How to Choose the Right Hardwood Flooring for You - 5 Tips
In addition to bringing warmth and beauty into a room, hardwood floors are also a great way to increase the value of your home. To choose the right material you'll need to consider a few things ahead of time, such as how the room is typically used along with your family's lifestyle. Also think about your priorities and whether you prefer ease of maintenance over aesthetics.
Taking a few moments to contemplate these considerations and prioritizing what's really important to you will help you narrow down your focus to a short list of good candidates.
Floors take up a lot of visible space and it's only natural to want them to look great. Just don't forget the practical aspects when making your choice. The right blend of fashion and prudence should result in the right product for your home.
Don't be afraid to think a bit "unconventionally" either -- in other words, it's easy to default to a wood floor for example, because wood is a great surface and has been around for centuries. But there are advantages to other materials like laminate too. Take your time, think about how you live and match a floor that'll meet your criteria for performance and visual appeal.
Hardwood floors can be installed on any level of your home and are available in multiple constructions to allow for installation flexibility over different subfloors and to mitigate moisture.
It's important to take moisture into consideration when you're installing hardwood floors since changes in moisture can create issues such as warping and gapping. To mitigate the effects of moisture, keep moisture levels within manufacturer recommendations and choose the right construction of hardwood flooring and installation materials. For an added layer of protection against moisture damage, install a moisture barrier.
There are three primary subfloors over which you can install:
There are four constructions of hardwood floors to address each primary type of subfloor.
Discuss with your flooring provider the proper contruction for your application.
2. Style Considerations
Finding the right type of wood is just a matter of personal taste and budget. There are domestic types like oak, maple, and cherry as well as exotic types like bamboo, brazilian cherry, and cork. Each type has a distinct grain pattern. For example, oak has a very distinguished grain whereas maple is very subtle. Exotics are very popular because of their distinct grain patterns and color.
Most domestic types of wood come in a variety of colors. Most exotics, on the other hand, are not stained because their natural color is distinctive. Many exotic types are photosensitive and need exposure to sunlight to achieve their desired rich color.
Widths can easily change the look of a floor since the wider the plank, the fewer the seams that can be seen in the floor. Wider widths also showcase the natural beauty of the wood, especially hickory and tigerwood.
There are many types of texture, including smooth, hand-scraped, distressed, and wirebrushed.
Additional Tip - You can buy prefinished hardwood floors that are already stained and finished with a coating that is stronger than most site-applied finishes.
Different types have different hardness ratings. The higher the number the harder the wood. Hardwood floors are a natural product and are susceptible to dents (not covered under manufacturer warranties unless specifically stated). If you expect your floors will take a lot of abuse, consider a type at least as hard as red oak.
Make sure you know the defect rate of the wood you're buying. If the rate is over 50%, you'll need to buy almost twice as much than a wood that's rated 95% defect-free. Wood with high defect rates can also create issues with installation.
The wood's appearance determines its grade. All grades can be equally defect free, but each grade offers a distinct look. Clear and select grades are the cleanest looks with minimal knots and color variations. Millwood and cabin grades will allow all the characteristics of the species to show, such as knots, streaks, and color variations.
Bruce engineered hardwood by