The selection of flooring is one of the most fundamental yet critical decisions a homeowner must make when embarking on a restoration project, as it serves as the foundation for everything else.
While there are many various options available, ranging from carpet to terrazzo, one material is universally recognized as the industry standard: hardwood.
The truth is that not all hardwood flooring is made equal, and picking the right flooring for your home is more complicated than simply selecting your favorite hue.
A variety of different elements can have an impact on both the appearance and the performance of a product.
Three industry professionals were interviewed for this article: Scott Jones, director of product management at Carlisle Wide Plank Floors; James Caroll, proprietor of LV Wood; and Mara Miller, partner at AD100 company Carrier and Company Interiors.
Having found the appropriate match for your room, you’ll need to consider the logistics of getting it installed.
While some homeowners prefer to hire a professional to install their floors, others are more adventurous and opt to do it themselves.
The following advice comes from Tony Pastrana, installation systems developer at Armstrong Flooring.
If you’re ready to take on the project yourself, check out his tips on how to install your own flooring.
What Are the Benefits of Using Hardwood in Your Home?
A good reason why hardwood flooring has been the preferred flooring choice for homeowners for decades is that it is durable and long-lasting.
It’s a visually appealing flooring option that gives you a great deal of creative freedom when designing your space.
While hardwood may not be the best choice for rooms that receive a lot of moisture (such as the bathroom or laundry room), it is an excellent choice for almost every other room.
Many families have been enjoying their hardwood flooring throughout their homes, from the kitchen to the bedrooms, for many years.
See below for some additional advantages of installing real wood flooring in your home:
- Because of the soft materials used, it is comfortable and warm to wear bare feet.
- With proper care and upkeep, authentic wood goods are both sturdy and long-lasting.
- Hardwood can bring warmth and character to a room while also serving as a natural design element.
- It is possible to add your own personality to your flooring by choosing from a wide variety of colors, grain patterns, and stains.
Factors To Consider When Selecting Hardwood Flooring:
Hardwood flooring is well-known for being long-lasting and versatile in the home, and it comes in a variety of design and style options.
Prior to shopping for new hardwood floors, consider the functionality of the room you’re renovating when making your selection.
Are you looking for moisture resistance?
To what degree do you prefer your floors to be comfortable or warm?
What are your design preferences?
Also, how often do you feel comfortable cleaning, maintaining, and possibly refinishing your floors on a consistent basis?
Consider these questions as you study our hardwood flooring buyer’s guide:
Wood Flooring Comes in a Variety of Design
Solid hardwood flooring and engineered hardwood flooring are the two most common types of wood flooring products.
Solid wood flooring is made from solid wood logs that are put together using a classic tongue and groove method along both the long and short edges.
Solid wood is offered in strips and boards with thicknesses ranging from 5/16 to 3/4 inch and is available prefinished or unfinished.
Strips range in width from 112 to 214 inches, while planks range in width from 3 to 8 inches.
Hardwood That is Solid
When considering the how and why of selecting your hardwood floor, it is important to consider your lifestyle as well as the level of hardship it will be subjected to.
Has the possibility of your floor being dented and scratched on a daily basis been raised to your attention?
Is it important to you to be able to switch up the color of the stain at any time?
All of these are questions you should be asking yourself on a regular basis.
Because solid hardwood can be sanded down repeatedly, dents and scratches can be readily removed, and there are no limitations to the number of times you may refinish your flooring.
Solid hardwood is a great choice for high-traffic areas.
While hardwood, in general, is both adaptable and durable, the capacity of a particular species of wood to withstand the test of time is mostly determined by the species of wood that is used.
It is possible for solid hardwood to expand and distort over time due to the porous nature of the wood, particularly in humid environments.
If you live near the shore, for example, solid hardwood flooring may not be the ideal option for your home’s flooring.
Solid hardwood itself can range in price from $2 to $20 per square foot, depending on the finish and location of origin, according to the manufacturer.
The additional costs are frequently incurred during the installation process, which can be time-consuming and include many processes, such as the installation of a plywood subfloor.
Hardwood that has been engineered
Although it is possible to sand down some engineered hardwood floors, doing so can be dangerous due to the thin top layers of the floors.
Aside from being easily damaged and scratched, this thin layer is also easily dented.
Although this is the case, engineered hardwood does have its advantages, particularly in terms of adaptability.
Because of the man-made inside, it is a far better solution for moist environments such as basements and laundry rooms.
Engineered hardwood is also slightly less expensive than solid wood, with pricing for engineered hardwood ranging from $3 to $10 per square foot, depending on the species.
When it comes to engineered hardwood flooring, you can save money on installation by opting for lock assembly or by floating your floor over a moisture barrier to prevent warping.
Hardwood floors come in a variety of species to suit different lifestyles.
Learning about how your lifestyle will influence your flooring selection is a crucial element of learning how to choose a hardwood floor.
