What is the Janka Scale?

Did you know that each species of hardwood has a different level of hardness? Some common domestic species like walnut, cherry and birch are less hard in comparison to other common domestic species like maple, hickory and oak. The hardness of solid wood is measured according to a system called the Janka Scale.

The Janka Scale gives a good indication of how well a wood species can be expected to withstand dents and dings. The scale is determined by the amount of pound-force required to push a .444-inch diameter steel ball halfway into the wood.

Ratings for both domestic and imported species are included in the scale; however, none of these values apply to engineered wood flooring. While Janka values give a general sense of how hard solid wood is, other factors also contribute to the durability of wood as well. This can include things like how the wood is cut and the finish that is applied to the wood.

Durability

Paws and claws? No problem! Wood floors are designed to withstand the traffic of busy families, including man’s best friend. Wood floors are extremely durable. They can withstand the rambunctiousness of a puppy and still look beautiful for decades. Just be sure to pick a species that can endure Fido’s playful spirit, sharp nails and occasional accidents.

Source: National Wood Flooring Association

Wood Flooring Options for Your Home

Wood flooring is timeless, elegant and unique, making it a good option for today’s homeowners. It also can be customized to reflect your design tastes. This brief video from Bona provides more information on widths, styles and grades of wood flooring.

Which Type of Hardwood Flooring Should You Choose?

Photo: Shaw Floors

Installing hardwood flooring is an easy way to improve the look, durability and value of your home. Consider these factors before deciding on whether you prefer solid or engineered hardwood flooring.

The location of your hardwood flooring basically falls into three categories:
  1. On Grade – at ground level.
  2. Above Grade – any second level or higher.
  3. Below Grade – any floor below ground level, including basements or sunken living rooms.

Traditional solid hardwood flooring is not well suited for below-grade installations due to the possibility of moisture issues. The construction of an engineered hardwood gives it enhanced structural stability that allows it to be installed at any grade level when a moisture barrier such as Selitac Thermally Insulating Underlayment or Silent Step Ultra 3 in 1 is used during installation.

What type of subfloor do you have?
If you plan to install over concrete, you must use an engineered product to ensure structural integrity. Solid wood flooring or engineered flooring may be used over plywood, existing wood floors or OSB subfloors. Be sure to refer to Shaw’s installation guidelines for specifics on subfloor requirements.
Will there be moisture in the room?
If you’re considering flooring for a bathroom where continuous moisture is expected, you will want to select a product other than hardwood. While the moisture resistance of an engineered hardwood makes it suitable for rooms below grade or ground level when installed with a moisture barrier, it’s not advisable to install any hardwood flooring in a bathroom.
Source: Shaw Floors

Should You Choose Laminate or Hardwood Flooring?

Shaw Floors Laminate

With today’s technology, laminate flooring is a strong alternative to hardwood. While the look of laminate and hardwood flooring may be similar, knowing the differences between laminate and hardwood flooring will help you make the best choice for your home and budget.

Here are some quick comparisons.

Laminate Flooring

Construction. Wood materials are pressed together to make a plank. The top layer is a photographic layer made to mimic various surfaces like wood and stone. It can be installed in basements.
Cost. Less expensive
Repair. Minor scratches can be repaired, but new flooring needs to be installed for major repairs. Since laminate is made of composite wood, it cannot be refinished.
Lifespan. Average of 15-25 years

Hardwood Flooring

Construction. This flooring is made of solid wood. The look of the wood comes from the natural state of the wood itself. The grain and color are unique. Installation of hardwood flooring below-grade is not recommended.
Cost. More expensive
Repair. Minor and major damage can be repaired. Hardwood floors can be refinished multiple times throughout their life.
Lifespan. 100+ years

Cleaning Hardwood Floors and Laminate Floors

Even though the materials vary, cleaning hardwood and laminate flooring is basically the same. You’ll want to set up a maintenance routine of daily dust mopping, weekly cleaning with a vacuum/wet mop and a deep clean/polish every few months or as needed. A proper maintenance plan will help keep your floors looking great for as long as you own your floors.
Source: Bona

Trends in Hardwood Flooring

Photo: Lauzon Every hardwood floor opens up a remarkable range of style and design options. There are floors that harken back across the ages and continents to exotic times and places.

