There is no experience like seeing your home with a freshly installed hardwood floor for the first time. With time, love and attention, this floor will remain beautiful and last for years. In past decades, a hardwood floor meant hard work and extra care to maintain.
Thanks to the constant development of technology and new flooring materials, anyone can have a hardwood floor in any room or all the rooms of their home. The possibilities can seem endless, and choosing just the right flooring for your home might feel like more than you can handle. That’s why we’ve assembled this guide to different types of hardwood flooring: you can choose the best and ignore the rest. Check out what we have for you:
Types of Hardwood Flooring: Solid vs. Engineered
Solid hardwood flooring is what most people imagine when they think of a high-quality hardwood floor. Solid pieces of wood from the same species are cut into planks and locked into place. It’s the most popular choice because of its classic aesthetic and warmer feel it brings to any room.
Conversely, it also tends to be expensive to purchase, install and maintain. Moreover, if you live in an area with high ambient humidity, it may not be the best choice for your home.
Engineered hardwood flooring is made by compressing multiple layers of wood together and covering this core layer with an actual piece of hardwood. The advantage of this multiply construction is that it is much less susceptible to moisture damage and high humidity environments. Thanks to this increased resiliency to water damage, it’s also suitable for use as flooring in both basements and in upper story floors near the roof.
Best of all, it costs far less than solid hardwood flooring. What’s the drawback? Engineered hardwood can’t be sanded or refinished. It also doesn’t last as long or wears as well as solid hardwood flooring even with regular care. Finally, an engineered hardwood floor doesn’t increase the resale value of your home like a solid hardwood floor can. Solid hardwood may be more expensive, but it is an investment that can pay significant dividends if you ever decide to sell your home.
Selecting a Wood Species
Once you’ve decided on which type of hardwood floor is best for your budget, it’s time to choose a hardwood species. The species you select will determine not only the color palette of your floor but also the grain, appearance and (in some cases) the durability. Here’s a quick overview of the more popular choices:
One of the most popular choices, cherry wood can be sourced in a variety of ways from a variety of different species. The most popular by far is the American cherry thanks to its red and pink hues that stand out boldly across its tight, wavy grain.
It is a softer hardwood, but it does have a reputation for maintaining sufficient dimensional stability despite shifts in humidity. Better still, cherry tends to be less photosensitive than many species, which means it is less likely to fade from sun damage. The biggest drawback for a cherry floor is that it tends to be very expensive compared to other hardwood floor species.
Pried for its rich brown color with hints of purple, walnut is easily available and popular throughout North America. The American walnut also possesses a darker, swirling grain that adds depth and warmth to any room.
The only caveats regarding walnut flooring are its lower hardness and durability rating, and it’s not suitable for dining rooms where heavy furniture or chairs may be scraped across it regularly.
Walnut does have the advantage of being one of the least photosensitive hardwoods, which means it will not fade nearly as quickly when exposed to daylight. Best of all, walnut is a lightweight hardwood and is ideal for second-floor projects.
This is the first choice for homeowners that want a hardwood floor that goes with any design or style. Oakwood flooring is warm and rustic, but it looks perfectly at home in rooms with a modern design. Most homeowners choose either red oak or white oak, and oak also has the advantage of being tougher and less expensive than most flooring hardwoods. It’s still wise to take precautions and use furniture pads to protect against deeper or sharp scratches from metal furniture.
Best suited to modern designs, bamboo is highly durable and inexpensive compared to most solid and engineered hardwood flooring options. It’s also the best choice for ecologically conscious homeowners that are looking to source renewable materials for the construction or renovation of their home. Bamboo has the added advantage of being less susceptible to humidity as well, making it one of the best choices for homes in areas that have a changing climate.
Choosing the perfect hardwood floor for your home doesn’t have to be difficult. These are just a few of the many options available, and most can be found in both solid and engineered hardwood forms to suit your taste and budget. If you’re looking to install a hardwood floor yourself (or have one professionally installed), call Starwood Distributors. We have the best selection at the best prices, and we always keep plenty of stock on hand for fast shipping. Call or visit our website today for details.