Hardwood flooring has become extremely popular over the last few years. If you are looking for a new kind of flooring for your home, hardwood floors are some of the most durable and cost effective floor coverings available. Depending on your personal preferences and decisiveness, you can either have a quick and informative shopping process or experience a time-consuming hassle, that can take weeks to find the ideal floor for you. Some people know exactly what they want the moment they see it, and others are less decisive. Hardwood flooring can be expensive but soon pays for itself over time with its extremely durable properties. Below you will find some great information on the best hardwood floors to buy.
Solid wood floor or engineered wood floor?
This is your first choice when you set out to find the best hardwood floors to buy. You have two main choices, Solid wood or Engineered wood. Both types can come in a wide range of colors and wood effects but behave differently in varying climates. It’s always recommended to speak to a professional flooring contractor before you purchase to get the best flooring for your home.
Solid wood has been the most popular choice over the years, it is commonly used in installations over wooden subfloors and in areas of the country which have a high level of atmospheric moisture and humidity. Solid wood is usually around three-quarters of an inch thick and is fixed to the floor with staples or nails. You can purchase a thinner solid wood alternative that can be glued directly to the floor instead of using nail or staple fixings. Solid wood will be affected by changes in temperature throughout the year as the season’s change. In areas where the climate can change from hot to cold quite quickly, you may encounter a problem with your flooring. The change in temperature can cause the wood to swell and shrink. Though this is very minimal in solid wood flooring, Engineered wood is much more versatile in this area.
Engineered hardwood is the stronger and more versatile of the two. It can be used in any area of the home and can be laid over concrete floors and rooms with underfloor heating. Engineered solid wood flooring uses a cross-layer in between the top and bottom layers of the flooring. This cross-layer minimizes the amount of contraction and swelling that occurs with regular solid wood flooring. Thus making it much more ideal for homes which experience a multitude of climates and changes in weather. Installing engineered wood is much easier than the standard solid wood option. You can choose to nail or staple the floor, gluing also works. Most engineered woods are manufactured with a tongue and groove locking system for easier installation. This tongue and groove system is ideal for homeowners who will be installing the flooring themselves.
Each type of hardwood flooring is different to the next, with different materials comes a different batch of manufacturers instructions. The above information has been written in a general sense. You should always read the manufacturer’s instructions before purchasing and installing a hardwood floor.
Best hardwood floor for bathroom
Hardwood floor for bathrooms is a better choice than the carpet. However, it can still be problematic. This is because moisture is the biggest enemy of hardwood floors and bathroom is the most humid area of your home. Between the solid wood and engineered, you should go for the engineered wood floor. Engineered hardwood floor will be great for big, well-ventilated bathrooms, which do not receive a lot of traffic. A family with kids or a large family will not benefit from this kind of flooring because no matter how responsible you are, there is always going to be some water left on the floor. Moreover, damp floors encourage mold growth. There are many faux-hardwood floors that are available on the market that emulate the look of the real wood, and these will work very well for the bathrooms. Tiles that look like wood are also a great alternative.
Best wood floor for my kitchen
For kitchen you should go for the hardest wood species like oak and walnut. The rich grain and dense texture of these woods will not only make the floor look beautiful but also hide any scratch or dents. These wood floors tend to change the color over time as they darken. Since these woods tend to crack up in winters, it is best to use oil finishes over polyurethanes, as oil allows the wood to breathe.
Before You Buy
As with any home improvement choices, it’s best to follow a checklist before you spend any money. The following points are a list of things to check and keep in mind when shopping for your hardwood floor.
If there is one common problem that most homeowners face when purchasing hardwood flooring, is measurements. To calculate the square footage of a room, simply multiply the room’s length by its width. So if your room has a length of 14 foot, and a width of 12, the total square footage of the room is 168 square foot. One tip is to always add on a few extra foot when measuring, to ensure that you have enough to cover the floor completely. This also leaves rooms for some human error such as miscuts and damaged planks.
Consistency and Batching
Hardwood flooring, like laminate or vinyl flooring, is manufactured in batches. This means that one batch might not color match to the next. Always double-check your measurements before making a purchase. If possible, it’s always a good idea to buy more wood than you need. Most stores will refund you for the extra wood that you do not use. As most builders and tradesmen will tell you, it’s better to have more than less. If you have to buy some extra wood before the floor is finished, it is highly likely that you will notice a difference in shade and tone between the two batches.
How much foot traffic will your flooring have to deal with? If you are purchasing the hardwood flooring for an area of the home, which is a common walkway, you want to choose engineered wood, as the top layer veneer will last much longer that standard solid wood. You can prevent this wear and tear by covering the flooring with a rug or special treatments. These treatments come in the form of oil or lacquers. Treatments for wood flooring can extend the life of your flooring by years.
Let It Stand
Once you have brought your hardwood, unpack it and leave it to sit in the room for a few days. This will let the wood expand and adapt to the temperature and climate of the room. Forgetting to do this will cause problems during installation such as popped boards and swelling. Do not stack too many boards on top of one another, this may put too much pressure on the boards at the bottom, leading to warping and swelling. Most types of flooring can be stacked to a maximum of five boards before damage takes place.
Keep it Eco-Friendly
Only purchase your flooring from brands and manufacturers who work with the Forest Stewardship Council. This will be identified by the FSC logo on the wood or in the manufacturer’s information. This simply means that the wood has been sourced from responsible lumber yards that focus on ecological tree felling and replanting.