A Guide to Choosing the Right Hardwood Flooring for Your Dwelling

Where To Start

Oak. Walnut. Bamboo. Cherry. The list of woods available for flooring is endless. As the homeowner, the undertaking of a renovation of your home isn’t as simple as picking the type of wood you like. Many factors contribute to finding the right flooring as it pertains to the space and existing decor or furnishings. Here are some questions to ponder while you peruse your local home improvement store.

Let’s start off with the basics- are you considering solid or engineered planks? This may be dependent on the subflooring you already have. For example, if your subfloor is made of a concrete slab, engineered wood may be the appropriate choice as it is best at handling moisture. The construction of the layered veneer of engineered wood allows it to be more stable, as it is resistant to fluctuations of humidity and temperatures of hot and cold and will combat the expanding and contracting that standard solid woods are susceptible to.

Solid woods have their benefits too, as they can be refinished many times in the future, as long as it’s the over the tongue and groove of the plank. All in all, some people still prefer the solid wood over engineered woods simply for preference. Additionally, some owners claim solid wood floors are quieter.

Have you heard of the Janka hardness scale?

If you’re just starting your research, this measurement may be new to you too. The Janka hardness scale measures the hardness of different woods, which can be handy when deciding what area you want to install your floors. High traffic areas yield better to harder woods such as Oak, Maple, Hickory, and Bamboo, and are resistant to denting and scratching. Red Oak is considered the industry median for hardness, while other species such as Teak, Cherry and Pine are still good “hard” options, but may scratch or dent more easily than higher ranked woods on the Janka hardness scale.

Almost finished, now choose your finish!

What choices of finishes are there? While there are traditional options that go well with a timeless decor, there are also innovative methods like painting, chemically treating, staining, and patterning your wood for different looks. Pre-finished planks give you the advantage of a simplified installation with minimal dust, and because stains and top-coats are factory-applied, they usually come with a longer warranty.

Unfinished wood or on-site finishes give homeowners the option of being highly customizable with a variety of stains and finishes to choose from. Just as there are a variety of woods to choose from, there are also a spectrum of topcoats ranging from polyurethanes, hybrids, and oils. While polyurethanes are the most common finishes for hardwood floors, oils penetrate the wood giving it a more natural appearance that makes scratches less noticeable. On the other hand, polyurethanes are impervious to wear and tear, making maintenance straightforward. Your oil finishes have the advantage of being able to do on-the-spot replacements versus having to repair an entire area of polyurethaned hardwood that may be damaged.

Maintaining your new hardwood floors

You’ve chosen the perfect color, and all your furniture and decor are in place; now it’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Not only has the decision to install hardwood flooring add to your home’s value but is a sustainable, durable and a hypoallergenic choice.

Keep these tips in mind:

  • Clean up spills immediately.
  • Apply felt protectors on the feet of furniture.
  • Use rugs in doorways to prevent foreign particles from being tracked indoors and scratching floors.
  • For assistance of cleaning hardwood floors- contact Tiger Paws for a professional clean.