- What are the Advantages of Installing Hardwood Flooring in Your Home?
Hardwood has remained a popular choice for homeowners when it comes to flooring for many years. It’s an aesthetically pleasing option that offers a great deal of design versatility. Although it may not be suitable for high-moisture areas such as the bathroom or laundry room, it’s an excellent choice for most other rooms in the house. Many families have been enjoying the warmth and beauty of hardwood flooring throughout their homes, including in the kitchen and bedrooms.
Here are some more benefits of installing hardwood flooring in your home:
- Hardwood is soft to the touch, making it comfortable and warm underfoot.
- Authentic hardwood products are durable and long-lasting when properly maintained.
- Hardwood can add character and a natural design element to your living space.
- You have numerous customization options, such as colors, grain, and stains, to make your flooring unique to your personal style.
hat to Consider When Choosing Hardwood Flooring
Hardwood flooring is a versatile and long-lasting option for home flooring with numerous design and style possibilities. When selecting new hardwood floors, it’s essential to first consider the room’s functionality. Do you need moisture-resistant flooring? How important is warmth and comfort to you? What is your preferred design aesthetic, and how frequently are you willing to clean, maintain, and potentially refinish your floors?
Here are some factors to consider as you peruse our hardwood flooring buyer’s guide:
Type of Flooring
The first decision to make is whether to opt for solid or engineered hardwood flooring. Solid hardwood, which features thick, solid planks of wood joined with a tongue and groove, was once the most popular choice. Many people prefer the authentic look and feel of solid hardwood, and they are a good choice for long-term flooring. Since the boards are typically thicker than engineered wood planks, solid hardwood floors can be sanded down and refinished multiple times.
Engineered hardwood floors are gaining popularity. They are made with a thin veneer layer of hardwood on top of multiple layers of composite material and plywood. The additional layers are designed to prevent the flooring from shifting over time. However, some engineered floors have a particularly thin top layer, which can make it more challenging to sand down and refinish in the future. You may only be able to refinish these floors once or twice.
Choosing the right wood species is an important decision when considering hardwood flooring for your home. Different wood species offer different functional benefits, in addition to aesthetic appeal. For instance, if you’re installing in a high traffic area, you may want to choose a harder wood for durability.
Oak is a popular wood species among American homeowners due to its durability, natural grain, and versatility with various stains. Walnut is softer than oak but offers a rich, warm tone, while hickory and maple tend to be harder. Other options include Brazilian Cherry, Ash, Bamboo, and Mahogany.
You can also consider purchasing reclaimed hardwood from salvage lumber yards as a more budget-friendly option. However, be prepared to dig through some pieces with wear and tear.
In addition to wood species, grain pattern is another important factor in the design of your wood flooring. Plain sawn wood is the most common and popular, while rift-sawn wood has a long, consistent grain but no cathedrals, making it the most expensive. Quarter-sawn wood is similar to rift but has irregular specs that create a unique, sometimes 3D pattern. Some manufacturers offer flooring with multiple grain patterns for a special pattern on your floor.
Lastly, consider the board width, as it can affect the look and feel of your space. Wider planks can create a luxurious feel with fewer seams, but they are more expensive and the seams can become more noticeable over time as the wood expands. Narrow planks are typically around 2-3 inches wide, while wider planks can be as much as six or seven inches.
Options for completing hardwood floors can affect their maintenance and appearance. When purchasing new wood floors, you can choose to buy them prefinished or unfinished.
Prefinished floors come with a stain and topcoat already applied, providing a clear idea of the final look. Unfinished floors arrive raw and require a finishing layer applied by a contractor after installation. This option allows for customization and matching to existing flooring.
The type of finish you choose will also impact your floors’ maintenance and durability. Oil finishes can provide a soft, natural look but are more prone to scratches and stains. Polyurethane creates a hard topcoat for greater durability but can be challenging to repair if damaged.
Finishes come in a range of colors and effects, including clear gloss and distressed or hand-scraped finishes. The cost of hardwood floors depends on the type of flooring and finish selected, as well as professional installation costs.
Installation methods will vary based on the type of wood and plank size. DIY installation requires specific equipment, but many choose to hire professional flooring companies for their expertise and equipment. Underlayment may also be required, and engineered floors can be installed directly over concrete or other materials.
Overall, the finishing options and installation choices for hardwood floors are essential to consider when making a purchase.