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Hardwood refinishing

5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Wood Floor

When selecting a wood floor for your home, there are several factors to keep in mind due to the abundance of wood types, colors, and finishes that are available. To assist you in selecting the ideal wood floor for your needs, here are five things to take into consideration.

Homeowners who are considering new flooring should explore the advantages and attractiveness of wood. Wood floors are not only comfortable and long-lasting, but they are also surprisingly affordable and offer a unique warmth and character to every room in the house. However, not every type of wood flooring is suitable for every application, so it is important to keep certain things in mind when shopping for a wood floor.

One of the primary considerations is the type of wood flooring. There are two main types available: solid hardwood and engineered hardwood. Solid wood flooring is crafted from solid wood logs and features a traditional tongue and groove on both the long and short edges. It can be purchased prefinished or unfinished, and comes in strips and planks ranging in thickness from 5/16 to ¾ inches, with strips being 1½-inch to 2¼-inches-wide and planks ranging from 3 to 8 inches wide.

In contrast, engineered wood flooring is composed of multiple layers of plywood and composite material, topped with a layer of solid hardwood. It is available in thicknesses ranging from ⅜ to ¾ inch and from 3 to 10 inches wide, with the hardwood layer on top ranging in thickness from .6 millimeters to 4 millimeters.

While both types offer the beauty of real hardwood, the main difference between solid and engineered flooring lies in their composition. Solid wood flooring is more susceptible to expanding and contracting due to humidity and is recommended for installation on the ground floor or above grade. Engineered flooring, which is more stable due to its multi-ply construction, can be installed on all levels of the home, making it ideal for basements and bathrooms where moisture may be an issue, according to Bill Schlegel, Chief Merchandising Officer for Lumber Liquidators.

Luxury vinyl flooring
Luxury vinyl flooring

Selection of Wood Species

When it comes to flooring, there are many types of woods available, but some are harder and more durable than others. According to Schlegel, the primary concern for most shoppers is the wear and tear that the floor will experience over time, and the hardness benchmark in the United States is Red Oak. While Red and White Oak are the most commonly used domestic wood floors, Hickory and Maple (which are harder than oak) and Walnut (which is softer) are also popular choices. Exotic woods such as Brazilian Cherry, Brazilian Koa, and Cumaru are among the hardest species available and are top-selling options. “Generally, the harder the wood, the better it will perform in high-traffic areas of the home,” Schlegel adds.

Grain, Color, and Appearance

Wood flooring comes in a wide variety of species, styles, and finishes, making it easy to find a floor that matches any room decor. For a country-style interior, wide plank floors with highly defined wood grains and a distressed appearance would be a good fit. For Colonial homes, consider wide, random plank width flooring in Oak and Maple. For traditional interiors, hardwood flooring in widths of 2¼ to 3¼ inches in Oak, Maple, or Walnut, or parquet flooring, will be smart choices. Virtually any type of wood can be used in a contemporary setting, depending on the stain or finish used, such as pewter, dark charcoal, or whitewash finishes, which can turn any wood species into a modern masterpiece.

Finishing is the key factor that determines the final appearance of a wood floor. Even the same wood species can look entirely different depending on the finish, whether it is a glossy, distressed, hand-scraped, or wire-brushed finish. The gloss level and finishing techniques can alter the overall look of the wood floor significantly. Bellawood’s solid and engineered wood flooring, for instance, can have a vastly different appearance in a mid to high gloss compared to a low gloss matte finish that mimics the look of an oil-rubbed European finish without requiring constant care and maintenance. So, when shopping for a wood floor, it is essential to consider distressed, hand-scraped or wire-brush finishes.

Flooring is available in two types: “unfinished” or “pre-finished.” Unfinished floors are sanded and finished on-site, ensuring consistent sealing that prevents dirt and moisture from penetrating the seams between boards. Pre-finished flooring, on the other hand, is factory-applied in a controlled setting, typically with seven to eight coats of sealant. Experts recommend pre-finished flooring for its superior and consistent finish that comes with a warranty, such as Bellawood’s prefinished flooring that offers a 100-year, transferable warranty, a selling point for future buyers.


The cost of wood flooring varies depending on the type, wood species, and finish. Solid prefinished wood flooring typically ranges from $2.49 to $12.69 per square foot, while engineered prefinished wood flooring costs $1.69 to $8.79. The average installation cost is usually half the price of the flooring, depending on the type of flooring and installation required for your home.

Both solid wood and engineered wood flooring can be installed by nailing, stapling, or gluing planks to a subfloor. However, there are various new “click” engineered products available that can be easily installed and “floated” above the subfloor. Although installation can be expensive, particularly with unfinished flooring, competent DIYers can save money by doing the job themselves and purchasing prefinished flooring. Lumber Liquidators offers all the necessary tools and materials that homeowners need to install a wood floor. As Schlegel recommends, it is wise to save money on installation costs and invest in a better quality floor.

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