Hardwood Floor Types
When we talk about hardwood floor "types," we can mean several different things. First, we can be talking about the finish. In that case, there are two types-unfinished and pre-finished. Second, we can be talking about the constituent parts. In that case, there are three types-plank, strip, or parquet. And third, we can be talking about material. In that case there are also three types-solid wood, engineered wood, and acrylic impregnated.
Unfinished vs. Pre-finished
Unfinished flooring must be sanded at the job site, either before or after installation. Once it has been sanded it can also be stained and sealed if desired. Sometimes this kind of flooring is called "strip flooring." It's often what people think of when they hear the term "hardwood floor." A 3/4 inch thick floor can be sanded four to six times over the course of its life.
Pre-finished floors are sanded at the factory and stained and sealed as well. This gives you a chance to see exactly what the flooring will look like before it is installed. It also cuts the installation time roughly in half over what it would take to install a comparable unfinished product in a comparably sized room.
Plank, Strip, or Parquet
Plank flooring is the traditional look. It is laid down as parallel boards of anywhere from three to twelve inches in width and several feet long. It can come as thin as 1/2 inch or as thick as 2 1/4 inches depending on your needs.
Strip flooring is not as wide as plank flooring, typically 2 1/4 inches wide or less. Strip flooring looks less like planks of wood that have been turned so the narrow side is facing up. In actuality though, their depth or thickness is no greater than that of plank flooring.
Parquet flooring creates geometrical patterns out of wood slats that are held together with an adhesive or some mechanical method.
Solid Wood, Engineered Wood, and Acrylic Impregnated
Solid wood is just that. Wood. It's available in unfinished or pre-finished varieties.
Engineered wood is a laminate wood product. It's created by bonding layers of veneer and lumber together. The top layer is premium hardwood, so it still looks great. The laminating process creates a more stable flooring that can be used in more humid areas. Engineered wood is less likely to expand and contract with temperature and humidity.
Acrylic impregnated wood is created by forcing acrylic and color into the pores of the wood via a high pressure treatment. This makes the floors very difficult to damage by abrasion and virtually impervious to moisture. They are popular in industrial applications but can be used residentially.