Find Your Next Floor
Buying a hardwood floor is a big decision, so we’ve developed some helpful tools to make the process easier – and help you choose the Kentwood floor that’s perfect for your home.
First: know that every Kentwood product is manufactured to our own exceedingly high standards of product quality, so which ever style you choose, the quality is a given. But remember: all Kentwood products are made from real hardwood, which means every piece will have a unique appearance.
Hardwood has been a popular flooring material for centuries and continues to be the flooring material of choice for many good reasons.
It’s durable – well-made hardwood floors can last a lifetime and longer. While the initial cost may be higher than with other types of flooring, hardwood’s longevity makes it an excellent long term investment.
It’s comfortable – real wood has a natural warmth that no artificial material can replicate and makes a very comfortable living surface.
It’s uniquely beautiful –hardwood has a beautiful appearance and, as a natural material, every piece will be completely unique.
It’s a great Investment – real hardwood adds value to your home.
It’s authentic – real wood has special value and appeal over artificial materials.
It’s sustainable – wood is a naturally renewable resource.
In a solid wood floor, every board is made from a single solid piece of hardwood. This is the most traditional form of hardwood flooring. It is installed over plywood subfloors using nail down installation.
In engineered flooring, every board is made from several layers of wood, with valuable hardwood used only for the surface, or ‘wear’ layer. The other layers may be plywood, common softwood or even high density fiberboard (HDF). Engineered floors are generally more stable than a solid floor, and they are more versatile too, as they can be installed in practically any situation with a variety of different installation techniques.
Laminate floors are made with entirely manufactured materials and contain no real wood (although the main component of many laminate floors is HDF, which is a wood-based product). Laminate floors have an image of wood (or other material) imprinted onto the surface, to give the appearance of a wood floor.
A Janka rating is a guide to the hardness of any given wood species. The Janka rating indicates how many pounds of force are required to embed a small steel ball into the surface of the wood to a depth of half the ball's diameter. The resulting number is used as a rating to indicate the hardness of the wood; the higher the Janka rating, the harder the wood. Janka ratings don't really indicate a floor's performance, and they're even less relevant in engineered floors where only the surface layer is hardwood.
Customers frequently consult Janka ratings when choosing a style of flooring, but we recommend choosing a floor based on the visual character of the wood, not its Janka rating.
Many people choose a wood species based on its hardness, thinking that a harder wood will be more durable and resistant to wear and damage. While this is true to some extent, the fact is that all hardwoods can be dented and scratched, even with the toughest finish. So it’s more important to choose a floor based on its visual appearance.
There are four basic installation techniques for hardwood flooring.
- Nail Down – the boards are fastened to a plywood subfloor using cleats or staples
- Glue Down – the boards are glued to the subfloor with a special wood flooring glue
- Floating – the boards are glued to each other, but not to the subfloor below. The entire floor ‘floats’ on a cushioned underlay.
- Glueless – a popular variation on floating installation in which the boards have a specially designed joint system that allows the boards to be ‘clicked’ together without glue or fasteners.
All hardwood species used in Kentwood flooring are suitable for the purpose, so it’s better to choose a species and color that suits your individual lifestyle and tastes. For example, generally speaking lighter colored floors and heavier grained woods like oak will be more forgiving of daily wear (dust, footprints, etc) and will require less maintenance than darker floors and clear grained woods like maple. Exotic woods tend to be less tolerant of changes in climate than domestic woods.
Many condo councils have regulations regarding the installation of hardwood flooring. One of the most common is that an acoustic underlay be installed under the wood flooring to minimize sound transmission between floors. Check with your council to find out what specific requirements they may have. Your Kentwood dealer can recommend a suitable underlay.
Most styles of Kentwood engineered floors are approved for use over radiant heat. (Solid wood floors, and certain wood species such as acacia, are not suitable for use with radiant heat systems.) There are some special considerations when installing over radiant heat and the temperature of the floor must be kept within recommended levels to avoid damaging the floor. For more information, consult the installation instructions.