5 Considerations For Choosing Hardwood Flooring

Posted on: 24 July 2017

A hardwood floor is a luxurious addition to your home. Hardwood flooring adds the natural beauty of the wood and typically imparts warmth to the room. Because of its beauty, wood flooring also adds value to your home. Hardwood flooring comes in numerous design options. Choose the flooring option that best complements your home's style.

Wood Species

The species of wood impacts how the floor looks and acts. First, different hardwoods feature color and graining patterns unique to their species. Second, the hardness of the wood differs according to the species, with pine being the softest and hickory or maple being the hardest. Common species include oak, cherry, and maple. You can also choose exotic hardwoods such as mahogany or Brazilian oak.

Hardness

When choosing your wood, pay extra attention to hardness if you live in a busy household. If your hardwood flooring will see a lot of foot traffic from kids and pets, consider choosing one of the hardest species. The Janka hardness test is the measure of a wood's resistance to denting and wear — look for higher numbers if you want a durable hardwood.

Coloration and Texture

Hardwoods range in color from blonde to rich brown. You can also change the color with your choice in finish. Natural finishes let the wood coloration to show through, while ebonizing creates a black finish.

Another option that impacts the appearance is the texture. Many homeowners choose new boards and aim to maintain their shiny look. However, you can choose distressed boards for a rustic or antique effect.

Board Width

Board width also affects the overall appearance of your flooring. Narrow strips appear more textured, while wide planks show off the natural graining. According to Better Homes and Gardens, boards narrower than 2 ¼ inches are called strips, while boards between 2 ¼ to 7 inches are called planks. Anything over 7 inches are considered extra-wide planks. In general, the wider the board, the more expensive the flooring.

It's also possible to get parquet flooring installed. This consists of strips of wood that form patterns. The effect ranges from simple to highly decorative depending on the intricacy of the pattern and placement of the parquet tiles.

Surface Finish

The surface finish of your wood flooring affects not only its appearance but also its durability. Oil-based finishes leave a soft, natural look to the wood, but they're not as durable. Polyurethane finishes create a hard, glossy topcoat that's more durable.

When choosing your hardwood flooring, keep in mind both appearance and traffic patterns so you'll enjoy your beautiful floor for years.

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