These wood plies are stacked on top of each other but in the opposite directions.
This is called cross-ply construction which creates a wood floor that is dimensionally
stable and less affected by moisture than a 3/4” solid wood floor.
In the presence of moisture, solid wood planks will always expand across the width
of the planks, rather than down the length of the boards.
The advantage of cross-ply construction allows the plies to counteract each other
which will stop the plank from growing or shrinking with the changes in humidity.
The other advantage for you is versatility. You can install these floors over concrete
slabs in your basement as well as anywhere else in you home.
Because of this, engineered hardwood flooring is the hardwood flooring of choice
Most engineered floors can be nailed down, stapled down, glued down, or floated
over a wide variety of sub-floors, including some types of existing flooring.
Engineered floors will range from 1/4" to 9/16" in thickness, and vary
from 2 1/4" to 7" in width. The widths can also be mixed, such as 3-5-7-inch
planks installed side by side. By varying the board widths you can change the total
appearance of the floor. Create a truly custom look for your home. The lengths will
be random and range from 12" – 60" in length.
For design freedom, consider engineered.
Because engineered wood floors are made up of several layers of wood the top finish
layer can be a totally different wood species. A variety of domestic or exotic hardwood
species are available such as Oak, Maple, Hickory or Cherry. You’re free to
pick the one that suits your style.
Type 2: the floor that’s solid yet expands.
Solid wood floors are one solid piece of wood that have tongue and groove sides.
When we talk about solid wood floors, we tend to think of floors that are unfinished,
but it’s important to know that there are also many pre-finished 3/4”
solid wood floors.
And you should also be aware of the moisture factor.
Solid wood floors are sensitive to moisture and because so they are used in nail
down installations and are not recommended for installation below ground level,
or directly over a concrete slab.
Therefore, relatively no solid hardwood flooring is installed in Arizona.
The good news is that these floors can be refinished, or recoated, several times,
which adds to their appeal and to their long life in your home.
In fact, there are solid floors that are over 100 years old that are still in good
condition with rich patina and character – enhancing the beauty of the home.
Because they’re a natural product, hardwood flooring will expand and contract
in response to seasonal changes in moisture. In the winter heating months, moisture
leaves the wood causing the floor to contract, which creates larger than expected
gaps between each plank.
In the summer months, when the humidity is higher, the wood will expand and the
gaps will disappear. If there is too much moisture it may cause the wood planks
to cup, or buckle. Not something you want in your home.
This is why it is important when installing a solid strip floor to leave the proper
expansion area around the perimeter and to acclimate the wood prior to installation.
This will help assure a lasting, beautiful application.
Consider oak, for all its choices.
Oak is commonly used for solid unfinished wood floors and there are several different
qualities of oak for you to choose from. These qualities are clear, select and better,
#1 common, and #2 common.
The clear has no visual blemishes or knots and is extremely expensive. While the
select and better quality has some small knots and very little dark graining.
The #1 common and #2 common have more knots and more dark graining. So be aware
of that when buying an unfinished solid oak floor and make sure you know which quality
of wood you are buying.
Type 3: Longstrip offers you unique possibilities.
Longstrip plank floors are similar to engineered floors and have several wood plies
that are glued together. The center core is generally a softer wood material and
is used to make the tongue and groove. A hardwood finish layer is glued on top of
The top layer can be almost any hardwood species and is made up of many smaller
individual pieces that are laid in three rows.
Longstrip planks are approximately 86" in length and 7 1/2" in width.
They generally have between 17 and 35 pieces that make up the top layer of each
This gives the effect of installing a board that is 3 rows wide and several planks
long. Each longstrip plank looks like an entire section that has already been pre-assembled
for you. This alone can create a unique look all your own.
Longstrip planks are designed for the floating installation, but most can also be
glued-down, or stapled down. Because these floors can be floated they are extremely
versatile – they can go over a wide variety of sub-floors and on any grade
Like engineered floors, longstrip floors come in a wide variety of domestic and
exotic hardwood species.
Longstrip plank floors have another advantage. When damaged, they can be replaced
with relative ease. That’s an important consideration for active homes.
Those are the basics of hardwood floor construction.
At Baker Bros. we believe that the right knowledge can be as functional and practical
as a hardwood floor.
We also hope that the information we’ve featured here leads you to a better
understanding of how this beautiful and versatile floor is constructed, and helps
you be a better, smarter, more savvy hardwood shopper.
And when visiting any of our seven store locations, don’t hesitate to ask
us anything about the world of hardwood. At Baker Bros. you can be assured of…
More knowledge per square foot.