Unfinished Hardwood Flooring
Unfinished hardwood floors stand the test of time. It has been used and explored by families all across the world. It may sound and look traditional but it definitely spells one thing—CLASSIC. Unfinished hardwood floors make a home a feeling of warmth, and homey and give your home a natural beauty that you can’t get from any other upgrade. Most families would choose this over other home styles because of the beauty it brings. It is simply elegant. There are four other reasons aside from its classic beauty, why someone would choose unfinished hardwood floors.
It is cheap, durable, easy to maintain and it is earth-friendly. You will be building a home or upgrading your existing home and sustaining the environment as well.
House flooring occupies most of our home space. The classier the floor gets, the more appreciation we can get from other people. Our home will definitely stand out among the rest. Wood may sound simple, but do you know that there are things to be done to keep that floor shiny and keep them for a long period of time?
Extra efforts need to be taken to preserve the beauty of the wood floors. And we cannot just pick any wood in the market. If we want something really lasting, then we should opt for better quality. In this article, I will help you decide why you should choose hardwood flooring, what kinds of materials to use, how to take care of your wood, and how to install it. Let us not forget the cost it takes to install hardwood as well.
Species of Wood for Unfinished Hardwood Floors
There are unlimited styles of wood or species.
With age and exposure to light this hardwood darkens, its straw, yellow-brown darkening to rich dark brown, and the dark streaks deepening.
This hardwood is recognizable on floors for its pattern of rays in colors from a beautiful tan to a golden brown. This heavy wood with medium bending and crushing strength is low in stiffness and very good in steam bending.
This hardwood is noted to react well to staining and preservative treatment. White Ash ambers over time from its pale cream color to golden straw.
This species, Milletia, laurentii, is a uniform dark chocolate brown color. Wenge is gaining popularity in flooring because it is a good hardwood for turnery, cutting easily, and has a beautiful grain and interesting color.
Victorian Ash has color variations from a color of cream or pale straw to pinkish highlights and some medium gray-brown colors. This hardwood undergoes a color change, where its variation reduces and different color tones become a uniform appearance.
Traditionally used in shipbuilding the natural oils in the wood can interfere with stain, so it is recommended to either use a solvent before staining is attempted or to use water-based finishing. This wood choice will darken to a golden brown with light and oxygen exposure.
Similar to teak, this hardwood is a light, tan-yellow color that darkens to a tan-brown color. Oxidation and sun exposure will cause reddish tones to develop quickly over a period of 6 to 8 months.
This species, Astronium Lecointei is a boldly striped hardwood with an orange, reddish-brown background and chocolaty brown stripes. Tigerwood flourishes in Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Guatemala, and Mexico.
Tiger’s Eye Walnut
With tan-brown background with fine black striping. This hardwood works well with hand and machine tools despite the presence of gum pockets that interfere with sawing. Tiger’s Eye Walnut will change with age as its golden brown deepens to a darker brown under the black striping.
Tamarind is a hardwood with a uniform orange-brown color very similar to Brazilian Cherry. This species is also ideal for flooring because it is extremely hard and durable. because of its high density and high silica content, it is difficult to work with. This wood will darken gradually from the orange-brown after finishing to a darker reddish-brown.
Sydney Blue Gum
This wood has a distinctive color range that goes from dark, rich pink through deep red-brow and will darken moderately, with a reduction in brightness, to a medium brownish-red.
This wood is now commercially extinct due to the chestnut blight. This hardwood does not hold up against too much traffic or wear and must be sanded carefully to reach a bright polished finish.
This heavy, durable hardwood is an ideal wood for flooring as this hardwood will lighten in color with age.
This wood is an attractive hardwood species with tan-brown coloring and fine black striping. With aging, it will darken from a golden brown to a darker brown under the black striping.
Installing Unfinished Hardwood
Deciding for your home flooring comes in two choices. You can opt for pre-finished or unfinished flooring. Pre-finished flooring is already sanded, more expensive, and sealed. They are a good option for remodeling homes. Once installed, you don’t have to worry about sanding it. It’s all pre-casted. On the other hand, unfinished flooring materials are raw boards that are unsealed, never been sanded or stained. They are very ideal to be installed in a newly constructed house but have to be done professionally. What better way to do it is to follow these tips?
