There is a huge variety of hardwood floors available on the market today. This is a great benefit to the consumer as it makes it more likely for you to find the finish and grain you are looking for right in your price range. All of the types of hardwood can make it a little more difficult to choose which is right for you. Today we’ll talk through the advantages of each type of hardwood so you can choose the one that’s right!
First you have to decide if you want to use solid hardwood or engineered hardwood. Solid hardwood is just what it sounds like. It comes in solid strips or planks cut directly for large pieces of lumber and is usually 1 ½” to 5” wide and 8’ to 12’ long. The main advantage of solid wood floors is their timeless beauty and the ability to be refinished time and again. The ability to refinish a solid hardwood floor can allow it to last well over 100 years. On the other hand, engineered hardwood has a thin layer of real hardwood laminated over layers of less expensive plywood and glue, or some other engineered backing. The benefit of engineered hardwood is that the planks maintain their structural shape, size and rigidity extremely well. This can be important if you want to install hardwood over concrete or in high humidity areas as engineered hardwood tends to bow and warp less than solid hardwood. For more information about the differences between solid and engineered hardwood, you can visit this sight about wood flooring types.
Once you’ve chosen your flooring type, you can move on to the actual types of hardwood you are going to purchase. One of the great things about hardwoods is that you can apply a wide variety of stains and sealers creating an almost endless array of shades, colors and lusters on the finish of your new wood floors. Keep this in mind as you are choosing the species of hardwood you are going to purchase. Choosing the right species is more about choosing the right hardness and the right grain patterns and the color can be chosen later.
Some hardwoods have very obvious patterns with large wandering grains. Options like hickory and pine hardwoods can help give you these great wood grain patterns especially in light finishes. Oak and maple on the other hand have smaller grain patters and especially with a darker stain can be more subtle flooring with small variations in the grain giving your flooring a more uniform look.
The other thing to consider when choosing a species of hardwood for your floors is the hardness. Some wood floors are actually considered softwoods because they are relatively soft compared to many of the American hardwoods. In general hardwoods made from species like oak, ash, poplar, maple and hickory are considered very hard woods. Softwoods are often made from needle bearing trees like cedar, pine and spruce. Softwoods are often warm and inviting and have a great underfoot feeling, especially when you’re barefoot. The disadvantage is that they can dent, scratch and stain more easily than hardwoods. On the other hand, hardwoods are much more resistant to dings and dents and don’t absorb moisture quite as easily, but they may feel colder under food and can be more difficult to install. For a rating the relative hardness of different types of woods, you can visit this sight with a species hardness index.
Before you decide, don’t forget to consider some of the exotic flooring options available like cork, bamboo and tropical hardwoods!
Once you’ve chosen the species of wood you’d like to go with, head down to the show room at Carolina Flooring Services at 3830 Dorchester Rd. in North Charleston to see the wide variety of finishes that type of wood is available in. You can choose the right color and finish that will make your new floor fit perfectly in your home. Whether you would like us to install your new floor, or you’re looking for us to supply you with the wood for your do-it-yourself project, Carolina Flooring Services is here to help! For more information about the types of hardwood floors we offer, visit our website for more information on hardwood flooring.
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