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Hardwood Flooring
Hardwood Flooring comes as engineered, solid, or a floating floor. Engineered flooring is constructed of multiple layers of cross grain hardwood. Engineered wood floors are dimensionally stable. This eliminates the natural expansion and contraction of wood. Engineered flooring can be installed above, on, or below grade. This type of flooring can be glued to foundations and sub floors or in some cases, stapled down to the sub floor. Solid hardwood flooring can be sanded and refinished after being installed years before. Solid hardwood flooring is installed on ground level or above ground level and nailed to the sub floor. Floating floors float above the sub floor with no direct attachment to the sub floor. Floating floors are made in larger pre-assembled wood panels. This makes for an easier and faster installation. They can also be glued directly to the sub floor. Hardwood flooring comes in many different species. It can be imported from other countries or produced domestically. The look of hardwood flooring determines how the wood is graded. Most hardwoods are graded by clear, select, and common grades. Clear grade hardwood flooring is free of defects or will have some minor imperfections. Select grade hardwood flooring is close to clear grade, but will contain some color variation and knots. Common grades generally are numbered 1 and 2. They have more natural characteristics than select and clear grade. Number 1 Common will have light and dark colors, knots, and worm holes. Number 2 Common has a rustic appearance and allows all characteristics of hardwood. Hard Maple, Beech, Birch and Pecan are graded as first, second, and third. First grade is best in appearance. It has natural color variations and limited characteristics. Second grade has varying wood characteristics. Third grade is rustic in appearance.

Laminate Flooring
Laminate flooring was first introduced in the US in 1982. Laminate has experienced annual growths of 20% yearly and is now the fastest growing floor type in the country. They have incredible durability and are now more aesthetically pleasing due to true representations of hardwood. Laminates are also more affordable than hardwood flooring which makes it more practical for people to purchase. The maintenance on laminate is also easier than the maintenance of a hardwood floor. Laminate flooring will not stain, fade, or dent like natural hardwoods will. They are also far more scratch and water resistant. The cores of a laminate are made of mdf and are treated with water repellent chemicals. Laminates are able to resist swelling due to excessive moisture. Cores on a laminate range from 6mm to 12mm. Laminate flooring warranties range from 10 years to lifetime. Warranties usually cover the structure of the product and only cover topical water damage. Remember that not all laminate flooring is created equal. Just because an entry level laminate has the same core features as a higher end laminate. The product still may not last as long end. Laminates with a thicker core will be more stable and when walked on will sound more like a real hardwood floor. Laminate flooring offers many looks of hardwood in domestic and exotic species, and also the look of tile and stone.

Bamboo Flooring
Bamboo flooring is another fast growing category in the flooring industry. Today, due to environmental issues and the "Green Movement", people think more about what kind of floor they are buying. Due to its thin nature bamboo floors are made as an engineered flooring product. Due to today's technology they offer many choices of stains, finishes, and styles of Bamboo flooring. Many designers are now choosing Bamboo do to its uniqueness and popularity. Since Bamboo is a grass and not a wood it regenerates faster. It is usually harvested within five years of sprouting, which makes it a renewable resource or as many now call it a "Green" product. Bamboo can vary in hardness due to different growing conditions. These conditions that affect it can be where it grows, the age of the grass, what time of year it was harvested, the soil chemistry and the amount of rain. When Bamboo is carbonized it loses about 20% of its hardness. Carbonized Bamboo is another look. It is darker in color and is made by steaming the Bamboo at high temperatures.

Cork Flooring
Cork flooring was started in Europe over 300 years ago. Cork like Bamboo is another renewable resource. This is because the bark is harvested from cork trees every 9 years. Only 50% of the bark is harvested at a time. Cork is made up of millions of tightly packed air cells. Because of the air cells it is incredibly resilient making it softer to walk on. This reduces the impact on the back and legs. Because it is so porous, it also offers a higher level of stain resistance than other types of flooring. Cork also absorbs sounds and vibrations. It has natural anti-microbial properties which helps resist mold and mildew. Cork can be purchased as a solid tile or an engineered floor. The solid tiles are usually glued directly to the substrate such as concrete or wood. Please note that cork cannot be glued directly to Oriented Strand Board(OSB). If purchased as an engineered floor it is usually floated into place. Cork Flooring can be floated in place by a flooring professional or the homeowner. This is done by a tongue and groove locking mechanism on the sides and ends of the boards. Many types of finishes and looks are available in cork.

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