Hardwood floors are probably the most popular flooring choices for homeowners looking to update their floors because of their durability, and they never go out of style. There are two main types of hardwood floors that can be engineered or solid.
Solid wood is used to make solid hardwood floors. Solid hardwood floors typically are ¾ of an inch thick. Solid hardwood can be sanded and refinished as needed. Solid hardwood flooring is not a suitable flooring choice for basements or kitchens because that boards expand and contract based on humidity and temperature.
Boards of engineered hardwood are made from typically three to five pieces of wood, which get bonded together in layers. Engineered hardwood is less expensive and much easier to install than solid hardwood floors. It also does not expand or contract so that it can be installed in any part of your home.
Types of Flooring Finish
There are two types of finish for your hardwood floors: site-finished, and factory finished.
- Site Finished – this allows for more customization on how the floors will look when finished. Site finished floors require talented craftmanship. Each site-finished floor is durable, unique, and easier to clean.
- Factory Finished – this finish is the easier of the two, a typically the less expensive option. Factory finished floors are quicker and easier to install and involve no chemicals or odors. There are fewer choices to floor design with factory finished.
Types of Wood
There are many types of wood species and colors to choose from for your hardwood floors, such as hickory flooring, oak, cherry, walnut, ash, maple, mahogany, and bamboo.
- Softwood – softwood includes materials that have been harvested from trees such as Pine, Cedar, and Fir. The wood from these trees is less dense and less durable. There is more of an abundance of softwood because of its quick maturity, but it can be harder to refinish. Material for softwood is more eco-friendly because it is sourced locally.
- Hardwood – hardwood is harvested from trees that grow much slower but end up being much denser and durable than softwood. Hardwood lasts longer and requires less maintenance.
- Thickness – the thickness of hardwood can be different. Typically, solid wood is ¾ inch and can be refinished up to ten times. Thinner boards cannot be sanded as much, but when sealed with a durable coating, they should not need to be refinished frequently.
- Length – longer strips of hardwood mean less distracting end joints. If you are trying to make a small room appear larger, you should use shorter pieces.
- Width – depending on your overall look, six-inch planks have a more rustic appeal, but the joints can widely open during dry spells. Two and one quarter inch strips can look busier, but they stay tighter. Sometimes mixing widths gives you the best overall look.
- Hardness – the harder the wood is you install, the less likely it will be prone to denting and gouges. Look for harder woods for more durability.
Cleaning and Maintenance for Hardwood Floors
Your hardwood floors can last a long time, but to ensure they last and stay attractive, they need to be regularly cleaned and maintained. You also don’t want to over clean and cause wear and tear, and it is essential to know the right balance for cleaning and keeping your hardwood floors.
- Daily – it would be best if you dusted or sweep your hardwood floors daily with a microfiber mop or cloth.
- Weekly – your weekly schedule should include a vacuum and mop for a deep, more thorough clean. Remember that water and wood don’t mix, try misting floors lightly with a floor cleaner, instead than applying water, vinegar or soap-based cleansers. Use a cleaner specifically made for hardwood floors to maintain them for years.
What You Should Consider Before Buying Hardwood Floor
If you have decided to install the hardwood floor, make sure you order 10% more wood than you need. For example, if your floor is 500 square feet, you should order 550 square feet. You need to order more for cuts and waste. Its always better to have ore wood than run out when installing floors.
Here are some key takeaways that you should consider when choosing a hardwood floor:
- Do you have pets? Consider harder hardwood flooring for durability
- Using lighter finishes makes smaller spaces look bigger
- Consider your floor use? Engineered wood is the most durable hardwood floor
- The floor’s finish and texture in design choices can make a significant difference in the final look of the product
Look at different types of wood or species of hardwood that best fit your budget.