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Residential And Commercial Hardwood Flooring—What Is The Difference

Hardwood floors are one of the most coveted flooring options available today both for residential and commercial purposes. But there is much more to a hardwood floor than its beauty and these features are quite different in some aspects for residential hardwood flooring vis-à-vis commercial hardwood flooring.

Some of the features which separate the two types of hardwood flooring are:

  • Strength: Commercial hardwood flooring is subjected to much more wear and tear due to the high amount of traffic they have to bear. In fact they are exposed to a larger amount of weight on a daily basis. Thus they need hardwood which has a higher strength than those used for residential purposes. Hence engineered hardwood is generally used for commercial buildings since it is able to withstand much more pressure since it:
    • Is made from multiple veneer layers thus making it stable and strong,
    • Does not undergo quick expansion,
    • Can withstand high levels of humidity and harsher temperatures.
  • Moisture prone: Commercial floors experience much more spillages than residential floors. Thus they are more moisture and humidity prone. Hence while the use of hardwood flooring is perfect for residences, commercial buildings need a stable wood which is able to resist both expansion and contraction which generally happens when hardwood absorbs moisture. Thus engineered hardwood with their ability to withstand both humidity and moisture efficiently makes for a better alternative for commercial purposes.
  • Cleaning: Hardwood floors installed in residences require lesser cleaning than those installed for commercial purposes since spillages, mud, sand, debris are more common here. Engineered hardwood used in such establishments are much easier to clean and can also be frequently cleaned using chemical detergents made especially for wood floors.
  • Maintenance: Hardwood flooring installed in commercial buildings need much more maintenance since they are subjected to a much higher amount of foot traffic. The use of the stable engineered hardwood for commercial building floors ensures that it can withstand much higher pressure with the help of regular and frequent care and maintenance like:
    • Going in for an acrylic impregnated finish,
    • Applying wax and oil etc.

In fact there are some very basic differences between the hardwood floor installed in the house and the engineered hardwood installed in commercial buildings like:

  • Residential hardwoods are solid and about 3/4th inch thick and hence can be sanded and refinished a number of times. But engineered wood has a hardwood core with a veneer of hardwood affixed to the top and is hence resilient and versatile.
  • Solid hardwood floors contract and expand with changes in temperature and moisture. The make of engineered wood prevents it from buckling or reacting to the elements of the weather and changes in temperature.
  • Solid hardwood is nailed permanently to the subfloor with a small gap left at the corners to accommodate swelling. Engineered hardwood is much easy to install and can also be installed over concrete if required.
  • Both types of hardwood need refinishing but while solid hardwood can be refinished up to 10 times in its lifetime, engineered wood needs to be refinished only once or twice.

Both have beauty and durability and both add to the aesthetics of the décor. In fact both too have many advantages which make it ideal to be used in their appropriate places. But while hardwood floor is ideal for installation in residences, it cannot be used in commercial buildings wherein engineered hardwood needs to be used.

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