When it comes to hardwood floors, nowadays there is a great variety of woods, finishes and colours available on the market. You can easily get overwhelmed when searching for the perfect floor for your home.
As you evaluate your options, you have to consider what the wood material brings in the form of benefits for your home. Hardwood floors are convenient and durable, but above all else, they add warmth and character to the room. Not every type of wood is equal, so you will do good to consider the following things:
Type of wood – generally, there are two types of wood – engineered and solid hardwood. The latter is formed by milling solid logs and consists of groove and tongue parts along the short and long edges. The solid type comes in pre-finished and unfinished options, planks or strips of variable thickness. As for engineered hardwood, it is comprised of a few layers of plywood and composite, with a layer of solid hardwood on top. The major difference comes in floor composition. Solid wood is likely to expand/contract with different humidity levels, which means it is best to install it on the ground floor. On the other hand, engineered flooring is more stable and therefore can be installed on all levels.
Wood species – wood flooring can be made of many different kinds of wood. The main thing to consider is durability. Some woods are harder and endure everyday wear and tear better than others. Red oak is one of the most popular options, for example; however maple and hickory are more durable. The harder the wood, the better it is to have it installed in high-traffic areas in your home.
Appearance, grain colour and grain – due to the variety of wood species such flooring comes in, you can easily select a colour that matches your décor. For example, if your home leans towards the country-style, wide plank floors and defined grains with distressed appearance are perhaps the best options. As for the contemporary setting, you can use any wood, based on the stain and finish. Whitewash, pewter and charcoal finishes have the potential to transform wood species into a great masterpiece.
Finish – finish plays a key role in what the floor looks like. You will find that the same wood species seem quite different with clear gloss and wire-brush finish. The effect is due to different gloss levels and techniques used. Keep in mind that hardwood flooring comes either pre-finished or unfinished. The former has the finish applied in a controlled factory environment, while unfinished flooring is done on-site.
Installation – all types of hardwood are installed by nailing, glueing or stapling planks to a subfloor. While it is true you can do this one your own; it is best to consider professional help, to minimise the risk of mistakes.