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Solid hardwood floors are the gold standard for the residential market, not only for their warmth and rich appearance, but also for their durability.

Pre-war dwellings, built before 1940, still feature solid hardwood flooring, typically oak, maple, fir, and yellow pine, sometimes with edging or patterns such as rafters and special fittings. and personalized. Often different types of wood have been combined to create floors of unique beauty.

Craftsmanship and raw materials were the two essentials required to support this type of flooring and customization. Another factor involved with hardwood floors is the upkeep to repair and maintain hardwood floors, as well as the housekeeping required to keep them clean and in good repair.

Craftsmen who are skilled in fine hardwood floors are no longer readily available. When the pre-war houses were built, fine craftsmanship was a point of pride in the trades, and apprenticeship programs were still in use.

The work force was reasonable, and the products of the skillful hand of carpenters and installers are still evident in older homes. Hand-carved wood mantels, banisters, moldings, doors, windows and frames of both are prized and highly regarded.

The handrails and balustrades for the stairs were a point of pride and featured in the entryways with the stained glass windows, transoms and partitions, plaster ceiling medallions and ceiling patterns. Craftsmen were willing to train and invest time in their craft, and architects, builders, and homeowners had the patience to wait for production to take place.

Raw materials like lumber and exotic hardwoods were readily available for pre-war construction, especially flooring. Housekeepers, maids, or stay-at-home moms had time to polish and wax floors to keep them looking crisp and shiny, and more time was spent at home appreciating and appreciating their efforts.

After 1940, as life accelerated, jobs outside the home became important to women, and streamlined, futuristic designs and styles became popular, craftsmanship was no longer valued. The emphasis has been on conserving trees and natural resources, and easy housekeeping and housekeeping has become more and more common.

Engineered wood flooring – a new type of flooring – dominated the market in the 1960s. A sandwich of layers, called “plies,” this type of flooring is made of hardwood and plywood bonded together. by a heating and pressing process.

A hardwood veneer is the top layer, which is the most important because it is visible. This veneer is 1/16 to 1/8 inch thick, under which is a plywood core, each layer perpendicular to the one above to add strength.

Layering adds tensile strength and stability. It also makes it less susceptible to expansion and contraction. The number of layers or plies indicates the strength and quality of the engineered parquet. Engineered wood floors can have as little as three coats and up to 12, although the average is five.

The hardwood flooring industry considers solid wood floors and engineered wood floors to be interchangeable, and there is very little difference once they are installed. Prior to installation, folds (or layers) are evident on the side of each engineered wood plank.

Solid wood floors are cut from trees and can be sawn flat, quarter or rift, all of which produce different effects. The different methods can be combined to provide a variety of effects on the ground. As every tree is different, and the method used to cut the plank from the tree may be different, the effect of a solid hardwood floor is the most natural and desirable – difficult to replicate in any. manufactured floor.

The appeal of engineered wood flooring is not the price, as it can be as expensive as hardwood, but its ease of installation and ability to resist moisture. Similar to laminate floors, engineered floors install the “Click Lock” system, with tongue-and-groove boards that connect to each other without glue.

Slightly damp areas, like bathrooms or kitchens, are good areas to use engineered floors. On the other hand, basements liable to flooding are not suitable for this type of soil.

Engineered wood floors can be installed over concrete slabs, but the moisture content cannot exceed 4 percent. Tests can be performed on concrete slabs to determine the moisture content before installation.

Since engineered flooring does not use glue or adhesives, an underlay of foam or cork allows the floor to float. Another reason engineered wood floors are preferred is that they can be installed quickly over any secure subfloor, like plywood, ceramic tile, old hardwood, or dry concrete.

Engineered floors are very durable and their number of layers is the best indicator of their lifespan. Thinner soils last 20 to 30 years and thicker soils have a lifespan of 40 to 80 years.

Engineered wood floors can be scratched or damaged like solid wood floors. However, unlike hardwood, not all engineered floors can be sanded and refinished. Damaged areas of the floor can be replaced but may look newer than the original surrounding soil, as engineered floors will fade in sunlight. Thicker engineered floors can be sanded up to five times, but it is wise to use caution and only sand once or twice.

Although the price of engineered wood flooring is comparable to that of hardwood, the ease of installation and easy availability make this type of flooring a great option for improving tired, worn or damaged floors in homes. houses.

Beautiful hardwood floors will never go out of style, and the expense and upkeep is worth the investment for some buyers. Realtors who can discuss the various installation options and methods for older homes and renovations will clearly have an advantage when working with buyers.

Gerard Splendore is a Certified Associate Real Estate Broker with Warburg Realty in New York. Connect with him on LinkedIn.


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