If you are serious about finding the right hardwood floor but are unfamiliar with your options, you are at the perfect place. There are a lot of consideration when choosing a hardwood floor but we created the below outline in hopes of streamlining your understanding while insuring you get the crucial information.
Stick with us though ore “hardwood flooring 101” and we promise you will find the information well worth your time.
*For Professional Installers, specifiers, or anyone looking for detailed technical information, we encourage you to visit our technical blog found under "resources" in the menu.
Quality is paramount to a successful hardwood floor and we define quality by the following 3 criteria:
> Quality of the materials
> Quality of the construction
> Quality of the appearance
We are all inherently drawn to the final appearance, but before we tackle this, lets start from the floor up and discuss the first two:
Why Engineered Floors
All Monarch Planks are engineered floors, which refers to flooring that consists of multiple layers of material sandwiched together. The list of benefits of engineer floors include great durability and ease of installation, but for Monarch Plank this construction allows us to offer a greater variety of wide plank sizes that would be cost prohibitive or simply unobtainable in solid hardwood form.
The thickness of the top layer of hardwood is an important consideration. Generally, the thickness of this layer ranges from as little as 1mm up to 6mm. Thicker wear layers improve the overall durability of the floor and allow for refinishing. We recommend thicker options for longevity in high use areas such as hallways or commercial common areas, thinner wear layers are an alternative for less used areas.
Knowing you will get the quality you expect in any Monarch Plank floor option, lets dive into the nuts and bolts of which look is ideal for your project!
Choosing the right Monarch Plank for your home should be a balance of form (the look you love most) and function (meets the need of your intended use)
Each Monarch Plank prefinished design is unique, reflective of 4 key attributes that work in unison to create the final appearance. These attributes are as follows
> The type of wood
> The surface texture
> The color(s)
> The finish
Not all woods are equal! The species we offer, all come from the most reputable sources and are renown for their strength, resiliency and appearance
All wood comes with varying characteristics. Curating raw material to highlight certain attributes is referred to as “grades” and we offer the following within the Monarch Plank range:
Rustic Grade: Our choice for the prefinished range, Rustic grade highlights the breadth of the woods extraordinary natural range, including lighter new growth sapwood, mineral & character marks, knots, and cracks.
Prime Grade: The Prime grade offering is curated to be virtually free of knots, with less sapwood and fewer character marks than our Rustic grade
Select Grade: Curated to be virtually free of knots, with less sapwood and fewer character marks than the Rustic grade
There are various classic and innovative techniques to achieving desired textures. Textures give your floor a personality and work in unison with finish and color to bring out unique characteristics in the wood. Consider the below options offered in our prefinished range when thinking about what personality you want in your floor.
Monarch Plank has embraced the markets desire for more sophisticated natural finishes through leveraging the most advanced reactive staining techniques in Europe. The result is a wide range of colors that harness the woods inherent traits to create distinctly natural appearing finishes. The techniques include the following:
Fuming (aka Smoking): Achieves a darker finish. Popular with Oak, (contains lots of tannin in wood) creating a uniquely natural variation due to inherent varying tannin content in wood.
Carbonization: A warm, rich caramel brown color is achieved through a heating technique that caramelizes the natural sugar content in wood
Reactive Stains: An aged appearance is achieved through the reaction of the stains with natural contents in wood tannins, extractives and sugars.
Oil is to urethane as skin is to a raincoat
The final element of each design is the finish which acts to protect your floor while also providing the final touch to the appearance. We focus on two types of finishes. Urethane and Oil which as the above describes offer distinctly different attributes.
> Natural Oils: Natural oils used in Monarch Plank designs penetrate the wood before hardening, thus creating a natural barrier that protects the floor. Because the oil embeds itself within the grains of the wood the surface remains as the natural wood. A significant advantage is the ability to refinish selective areas over time without refinishing complete floor
> Urethane: Urethane coats the top layer of the floor with a protective surface. This surface offers excellent protection but coats the natural surface giving the floor a different appearance. Urethane generally requires less maintenance, but requires greater effort when refinishing.
* A note ON UV curing. There are UV cure variation in both Oil and Urethane which refers to a process of using ultraviolet light to harden the finish, providing greater durability/protection
Use your new found knowledge to find your perfect floor below!