American Hardwood Information Center

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“Solid” Hardwood and its Advantages

In an age of mass-produced building and furnishing materials, true quality can seem hard to come-by. Solid American hardwood flooring, furniture, cabinetry and woodwork offer the potential for many generations of hard use because of its durability and quality. However, what may look at first like “solid” hardwood may indeed be something else. It’s important to be knowledgeable about the different “wood” options available to ensure you are choosing the most durable, long-lasting option.

“Solid wood"
means that each exposed part of the flooring, furniture, cabinetry or moulding is made of pieces of genuine hardwood and nothing else. (For large surfaces, strips or boards are bonded with stronger-than-wood glue and other wood joinery techniques.)

“Hardwood veneer”
describes a type of construction composed of thin slices of hardwood bonded to composite board or plywood. This is sometimes described as “all wood.”

“Laminate”
refers to surfaces of plastic, foil or paper, often printed with photographs of wood grain patterns, bonded to composites such as particle board or medium density fiberboard.

If you're uncertain as to whether an item is solid hardwood or something else, be sure to ask questions; examine the construction closely and remember this: the terms "oak, maple and cherry finish" may simply refer to the color or photographic reproduction of the wood's grain - it does not necessarily mean it is authentic, natural hardwood.

So when choosing for a lifetime – or two or three – choose wisely. Substitutes can’t compare to solid American hardwood when it comes to holding nails and screws and withstanding the stresses, loads, shocks and abrasions of daily life. Plus, solid hardwood is unique in that it can easily be repaired and refinished multiple times, further increasing its lifespan. That is true value for which there is no substitute.

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