Wood is one of the most commonly used materials in houses. It is a fashion that, regardless of the time, is kept alive and with new models constantly appearing. However, this large number of options on the market can confuse those who do not know the material. If you haven’t yet built your home flooring, or are looking to replace it, it may be time to consider installing hardwood. Today we will tell you how to choose hardwood flooring so that you can find an option that suits you without the need for an expert.
It is essential to know the different types of wood floors that exist today and how they interact with other elements such as the subfloor. In the same way, you should analyze the situations that may arise at home to know which the most suitable type of wood is. As if that were not enough, you must also decide which rooms will have this type of floor.
Image source: Coastal Wood Flooring & Supplies Inc
Usually, hardwood flooring is installed in kitchens and living rooms. However, this custom should not necessarily be followed. With engineered hardwood flooring, you can even innovate and cover your basement floor because it is more resistant.
One must understand that to know how to choose hardwood flooring, you must consider many factors. To make this work much easier, below we will explain each of these in detail so that next time you will know what type of wooden floor you are looking for.
How to choose hardwood flooring for every occasion
Image source: Martin’s Floor Covering
One of the first things that every floor must have is adequate resistance for the room where it will be installed. Several factors determine the wood flooring strength, but perhaps the first thing you see is the strength of the enamel or surface.
The finish of the material will determine if it can be used in high traffic spaces or if it is better for quiet places. Although hardwood can withstand scratches, depending on the protective layer this will be more visible.
During the manufacture of hardwood boards, the surface is protected with a clear coat that prevents the design from being damaged. Although there are many chemicals used for this process, generally two stand out: oil and polyurethane.
It is possible to identify which is the coating used in the hardwood in a simple way. Those that are protected with oil have more natural finishes and colors. Although it seems unbelievable, by subjecting the wood with a layer of oil, the finish becomes matte and not shiny.
This natural result is what makes oil options so appealing, however, stains can damage their beauty. On the other hand, polyurethane creates a much more resistant outer layer, so it will even be difficult to scratch it.
Of course, the differences in resistance are accompanied by certain details to take into account. Polyurethane woods are not immune to damage, so they can always crack or chip at some point. If this happens, you will have to change the entire part. The oil can be damaged more easily, but retouching them is just as easy, being able to simply polish them to hide the damage.
Resistance to liquids
If there’s one thing wood floors, in general, are not very good at, it’s dealing with water and moisture. Hardwood is no exception, but they are a much tougher alternatives that can adapt to most humid environments. The only drawback of this will be its price, so it is advisable to use another material if possible.
Solid hardwood or break-proof?
Image source: Coastal Wood Flooring & Supplies Inc
Now, you also have to ask yourself, what is more important, the solidity or the design of the wood? Maybe at some point, you have seen that there is something called engineered hardwood and did not know what it was.
To put it in simple terms, engineered wood is a siding that uses very little hardwood, leaving it exclusively on top to create the design. The rest of the table is a compression of different materials and layers that give it additional resistance to different types of forces.
Again, each choice has its advantages and disadvantages, so you should not be guided only by the most scientific name. As we mentioned, engineered hardwoodis manufactured so that the plank does not suffer from deformations. But, in this process, the layer that is real hardwood has been drastically reduced, leaving very small thicknesses in some models. This means that you will not be able to sand them many times in the future.
Solid wood does not have this problem. Solid hardwood can be sanded and repaired multiple times without the risk of it reaching a critical point quickly. In addition, the designs are more natural and realistic with solid hardwood.
However, you have to be careful with the solid hardwood installation. You must respect the expansion joints or, otherwise, the planks will break.
The personalization factor of hardwood floors
To learn how to choose hardwood flooring, there is another important thing to keep in mind when buying:customization. With hardwood, there are two types of customization available.
The first is that the material is completely finished at the factory, meaning that the design, color, and sealer have been applied. The second gives each user the possibility to create their patterns since it is a block of raw wood.
Sometimes, no matter how much you look in stores, you will not find a wood pattern that you like or that matches what you already have built. For these cases, there is wood without finishes. As we mentioned, its main advantage is that it can be taken with an expert and they will make the design you want at the moment. This translates into a longer waiting time to be able to use the final wood. Moreover, it could be more expensive if you need to apply different protective layers.
You can found pre-finished options in any store. Thanks to the growing market, the variety of wood designs has grown exponentially, so it is very easy to get something that you like. These are full of advantages inherent to the fact that the same manufacturer has manufactured it from raw material to finish. If you don’t mind ditching customization, then your best bet is to go for fully prepared hardwood.
Another advantage of pre-finished ceramics is that they can include a texture. This is a different design from the original wood plank, which helps to hide wear and tear due to its stronger patterns than wood. It is an option that will remain attractive even over the years.
Great variety to choose from
One of the greatest qualities of the material is the many wood species in nature. From hardwoods to softwoods, from dark to light colors. Even their grain patterns are totally different. All of this can change the appearance of a room.
In the case of hardwood, there are many wood species to choose from. The most popular are cherry, maple, ash, and walnut. The latter is especially useful when you want to combine dark colors, or if you want to create a contrast with a bright color.
Installation must be taken into account
Once you have the material, it is time to install it on the ground. There is no way to determine the exact value of the installation, as this will depend largely on the type of hardwood you purchase. It does not matter if it is solid or engineered wood, they all have a similar installation process.
In this regard, you can save a bit of money if you do the installation yourself. Sawmills always have tools on sale that you can purchase for the job. Wood planks with tongue and grooves are even easier to install, and you just need a hammer for the job.
To make the installation work easier, you should select a plank width that is multiple of the width or length of the floor. In this way, you will save unnecessary cuts.
If you hire someone to do the work, you should estimate that the installation would cost about half the total cost of the hardwood you purchased.
Selecting a hardwood floor for each case
Image source: Owensboro Carpet One Floor & Home
Depending on our specific needs, we may need to find a specific wood for cladding.
Although they have similar physical properties, some stand out in certain areas. For example, maple, pine, and cherry are woods with average strength and a design that attracts a lot of attention. That is why they are exported in large quantities and are affordable. They are recommended for places with little traffic or for homes where only adults live.
The Red Oak is a natural alternative when you need a very durable and scratch-proof floor. The closest thing to it is the engineered hardwood. This provides a perfect solid surface for living rooms and rooms where there will be children and pets.
You can also opt for exotic species, such as mahogany or Brazilian cherry. They are special woods with much more striking designs and with better qualities for the floor, but their cost is also much higher.
Ending thoughts on how to choose hardwood flooring
In short, before making a final decision, you must know what will be the use that each room or space will have. If you have small children or pets with sharp claws, a wood flooring that resists is better than one that looks good.
In any case, you should know that you must also carry out constant maintenance regardless of your choice. That is the only way to keep your wood flooring in optimal conditions.
If you enjoyed reading this article about how to choose hardwood flooring, we also wrote about how to remove hardwood flooring, how to install hardwood flooring on stairs with nosing, how to repair scratches in hardwood flooring, how to remove glue from hardwood flooring, how to install engineered hardwood flooring, how to lay hardwood flooring, how to remove pet stains from hardwood flooring, how to restore hardwood flooring, and how much hardwood flooring costs.