That means you can create a completely different ambiance in every room of your home inspired by nature’s extraordinary diversity.

Smoked Neutrals

Midway through the decade, designers are moving away from overusing stainless steel, chrome and brass in favor of the smooth natural elegance of smoked woods. A soft palette of grey, taupe, white and cream tones offers a lovingly lived-in look and a subtly rich texture that changes with the light.

Au Naturel

With “Au naturel” you find the raw beauty of wood in all of its finishes. What catches the eye is the intricacy of the grain. Nature’s patterns are revealed to soften any décor. Isn’t that the appeal of a seaside resort—an invitation to reconnect with the natural world?

Rich Vintage

Part of the contemporary scene is built on a healthy reverence for the past. Rich Vintage evokes ancestral grandeur as easily as it does the simplicity of the homestead. Not surprisingly, rugged and warm browns dominate here, from deeply hewn to honey golden.

Patterns

Who said flooring has to stay in the lines? Intricate patterned wood floor installations were the hallmark of wealth and status back in the day because it meant you could afford the artisans. With state-of-the-art technologies, you can create easy-to-install elegantly patterned hardwood flooring. You can create a truly original space that plays with grain, line, light and texture.

Source: Lauzon Flooring

Four Reasons to Choose Hardwood Floors

Photo Courtesy: Bona

Photo Courtesy: Bona

With all the different flooring options available, hardwood flooring may seem like an expensive option. However, hardwood flooring remains the best choice in having a space that is safe and clean with low maintenance. When you consider the overall life of a hardwood floor, the benefits of wood flooring outweigh the initial cost.

Safe and Clean

One of the biggest advantages of hardwood floors is that hardwood flooring is a more sanitary option than other floor types. When thinking about carpet vs. hardwood, a good amount of dust, germs and other debris get absorbed into the carpet fibers. With hardwood flooring, there is no place for debris to hide, making for a healthier, safer living environment, especially for allergy sufferers.

Low Maintenance

Generally, hardwood floors cost more than carpeted floors, but they also require less maintenance. Because hardwood floors are typically sealed surfaces with a protective layer of finish, wood floors are more stain resistant than other types of flooring.

One of the benefits of hardwood floors is that they can be repaired and refinished. Hardwood floors do get scraped, scratched, scuffed, dented and damaged – especially in high traffic areas. However, wood flooring can most often simply be sanded, smoothed and refinished. It is rarely necessary to replace a wood floor.

Sustainable

Another advantage of hardwood floors is the environmental factor. Wood flooring is the most abundantly renewable flooring material available. The U.S. Forest Service states that the annual net growth for hardwoods is greater than the average annual removal rate. This means that trees are growing faster than they are being used today.

Wood floors also use less water and energy to produce and can be recycled at the end of their life cycle, making it an extremely sustainable product. Considering the differences in producing carpet vs. hardwood, carpet uses more synthetic materials to produce and is treated with more chemicals than hardwood. Also, hardwood not only brings beauty and value to a home, but it can truly last a lifetime while carpet needs to be replaced every 10-15 years.

Unsurpassed Beauty and Value

Probably the biggest benefit of hardwood is its unique and beautiful look. Hardwood is one of the oldest flooring materials there is, and it never goes out of style. Because of the large variety of trees and wood types, a world of colors, consistencies, designs, and grain patterns are available.

Hardwood floors also increase the value of a house. Whereas many new homeowners will remove carpeting when they buy a house, a gorgeous hardwood floor is usually a reason why a house is bought.

Source: Bona