What to Consider When Choosing the Right Hardwood Flooring for Your Home

January 5, 2022

Are you renovating your home? Looking to redecorate your floor with some modern hardwood? Remodelling your living space with fresh hardwood installation is exciting, but it can also bring with it lots of confusion. This is due to all the variables that come into play when refurbishing your property. Namely, the type of subfloor in your home, the grain pattern, the plank sizes, prefinished or unfinished hardwood floor, etc. And all of these factors can add to and exasperate your confusion.

Luckily, here at Floor Trendz -- your Calgary hardwood flooring specialists -- we want to alleviate the stress by clearing up that confusion. So whether it’s a domestic hardwood installation job or a flooring showroom in Calgary, this article will be covering how to choose the right hardwood flooring for your project.

Considerations for Selecting the Proper Hardwood Flooring

Widths of Planks

One of the first considerations is the width size of your hardwood planks. This will be dependent on the kind of flooring you select, but the width of a plank might accentuate the overall appearance of the grain. Consequently, this is a component you’ll want to take into account.

Wider planks provide a broader surface area which is ideal for floors with more personality. Typically, they will be perfect for flooring riddled with natural knots that offer that quaint and homespun appeal.

The Hardness of the Hardwood

Different wood floorings come in varying degrees of hardness. Some of the most dense and firm hardwood types include Hard Maple, Strand Woven Bamboo, Hickory, and Lapacho -- among others.

Some of the more “soft” or “flimsy” hardwood variations include Balsa Wood, Pine, Cedar, Spruce, etc.

It’s best to make your decision based on the degree of traffic your home experiences. For example, if you have a larger family, regular guests, kids, pets, etc, then you may want to opt for the more sturdy hardwood flooring.

The Two Kinds of Hardwood Flooring

When it comes to refurbishing the floor in your home, there are two kinds of flooring options to choose from. Let’s unpack each one.

Engineered Hardwood

Engineered hardwood is produced from multiple layers of wood assembled and then affixed together via an industrial strength adhesive. Typically, there are between three to seven plies stockpiled with grains streaming vertically to one another. The top layer is trimmed from an assortment of domiciliary or foreign hardwood types and is typically coated with an aluminum or urethane oxide finishing for firmness.

Engineered floors can vary in thickness; starting at 5/16” and going to ¾”. And for width, they can begin at 2-¼” and go to 7”.

A major sticking point with a lot of wood types is its proclivity to expand and contract when humidity is introduced to the environment. But this problem is circumvented with the advent of engineered hardwood. This is due to its compactly stable design. The layers of engineered hardwood add an unwaveringly robust makeup to its composition. As a result, it is less inclined to the shrinking and swelling that other hardwoods are prone to.

Solid Hardwood

Solid hardwood is constructed with a single, elongated wood piece that is accessible in planks, strips, etc. Generally speaking, these strips of wood can range from 1 ½” to 2 ¼” in width. Typically, solid hardwood is about a ¾” thick board. But it can also be produced in many other sizes to match your home’s specifications as well as your preference.

The advantage of hardwood flooring is that you can personalize the strain of wood, the colour of the wood, and the finishing. From this standpoint, you can select unfinished or prefinished:

  • The unfinished floor provides infinite colour options
  • The prefinished flooring offers an in-house (or factory) applied finish

Word to the wise, the solid hard should not be installed in areas where moisture is prevalent. This wood is prone to warping, bending, and distorting under such conditions. So be sure to avoid this hardwood type in high-humidity areas such as kitchens, basements, or any room with concrete.

Wood Stain and Finishing Strategies

The other variables that will impact the look of your hardwood floor are the stains and finishing strategies. Some of these include brushing and hand-scraping which deliver a richer and more tactile finish to the hardwood.

Brushing/Hand-Scraping

Hand-scraping or brushing hardwood is ideal for more energetic families, ones with many active members (children, pets, etc). Typically, these floors are used with 3” planks (or sometimes wider), with the majority of them being about 5”.

Wood Stains

When it comes to stains, the browns, as well as the grays, have been gaining popularity as of late.

Polyurethane vs Natural Oil Finish

Polyurethane is a finish that perches on top of your hardwood and establishes a light mist-like covering to safeguard the hardwood. On the other hand, a natural oil finish enters the wood and bolsters the fibres within it. As a result, the appearance of the floor is enhanced due to there being no film to envelop the wood.

Regardless of the wood type, you select, they will all begin to scratch, dent, crack, etc, due to wear and tear over time. But when you utilize the natural oil finish, you can avoid the bothersome task of having to sand and finish the floor. This is because all you have to do is apply a fresh layer of oil onto the impacted spots.

Hardwood Flooring: Choosing the Right Type for Your Home

When it’s all said and done, choosing the right type of flooring for your home simply comes down to education. Learning about the varieties of flooring, understanding what the requirements for your home are, and specify what it is that you really want.

If you have any questions and would like to speak with a specialist to help answer your concerns, don’t hesitate to contact us today. We look forward to serving you!

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