There’s many reasons that hardwood is still one of the most popular choices when it comes to choosing flooring during a remodeling project. It’s durable, looks beautiful, and can add value to your home.
With wood floors being such a popular choice amongst homeowners, it’s no wonder that there are quite a few options to choose from. One quick search for ‘hardwood flooring options’ on Google and you’ll see what we mean! But don’t worry; we’re going to do the research for you! Here is a quick summary of the common options available.
Let’s start off with the basics, the width of your plank.
Narrow (or ‘strip’) hardwood floors usually have a width less than 3 inches. Narrow floor boards tend to work well in smaller spaces. The long, linear, planks helps a smaller room appear more spacious and open.
‘Plank’ wood flooring typically consists of products that range from 3-8 inches wide. The broad width of boards used in plank flooring makes it ideal for use in a rustic, traditional or country decorating style.
‘Wide plank’ boards are regarded as 5 inches or wider. Widths of up to 12 inches wide are available from certain manufacturers.
Solid vs. Engineered:
It seems that this is an on-going debate in the hardwood floor industry. We’ll start with the solid hardwood. Each plank is a solid piece of wood that comes from the best, finest domestic and exotic hardwoods. Solid wood planks are available in several widths and are usually ¾” thick. Expansion and contraction due to humidity changes can happen with solid wood so it is recommended that it is installed in a temperature and humidity controlled space. This type of flooring is best for use if you would like to have the option to refinish the floors at some point. Solid wood flooring can be installed above grade, over approved wooden subfloors.
Engineered wood flooring takes a different route. Engineered planks consist of a cross-ply core, with a thin layer of real wood veneer finished on the surface. They are also available in a variety of widths; however, the cross-ply construction used in these products resists expansion and contraction from humidity changes allowing plank widths to be larger. These floors are best for use when you would like to install on any level of the home or rooms that are in dire need of a stable product with multiple installation options. These floors can be installed on any level, over a variety of subfloor types.
There are many different types of wood which can be broken down into classes and species. We’ll start off with the most common species of natural wood that are available for flooring. They consist of Cherry, Walnut, Oak, Maple, and Hickory. Each has a different hardness rating based on the Janka Hardness Scale, which you can see here (insert link).
Alternative Options for Wood Flooring
There are many different options to choose from when shopping for wood flooring, but what if you want the look of wood, without worrying about the wear & tear? There’s actually a variety porcelain tile and vinyl options that are available for just that purpose!
Porcelain tile offers a fresh, clean, sleek look that can range from traditional dark brown to washed-out weathered grey. Tougher than ceramic porcelain, these tiles come in long rectangular plank lengths, which won’t scratch, dent, fade or ever need to be refinished.
Luxury vinyl wood planks are not wood, but actually an image of wood laminated on vinyl. Since this product is water resistant, it works well in bathrooms and laundry areas. Thanks to better technology and higher resolution photography, today’s luxury vinyl planks give you a very realistic look of wood.
So there you have it! A crash course in hardwood flooring! But all this information just barely scratches the surface (of the amount of information, not your new floor!), so feel free to stop in and chat with one of our designers to learn even more about all the options available for your new wood floor!