Hardwood flooring is available in solid and engineered. Solid hardwood is 3/4″ thick and can be installed on or above grade (over a wood subfloor). Engineered hardwood is available in 3/8″, 1/2″, 9/16″ and 3/4″ thick depending on the width of the plank or manufacturer. When installing hardwood below grade or over concrete, engineered hardwood is the type to be used because it can be glued down.
Absolute Flooring recommends engineered hardwood when looking for a plank wider than 4 1/2″. The core of an engineered hardwood helps stabilize the top veneer which is why we recommend this profile for wide planks. Note that not every engineered hardwood is the same quality – the top veneer ranges in thickness which makes it refinishable or not.
We recommend you bring in measurements when you come into our showroom. Hard surface installations require the base moldings around the perimeter of the room to be removed and reinstalled so we need the dimensions of your space in order to calculate the linear footage. The more information you give us, the better our estimate will be.
There are four popular species of wood to look at; red oak, white oak, hard maple and hickory.
- Red oak has a reddish, pink tone with a swirly grain so it tends to be more forgiving in busy households. This type of wood is found all across the Northeast and fits nearly every type of style or decor. Red oak may be too “common” for some due to its popularity although stain can make a world of difference from a style standpoint.There are three grades of oak – character, exclusive and select & better. Character grade has high variations from board to board along with knots and mineral streaks. An exclusive grade red oak tends to be the most standard and are most often used by manufactures for their products. Select and better is a grade where the boards lack shade differences and are very consistent so there is more uniformity throughout the floor.
- White oak has a similar grain to red oak but with a yellowish, grey tone. This type of species is becoming more popular in this area because it looks more modern compared to the red oak traditional reddish, orange tone. White oak is also sold as rift and quartered which is a type of cut that creates a linear grain similar to bamboo. This type of milling process is more expensive than the standard sawn cut and has a very attractive modern, contemporary look. White oak is also harder than red oak with a Janka rating of 1360.
- Hard maple is much cleaner looking with a very fine grain along with light and dark striations or blotchy sections throughout which are most pronounced in a natural look compared to a stained finish. Maple has a sleek style which makes it more of a contemporary design option and a blank slate to work off of in any room of your home. Even though hard maple is a harder wood species than red oak on the Janka scale (1290 vs 1450), it isn’t as forgiving due to the smooth and clean appearance so any dings or scratches may be more noticeable than on an oak floor.
- Hickory is becoming more popular because of it’s rustic look and durability. It has a hardness rating of 1820 and and has a very bold look that may not work in any home. Hickory has grain and character like an oak as well as striations of light and dark which is similar to maple. The style of this species is an eye catcher and will add a lot of character to your room. Hickory tends to be sold as a wide plank, engineered profile because of it’s a wild, bold character.