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The Manufacturers' Outlet for Premium Hardwood Flooring

 

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About Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors are available in an expansive array of wood species, grades, finishes, edge styles and widths. Our hardwood flooring manufacturers use only the finest North American and exotic hardwoods in our products. Below is a quick reference to help you select the best floor for your décor and your lifestyle.

Wood Species

The most apparent characteristic of a hardwood floor is its species. This will influence the color, grain and wear life of the floor (see Hardwood Hardness Ratings below). Shop 4 Floors offers hardwood flooring in Cherry, Hickory, Maple, Red Oak, Pecan, White Oak, Walnut, and a variety of exotic species.

Hardness Ratings

The Janka Hardness Test measures the force needed to embed a .444 inch steel ball to half its diameter in a piece of wood. The higher the number, the harder the wood. Although this is one of the best methods to measure the ability of wood species to withstand indentations, it should be used as a general guide when comparing various species of wood flooring. Remember that the construction and finish also play an important role in the durability and ease of maintenance of any wood floor. Wood is a natural material, and will wear and dent in different ways from plank to plank. Below are the Janka Hardness rankings for some of the wood species offered by Shop 4 Floors.

Wood Species

Hardness

North American Cherry950
American Black Walnut1010
Red Oak1290
North American Maple1450
Hickory1820
Pecan1820
White Oak 1360
Brazilian Cherry2820
Tigerwood 2160
Santos Mahogany2200

Grade

Hardwood lumber's grade is based on its appearance. Factors that affect grade include color, grain consistency, knots and other natural features. These characteristics are often determined by the part of a log the plank is cut from. For example, the heartwood (inner core) of a tree is darker and richer in color and grain than the sapwood (outer rings). The way a plank is cut also matters. A “quartered” plank is one that has been radially cut across a log's rings, so its grain runs roughly parallel down the length, whereas a plain-sawn plank will have more arched or flame-shaped markings.

In general:

  • Clear (or Superior) grade floors are light and uniform in color, with limited character marks.
  • Select & Better grade floors have natural color variation and minimal character marks.
  • #1 Common (or Construction Grade) floors have a variegated appearance with small knots and other natural flaws.
  • #2 Common (or Rustic) floors have the greatest variation in color, grain and permitted character marks.
  • Hand-scraped floors have been physically distressed to simulate age and wear.

Finish

Many of Shop 4 Floors’ hardwood floors are available as unfinished or prefinished products. Prefinished floors have been factory finished and tinted in a variety of colors for greater design freedom. This process protects and enhances the beauty of the flooring, while simplifying the installation process. Unfinished floors require sanding and sealing after installation, which can add to the time and difficulty of the project.

Edge Styles

A beveled edge at the point that plank meets plank provides a smoother, better-wearing floor. Your choices run from square edge (no bevel), to micro (barely noticeable) bevel, to eased edge (noticeable bevel), to beveled edge (pronounced bevel). The depth of the bevel will affect the appearance, wear life and cost of your floor.

Characteristics

Unlike manufactured flooring products, hardwood is a natural material that has its own character and properties. Due to these unique qualities, your newly installed floor will vary from samples and pictures shown. Here is what you should expect from this extraordinary material:

  • Natural Variations: Just as no two trees are identical, no two wood planks have identical grains, hues, and textures. Naturally occurring wood can have knots, mineral streaks, and a wide variation of colors and grains. These differences make each floor one-of-a-kind.
  • Changes in Color: Over time, wood flooring colors will change with exposure to artificial and natural light. These changes are normal, and to be expected. To avoid the appearance of discoloration, you should occasionally move area rugs and furniture to promote even light exposure. Some wood species color changes are more dramatic than others.
  • Natural Movement: Seasonal moisture and temperature levels will cause wood to expand and contract. Though this may give the appearance of gaps or cracks in your floor, this should not be considered a product defect. The addition of a whole house dehumidifier or air conditioning for mid/late summer and fall will help keep a home from building up excessive moisture not only in the hardwood flooring, but within the walls and ceilings as well. Maintaining a home at 45%-65% relative humidity will help assure the minimum amount of movement due to the floors' moisture content. Engineered flooring is less susceptible to swelling and shrinking, because it has been designed for enhanced dimensional stability.

Solid or Engineered

Shop 4 Floors offers both solid and engineered flooring options in a variety or finishes, grades and wood species. Both flooring types are excellent options for ground level flooring and above, depending on the subflooring. Due to the differences in installation methods, engineered flooring is the best choice for basements and other spaces with concrete or other hard subflooring.

  • Solid Hardwood Flooring: Solid hardwood flooring consists of 100% hardwood planks that have been milled, kiln-dried, ripped, molded, graded, and finely crafted to meet our exacting quality specifications. Our solid hardwood floors are a sustainable building resource, and a beautiful addition to any home.
  • Engineered Hardwood Flooring: Shop 4 Floors’ engineered products unite the classic beauty and durability of hardwood with the enhanced sustainability and value of faster-growing woods. Our finely crafted engineered floors have a top layer of hardwood that looks, feels and wears just like a solid hardwood floor. It can even be sanded and re-finished as desired. Beneath the hardwood surface, layers of plantation-grown wood provide structural stability and ensure decreased expansion and contraction due to temperature and moisture variations. The result is a floor that uses less hardwood per square foot, yet retains the appearance and wear life of a solid hardwood floor.