All wood floors provide a foundation of natural beauty in a home, and to the naked eye there's very little difference in types. Hardwood floors are meant to last a lifetime, so take the time to learn the pros and cons of different options.
Solid hardwood is completely milled from natural lumber. It shrinks and expands over time and with extreme temperature changes. Solid hardwood isn't recommended for bathrooms or installations below ground level, such as in basements. Because it's 100 percent solid wood this type of flooring can be sanded and refinished many times over the years to maintain its natural beauty.
Engineered hardwood is made from three to 10 layers or "plies" of natural wood that are glued together. Engineered hardwood is more stable than solid hardwood, with little or no shrinkage or expansion. It can be used below ground level, but due to the layering process it can't be refinished as frequently or successfully as solid hardwood.
Both solid hardwood and engineered hardwood can be ordered prefinished or unfinished. Prefinished flooring is stained and sealed according to the customer's desires and eliminates the need to sand the flooring once installed inside the home. Opting for unfinished or "site-finished" flooring can mean a big savings if the homeowner does the work himself, but the process is messy and time consuming.
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