Sapphire wood floors are of superior quality as we believe it is also both environmentally responsible and economically sensible to have products that last. This is one way we show respect for the value of the natural resources we use. A well-made wood floor can and should last a lifetime. We feature both Solid and Design Engineered Floors. Sapphire brings you the best woods that are produced by nature and then designs the woods to fit the style of your home. We’re committed to creating the world’s most beautiful, durable and desirable wood products. Sapphire’s woods collection has grown our collections to offer hundreds of styles of authentic hardwood floors, with colors, species and finishes to suit every kind of lifestyle and living space.
Hardwood floors can be installed on any level of your home and are available in multiple constructions to allow for installation flexibility over different subfloors and to mitigate moisture. Identify your subfloor and level of your home to determine what construction of hardwood to install (see chart).
It’s important to take moisture into consideration when you’re installing hardwood floors since changes in moisture can create issues such as warping and gapping. To mitigate the effects of moisture, keep moisture levels within manufacturer recommendations and choose the right construction of hardwood flooring and installation materials. For an added layer of protection against moisture damage, install a moisture barrier.
There are three primary subfloors over which you can install:
- Basement or concrete below ground level
- Concrete at ground level
- Plywood subfloor at or above ground level
There are four constructions of hardwood floors to address each primary type of subfloor.
- 3/4-inch Solid
- 5/16-inch Solid
This is a 3/4-inch-thick solid piece of hardwood floor and is what you might typically think of for hardwood floors. Because solid floors expand more when exposed to moisture than engineered floors, you can only install them over a plywood subfloor at or above ground level. If you have a crawl space, it’s a good idea to put a moisture barrier underneath the crawl space to help control moisture coming through the ground into your home. Most solid floors can be sanded and refinished.
Engineered floors are designed for installation over concrete and to help mitigate potential moisture issues. The cross-layer construction prevents the floor from expanding as much as a 3/4-inch or 5/16-inch solid floor when exposed to moisture. Therefore, you can install engineered anywhere in the home, including the basement. Engineered floors are also more environmentally friendly and less expensive than solid floors because the veneer is only a few millimeters thick to 1/4″ thick instead of 3/4-inch thick. The real hardwood veneer of engineered floors differs from laminate, which has a printed paper veneer. Most engineered floors can be sanded and refinished.
A locking, or floating, floor is an engineered floor, but with the added advantage of a locking tongue-and-groove system. It’s the perfect do-it-yourself flooring solution because nails, staples, and glue are not required. All you have to do is roll out the moisture barrier underlayment and lock the planks into place.
Things to Consider
Finding the right species of wood is really a matter of personal taste and project budget. There are domestic species like oak, maple, and cherry as well as exotic species like bamboo, Brazilian cherry, and cork. Each species has a distinct grain pattern. For example, oak has a very distinguished grain whereas maple is very subtle. Exotics are very popular because of their distinct grain patterns and color.
Most domestic species of wood come in a variety of colors. Most exotic species, on the other hand, are not stained because their natural color is distinctive. Many exotic species are photosensitive and need exposure to sunlight to achieve their desired rich color.
Widths can easily change the look of a floor since the wider the plank, the fewer the seams that can be seen in the floor. Wider widths also showcase the natural beauty of the wood, especially hickory and tigerwood.
There are many types of texture, including smooth, hand-scraped, distressed, and wirebrushed.
Janka Hardness Rating
The relative hardness of wood species is measured using the Janka Hardness Rating. This test measures the force needed to embed a steel ball (.444 inch in diameter) to half its diameter into the piece of wood being tested. The higher the number, the harder the wood. This means the wood is more resistant to indentations. Different species also have varying degrees of hardness. Hardwood floors are a natural product and are susceptible to dents (not covered under warranties unless specifically stated). If you expect your floors will take a lot of abuse, consider a species at least as hard as red oak based on the hardness chart to the right.