Different species are better suited to different types of houses, and fortunately, there are a wide variety of options.
There are approximately 20 distinct types of domestic hardwood flooring to choose from, but the most popular are as follows:
- Red Oak (Quercus rubra)
- White Oak (Quercus alba)
- Black Walnut (Juglans nigra)
Each species of wood has its own set of characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses that distinguish it from the others.
When deciding on the ideal wood species for your project, keep three primary considerations in mind: durability, style, and affordability.
Durability is particularly significant because repairs can completely demolish your sense of style as well as your financial situation.
When selecting a hardwood species based on its endurance, it is important to consider your own preferences.
If you have dogs or hold weekly get-togethers, you will want to use hard hardwood flooring.
If the color and staining ability of your hardwood is more important to you, a softer species may be a better choice for you.
Hardwood species are available in a variety of pricing ranges, allowing you to pick something that is sturdy, stylish, and fits within your budget.
Understand where you can and cannot put down hardwood flooring.
Most rooms in the house, including the living and dining rooms, family rooms, bedrooms, hallways, and entryways are better off with hardwood flooring than with other types of flooring.
Hardwood flooring is popular in kitchens as well, and it looks particularly good in open floor plans where rooms flow into one another.
(Just make sure to clean up any spills as soon as they occur!)
We do not advocate placing hardwood floors in bathrooms or laundry rooms, with the exception of our Hydropel waterproof hardwood flooring, due to the possibility of pooling water and humidity building up.
In addition, only engineered hardwood should be utilized for basement construction and finishing.
Take into consideration the variables that influence durability (and what level of durability you need).
Even the most durable hardwood floors can be subjected to scuffs and scratches if they are not properly maintained.
Those who live in a high-traffic house with children and/or pets will want to opt for flooring styles that are more durable. Various elements, like scratch resistance, dent resistance, and water resistance, can all influence the durability of your flooring.
Wood species – Every type of hardwood has a hardwood hardness grade, which is determined by the species of wood.
Harder woods are more resistant to dents and dings, therefore they are more durable. Hickory, oak, and maple are three of the most difficult woods Bruce has to offer.
We provide varying levels of protection for our hardwood flooring products, which might have an effect on how effectively the floors withstand scratches and stains.
Our Lifetime Finish, the highest level of protection available, provides greater protection and is backed by a limited lifetime warranty.
Gloss level and floor texture — Hardwood products that have a matte finish and/or texture (such as distressed hand-scraped types) are better at concealing everyday wear and tear than smooth, high-gloss floors, which are easier to see through.
Water-resistance — Hardwood is not widely recognized for its water-resistant properties, but some collections are more spill-friendly than others, depending on the species.
Our Hydropel 36-hour water-resistant flooring is engineered to operate admirably in areas where hardwood flooring is not often an option, such as bathrooms and laundry rooms.
Pattern and Appearance of the Grain
Choosing the right grain pattern for your wood flooring is an important consideration when selecting a design for your home or business.
The way a piece of wood is cut will result in a varied pattern on the planks of wood depending on how it was cut.
Plain sawn wood is the most common and widely used type of wood.
This piece has a typical wood grain pattern with patterns known as cathedrals.
There are no cathedrals in rift-sawn wood, but the grain is long and constant. It’s the most expensive of the grain designs available on the market.
Although comparable to rift wood, quarter-sawn wood has irregular specifications that produce a distinctive, sometimes three-dimensional pattern.
Some flooring manufacturers may be able to provide you with flooring that combines different grain patterns to create a unique design on your floor.
After that, you should think about the board’s breadth.
Hardwood flooring boards are available in a number of sizes, allowing you to create a beautiful design with your installation.
The width of narrow wood planks is approximately 2-3 inches; however, certain wood planks can be offered significantly broader, at approximately six or seven inches in width.
Wider planks might help you create a more luxurious atmosphere in your home because there will be fewer seams.
It is crucial to realize, however, that the broader the plank, the more expensive it will be.
Additionally, the seams of broader planks can become evident over time due to the expansion and contraction of the wood.
How you care for and clean your hardwood floors will be determined by the finish of your flooring installation.
When purchasing new wood floors, you have the option of ordering them either prefinished or unfinished.
In the case of prefinished hardwood floors, your supplies will be delivered to your residence with a stain and a topcoat already applied to them. With this technology, you can see exactly how your floors will look from the beginning of the construction process.
Alternatively, you may be able to visit samples in your own house to evaluate how they will complement your existing decor.
The use of pre-finished wood flooring reduces the amount of time required for installation.
Unfinished flooring (also known as site finish) are delivered to your home in their raw and unfinished state.
After the installation is complete, the finishing layer will be applied by your contractor. Increased personalization is possible with this process, which also allows you to alter the shine and stain of your wood flooring.
Choosing this option is a smart choice if you want to match fresh planks to the existing flooring in your house.
Site finish floors can frequently have a smoother appearance than other types of floors.
