Published at Friday, July 21st 2017. by Lundy in Flooring.
In this article we will be discussing several different categories of wood flooring. Solid wood flooring is one board with no glued up laminations; it is basically wood board that has been sized and profiled to a certain dimension. Engineered flooring has a on the top whatever species and texture you want, and this is glued to a plywood backer on the bottom. Engineered is still all wood but is made with multiple layers that are laminated for better stability and dimensional accuracy. Floors that we will not cover here are laminates or any composite products which are often not wood entirely through the plank or may be made with a photo printed surface. We also will not cover vinyl, carpet, stone, or tile.
For the second variable here is a controversial opinion: we do not end match our flooring which means there is no tongue and groove on the ends of the planks. Since we recommend our floor be glued down we say this is an unnecessary expense for the customer. End matching reduces the yield in production and raises labor costs. Most end match profiles are milled so loosely that they really don`t hold the floor in place anyway. The biggest benefit to the installer is that the plank can be cut in half in any place and reused anywhere without have to mate up to a complementary tongue or groove since the end is just square cut. This means all end trim pieces or any waste can be reused. Therefore on our engineered flooring product the waste factor is virtually nothing unless there are angles or radiuses to work around. We also help with waste factor by usually supplying a random width product so when one gets close to the end of a room they can plan the width combination patterns out to not have to rip much off the last row.
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.
Another good flooring for wet areas is the vinyl tile. Typically it is manufactured in much the same way as sheet vinyl, but is much more rigid and comes as 12"x12" square units. They are installed in the much the same way, but require skilled tradesmen, familiar with proper installation. A good installer will start from the middle of the room to ensure that all cut tiles are equal in width at opposing walls. One advantage to this type of flooring, over sheet vinyl, is that it is can be installed, without danger of joint separation, over large areas. For this reason, it is often used in commercial buildings where large rooms are the norm. Vinyl tile can also be easily installed directly to concrete floors. Like vinyl sheets, it too is resistant to water, and tends to be installed in the areas of a building, prone to water accumulations. Tile, can be easily cleaned, is relatively maintenance free, and one of the cheaper finished floors to install.
Here is a word on prefinished product if they factor into your decision. If you come up short on your order, the next lot that you buy may not match your previous batch. This is especially a problem on the lower end price floors and import floors. Good luck trying to blend it in with your previous floor. So if you go this route, be extra accurate on your measurements. Right now the rage is lifetime warranties on flooring. We stop to think is that really even possible? First will that importer or manufacturer really be around a lifetime? A lot of products are made oversees; the warranty is only good if there is somebody still around for the life of the warranty.
As a reoccurring theme in this article you will find that you often get what you pay for. Admittedly, the higher end price point products ($11+/sf) from more rare woods are not necessarily better quality but we find that up to that point quality improves with price. Our solid wood floors range in price from $4-9 per square foot and our engineered ranges from $7-15 per square foot. We will discuss applications below, but our point is that you need to have a realistic budget when shopping. Sometimes a nice alternative if you have your heart set on an expensive floor is to use less of it and put it just in key areas. Don`t do the whole house. Maybe just do the main high traffic areas and use a cheaper alternative in bedrooms.