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Categories Hardwood

What’s the Hardest Hardwood Floor You Can Buy?

There are reasons to look for the hardest hardwood floor you can buy. The main reason you would look for a very hard hardwood is longevity. If you have any furniture made of pine, you’ve likely noticed that you can dent it with your finger. That’s why it doesn’t make a great flooring material if you want your floor to look great for years. Hard domestic woods are about on the middle of the hardness scale. They can’t be dented with a fingernail but they can sometimes be scratched by pet nails or high heels. That means you’ll need to make sure you keep your polyurethane finish in good condition. Alternately, you can choose a very hard hardwood. It will resist scratching, chipping, or denting. While the hardest hardwood isn’t necessary, here it is.

Exotic Woods

If you’re looking for the hardest hardwoods, you need to focus on exotic imported woods. Domestic woods can be hard but the hardest woods are imported. Typically, Brazil is the source of some of the hardest available woods. On most hardness scales, Brazilian walnut is the hardest flooring wood you can find. Lignum vitae is generally graded as the hardest trade wood in the world. However, it is also considered endangered and in short supply; thus, it is not commonly made into wood flooring. For flooring, Brazilian walnut is likely the hardest wood you’ll find.

Caveats

Choosing an exotic hardwood isn’t all positive; there are some difficulties you’ll experience if you choose a very hard wood. If you need to repair the wood, one of the fastest ways to repair wood is bys anding it down. However, an incredibly hard wood like Brazilian walnut is so hard that it does not sand easily. It will take more work to repair a wood that hard.

Furthermore, a very hard wood like Brazilian walnut or something similar is very difficult to stain as well. The wood is not only just hard; it is also dense. Since the stain needs to seep into the wood pores, a denser wood is more difficult to stain. It won’t hold a stain as well, but it will be a deeper and richer color than some softer woods anyway.

If you want a wood that will last a very long time, choose something higher on the janka hardness scale. An exotic wood will likely be harder than a domestic wood. However, it will be more difficult to stain a wood that hard.

Categories Hardwood, Hardwood Refinshes

Which Hardwood Flooring Is the Most Pet-Friendly?

Just about every homeowner loves hardwood flooring. There is one group that often finds they don’t care for it: pets. There are two main concerns with pets and hardwood flooring. First, the pet’s claws have a tendency to scratch the hardwood flooring. Secondly, pets sometimes have a hard time if the hardwood is slippery. The slippery, hard floor can be painful on the joints of old animals. There are some things you can do to alleviate those concerns. If you’re committed to hardwood flooring, here are the things you should look for.

Janka Hardness Scale

You should look for a hardwood floor material that rates highly on the janka hardness scale; this is a scale of the relative hardnesses of wood. The lower numbers indicate a softer wood. For hardwood flooring woods, the softest tend to be domestic cherry and walnut woods. Just because they are softer on the scale does not mean they will be noticeably softer, though. They just might be more likely to scratch.

On the higher end of the scale, there are woods such as Brazilian cherry and Brazilian walnut. They make for much more scratch-resistant floors. Of the domestic woods, North American maple is typically about the middle of the road. It will give you some of the scratch resistance you’re looking for while also being a little more affordable than an exotic wood.

Finishing a Floor

You should also consider how the floor is finished. The most common finish on a floor is polyurethane, which is basically a liquid plastic. It’s applied and allowed to dry, creating a hard plastic coating over your wooden floor. It will degrade over time through natural wear and tear.

However, before the finish is applied, the wood can be treated in several ways. There are a few different trends in hardwood flooring that have become popular that your pet might be thankful for. One of these trends is towards wire brushed or hand scraped wood. Wire brushed hardwood is wood that has been brushed with a stiff-bristled brush. The stiff bristles scrape some of the wood to create tiny scratches along the surface. It adds texture to the wood and can improve traction on slippery floors.

A hand scraped wooden floor is a relic of a time before power tools. Before floors were sanded smooth, they were actually scraped with a knife. That creates inconsistencies in the surface of the wood, which can improve your pet’s traction as well. Both of these options can be very helpful.

Categories Hardwood, Hardwood Refinshes

3 Things to Consider When Refinishing Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors are great; they’re durable, attractive, and long-lasting. However, they are going to get damaged over time. Children tracking in dirt, pet claws, moving furniture, and just daily life will wear them down over time. If they become bad enough, you might think you need to refinish them. A refinish involves sanding off the top coat and reapplying it. The floor is likely made of wood with a coat of clear polyurethane. The team that you hire to refinish the floor will sand away the old coat and sand the wood to smooth out all of the scratches. Then, they’ll apply a coat of polyurethane. Here are five things to consider when you make that call.

1 – Do You Really Need a Full Refinish?

A full refinish of your floor might be fairly expensive. Also, it will take a long time. You should call an expert and ask about just having it partially refinished. The experts will sand some of the top coat off of the flooring and then reapply a new coat. That can often smooth out any minor scratches and help protect against further damage.

2 – Is the Wood Stained?

If your wooden floor is an uncommon color such as gray or darker than a brown paper bag, it was likely stained before finishing. A partial refinish will not remove the stain. However, if you do have the floor fully refinished, the sander will remove the stain from the wood as well. Your hardwood floors will be a much lighter color once they are done. If that’s what you want, great. However, if that’s not what you want, you should ask about having it stained before the polyurethane is reapplied.

3 – How Long Will It Take?

You cannot walk on your hardwood floors while the polyurethane coat is still wet. That means that you’ll need to either cordon off part of your house or move out for a few days. The drying process typically only takes about 24 hours before you can walk on it with your socks on. It takes about 48 hours before you can walk on it barefoot. Finally, it takes about four days for you to be able to move furniture back onto the floor. That’s just something to consider when considering a refinish.

These three things could affect whether you choose to have your floor refinished. They could also determine when you choose to do it. For example, if you have a vacation planned, that could be a good time to have your floors refinished. Talk with an expert about your options.

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