Installing unfinished hardwood floors requires basic carpentry skills and some specialized tools like floor nailer, saw, and the like. You can rent this equipment if you don’t have them or your installer can provide those tools. The baseboard should be carefully removed and you should apply a 6 mm poly plastic vapor barrier. Then, the edges should be overlapped and glued. This will avoid tear and wear during installation. Since floors are already evaluated, you can decide on how to integrate the small pieces to the board if you would like to add design and space to your flooring.
Spacers are needed to create an expansion gap. Planks or boards should be slid against the wall. The right angle should be observed when nailing. You need to hide those nails for aesthetic purposes. You can also use floor nailers to hide the nail further. Then you may use a pry bar to fit the last row and put the nailing really tight to the edge.
Over Concrete Floor
Another way to do it is to install over the concrete floors. The rule of covering and overlapping the edges also applies here. Plywood is laid out on the floor and proper measurements should be done. Focus on the center to get the whole layout. There should not be space in between to create a good result. You need to use sleepers to make the layout and flooring look better. Make sure that you glue or nail the sleepers properly on the floor, followed by your plywood and then your flooring.
The Costs of Unfinished Hardwood Floors
Building or remodeling a home is not a joke. Money is a very important factor right after you decided on what to do with your home. Turning the floors into the wood in your house will require you to spend a little extra especially if you want high-quality wood. Amongst them, oak, maple, and birch are the most popular woods. Here are some pricing examples
1. Oak- $2.39/sf to $3.45/sf
2. Maple- $4.69/sf
3. Brazilian woods – $3.90 – $5.40 /SF
4. Walnut – $4.40 – $5.90/sf
5. Mahogany – $6.60/sf
The pricing of wood depends on the quality and type of wood but the quantity of wood needed will also be a cost factor. You have to decide what kind of wood you would like to install. Then you are good to go shopping and choose the one that fits in your budget and matches your needs.
Cost of Installing Hardwood Floors
Having it installed, polished, and sanded is not enough. It is a lifetime commitment to take care of it so that you will keep its natural beauty and texture. The moment it is delivered to your doorstep you have to make sure that it’s not moistened. It spoils the quality of your wood. After installation, make sure that your floor is clear of dirt and dust. Always put floor mats on the wooden floor and hide from sun exposure.
Water is another enemy of this type of flooring. Make sure that you wipe and clean the spills soon after they happen. Oil soaps are not advisable to use when cleaning the floor. Use a neutral pH cleaner specifically made for wood floor cleaning.
Sun-rays are enemies of the wood colors too. Use curtains or blinds. This will also add life to your home aside from protecting it from the sun’s harmful rays. You should sweep the floor regularly as well. You may also use a good mop to clean the dirt away. In short, keep your house clean all the time. It will save you from much bigger damage in the future.
You are building an investment here at the same time as beautifying your home. Choosing your materials wisely is a positive step forward. Soon after you have installed your flooring, make sure you keep a regular maintenance schedule to keep it looking its best. Installing the flooring is good but it’s never the final step. Keeping the flooring maintenance schedule is the key to a long lifespan for the wood floors in your homes.
Pros and Cons
From the consumer to the contractor, unfinished wood flooring is a popular choice when considering a new floor installation in the home. If you don’t mind the additional steps of sanding and finishing the floors yourself, you may find the installation process of unfinished wood floors to be more to your taste.
Let’s bear in mind that while they do have many positive aspects, unfinished wood floors are not for everyone. The major drawback they have over prefinished floors is the mess involved. Sanding and finishing the floors are additional steps, and some people don’t want sanding dust to spread throughout the home. Also, you may need to leave the house for a little bit when the floor finishing products are drying, due to the fumes created.
Take into account that there are more potential disadvantages and problems down the road if you leave your wood floor in a totally unfinished state. Wood flooring with a protective coating will tend to last longer than bare, unfinished wood floors. It will become more difficult to clean and may get damaged by scrapes, dents, or moisture, leading to a potentially costly and time-consuming repair process.
Don’t let the drawbacks dissuade you from unfinished hardwood flooring, however. Unfinished hardwood flooring does have many positive aspects going for it. Due to the even finish that can be obtained from unfinished flooring, it is a fantastic choice for new construction, so your floors look flat and level all through the home.
Also, you can put it in during earlier stages of the construction and remodel process than pre-finished flooring, then you can sand it and finish at the very end. Last but not least, the choice of colors and finishes with unfinished wood flooring is almost endless. You can pick your wood species, your stain color, and even a unique plank width, giving your floors a custom-made look that is all your own.