how to tell what type of wood floor you have

Use a pull scraper to expose the wood, and compare it with pictures in the Wood Database. T here are many types of wood with varied characteristics, but in most cases the wood furniture and surfaces of your home have been coated with some sort of protective finish. In softwoods, medullary rays and tracheidstransport water and produce sap. The woods like oak, pine and fir especially are easily recognizable. If you want to identify what flooring you have you can check your air vent. This wood is technically hardwood so it can be confusing to homeowners who are told they have “hardwood”. In most cases, wood flooring, irrespective of whether it is engineered or solid, is made from hardwood because it tends to be more resilient. Species such as birch and maple can look very similar when finished with a dark stain, so it's important to strip the stain to get a positive identification. It's the finish on the wood which will determine the appropriate cleaning and repair techniques. We will walk you through the different types of flooring including laminate, solid hardwood and engineered flooring. When you look at the plank you will either see a solid plank, layers of wood, or a thin plastic layer. Some questions to immediately ask yourself: Is the color of the wood natural, or is … 2. Although variable in shape, all hardwood leaves have a distinct network of fine veins. If the finish dissolves, congratulations, you’ve got a waxed floor! Many species, such as oak, pine and fir, are easily recognizable. Solid Hardwood is truly a solid hardwood plank. Doing this when you are buying a home is a great way to ensure you know exactly what you are getting. One useful online catalog is the Wood Database. A good place to do this is in a doorway after prying up the threshold or transition piece with a pry bar. Walnut: Walnut has a darker, redder base tone, making it a richer, warmer floor option—and also a very durable one. This can also help you save time instead of having a company come out to tell you that your flooring is not refinishable. Floors from decades ago and even centuries ago can be resanded and brought back to life. And how to put your carpet back down if you don't. Distinctions Between Hardwood and Softwood Pulling the cover off and inspecting that plank allows you to see what kind of wood you have. Compare the floor surface with a catalog of wood species. One of the reasons is that pine was a lower cost wood. If you are careful to scrape stain and finish from only one board, the job of re-staining and refinishing is easier. All types of wood have a hardness score, which indicates how easily they can be damaged, dented or worn by everyday wear and tear. The upper layer can be as thing as 1/8th of an inch. If it dates back to when the house was built and for a quite a time after the 50's there is a good chance the might be asbestos in the flooring so due care will have to be used in the removal. Sand a section of the floor with a palm sander and 20-grit sandpaper to remove glue or tile mastic if you are exposing a hardwood floor that has been covered with another type of floor covering. Laminate doesn't stain the way natural wood does, so if you see water rings, random splotches or discolorations on the floor, it is probably hardwood. What Kind of Wood Do You Use to Replace Treads? Hardwood typically has bold grain lines with contrasting color between them. How To Determine Type of Wood Finish. However, whether they are solid wood or engineered, it is hard to determine just by the looks. Test for wax by rubbing an out-of-the-way floorboard with the edge of a coin and looking for telltale wax buildup on the coin. It is next to impossible to know without cutting away a small area. Wood To tell if your wood floor is sealed, find an inconspicuous area, dab a drop of water on the surface, and see if it soaks in or beads on top. Determine whether the flooring boards are made from a hardwood or softwood by pushing your fingernail into the surface of one. Look at the color. Scrape the wood in an inconspicuous place to get a good look at the original color and grain before you attempt to ascertain the type with a wood identification app or online hardwood floor types and pictures. Found on prefinished solid hardwood flooring, surface finishes, such as polyurethane, form a protective layer over the floor, and are some of the most common finishes in use today. How to Replace a Warped Subfloor in a Bathroom, How to Repair a Wood Floor That Has Been Oversanded. National Wood Flooring Association: Types of Wood Floors. You often can tell what kind of wood your floor is made from just by looking at it. This guide will help you to figure out what type of flooring you have in your home. If it doesn’t have a floor vent, go to the basement & look up. Here are some of the most popular: 1. Chris Deziel has a bachelor's degree in physics and a master's degree in humanities. Determine whether boards are solid or engineered by examining their cross-section. The most common types of oak flooring are White Oak and Red Oak. Pine is one of the easiest types of firewood to