The options in hardwood flooring are extensive these days. Several factors will determine your final choice, but appearance and cost will certainly be at the top of the list. Here at Southwest Green Building Center we believe durability and toxicity should also be at the top of your list. Luckily, we have all the bases covered!
Hardwood flooring can be challenging in our dry desert climate. Most all hard flooring manufacturers will suggest or require humidity levels be maintained at about 30-50%, which is pretty much impossible here in New Mexico without running humidifiers in the winter and swamp coolers in the summer. So, in order to have a hardwood floor that will look good and perform for the life of your home, purchase a reputable brand from a reputable dealer and assure you have a good installer.
Hardwood flooring is available in both engineered and solid constructions. A solid construction will be one thick layer of the same material, while engineered will be constructed with several layers of different substrates with the top layer, or wear layer, being the finished surface.
Hardwood flooring can be glued down, nailed or stapled down or floated. A floating floor will just click together and “float” on a thin underlayment and is not actually attached to your subfloor. The new ‘click’ or ‘drop-n-lock’ profiles are working well in our climate.
Finally, the finish applied to the surface will vary as well. Choose an acrylic, urethane or natural oiled finish. The look and care of an oiled floor will be different than an acrylic or urethane finished floor.
Above all, pay attention to the finishes and glues used by the manufacturer – this is usually the culprit if there are off-gassing issues. With a purchase as large as flooring, don’t take a chance!