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Wood Flooring Types

There are many choices on the market today. Our goal is to show you the possibilities so you that can choose the perfect floor for your home. We have samples of woods from around the world and we are happy to bring a variety of them to you so that you can see how different types of wood combine with the architectural features of your home, your furniture, your lighting and other design elements.


Unfinished wood flooring refers to flooring that requires sanding and finishing on site after installation is completed. This wood arrives from a mill where they have cut the flooring from lumber, making it into strip, plank or parquet, ready to nail or glue to a subfloor. It could be milled from newly harvested trees, or from reclaimed material. Unfinished wood flooring is available in solid or engineered.

After the wood is completely installed, it is sanded, sometimes stained, and then coated with a protective finish. Unfinished flooring allows you to create a completely custom floor. You can choose from many species of wood, combine woods to form an inlay or a border, and use any color stain. We are expert in the mixing of custom stain colors, from a white, pickled look to a rich ebony. Many of these colors can be achieved only through the use of dyes. We have been applying these dyes for many years and can achieved stunning effects with them. We can even mix other materials with the wood such as stone and marble, or metal.

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Prefinished floors can be both solid and engineered. Both are described below. This wood arrives from the mill sanded, stained and finished and ready for installation. Most types come in lengths from 4' to 7'. Solid prefinished floors normally have longer boards than do engineered.

Usually, each individual board has a small beveled edge so that the pieces will appear level and the floor smooth when it is installed. Square edged, prefinished floors are also available but at a higher price than the beveled as these require extremely precise milling in order to create a level or smooth finished floor. Some people prefer the way a bevel accentuates or outlines a board. Others prefer the more traditional and uniform look of square edged floors.

This type of flooring makes it easy to have a wood floor in a home that is occupied. Installation is relatively quick and not a great deal of dust is generated.

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This flooring is made from pieces of wood that are one solid piece from top to bottom. The thickness of the wood is generally from 3/4", but is occasionally milled to 5/16" or 3/8" thickness for glue down installation. It can come from the mill already stained and finished, or it can be finished at the jobsite after being installed and sanded.

Most solid hardwood floors require a nail down installation over a wood subfloor. If you have concrete in your home, we can install a plywood subfloor for you. Thinner solid wood floors, in 3/8" or 5/16" thickness, are designed for glue down installation over concrete.

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Engineered hardwood flooring is constructed of two components, a 'core layer' on the bottom, topped by the 'face veneer'. The core layer is constructed of multiple layers of wood which can be of the same or of a different species, glued together in a cross-hatch configuration. This cross graining provides greater dimensional stability, minimizing the expansion and contraction that natural wood exhibits when exposed to varying moisture levels and temperatures.

Engineered wood floors can be produced with as few as 3 ply (layers) or as many as 9 ply (layers). Currently many manufacturers are making flooring with a marine plywood backing of 5-8 layers. This flooring has better stability and moisture resistance than the 3-5 ply materials, a positive feature in our Tampa Bay humidity.

Once the core layer is produced, the face veneer is added on top. This veneer is sawn in a similar method to solid wood flooring, so that the finished product looks identical to solid flooring once installed.

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Reclaimed wood is salvaged from old buildings, such as old barns and farm structures from rural areas, factories and hotels in cities, and pilings from seaside shipping ports. All of the wood rescued is from buildings that are slated for demolition and eventually landfills, a horrible waste of our planet's resources. This wood has already been through at least a century's worth of seasonal expansion and contraction cycles, so it is more stable than new wood.

In the early years of our country, the common method for timbering was to cut trees with axes and drag logs with oxen or mule teams to the riverbanks where some of the densest, heaviest logs rolled off the rafts during the float trip to the mills. Today these logs are recovered by divers and milled into wood flooring. With its color, character and patina, river recovered wood is a beautifully behaved building material that only gets better with time.

Historic home owners here in Tampa Bay often choose these products to repair or replace termite damaged wood floors.

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Earth-friendly and comfortable under foot, floors are durable and are offered in many exciting colors. They can even be custom stained to suit your fancy. It comes in a variety of sizes and shapes, and can be cut into any unique design. You can mix the colors in a whimsical puzzle for a child's room, or choose one color to make a quiet floor for your library.

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Wide plank hardwood flooring adds a feeling of elegance to any room. Better suited to medium and larger size rooms, wide planks are modern, yet timeless. We offer main types of wide plank flooring in a large variety of colors, tones, (light to dark) and widths. All are available with durable finishes for easy care and a long life.

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Distressed, or handscraped hardwood floors add warmth and a sense of "instant history" to a room. These techniques enhance the character of the wood, bringing the beauty of nature into the built environment. They are a specialty of ours at Through the Woods in Tampa and we carry a wide variety of woods in many different colors, from light, even white-washed to warm honey brown, rich reds, to almost black.

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We look forward to helping you choose the perfect floor for your home!

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