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HARDWOOD BASICS

When looking for a hardwood floor, consider these factors: wood species, solid or engineered construction, and the type of installation system.

Hardwood Species
Hardwood Construction
Installation Systems

HARDWOOD SPECIES

Bruce Hardwood flooring species

Species is the type of hardwood, like oak, maple, cherry, hickory that is used to make hardwood flooring. Species can be either domestic, grown in the U.S., or exotic, grown elsewhere in the world, typically in tropic or sub-tropic areas.

Each species has its own natural visual characteristics in three areas:

  • Color – naturally occurring or applied with stain
  • Grain – refers to the lines visible on a cut board
  • Texture – naturally occurring or added during manufacturing (See hand-scraped floors)
Bruce Wood Species Chart

Hardness Scale

Each species used in hardwood flooring has a unique hardness rating, which indicates its natural resistance to normal wear and tear in a home. A species receives a hardness rating based on its resistance to indentation in a hardness test. The higher the rating, the higher the durability of the hardwood. Brazilian walnut has one of the highest ratings at 3684, while yellow pine has one of the lowest at 690. Oak is the benchmark standard for hardness at 1360.

All of the ratings appear ranked from lowest to highest on the Janka Hardness Scale. It’s a good idea to check this scale for the hardwood species you plan to buy. Depending on the amount of traffic in your room, you may want a species with a higher hardness rating.

For high traffic areas, like a living room or foyer, consider hickory, maple, oak, and ash, or an exotic wood like black acacia. For rooms with less traffic, like bedrooms and formal dining rooms, your hardwood options are more varied.

Selected Wood Species Chart
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HARDWOOD CONSTRUCTION

Basics for Bruce Engineered Flooring

Armstrong (Bruce is an Armstrong brand) manufactures two types of Bruce hardwood floors: solid hardwood and engineered hardwood. Both floors are made of real hardwood, but they’re constructed differently.

Solid Wood

  • Solid piece of wood milled from lumber
  • Can be re-sanded and refinished several times
  • Installed over wood subfloors, on or above ground level
View Solid Hardwood Flooring

Engineered Wood

  • Genuine hardwood layers bonded together for strength and stability
  • Can be installed on any level of the home, including basements
  • Can be installed over wood or concrete subfloors
  • Can be sanded a few times (Recommendation: call a professional)
  • Plank lengths are typically shorter than solid hardwoods
View Engineered Hardwood Flooring

INSTALLATION SYSTEMS

Bruce Hardwood Flooring Installation Guides

Bruce hardwood floors are installed using one of three options:

  • Nail-down – attached with staples
  • Glue-down – attached with adhesive
  • Floating (Engineered wood only) – floor boards are not attached to the subfloor, but attached to each other.
    Engineered hardwood with interlocking edges (Lock&Fold®) is the easiest to install and requires no nail, glue, or staples.

The installation option you choose will depend on where you’re installing your floor, whether it’s a solid or engineered hardwood floor, and whether you’re installing the floor yourself or hiring a contractor.

View Flooring Installation Guides

Hire a Professional or Go DIY?

Not sure whether to install your hardwood floor yourself or hire a professional? These 3 questions can help you decide.

  • Can you get professional results if you do it yourself?
  • Do you have the time?
  • How much money can you save?

Saving money on the installation by doing it yourself may be a good option in the short-term, but not in the long-term, if you wind up with a floor that develops installations issues and you have to call in a professional to fix them.

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