Selecting The Right Hardwood To Match Your Style

The selection of the floor covering is one of the most important decisions to make when finishing a construction or undertaking a renovation since it determines your style. While there are several flooring options including terrazzo and carpet, most homeowners still prefer hardwood as a standard material. Hence, there are five key factors that you should consider when selecting the right hardwood to match your style.

Choosing Between Solid and Engineered

Hardwood flooring was traditionally available in thick floorboards. Nowadays, several companies also provide engineered hardwood that can prevent the floor from drifting during contraction and expansion cycles. Engineered flooring is also easy to install in apartments and basements that have concrete floors while solid wood is fitted over one or two coatings of plywood. Even with engineered flooring, however, solid wood is still the most preferred by some homeowners due to its feeling and quietness.

Considering the Style

The style of wood is determined by its type, color, texture, and width. The kind of hardwood for the floor depends on your budget and personal taste. You can choose from domestic varieties such as maple, cherry, and oak, or from exotic varieties like Brazilian cherry, cork, and bamboo. Each type has a different grain pattern, and the exotic varieties are popular due to their distinct color and grain pattern. Most domestic varieties are also available in different colors and widths. On the other hand, the types of hardwood textures that are available include hand-scraped, wire-brushed, distressed, and smooth textures.

Considering the Hardness

The different types of hardwood have varied hardness ratings. Hardwood floors are natural and are vulnerable to dents that are not covered by the manufacturer’s warranties unless it is specified. Therefore, if you know that your floor is has a high risk of damage, select a hardwood that is highly rated such as red oak.

Selecting Based on the Defect Rate and the Grade

Take your time to understand the wood’s defect rate before buying. If the rate is above 50 percent, then you have to buy twice as much compared to wood that is rated at 95 percent defect-free. The high defect-rate wood can also become a challenge when installing.

The look of the wood affects its grade too. Hence, keep in mind that as much as all grades can be defect free, each grade provides a different appearance. Clear and select grade hardwoods have the cleanest looks with negligible color and knot variations. On the other hand, cabin and Millwood grades will allow all the features of the species to appear including the knots, color variations, and streaks.

Selecting Between Oil and Polyurethane Finish

There are several ways of finishing wood products including oil-like hybrids, penetrating oil, prefinished UV-cured urethane, and site-finish polyurethanes. Nevertheless, most finishes fall into polyurethane or oil categories. Oil enters the wood and has the feel and appearance that is matte, natural, and soft. It is, however, not as resistant to damage and stains as polyurethane that creates a hard topcoat on the wood making it more resilient to damage.

Floors consume most of the visible space, and it is necessary to make them appear great. However, remember the practical part of it when making your selection of the hardwood for your floor. The right blend of prudence and fashion should lead to the proper wood product for your home.

Jessica Kane is a writer for GoHardwood, a leading retailer of discount hardwood flooring, carpet tile, and more.

Photo: CC 2.0 / Peter Galvin