If you are considering putting in wood flooring, you can’t fail. There is unmatched beauty in all different types of hardwood floors and they can go with any decor you throw at them such as traditional, modern, country, anything. You can put hardwood in just about any room, although kitchens and basements have special considerations.
Finished or Unfinished?
If you are looking to apply a custom stain before the final finish or if you want to match the color of the existing flooring, then hardwood is the way to go. Once the hardwood flooring is installed and stained, it is then given several coats of protective finish. If you are considering putting hardwood in your kitchen, unfinished is a good option because the finish will penetrate and seal the seams between the boards, helping to protect them from any water that may want to penetrate between the boards.
Prefinished flooring comes straight from the factory and is already sanded and sealed, making the installation job quick. There will be no odors, VOCs from on-site finishing, and the floor is ready to walk on right away.
Engineered or Solid?
Hardwood flooring that’s solid comes in a thickness of ⅝ to ¾ inches thick. Because it’s solid, it can be sanded and refinished multiple times. However, it can change with the humidity and it isn’t recommended for basements below-grade.
Hardwood flooring that’s engineered is a veneer of real wood that’s glued to several layers of wood underneath, such as plywood. This allows the wood to remain stable over time and it’s a great choice for any area in the home, including below-grade basements. Depending on how thick it is, engineered hardwood can only be sanded and refinished once or twice throughout its life.
The best kinds of hardwood floors are made from species that are readily available and very hard. Oak, maple, and cherry are all great choices. You can also choose from walnut, ash, bamboo, and mahogany. You are going to pay a higher price for more exotic species such as jarrah, teak, and mesquite. Check to ensure that your hardwood comes from sustainably harvested forests.
Reclaimed wood is another great option, which you can find at salvage yards. These are going to have some signs of wear and age, but you are going to pay about half the price as you would for new flooring. If they don’t have what you want and if you have the time, you can ask to be put on a waiting list. This option is especially good if you are renovating an older home.