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If you’ve been considering having hardwood installed, you’ve probably been flooded with information about where and how the different kinds of hardwood can be installed. As it turns out, hardwood installation isn’t as cut and dry and it sounds – solid hardwood can be installed in different places than engineered wood and here is why:
Solid hardwood is, as the name suggests, solid hardwood from top to bottom. Structurally, it is a single piece of wood and it’s hardness is totally dependent on the species of wood. A Red Oak is softer than Bamboo is will require a bit more care to maintain it’s flat, unblemished surface.
Engineered hardwood, on the other hand, is comprised of solid hardwood for the top and bottom layers. The middle, however, is made up of layers of plywood that is cross-grained and laminated together. This makes this particular wood harder and more structurally solid than a solid hardwood.
Due to the different nature of both these products, where they can be installed differ as well. Let’s take a look at where these different types of hardwood can be installed.
Surprisingly, hardwood installations work in some places better than others.
basements - below grade
Solid: Nope. You cannot have a solid hardwood installation in the basement. Basements are below grade and generally have a fairly high moisture content which will ruin your hardwood.
Engineered: Can be installed in a below grade situation over top of a subfloor. Since engineered wood is structurally more stable than solid, it holds up against moisture better.
at or above grade locations
At-grade or above grade locations are excellent places for hardwood installations of both solid and engineered wood. These rooms generally include living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, dens, etc…
kitchens and bathrooms
Solid: There can be an awful lot of moisture in both these areas so it isn’t recommended that solid hardwood is installed here. In these areas in particular, most homeowners will choose a more moisture resistant flooring such as tile or luxury vinyl flooring.
Engineered: Much like basements, engineered hardwood flooring will hold up to the potential of moisture in these areas.
hardwood installation methods
Nail Down: This process includes nailing or stapling the wood flooring directly onto a wood subfloor. The nails are inserted through the tongue of the floorboards into the subfloor which prevents the nails from being visable when the installation is complete.
Glue Down: A glue down hardwood installation involves using a hardwood adhesive to attach the flooring directly to a subfloor. Before beginning this type of installation, however, the subfloor has to be both dry and flat. If there is a high spot on your subfloor, there will be a high spot on your floor.
Floating: This method of installation is neither nailed nor glued to the subfloor but floated above. This is generally used for engineered flooring where the floor boards are adhered to each other, via their tongue and groove. Adhesive at the end joints will provide your new floor with stability without having to fasten it to your subfloor.
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