How to choose the right wood flooring

Hardwood floors are a beautiful addition to any home. When you choose hardwood flooring, you’re making a big investment. Although initially pricey, they are absolutely worth it as time goes on. If you take proper care of it, hardwood floors will last a lifetime! As such, it’s important to consider a multitude of factors before making a final decision. After all, it’s not just choosing a color of wood and having done with it. Hardwood floors are completely customizable now!

Type of wood

You can choose from a wide variety of species of wood, and each type has a different grain and hardness. The most common types of hardwood flooring are cherry, maple, and oak because of their hardness. They’re extremely sturdy and can stand up to a lot of abuse. More exotic woods, such as mahogany or Brazilian cherry look incredible, but they are not as durable.

Color

The color of your wood floors will vary depending on the type of wood you choose and the finish that’s on the wood. You can have anything from a brilliant blond floor, to a luscious cherry color, all the way to black. Wood can be stained to almost any color!

Hardness

If you have pets and/or children, you’re going to want the hardest wood floors possible, such as red oak. This species of wood withstands wear and tear much better than pine, which is a softwood and scratches easily.

Solid or engineered wood

An option that’s available today is engineered wood. Basically, instead of having solid wood planks as your flooring, you have thinner planks that have a layer of hardwood bonded to other layers of a composite. There are advantages and disadvantages to this, such as:

  • You cannot sand scratches out of engineered wood, as the top layer is much too thin.
  • You can glue engineered wood directly to concrete, whereas solid wood floors are typically installed upon a layer or two of plywood (which can interfere with doors or baseboards).
  • Engineered wood is designed to prevent warping and shifting.
  • You shouldn’t use solid wood on floors that are below ground as moisture coming up from the ground can cause issues.

Board width

You can do a lot with your floors, just by choosing different types of boards. Narrow strips that are less than 3 inches wide offer a more traditional appearance. Wider planks look rustic and make a space seem more open. Squares, rectangles, and other geometric designs are also options, and give a space a more formal appearance.

Texture

Do you want floors that look shiny and brand new, or floors that look lived in and rustic? One of the things you can do with your hardwood floor involves the wood being hand scraped – giving it a timeworn appearance. Not only does this look incredible, it very handily disguises heavy use as time goes on!

Finish

The finish of the wood is what protects it, and gives it its color. You can choose to buy prefinished wood, or have it finished on site. Prefinished wood tends to last longer, but you have more options with site finishes. Also, prefinished wood is much easier to replace when damaged.

Your hardwood floors are completely customizable, and you should consider all of your options before you make a final decision. And once you have decided, ask for a sample to bring home! That way you can compare the appearance of the final product to your paint and furniture.

11 replies
  1. Alice Jones
    Alice Jones says:

    My husband and I are looking for some new hardwood floors to install in our home, but we don’t know which type to get. I like how you explained how choosing a floorboard based on the texture is important to consider. I want a rustic look in my home, so I’ll look for a hardwood floor that looks timeworn.

    Reply
  2. Afton Jackson
    Afton Jackson says:

    I never realized how important it is to choose a flooring material that has a finish that can help the wood last longer. My brother just purchased an older home. Hopefully, he can use this info to choose a flooring material that can make the area feel warm and natural.

    Reply
  3. Taylor Bishop
    Taylor Bishop says:

    Thanks for going over some factors to consider in choosing the right kind of flooring. It’s interesting to consider that each type of wood is different, and that they have different hardness. To be honest, it would be interesting to learn what the specifics of these are. Perhaps there is a type of wood that is more ideal for specific rooms than others.

    Reply
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  5. Kairi Gainsborough
    Kairi Gainsborough says:

    My husband and I recently moved into an older home. We just finished painting the walls, and now we are ready to replace the outdated, old carpet with some modern, wood flooring. I like what you said about choosing a thin board width for traditional floors and wider planks for a rustic look. I also think that wide boards can look modern with the right finish.

    Reply
  6. Tiffany Locke
    Tiffany Locke says:

    Your advice to get the hardest wood floor possible if you have pets or children is a great way to ensure it can withstand the wear and tear. Considering everything that will affect the floors would probably be important to ensure you get the best option for your home and lifestyle. I’d imagine that making a list of the requirements you want, such as the type, color, and amount of hardwood that will go best with the room would probably be a good idea to make sure you like the end results.

    Reply
  7. Finn Stewart
    Finn Stewart says:

    Thanks for the tips on choosing floors. I like how you mentioned the color of your wood floors will vary depending on the type of wood you choose. My wife and I recently purchased a home and are looking to change the color of our kitchen floor. We want it to go with the cabinets but don’t want it to be too dark either. We’ll have to look into different color option when choosing and installing a floor.

    Reply
  8. Derek Dewitt
    Derek Dewitt says:

    My wife and I are renovating our living room at the moment but we aren’t sure what we want to do with the floors. I like that you suggest getting hardwood floors if you have kids and pets so it doesn’t scratch as easily. We have kids and pets running around constantly so this sounds like a great choice. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  9. Hannah Schroeder
    Hannah Schroeder says:

    Thanks for recommending red oak if you have kids and pets because it’s really hard and won’t scratch easily. My son got a puppy for his birthday last month, and I want to make sure that our new house won’t get damaged by the dog’s claws. I’ll contact a hardwood installation service to see if they have red oak in stock.

    Reply

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