floor is also another area that is worth thinking about when comparing the two types of oak flooring. The majority of engineered wood floors are longer and wider than most solid oak boards because this is the look that most people are wanting nowadays. The flooring being longer and wider means the flooring is quicker to fit. Another aspect that makes this floor easier and quicker to fit is how well machined the boards are. From our experience in the flooring industry we have had nothing but good feedback regarding how easy our engineered flooring was to lay, and this is down to how well machined the boards are. Given that engineered flooring is quicker and easier to fit, any extra money that is spent on purchasing an engineered oak floor is often compensated in the time that is saved fitting it! This is something to keep in mind when comparing prices.

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