wood flooring with inlaid medallion
Photo: Mark Feirer
In 1979 crafting the inlaid medallion would have required hours of laborious and costly hand-cutting. Today, computer-controlled lasers can do it in a fraction of the time with breathtaking accuracy.
Variety is the hallmark of today's wood flooring industry, with more woods, types of products, and finish choices than ever before. Bored with red oak? How about Siberian larch, Brazilian cherry, or Australian spotted gum? Finish options are no less wide-ranging, with new, safer formulations and more flooring available prefinished at the factory. Then there's the biggest change of all: the rise of engineered flooring, manufactured from layers of wood veneer laminated together for maximum strength, stability, and convenience. For more wood flooring trends, read on.

The Past
Twenty-five years ago, most wood flooring was solid oak strips, 2 1/4 inches wide by 3/4 inch thick, nailed in place by a carpenter and finished on site. Now just over half of all flooring is prefinished in the factory, and 60 percent of that is engineered flooring that goes down in a flash. There's a faster, easier, and more affordable way to do just about everything.

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