When it comes to installing hardwood floors in your home, you really can’t go wrong. Hardwood floors are attractive, durable, easy to maintain and timeless. When going through the decision process, it can seem overwhelming with all of the choices you have so it is important to do some research so that you can install the best hardwood floors for your home.
Below are some things to consider before choosing your hardwood floors:
Species of the wood
There are hundreds of different species of wood to choose from for your new hardwood floors. Some species are more popular than others and each species has their own advantages and disadvantages. These advantages and disadvantages will tend to vary depending on what you are looking for from your hardwood. The more popular species of hardwood are the ones that are very hard and durable so that they won’t dent easily.
These harder species of wood tend to be maple, oak and cherry. These are also extremely abundant species of wood so they are often less expensive and more readily available. Other species such as bamboo, mahogany, ash and walnut although also pretty popular species are much softer and are more prone to denting and damage.
Choosing a species will also depend on the desired color of your hardwood floors. Most species of wood flooring can be either stained or left natural. If you want to leave your floors their natural color with a clear finish, the species will determine what color the floors will be.
Finished or unfinished
Hardwood floors can either be purchased already finished or purchased unfinished to be finished later on after they are installed. Prefinished floors are becoming more and more popular because of their convenience and quality. Once prefinished floors are installed, they can be walked on immediately because there is no waiting time for the finish to dry. Prefinished hardwood floors will also generally provide a more quality finish than anything that can be applied to the floors once they are already installed.
But, some homeowners will disagree and prefer unfinished flooring. Sometimes unfinished floors are prefered because if there is a large construction job happening in your home, your floors will finished once everything else is done. This will ensure that your finished floors are protected while there are construction crews in your home. There also tends to be a larger variety of finishes to choose from when you get unfinished flooring as well as a smoother floor since it will be sanded once the wood is installed unlike prefinished hardwood. This decision again will be up to personal preference and what you’re looking for.
Solid or engineered wood
Engineered hardwood is not a solid piece of wood – it is a layered product of thin hardwood on top of a base of quality plywood. Again, when choosing between this option and solid hardwood, there is no true better overall option but there will be a better option for your personal preference. When it comes to engineered wood there may be fewer options for wood species and most come prefinished. Engineered hardwood floors are also easier to install and good at holding up to moisture, but are not as durable and will not last as long as solid hardwood floors.