If you’re thinking of putting in wood floors, you can’t go wrong. All types of hardwood floors have unmatched natural beauty and go with any decor — modern, traditional, country, you name it. Hardwood flooring goes in any room, although kitchens and basements warrant special considerations.
Unfinished or Prefinished?
Unfinished hardwood flooring is a good option if you want a custom stain applied before the final finish, or if you want to match the color of existing flooring. After hardwood flooring installation and staining, the flooring is given several coats of protective finish.
Prefinished hardwood flooring comes from the factory already sanded and sealed, meaning the whole installation job goes quickly. There are no odors and VOCs from finishing on-site, and the floor is ready to walk on immediately.
Solid or Engineered?
Solid hardwood flooring is all wood and comes in 3/4 inches thick. Because it’s solid wood, it can be sanded and refinished approx 4-5 times professionally. However, it’s susceptible to changes in humidity, and isn’t recommended for below-grade basements.
Engineered hardwood flooring is a veneer of real wood glued to several layers of wood underneath, like plywood. This gives engineered wood excellent stability over time and makes it a good choice for any area of your home, including below-grade basements. Depending on the thickness of the hardwood veneer, engineered hardwood flooring can only be sanded and refinished once or twice during its lifetime.
What Species Is Best?
The best hardwood floors are made with wood species that are readily available and — you guessed it — very hard. Oak flooring, maple flooring and cherry flooring are all good choices. Other species include bamboo (which is actually a grass), walnut, ash and mahogany. You’ll pay a premium price for more exotic species, such as teak, jarrah and mesquite. Check to make sure the hardwood flooring you choose comes from sustainably harvested forests.
A fine grain and smooth texture give this strong wood a distinguished look. Its red and pink hues take well to stains and deepen with age and light exposure.
The rich, dark brown color of walnut has a distinguished, heirloom feel. Strong yet soft and light in weight, walnut’s dark, swirling grain adds depth and luster to your floor.
This hard, dense, open-grained wood has an inherent, traditional warmth. Its color tends to be neutral but varies widely, taking well to stains.
Maple’s light color, uniform texture, and attractive variations make it a popular choice. Known for its shock resistance, durable maple but more difficult to get an even dark stain process.
Is slightly harder than our Canadian \hard \maple, hickory’s dramatic pattern and color variation emphasize its natural beauty.