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Wood Floors 101

Many homeowners today are replacing their carpeted areas with wood flooring. Some of the advantages of wood flooring over carpet are ease of cleaning, wood floors do not hold allergens, wood floors will not mold or mildew, they can last the life of the home and they look great.

When looking to choose a wood floor there are several options to pick from the main choices are laminate flooring that is actually a cover that is applied to a thin piece of pressed wood product like plywood. The two biggest advantages of laminate floors is cost and ease of installation. Laminate floors in general can run from around $1.99 a square foot up to around $5.00 per square foot for some top end laminates. Installing laminate flooring is extremely easy, first it can be installed over many existing floors as the finished laminate floor actually floats on the old surface this allows for some expansion and contraction of the floor. Most any handy home owner can easily install a laminate floor the only special tool needed is a chop saw which is fairly common tool today it can be borrowed from a friend or rented for a small charge. An average size room can easily be installed in one day.

The major disadvantages of a laminate floor are they can not tolerated getting wet the pressed wood backing on the laminate floor will soak up water and expand this will cause the floor to buckle and the affected area will need to be replaced. The other problem with lament flooring is if it is scratched or dented the affected area will also need to be replaced the laminate flooring is very tough and does not scratch or dent easily but care needs to be taken to prevent scratches and dents. In a solid wood floor scratches and dents can be sanded and refinished without replacing the floor.

Solid wood floors can be either be prefinished or unfinished when they are installed. The prefinished floors are finished at the factory so once you install a prefinished floor you can use it right away. A prefinished wood floor is an ideal choice for replacing a floor in an existing home as no sanding dust is created nor any fumes and waiting for the finish to dry. Solid wood floors are harder and more time consuming to install than the laminate floors each piece of wood flooring is nailed in place a special air powered nailer is used for this step it an be rented at a tool rental store.

Once the unfinished wood floor has been installed you will need a floor sander to even out the floor a wide belt sander is used for the main part of the floor and a smaller sander is used around the edges. After the floor is prepped it can be stained a color of choice or left natural this a matter of preference after staining a clear urethane is applied creating a protective finish for the floor
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Article Added on Saturday, April 28, 2007
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