Your home’s flooring is a fundamental yet significant choice that you must make as a homeowner. People consider changing their flooring whenever they do an area, room, or entire house renovation. While there are many distinct alternatives available to you, such as carpets and marble, the material that is considered as a standard is hardwood.
But not every hardwood flooring is the same. Selecting which one fits your home best is not just a question of choosing your preferred color. There are several other variables that can affect the performance and aesthetics of hardwood floors.
How to Choose Hardwood Floors
Whether you’re building or renovating your home, it’s important that you pick the right type of hardwood to achieve the look and functionality that you want. It’s the first thing that a professional hardwood floor installer would ask you about. Here are tips to help you choose which one to install in your home:
- Solid vs Engineered Hardwood
Hardwood flooring traditionally comes in thick solid timber planks. Solid hardwood can easily be bought today, although many manufacturers offer engineered hardwood flooring. These are produced with a thin layer of hardwood on the top and then bonded to the other layers to avoid shifting or moving as the floor contracts and expands. Wood tends to move in different directions, such as radial, longitudinal, and tangential. Using engineered hardwood flooring, you are putting opposing forces inside the board to limit the wood’s natural movement.
- Pre-finished versus site finish
Hardwood boards can be bought with raw surfaces, which is finished by the flooring contractor after installing it. The pre-finished option comes with a topcoat or stain that’s already applied on the surface. The benefit of choosing pre-finished hardwood is the fact that you can clearly see what you are getting. Prefinished hardwood can easily be matched to your home’s existing color palette or design elements, such as cabinetry, wall coverings, and textiles. It also requires lesser time to install, as there is no need to apply sealants, coats, stains, or colors.
- Oil versus Polyurethane
Most hardwood finishes are either polyurethane or oil. Oil can penetrate hardwood better and makes it look and feel natural. It provides hardwood with a soft and matte finish. However, it can be prone to stains and damage. Polyurethane, on the other hand, creates a tougher topcoat to protect the wood from wear and tear. It’s the better choice for households with children and most areas with high traffic.
- Walnut versus Oak
While there are quite a few options available for you when it comes to wood type, oak is still hailed as the finest type. Oak is very durable and can handle stains quite well. It also comes with an attractive natural grain. Since oak is widely available in North America, it is offered at a rather reasonable price. The most popular variation of oak is the white one, as it’s easier to work with as far as design is concerned. It’s not as reddish or pinkish as the other variants. Walnut is the next popular choice, although it’s a bit softer than oakwood.