All About Wood

Difference Between Solid and Engineered

Solid wood flooring is exactly what the name implies: a solid piece of wood from top to bottom. The thickness of solid wood flooring can vary, but generally ranges from 3/4” to 5/16”. One of the many benefits of solid wood flooring is that it can be sanded and refinished many times. Solid wood flooring can be installed above or on grade.

Engineered wood floors are real wood floors that are manufactured using three to nine layers of different wood veneers. The sub layers can be of the same species or of different species. The grain of each layer runs in different directions, which makes it very stable. This means that the wood will expand and contract less than solid wood flooring during fluctuations in humidity and temperature. The top layer of engineered wood flooring consists of high-quality wood. While this type of flooring can be sanded and finished, it cannot be done as many times as solid wood flooring. Engineered wood flooring can be installed above, on, or below grade.

Warren Christopher offers both solid and engineered custom wide plank flooring. View our galleries and visit our Corona Del Mar showroom or call for a sample.

Finish Types

When choosing the right type of finish for your wood floors, consider your lifestyle and maintenance preferences. All wood floors will require routine maintenance such as sweeping or dust mopping to keep them looking beautiful and new, but different wood flooring finishes will have a big impact on how you care for your floor long-term, as well as how your floor will look in the years to come.

Surface finishes are very popular because they are durable, water-resistant, and require minimal maintenance. Surface finishes are blends of synthetic resins. These finishes most often are referred to as urethanes or polyurethanes, and remain on the surface of the wood to form a protective coating. There are several types of surface finishes available: water-based, oil-based, acid-cured, and moisture-cured.

  • Water-based finishes appear clear and will resist turning yellow over time. They have a mild odor when applied, and will dry in two to three hours. Water-based finishes are very durable.
  • Oil-based finishes appear amber in color. They have a moderate odor when applied, and will dry in about eight hours. Oil-based finishes are very durable.
  • Acid-cured finishes appear clear to slightly amber. They have a strong odor when applied, and will dry in about two to three hours. Acid-cured finishes are extremely durable.
  • Moisture-cured finishes appear clear to amber. They have a strong odor when applied, and will dry in about two to three hours in humid conditions. Moisture-cured finishes are extremely durable and are more moisture-resistant than other surface finishes.

Wax finishes soak into the pores of the wood and harden to form a protective penetrating seal, which will appear low luster and amber in color. They have a mild odor when applied, and will dry in a variable amount of time depending on the type of wax used and the job-site conditions. Wax finishes are durable, but will show spots from water and other contaminates.

Acrylic impregnated finishes are injected into the wood to create a super-hard, extremely durable floor. Acrylic impregnated finishes are rarely used in residential applications. They are most often used in very high traffic areas in commercial settings such as malls and restaurants.

Wood Cuts

The angle at which a board is cut determines how the finished product looks. Wood flooring is either plainsawn, quartersawn or riftsawn.

Plainsawn is the most common cut. Characteristics are its pleasing appearance, and varied grain appearance. It is easier to produce from log.

Quartersawn is more expensive than Plainsawn. Characteristics are greater wear resistance, less tendency to cup and twist, less shrinkage in width, and uniform grain appearance with ray flecks. Ray flecks appear in flooring that cut across the wood’s ray cells, which creates a shimmering flake figure spread over the wood.

Riftsawn is more expensive than Plainsawn. It is similar to Quartersawn without the ray flecks.

Styles & Widths

Strips: This plank is made up of solid wood strips that are usually between 3 to 8 cm in width. It creates a linear effect which is best used if you want the area to look bigger. This style is the most common and also usually the most affordable.

Planks: This is a solid piece of wood which is also linear in width and is usually between 8 to 20 cm wide.

Parquet: This floor is made up of a series of wood pieces that form a design.


The appearance of the wood determines its grade. All grades are equally strong and serviceable, but each affords you a different look.

Clear wood is a flooring product with minimal character marks that provides a uniform appearance.

Select wood is a flooring product with natural heartwood/sapwood color variations that also includes knots, streaks, etc.

Common wood (No. 1 and No. 2) has more natural characteristics such as knots and color variations than either clear or select grades, and often is chosen because of these natural features and the character they bring to a room.

  • No. 1 Common has a varied appearance, light and dark colors, knots, streaks and wormholes.
  • No. 2 Common is rustic in appearance and emphasizes all wood characteristics of the species.

First grade wood has a uniform appearance, natural color variations and limited character marks. It is similar to a select grade.

Second grade wood is varied in appearance and features knots and some variation in color. It is similar to a No. 1 Common grade.

Third grade wood is rustic in appearance allowing all wood characteristics of the species. It is similar to a No. 2 Common grade.


Smooth Finish: This board is sanded after being cut and is left with a smooth finish.

Wire Brushed: By using a wire brush the softer sapwood is removed after cutting, which exposes the grain of the plank more.

Hand Scraped: The plank is scraped with a tool by hand to create an uneven surface which resembles a worn and very old plank. This method gives a lot of character to the plank and as it is done by hand, none of the planks will have the same pattern. The cost is higher as it is labor and time intensive.

Distressed: Similar to hand scraped but less obvious, these planks are distressed by hand or machine to give your floor a more worn look.


To most people, refinishing means sanding your existing floor and re-staining, which leaves most homeowners with little or no options to change their existing environment, so many opt to replace their wood floors entirely.

Warren Christopher’s Floor Refinishing gives home owners MORE options to keeping their existing wood floors, giving them an entirely new look without breaking the bank. We can now make new floors look rustic by sanding off the existing finish, adding nail holes, worm holes, bevels, french bleed, and finishing with a completely different color!

We also specialize in bringing life back to your existing floors and making them look brand new. We will sand off the existing finish and apply a new stain and finish it with oil, wax, or a water-based finish.

We also put together a thorough care package designed especially for each client with proper care and maintenance for your floor, to help keep its sheen looking great for years to come! 

Reclaimed Wood Flooring

Warren Christopher’s reclaimed woods are salvaged from old barns and other wooden structures from around the country.

The patina of reclaimed wood is impossible to duplicate and is unattainable in new wood flooring.

As with other antiques, rather than just getting older, our reclaimed floors become more valuable over time.

Not only does reclaimed wood offer a cost-effective way to reduce a structure’s environmental impact, it also offers a truly one-of-a-kind look.

Reclaimed floors are available in widths up to 10″ and are normally supplied in mixed widths in the following species:

  • Chestnut
  • Hickory
  • Maple
  • Oak
  • Walnut

View our Reclaimed Wood gallery here.