When it comes to adding warmth and natural beauty to your home, wood flooring is a great choice. Not only does it create a cozy atmosphere, but it also adds value to your property. However, with so many options available, it can be overwhelming to choose the right type of wood flooring for your needs. In this article, we’ll go over what to look for when buying wood flooring, including the type of wood, grade, width and thickness, finish, installation method, moisture resistance, and price.
Type of Wood
The type of wood you choose for your flooring is an important consideration, as it can impact the appearance, durability, and hardness of your floors. Here are some popular types of wood for hardwood flooring and their unique characteristics:
- Oak: Oak is one of the most popular choices for hardwood flooring. It’s known for its strength, durability, and distinctive grain patterns. Oak is available in red and white varieties, with red oak having a pinkish hue and white oak having a cooler, grayish tone. Oak is also available in different grades, including clear, select, and common, which can affect the appearance of the wood.
- Maple: Maple is another popular choice for hardwood flooring, especially in contemporary and modern homes. It has a subtle, uniform grain pattern and a light, creamy color that can brighten up any room. Maple is a hard and durable wood that can resist wear and tear over time.
- Walnut: Walnut is a darker, richer wood that can add warmth and sophistication to any space. It has a distinctive grain pattern that can vary from straight to wavy and can range in color from light brown to dark chocolate. Walnut is softer than oak or maple, but it’s still a durable wood that can last for decades with proper care.
- Cherry: Cherry is a luxurious, reddish-brown wood that can add elegance and warmth to any room. It has a smooth, fine grain pattern that can darken over time with exposure to light. Cherry is softer than oak or maple, but it’s still a durable wood that can resist scratches and dents with the right finish.
The grade of the wood refers to its appearance, with clear grade being the most uniform and rustic grade featuring more knots and imperfections. Choose a grade that matches the look you want to achieve. For a more modern and uniform look, select clear grade. For a more rustic and natural look, choose a lower grade.
Width and Thickness
The width and thickness of the planks can also affect the appearance and durability of the floor. Thicker planks may be more durable, but wider planks can create a more spacious and modern feel. Narrower planks are a better choice for smaller rooms, as they can make the space appear larger. Thicker planks are ideal for high-traffic areas like entryways or kitchens.
Wood flooring can come pre-finished or unfinished. Pre-finished wood flooring has already been sanded, stained, and sealed with a protective coating, making it ready to install. Unfinished wood flooring requires sanding, staining, and sealing after installation, which can be more time-consuming and expensive. However, unfinished wood flooring allows for more customization, as you can choose the exact color and finish you want.
The installation method of wood flooring can also impact its durability and appearance. There are two main methods of installation: nail down and floating. Nail down installation involves nailing the planks directly to the subfloor, while floating installation involves locking the planks together without nailing them down. Floating installation is easier and quicker, but nail down installation may be more secure and durable.
Moisture resistance is a critical factor to consider when choosing wood flooring for your home. Wood is a natural material that can expand or contract when exposed to changes in humidity levels, which can cause warping, cupping, or buckling of the flooring over time. Excessive moisture can also lead to mold growth, which can compromise the structural integrity of your floors and pose a health risk to your family.
There are several ways to improve the moisture resistance of your wood flooring. One option is to choose an engineered hardwood floor, which is made up of multiple layers of wood and a protective top layer. The layers are cross-grained and glued together in a way that makes the planks more stable and less prone to warping than solid hardwood flooring.
Another option is to select a wood species that is naturally resistant to moisture, such as teak or cedar. These woods have natural oils that make them more resistant to water damage than other types of wood. However, they can be more expensive than other woods and may require more maintenance to keep them looking their best.
It’s also important to choose a water-resistant finish for your wood flooring. There are several types of finishes available, including polyurethane, acrylic, and wax. Polyurethane finishes are the most popular because they are durable and water-resistant. Acrylic finishes are less expensive than polyurethane finishes but are not as durable. Wax finishes provide a natural, low-sheen look but require more maintenance than other finishes.
The price of wood flooring can vary widely depending on the type of wood, grade, width and thickness, finish, and installation method. Solid hardwood flooring tends to be more expensive than engineered hardwood flooring, and higher grades and wider planks may also cost more. Pre-finished wood flooring may be more expensive than unfinished wood flooring, but it also saves on installation costs. When choosing wood flooring, consider your budget and prioritize the features that are most important to you.
Get Beautiful and Durable Wood Flooring with Flatwater Finishes
When it comes to choosing the right type of wood flooring for your home, there are many factors to consider. From the type of wood and finish to the width and thickness of the planks, every detail can impact the appearance and durability of your floors. At Flatwater Finishes, we specialize in creating beautiful and long-lasting wood floors that can enhance the natural beauty and value of your home. Our expert team can guide you through every step of the process, from selecting the right type of wood to providing professional flooring installation. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you achieve the wood flooring of your dreams.