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A Guide to Choosing the Best Hardwood

Wood flooring is a great option for a variety of reasons. Wood flooring is beautiful, goes well with everything and can fit any style home. Wood flooring comes in a variety of types including laminate, reclaimed, solid, prefinished and engineered. Wood flooring adds warmth to the house and the natural texture creates an inviting feeling. Faux and real wood flooring both create a warm inviting feel but the choice between the two often depends on the homeowners lifestyle and preferences. 

Basics on Solid Wood

Solid wood flooring comes in a wide variety and offers so many more options than most flooring types. Some of the most common species for hardwood include maple and oak but there are also options like pine, fir, ipe and other exotics. The unique characteristic and look of each species is part of the appeal of solid wood flooring and allows you to choose a species that meets your personal preferences. Looking at different species before choosing one for your home allows you to determine what option you like for your home. Solid hardwood flooring is ¾ inch thick while some engineered products are thinner. The thickness of the solid wood is what gives it the ability to be resurfaced or refinished. Solid wood is a great option for homeowners because it can be repaired and refinished. Refinishing allows the hardwood to come back to its original sheen and flatness, this is a unique feature of solid hardwood and makes a huge impact in the lifetime cost of hardwood floors. Different species of hardwood have different hardness levels or janka scores. Solid hardwood is not a DIY project and requires speciality equipment and skills. 

Basics on Engineered Hardwood

Engineered hardwood is a manufacturer product that includes three or four layers of wood glued together to create a single plank. The flooring includes a real wood veneer on the top layer that can be stained and finished to your specifications. Engineered wood veneers can be thick enough to refinish but not always. Many engineered wood floors can be buffed which allows you to add a new coat of finish which covers up some wear, damage and scuffs. The installation method for engineered hardwood can be DIY friendly with a click and lock system while other options have a tongue and groove installation which needs glue and nails for installation. 

Engineered hardwood is great for any part of the house including kitchens, bedrooms and living spaces. Engineered hardwood can better resist warping and works better in basements and bathrooms than solid hardwood. The increased stability that comes with engineered hardwood is one reason homeowners lean towards engineered hardwood over solid hardwood. Engineered flooring looks more realistic because of the solid wood veneer and many homeowners prefer the look over laminate. 

Oak 

Oak is a classic option for hardwood flooring. Oak has been popular for many years and comes in a few varieties which allows you to find a color that meets your design needs. Red and White oak are both popular flooring options that yield different looks. Red oak has a red undertone while white oak has more of a green or yellow undertone. Oak flooring stains well allowing you to change the hue to whatever option meets your design needs. The grain patterns of red and white oak are similar and offer a long straight grain. Based on the grading of oak you may find more color variations.

Brazilian Cherry

Brazilian cherry is one of the most common exotic flooring options. Brazilian cherry is a classic beautiful option that is warm and elegant. Brazilian cherry  hardwood is dense and has a great janka rating. The color palette of brazilian cherry changes over time and it will warm up overtime. 

Walnut

Walnut is another popular choice for hardwood floors but it is not for everyone. Walnut is a soft flooring option and isn’t ideal for homes with pets and children. The deep rich hues of walnut is what draws so many people to this option.  American walnut flooring is soft but Brazilian walnut flooring is hard and works great for homes with pets and children. 

In the end choosing the right hardwood product for your home is based on preference and needs. The right hardwood flooring material for you isn’t always the right choice for your neighbor. Hardwood is a classic beautiful option that adds value to your home. The durability and renewability of hardwood flooring makes it a great option for most homeowners. Ridgeline can help you with species research as well as grading and other specifics. Ridgeline would love to discuss your flooring project, call today for a free in-home estimate.

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