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Custom Wood Floors-job site finishedThe traditional ever-popular unfinished oak "strip" wood flooring,  whether nail down or glue down, pre-finished  or unfinished-OAK is still KING. (See Choosing A Wood Floor) With OAK the top preference for most  builders. No surprise to those in the industry, for in 2000 the Oak  Flooring Institute reported shipments of more than 562.9 million square  feet of the volume sales( a 5% increase from 1999), with unfinished 3/4" oak, which most industry observers say accounts for more than one half of the market. . Request for oak is often used synonymously with "hardwood".  Many request are often made as "oak flooring". New request are being made for maple, and exotic species such as cherry, and
birch. A growing demand is seen in the request for custom-made borders and accents. This trend is in part because most builders and homeowners like to differentiate themselves to what is common place and what everyone else has. Technical director Daniel Boone of the National Wood Flooring Association says maples popularity has increased during the past several  years. The West Coast and Southeast have been leading the country in this new trend. Some industry leaders attribute this to not using the same old, same old product, and to its hardness (see relative hardness table) with appearance playing into the picture. In fact there are as many as 30+ domestic species of wood floors, and over 90 exotic imported species, Boone says. The combination of exotic woods to make custom borders are on the up swing, with more than a dozen manufacturers producing custom made borders and accents. The cost of these product vary, with some two wood species, rose medallions starting at around $250, and borders starting at $10-$15 per lineal foot. Painted Wood Floors

Which ever wood species consumers will turn to next is unknown. One thing is for emerging from this new demand for hardwood floors; kitchens and hardwood floors are becoming more and more a common place, with family rooms (most are an extension of the kitchen) and foyers not far behind. Even though wood floors, as most hard surface floors are on the up swing, hardwood floors account for about 7% of the flooring market. One of the larger wood flooring producers predicts that share will double in the next five years, with thinner 5/16", 3/8" & 1/2" products taking more of the market share, prefinished and unfinished. 
Traditionally the wood flooring industry has had many sizes and types of hardwood flooring material. Oak being the main staple of the industry, today is still the most widely used due to it hardness, cost, appearance and availability.

Oak flooring started as planks (wide boards), then the standard was for many years a 3/4" thick by 2-1/4" face width by random lengths, thus called strip flooring. Later a 1-1/2" face version was manufactured. Today manufacturers make many sizes, designs, varieties, and species of wood flooring. As the industry has grown, with new technologies, a wider variety has made the industry produce many precision-made products of enduring beauty manufactured and graded according to certified standards and grading rules. Today's engineered products now allows wood floors to be placed directly on concrete slabs .The solid 3/8" product can also be glued direct on-grade and is a good product in some species for installation over radiant heat.

Wood flooring can be broken into 3 major groups:

Unfinished, Prefinished and Acrylic Impregnated. Each having there own sizes, colors, and species. Unfinished, the original wood flooring for years is still manufactured as it was before the turn of the century. A 2-1/4" face by 3/4" thick, by random lengths tongue and grooved product is still the number one choice for an unfinished nail down product. This product also comes in 1-1/2", 3-1/4", 4", 5", 6", 7" and 8" face widths all T&G 3/8" up to 3/4" thick. With some products being 1/2" and 2-1/4" is regarded as "strip flooring" and all sizes larger as" plank flooring". Red or white oak are the standard species used. These products are graded by appearance and cut. Select and Better (S&B) is the standard grade used in the industry. Grades lower are #1 and #2 common. Rift and quartered are cuts above the S & B grade. Many species and varieties of wood flooring are now available. For instance ash, black locust, cherry, heart and yellow pine, maple, walnut are the major products used in today's unfinished markets, with many exotics imported from around the world. All these products require on site sanding and finishing. 

Pre-Finished Wood Floors are becoming more and more popular in today's market place. It's ability to go over concrete, various colors and ease of installation and less down time than unfinished products has made it more in demand than ever. These products already stained and finished, along with new technologies (engineered-laminated) has made these products less effected by moisture and will not shrink or swell as much as its solid unfinished counter parts. Extra care must be taken to avoid damage during installation. These products are a great remolding choice because being "pre-finished" once installed the job is done. There is no dust and sanding process in applying stains or finishes. Again red and white oak is the main type of wood used in these products. Ranging from 5/16" (engineered-laminate) to 3/4" (solid) thick, T&G, these products vary from 2-1/4" to 8" widths, with many choices of colors. With today's new adhesive technology pre-finished glue down wood flooring is quick becoming the floor of choice by many contractors, and home owners a like. You should consider these products when thinking of hardwood floors. 

One of the types of wood flooring is Acrylic impregnated In a industry of new technological products being produced, this product is made by forcing acrylic material in its pours giving it a wear surface, and requires little maintenance and great durability. These products are used mainly in high traffic, and commercial applications. 

When choosing a wood product many factors should be considered. What areas of the home will receive wood, the amount of foot traffic, in those areas, sub-floor conditions, unfinished or pre-finished, colors and finishes. What ever your choice, it's always good to get advise from a wood floor professional. Making the right choice will give you a lifetime of warmth and beauty that a hardwood floor can give to your home or office. The trend in today's market place, commercial and residential is in natural wood tones or color. Oak, ash, and maple are the most popular. Finishing an unfinished product with today's modern urethane finishes can insure a easy maintenance floor for many years to come Pre-finished products now carry a 3 to 15 year warranty, which makes this more and more a choice of homeowners. . . .


 flooring installation


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