The majority of the time, the flooring will be sanded once they have been nailed down, and then they will be stained.
This implies that a single layer will be applied to the entire floor, sealing it all together. When it comes to site finishes, on the other hand, you must pick a contractor you can rely on. Make a thorough search for a professional who has the necessary skills and equipment to achieve the desired result.
The varieties of treatments available for wood flooring are numerous and include everything from matte to glossy.
The majority of them will be classified as polyurethane or oil finishes.
Oil treatments penetrate the wood and can give the appearance of being softer and more natural.
This finish, on the other hand, can make your flooring more prone to stains and scratches.
Its upkeep is simpler, and it is easier to conceal scratches; nonetheless, it may want more frequent attention.
Polyurethane coats the surface of the wood, creating a hard topcoat that is more resistant to wear and strain than natural wood.
Even if scratches or plank damage do occur, it can be difficult to restore the original condition of your floors.
It is possible that you will need to replace a board or recoat a part of the floor.
Depending on your preference, you can choose a clear gloss finish or one with a more unusual or worn appearance.
Consider wood that has been distressed, hand-scraped, or wire brush finished. Stains are available in a variety of colors, ranging from light honey blonde to darker charcoal.
The price of your hardwood floors will vary depending on the type of flooring you choose.
You should also think about the sort of finish you want to use, as well as the expense of having it professionally installed.
Solid prefinished wood flooring can range in price from approximately $2.40 per square foot to as much as $13 per square foot.
Engineered prefinished hardwood can be a little less expensive than solid prefinished hardwood, with prices ranging from approximately $1.69 to $9 per square foot.
It is also important to consider the sort of wood product you are using, as well as the width and thickness of your planks when determining the ideal approach for installing your hardwood flooring.
If you’re attempting to install your flooring yourself, your flooring materials may come with particular installation instructions.
Obtaining the appropriate equipment, such as a pneumatic flooring nailer, drilling machine, pry bar, and saw, is also a smart option.
For the ordinary homeowner, installing hardwood flooring in their home can be a difficult task.
Real wood floors are a significant financial commitment, so it is critical that they are installed correctly the first time.
In addition, many contractors will be able to properly dispose of your old floors if you contact them beforehand.
That’s why many people choose to engage a professional flooring company to assist them with their project; they come equipped with the necessary expertise and equipment to complete the task.
In many cases, laying hardwood floors will necessitate the use of underlayment.
As a general rule of thumb, start by putting planks against the longest wall first, and work your way down.
Many times, engineered floors can be laid directly over concrete, over a soundproofing mat, or over radiant heating systems.
These are the flooring professionals we recommend.
When it comes to arranging a flooring makeover in your house, it’s important to find a service provider you can rely on. L.L.Bean Flooring is our top suggestion for flooring installation and replacement.
LL Flooring was established in 1993 and has grown to become one of the top merchants of hardwood flooring in the country, offering products in a variety of species such as oak, maple, hickory, and walnut.
Due to the company’s partnerships with other flooring producers, it is able to provide its customers with the most competitive pricing.
Thanks to its hundreds of locations around the United States, LL Flooring can connect you with local contractors who can install your new flooring for you. Schedule an appointment online to receive a price for your upcoming flooring project.
Our Final Thoughts
Hardwood flooring is the gold standard of flooring surfaces, and it can increase the value of your property.
It’s a classic, it’s long-lasting, and it’s hypoallergenic.
Solid hardwood floors can be refinished numerous times over the course of their lifetime.
Maintaining the integrity of your hardwood floors is important because they can become damaged or gouged, and they are susceptible to water damage.
Additionally, when engineered hardwood floors are damaged, they can be difficult to replace.
Hardwood is normally priced between $3 and $10 per square foot when purchased unfinished. In general, installation should be left to specialists, while some manufacturers offer planks that lock together to eliminate the need for glue during the installation process.
Frequently Ask Questions
What factors should I consider while selecting a wood floor color?
When selecting a wood floor color, the size of the room, the height of the ceiling, the color and texture of the walls and furniture should be your primary considerations.
In order for an overall final design to be effective, the colors must be complementary to one another.
If the room has a lower ceiling, choose light-colored walls and light-colored carpeting to make the space appear larger.
What factors should I consider while selecting a wood floor color?
Wood floor colors that are timeless in nature are often the natural hues that can be found in the hardwood species that are most frequently utilized for flooring.
Among the many varieties of nuts available, Walnut is recognized for its dark, chocolate colors, while Cherry is prized for its deep red tones.
What type of wood is the most commonly used for hardwood flooring?
Hardwood flooring made of oak
Most people choose oak hardwood flooring over any other type of hardwood flooring, which is probably owing to the particular characteristics, long life, and durability of oak.
Thanks to its golden tone and caramel colors, it’s widely regarded as a particularly lovely species of wood, making any area feel snug and therefore ideal for family homes.