Types of Hardwood Flooring
Solid Hardwood Floors - are a solid piece of hardwood cut into wood planks that are generally 3/4" thick. (Above ground level areas only, not recommended for concrete slabs.)
Engineered Hardwood Floors - are several plies of wood that a glued and laminated together to form a wood plank. They range in thickness from 1/4" to just over a half inch. (Can be installed almost anywhere in the home, including over dry concrete slabs.) Click here to read about installing Mannington's engineered, hand-scraped hardwood floor.
Parquet Wood Floors - are a North American term for geometic, rectangular blocks of wood that are either glues or nailed down depending on the type of parquet construction.
Floating Wood Floors - are really engineered wood floors that can be floated over various sub-floors, such as dry concrete slabs, OSB, and some types of existing flooring. Floating wood floors are never secured directly to the substrate, just the tongue-and-grooved plank edges are locked together. Many floating wood floors can be installed by either staple-down, glued-down or the floating installation method.
Longstrip Hardwood Floors - are really an engineered construction but are much longer and wider. The top layer of a longstrip plank generally has 2-3 rows of thin hardwood strips spliced together to form a solid surface. This gives the appearance of having 2-3 planks locked together, but it is really just one board. Longstrip planks can be glued-down, stapled or floated over a wide variety of sub-floors and installed in almost any area of the home. This includes installing over dry concrete slabs.
Exotic Hardwood Floors - are used to described hardwood species from around the World. These wood species are not found in North America and are imported from Australia, Africa, Brazil and the Far East. Exotic hardwoods offer unique wood graining and more umcommon colorations. Most exotic hardwood floors are available in the engineered wood construction and some are available in solid wood planks as well.
Handscraped Hardwood Floors - these wood floors have each plank scraped by hand to give a worn or ancient visual appeal to the board's surface. There is also distressed hardwood floors which use machines to give the worn or ancient visual appearance. This adds a lot of distinctive character to each board. Also, because handscraped is done by hand no two planks have the exact same visual appearance.
Once installed it is extremely difficult to tell these three different wood flooring construction types apart. Both the engineered and the longstrip have several thin layers (plies) of wood that are glued together. By gluing the plies together you get better dimensional stability within the plank itself, which allows these floors to be used on job sites that have a higher percentage of moisture content than normal. This includes basements and over concrete slabs where solid strip wood floors are considered off limits.
Another choice you have to make is whether to want a pre-finished or an unfinished hardwood floor that has to be finished in your home. The pre-finished floors offer a wider variety of wood species and saves hours of labor and cleanup. While the unfinished wood floors allow you to have a really custom, job-site finish and a completely smooth, uniform surface. You also get an extended factory finish warranty with pre-finished floors, but not with most job-site finished flooring.