That's not wood flooring, or is it?

So many people have come into a flooring store and have asked for wood flooring. You always have to ask them, "What kind of wood flooring are you looking for?" Why would you need to ask that question? Isn't wood flooring, just wood flooring. For many people, they may not see it that way.

Traditionally, wood flooring was a thick piece of wood that had some sort of tongue and groove in the sides of it. You would put them together and then put some sort of finish over the surface to protect it and allow you to keep it clean. Now that could vary some if you used reclaimed wood from old buildings or did a decorative type of installations that you would screw it down straight to the floor and plug the holed you made. There are a few different ways you can make design it to look unique.

Now, it isn't as simple as that solid wood floor your grandparents would have installed. There are a number of products that have been made over the years that carry the name of wood flooring. Even though to some, they don't look anything like wood flooring. If you look at the Homeowner's Handbook from the NWFA,, you will find on page 8 something interesting. "The definition states that wood flooring contains real wood as the top-most, wearable surface of the floor. That includes solid and engineered wood flooring, as well as composite engineered wood flooring, which has real wood on the wearable surface." In laymen's terms, If the surface you walk on is wood, it is wood flooring.

If you ask, "Who are these people who made this rule?" The NWFA is made up of people that have worked with and been in the wood flooring industry most of their lives. Some are second and third generation craftsmen. They have handled all these different types of flooring, installed and written the warranty guidelines for installations, and trained people in this industry. They are wonderful men and women who love the beauty of wood.

Technology is always getting better for the flooring industry. Engineered wood flooring has allowed us to have wider and longer planks using less wood for the veneer that allows you to make more flooring. It has also created finishes and colors that you would not be able to achieve in a home installation. Wood planks are being thermal treated to increase hardness. The planks are being chemically stained or colored by the reaction of gasses and fumes injected into the storage containers that are curing the planks. There are processes that allow the wood to be cut thinner for the top surface and made harder so that it doesn't scratch or get damaged by water.

In all of these processes, you are getting the beauty of the wood. It isn't any type of print, vinyl coating, or any type of synthetic surface. That is why the definition of wood flooring will be that the surface has to be wood. What you walk on and see on the top of the plank. There are so many different processes being developed to get more out of a tree and still get the warmth of wood on the floor. The traditional solid wood flooring won't go away, but the options coming may allow you to have wood flooring at the cost of a synthetic floor such as vinyl and laminate.