hardwood

Explaining the Natural Grade Hardwood Flooring Trend

Natural grade flooring is a prominent trend that has been growing in the previous few months. The move towards natural grade flooring is consistent with other trends towards more natural and rustic looking flooring. Other similar trends are moves towards wide planks, reclaimed wood, and hand-scraped wood. A natural grade floor is one that is made from many different grades of wood, which means that it will more closely mimic the natural state of the wood.

Explaining the Wood Grades

Wood flooring tends to come in four different grades. Clear grade is the finest and most uniform grade of wood. In this grade, the wood grain is tight and understated. There are no imperfections, knots, mineral streaks, or worm holes in the wood. These planks are basically flawless. The next grade is select grade. A select grade wood plank is close to a clear grade but it will have some differences in wood tone and coloring. The grain might be more pronounced and little more irregular.

The next two grades are common grades one and two. Common grade two has the most imperfections, color variations, inconsistencies, mineral marks, and wormholes. It is a very irregular wood that lacks almost any consistency. To create a natural grade hardwood floor, all four of these grades are mixed together.

Natural Grade Flooring

When manufacturers mix together all four of these grades of wood, they create something that more closely resembles an entire tree. A tree is made up of many different kinds of wood, affected by all kinds of outside influences, and greatly altered by the way it grew. That means that the hardwood flooring of the past was very inconsistent; it was what would now be called natural grade.

Manufacturers in the past used every part of a tree, which means that they would use multiple grades. If you want your flooring to look more classic and timeless, you should consider natural grade flooring.

Versatility

Natural grade flooring is also more diverse than higher grades. They are easier to repair because there is already a significant amount of inconsistency in the wood. That means that replacing a damaged plank with a mismatched plank won’t stand out too terribly. Furthermore, you’ll be able to mix and match widths and lengths to give it an even more authentic look.

The natural grade flooring trend has also led to some less expensive floors because more of a tree can be used. Also, some parts of the tree that were previously thought undesirable are being used in great-looking floors.

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Black Stains Are Very Trendy in Hardwood Flooring

There are many different materials in 2018 that are designed to look and feel like hardwood flooring. None of them match the warmth, comfort, and timeless quality of authentic hardwood though. Also, they are not nearly as durable. If you take good care of your hardwood floor, you can keep it for several decades. That’s why it’s so important to pick the right hardwood floor; they can be an investment that will last you for a very long time. So, what is popular in 2018 and what will be popular for the next decade or two?

Dark Stains

Dark stains have been popular for up to a decade. In the past, hardwood floors were almost all light colors or even just bare wood. However, that has been changing for awhile now. That means that you will likely be able to find a manufacturer who offers hardwood flooring stains in a range of colors. Furthermore, it will be more likely that your floor will still look great a decade from now. Everyone has an experience of getting on board with a trend that did not age very well. Dark stains are not going to be like that. So, what colors are popular?

Black Floors

As stated earlier, hardwood stains have been trending darker for years and years. Well, they have finally reached their natural conclusion: black floors. There are a few options for black floors. Usually, the flooring professionals will offer you a range of different shades of black. Typically, they will mix an ebony stain with a dark walnut. Ebony stain is a thin, black stain. That means that it will soak into the wood, and the wood grain will rise to the top. The wood will still be noticeably brown, especially in the grain. If you want it to be darker or if you want to hide some of the grain, you can find a thicker stain that is a true black.

A true black stain is very popular for people who have different types of wood in their hardwood floor. For example, if you have had to replace damaged planks or if you want to match rooms in different floors, you’ll have a hard time making the grains and colors match. However, a dark black stain that masks some of the grain will cover up any differences.

That’s one reason black is so popular; it is very easy to repair and match with other woods. The biggest concern is that black floors will show every bit of dust; you will have to stay on top of your cleaning regimen.

