Wood flooring is a beautiful choice for your home. It has a lot to offer: durability, natural beauty and versatility. It looks great in both traditional and contemporary interior designs, can be stained a variety of ways, is easy to clean and even offers health benefits to allergy sufferers.
Costs, styles and finishes of hardwood flooring vary considerably and this can make choosing hardwood for different rooms in your home a challenging process. Which type of flooring will work best for you? Consider the type of flooring, hardness, width and color.
There are two types of hardwood flooring: solid and engineered. The type you choose for your home will depend on it's location and your budget.
Solid Wood Flooring
Traditional solid wood flooring is a solid piece of wood from top to bottom that can add value and a touch of class to any room. Today’s solid wood is available in a wide variety of species to complement every setting, from traditional woods like oak and pine, to more exotic species of hardwood from places like Brazil.
Although durable, solid wood flooring is not resistant to moisture. This makes it a poor choice for concrete slabs, any room below ground level, or in areas of the home that are susceptible to high humidity, like the bathroom. Due to it’s thickness and durability, solid wood flooring can be sanded and refinished—making it a good investment, as it can be restored time and time again.
Engineered Hardwood Flooring
If the space you wish to install hardwood is susceptible to extreme temperature changes or humidity, such as a basement, you may want to consider engineered hardwood flooring. Engineered wood flooring consists of multiple, thin layers of wood veneers mounted on top of less expensive plywood, giving it the appearance of traditional solid wood flooring at a fraction of the cost. Because it is constructed in layers rather than a single piece of wood, it is more resistant to warping caused by moisture. This feature makes it a great choice for any grade level of the home and even a viable wood option for areas like basements or kitchens where solid hardwood isn't appropriate. Engineered hardwood floors are relatively easy to install, but cannot be refinished more than a few times. This makes it harder to repair deep scratches and dents.
Both types of flooring are available in an unfinished or a pre-finished version. Pre-finished flooring is sanded and finished at the factory it only needs installation—making it a faster and easier option. However, unfinished allows for unique customization of your floor.
Hardness, Width and Color
You will also need to select the hardness, width and color of your wood. Areas that get a lot of use, like the kitchen and foyer will benefit from a harder wood such as oak while bedrooms, closets and other rooms that don't get a lot of foot traffic would be fine with a softer wood like a pine. Narrow strips add length and depth to smaller spaces while wider wood planks typically complement larger rooms. For wood color, darker woods provide a more traditional look and feel, while lighter colored woods are more contemporary. The latest trend in wood flooring has been the use of larger planks with a hand-scraped finish.
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