So you’ve decided to install some hardwood flooring. Congratulations! You’ve chosen a durable, good looking and timeless flooring material that will serve you well for decades to come. But unfortunately your decision making process is far from over. You’ll still have to make some choices about the type of hardwood you ultimately install. To guide you through this process we’ve come up with an article on how to choose hardwood flooring.
Solid Versus Engineered
The main difference between solid and engineered hardwood is that solid planks are made of a single piece of wood whereas engineered planks are created by bonding different layers of wood together. Solid planks will usually cost more, but can be refinished more often. And although more durable, they might have a tougher time in moist environments compared to engineered planks. That said engineered planks are usually easier to install.
Prefinished Versus Site Finished
Prefinished boards have an advantage in that you’ll know exactly what to expect once they’re installed. Site finished boards may come out looking differently once the stain and varnish is applied. Site finished boards will also take longer to install because the staining and coating is applied after they’ve been laid down. However, the fact that the site finished boards are sanded and coated after installation will likely mean they’re smoother and more uniform in appearance.
Oil Versus Polyurethane Finish
Oil finishes create a more natural looking wood, whereas polyurethane finishes are much more protective of the wood. Oil finishes are easier to maintain, although you’ll have to do it more often. Polyurethane finishes require less maintenance, but it’s more labour intensive.
Type Of Wood And Grain
The most popular types of hardwood floors in North America are oak, walnut, maple, hickory, cherry and ash. Each have their own personality when it comes to colour, grain and ability to take on stain, so it’s largely a matter of aesthetics – and price. Wood grain is often influenced by the way the timber is cut. Persona preference will loom large when it comes to the type of grain you choose.
Hardwood planks can range in width from a couple of inches to almost a foot. The wider the plank the more it will cost. When you use wide planks you’ll end up with fewer seams which some find aesthetically more pleasing. However, with wider planks, if your floor ever becomes damaged you’ll need to replace a lot more lumber at a greater expense.