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Hardwood Flooring Takes a Turn for the Exotic

The most common hardwood used for flooring in the United States is oak. Oak generally comes in two different varieties: red oak and white oak. Red oak generally ranks about 1260 on the janka hardness scale. White oak is a little bit harder at 1360. Both of them are great choices for hardwood floors because they are readily available, hard, and very attractive. They provide floors with a great grain; they’re easy to clean and easy to maintain. However, oak floors are not necessarily the most trendy floors. They’re something of a base type of hardwood flooring. If you want something a little more exotic or unique, you’re in luck. Exotic woods are very popular now.

Brazilian Woods

Some of the hardest and most popular exotic woods are Brazilian woods such as Brazilian teak and Brazilian walnut. Brazilian walnut is, in fact, one of the hardest woods readily available for flooring. It is more expensive than other types woods because it is more rare and harder to mill. However, it is such a unique wood with such a unique grain pattern that it will always stand out. Also, a wood that is that hard will resist scratching very well.

African Ebony

Ebony wood is known for its dark color that ranges from a very deep brown to almost a jet black. However, that’s only the heartwood. The sapwood is pinkish that trends towards a darker red. If you have a floor that is made of ebony sapwood, it will be a deep red color that will deepen over time. If you have an ebony heartwood floor, it will range from dark brown to completely black.

Ebony wood is also a very hard wood, which means that it will last a long time. If you want a dark wood without having to stain it, you should consider ebony. If it’s a naturally dark wood without a stain, that means you’ll be able to sand away scratches or damaged portions without affecting the color.

Australian Red Mahogany

Another wood that is popular is Australian red mahogany. This wood, as the name suggests, is reddish in color. The heartwood is a rich, dark red in color. The sapwood is a creamier, lighter complexion. The wood is very hard but it has an open, coarse grain. That means that it will take stains better than many woods of similar hardness.

These are three exotic woods that have been trending in popularity. The popularity of rare woods generally depends on their appearance and their hardness. All three of these woods are beautiful and very hard.

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Can You Install Hardwood in the Kitchen?

Hardwood flooring suppliers and installers are often asked what alternative to hardwood can be used for the kitchen. There are a lot of conflicting ideas about whether hardwood can be installed in the kitchen at all. Well, it can be but you need to be aware of the concerns. Many people believe hardwood flooring cannot be installed in the kitchen because hardwood flooring is susceptible to heat and moisture. The kitchen, obviously, is very vulnerable to spills and drastic changes in temperature. That means that you’ll need to be able to account for that.

Engineered Hardwood or Solid?

Since heat and moisture vary so considerably in the kitchen, you need to be concerned about cupping. Cupping occurs when heat and moisture cause the edges of the wooden planks to curl upward. To avoid this, you could choose engineered hardwood. Engineered hardwood is made from a thin veneer of hardwood with plywood or pressboard underneath. The layers of softer wood and the glue itself help to prevent moisture from getting into the layers of the wood. That means that it will be less likely to cup.

Prefinished Hardwood

You should also consider the finish on your wood. The finish will protect the wood from moisture and heat. One solid option is prefinished hardwood. Prefinished hardwood is treated at a factory with urethane that is embedded with aluminum oxide crystals. This finish is harder and more durable than anything that could possibly be applied on site. You will not be able to change the stain or the seal on your floor, but it will last as much as five times longer than polyurethane.

Invest in Fans

The biggest danger your floor will be in is from moisture. To combat that danger, you need to be able to dry your kitchen as quickly as possible. The best ways to do that are with dehumidifiers and with fans. If you can blow a fan across the surface of the floor or dehumidify the kitchen, you will reduce the likelihood that the floor will be damaged by moisture. A local dehumidifier tends to work very well if you don’t want to dehumidify your entire house with an HVAC system.

Wooden floors in the kitchen require a little more work than some synthetic materials, but they are definitely worth the extra effort. You should seriously consider these durable and attractive floors. They’ll last for a very long time and look great the entire time.

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