identify. Engineered hardwood flooring is a popular option. Most evergreens have needles or scales, while most broadleaf trees are deciduous, meaning they drop their leaves when dormant. Moreover, your eye may be tricked by a stain or glaze that was purposely applied to make one wood species look like another. Identifying the type of finish that is applied to a wood floor is necessary in order to determine the best maintenance procedures. Different wooden flooring and details about wood and there quality. Find an inconspicuous part of the floor -- perhaps in a closet or under a cabinet -- where you can scrape the finish off part of a board if the floor has a dark stain or is painted. If you are unsure, ask a carpenter to come and determine the type of wood floor you have or, if you are able to, remove an inconspicuous piece of your floor and take the sample to a woodworking shop. You often can tell what kind of wood your floor is made from just by looking at it. And while this is generally true, it is not an absolute rule. Many species, such as oak, pine and fir, are easily recognizable. If you can feel the graininess and texture of the wood, the floor probably has a coating of penetrating oil and -- perhaps -- wax. Pulling the cover off and inspecting that plank allows you to see what kind of wood you have. Besides having an abiding interest in popular science, Deziel has been active in the building and home design trades since 1975. The terms hardwood and softwood are widely used in the construction industry and among woodworkers to distinguish between species with wood regarded as hard and durable and those that are considered soft and easily shaped. There are three basic leaf types: needles, scales and broadleaf. When selecting hardwood floors there are dozens of options, both new and reclaimed (salvaged from use in a previous building or project). When you look at the plank you will either see a solid plank, layers of wood, or a thin plastic layer. Wood hardness varies among the hardwood species, and some are actually softer than some softwoods. Here is a quick leaf identification key of the common hardwoods in North America. This high-quality option adds a luxurious … However, there are exceptions. Teak flooring and teak decking are highly valued features in interior design. This is usually visible at both microscopic level and at the surface — hardwoods tend to have broad leaves, while softwoods tend to have needles and cones. As you’ll have gathered from the introduction of this article, pine is a softwood and oak is hardwood. If you aren't sure, then a wood identification app can help you identify hardwood by its color, appearance or other features. Be aware. Pine is typically found in homes built pre-1940’s. The hardwood is yellow to dark brown colour and the hardwood's grain is also unique, running in straight, mottled, or fiddle back figures. Pine also tends to have a lot of branches and knots on the side. There are differences between the physical structures of hardwoods and softwoods. A simple way to know if you have hardwood under you old carpet. Oak: One of the most common floor types, oak is beloved for its durability, wide grain, and ability to showcase a number of different stains. Here’s the easiest way to know if you have wood floors: If the room has a floor vent, remove it {they’re rarely screwed in} & carefully push your fingers under the pad to lift & reveal. Laminate is a hard surface flooring but is not actually hardwood. Figuring out whether a wood is softwood or hardwood is usually the most important step … Solid wood flooring can be sanded back to restore the finish – the number of times you can do this is determined by how deep the tongue is set from the top of the board. It is a widely popular product and was especially popular in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. It is not always a solid plank and the upper layer of the flooring may be different then the rest of the board. What you can't tell by looking at the surface, however, is whether the boards are solid or engineered, and that is an important factor to consider before sanding the floor. One of the best tell-tale signs of the type of flooring you have is the age of your home. © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. One of the most expensive flooring options is stone. If nothing happens, move on to the next test. Pine and fir are both softwoods but have a wide range of hardnesses depending on exact species, age and origin. It can be sanded and stained anywhere from 2-6 times throughout the life of the floor. Put a couple drops of mineral spirits, naphtha, or turpentine on the surface you want to test. There are a lot of different flooring types out there and it can be hard to figure out what type of flooring you have. Identify the sanded area with the help of the wood species catalog once you've cleaned off all the glue. Leaf Identification Type. Think About Upkeep. Unfinished solid hardwood flooring has a penetrating finish, which does as the name implies; it is absorbed into the floor, and then topped off by a coat of floor wax. 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