Hardwood Quality Factors - They Are Not All Made The Same
Know What To Look For To Determine Quality
It would be nice to believe that all hardwood floors are the same. There are so many brands and manufacturers of hardwood flooring on the market, and all promise high quality.
But if you take the time to learn what really constitutes hardwood floor quality, you'll be ready to judge for yourself and you'll know what you're looking at. Then you'll know which brands "really" deliver quality.
Lay done a few strips and assemble them. The tongues and grooves should fit perfectly and easily together. Check the floor yourself for uniformity by running your hand over the surface to make sure it's evn. This indicates a precise cut.
Irregular spacing between the strips leaves room for dirt and grime. This could make cleaning and maintenance an issue.
Know how to recognize unusal imperfections in the wood. It's normal and even pleasant so see some healthy knots and mineral marks in the wood. These characteristics don't affect the quality of the floor and can actually make it look more pleasing and real. However, some manufacturers let bigger knots and a percentage of manufacturing or finishing defects slip through. This reduces the quality of the final product.
The quality and durability of polyurethane finish is not determined by the number of coats. The quality is determined by the quality of the polyurethane and the application procedure used.
Applying a polyurethane protective coat with aluminum oxide particles in the factory and drying it under ultraviolet light is a proven method that has earned a solid reputation.
There are ways to tell whether a product has a good quality finish. For example, the stain should reach to the bottom of the joint to ensure a uniform color. Polyurethane should also be applied to the joint so they don't absorb dirt and water. This would make it darken quickly.
Some manufacturers add an antimicrobial agent to their finish. There is no advantage to this treatment, since the finish does not promote bacteria. Please remember, germs prolifertate in areas where humidity is high, and they attack the wood, not the finish. If the humidity level in your home is high, it may damage your flooring. And if the finish is cracked, the antibacerial treatment won't help in the least anyways.
Make sure the color is consistent from one box to another.
Lighter woods are more likely to change color or turn yellow from the effect of intense light or the sun's rays. To reduce and slow discoloration, some manufacturers mix UV treatment directly into the polyurethane finish.
Once assembled, prefinished hardwood floor strips form a "V" joint. The V joint should be as small and as uniform as possible to hide imperfections in the subfloor. This will also prevent premature wear on strip edges and make it easier to move furniture without damaging the wood or the finish. If the joint is too deep, dirt and dust will accumulate and your floor will be harder to maintain.
Polyurethane applied after installation is much less wear-resistant than factory finishes, and only the application is guaranteed. Quality prefinished floors, on the other hand, are finished with multiple coatings of polyurethan appplied in ideal conditions in the factory and are dried under ultraviolet light. These types of floors are usually guaranteed for 15, 25, or 30 years.
Made of aluminum oxide, these finishes are exceptionally durable. If you follow the maintenance procedures, they will last far beyond the specified warranty.
Learn what constitutes great hardwood flooring quality. You'll be glad you did and rewarded by having a floor that will last for many years.