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Types:  There are many different types/species of hardwood, including red and white oak, maple, cherry, white ash, hickory, or pecan.  Each species has its own unique graining and texture.  Graining in hardwood is determined by the way the hardwood was cut.  A sliced cut will give a more uniform pattern, where a rotary cut will show a larger, bolder graining pattern.  Within each species you will have a choice of color and finishes.Choose a color that will either coordinate or contrast with your cabinets and furniture. Darker woods tend to be more formal while lighter woods are more casual.  Hardwood can be finished in either a high gloss, low gloss, or with a matte finish.Low gloss finishes are better in a more active setting, while high gloss finishes are better for  a more formal setting.  Lower gloss finishes hide dirt better than high gloss finishes.


Sizes:   Hardwood board widths can range from 2 1/4" wide to 3 or 5" widths or wider.  Wider boards  work well in a larger room, and narrow boards can expand the look of a  room. Edge choices on hardwood boards include squared, beveled, or eased edgeds.  Beveled edges are helpful in catching dirt and grit and helping to prevent scratches and make clean up easier.


Construction:  Hardwood can either be solid or engineered.  Engineered hardwood is constructed of two or more layers or plys which vary in thickness and lend dimensional stability to Engineered hardwood is more resistant to warping or cupping of the boards due to moisture differences.  When installing hardwood directly on a concrete slab, engineered hardwood is what is used.  Solid hardwood is exactly what it states, and is solid thru out.  Solid hardwood ranges in thickness from 1/4" to 3/4" in thickness.


Upgrading:  Upgrading your hardwood gives you the option of a wider selection and more exotic species of woods to choose from with a wider selection of colors as well.  Most higher end products come with extended warranties and enhanced finishes.  Higher end products will last longer and perform better than base grade products.   


Care and Maintenance:  Use a damp cloth to blot up spills as soon as they happen.  For tougher spots, you can use acetone nail polish remover on a clean white cloth to remove the stain, then wipe with a clean damp cloth.  Avoid letting liquids stand on your hardwood floor.  Vaccuum using the hardwood attachment, and not the beater bar.  Dry mop or sweep the floor regularly, to minimize dirt and grit build up.  Do not use oil based, wax, polish, or strong amoniated or abrasive cleaners to clean the floor.  Never use any type of buffing machine on a pre finished hardwood floor.  Do not use rubber or foam backed mats as they may discolor the hardwood. Use floor protectors under all furniture and heavy items to prevent indentations or scratches from heavy objects.  

Shaw Epic Hardwood