Not all types of wood floors are the same. "Wood floor" is a broad classification that includes several different wood finishes, species and products; and each one has its own advantages and disadvantages. If you're searching for a scratch-resistant wood floor, choose a hardwood species and a floor product with a quality finish. While no wood floor is entirely scratch-proof, a hardwood with a specially engineered finish will provide you maximum durability.
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Solid Hardwood Floors
There are two basic types of real wood floor products -- solid hardwood and engineered. Solid hardwood floors are made entirely of a single piece of natural wood. Each wood plank is nailed down to a subfloor and treated with a finish to seal the wood from moisture and provide its unique shine. Most solid hardwood floors will dent and scratch over time, depending on the wood species used, the finish and the type of use the floor serves; but proper care and maintenance can minimise imperfections. In addition, you can sand and refinish solid hardwood floors to make them look like new.
Engineered Hardwood Floors
Engineered wood flooring consists of many thin pieces of wood that are fused together with heat and pressure. Once bound, a veneer is applied to the top wood layer to strengthen and fortify the product. Engineered wood typically has a plywood base and is attached to a concrete subfloor. The advantage of engineered wood is that it's stronger than most solid wood floors; advances in veneer application make them near scratch-resistant, according to the Cheap Bamboo Flooring website.
Certain species of wood are harder than others and are therefore better suited for floors. The harder the wood species, the less susceptible it is to dents and scratches. Most wood floor manufacturers rely on hardness measurements determined by the Janka scale, which is a standard measurement tool used to evaluate a wood's ability to tolerate denting and wear. Wood species like Brazilian walnut, Bolivian cherry and Brazilian teak are among the hardest wood species; they're less likely to scratch compared with American beech and yellow pine, which both received lower hardness ratings in the Janka scale. If you are considering installing a solid hardwood floor or an engineered wood floor and you're concerned about scratches and other blemishes, select a wood species with a high hardness rating -- ideally one over 2000.
The finish is ultimately what protects a wood floor from moisture and warping; thus, the quality of finish matters. In general, the finish is the next most important factor aside from a wood's hardness to determine a wood floor's likely performance over time. Choose a wood floor with an aluminum oxide or multilayered polyurethane finish, which are both engineered to withstand normal wear and tear. Avoid wax and shellac finishes; they provide a less superior finish that is prone to chips, dents and scratches, particularly on floors with moderate to high foot traffic.
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