What's the best type of wood for flooring?
Last modified: 2019/01/31 | Approximate reading time 3 mins
Wood flooring is timeless. If properly cared for, it can add elegance and dimension to any room and last a number of years. The natural texture of wood is easily matched with any decor, but there are a few points to consider when choosing the right grain, style and finish for your home. Whether you’re living in a modern, traditional or minimalist space, there’s a wood floor out there for you, but what’s the best choice?
The flooring you chose will come down to the room of your home it’s going to be used as well as the look you’re trying to achieve. If you’re ready to take the plunge but not quite sure where to begin, we’re here to offer our insights into choosing the best type of wood floor for your home.
Different types of wood flooring: which is best?
Hardwood or softwood
Let’s start with this long-discussed aspect of wood flooring: do you go with hard or soft? This is not as self-explanatory as it may initially seem, so we’ll clarify what each means. In general, hardwood can be understood as coming from deciduous trees. Hardwood is more durable than softwood and is typically more expensive as a result.
However, the durability factor should definitely be a consideration when choosing wood flooring. In contrast, softwood comes from evergreen trees which grow at a much faster rate. They are arguably much cheaper but do last less time than a typical hardwood floor.
Some popular hardwoods include mahogany, oak, walnut, maple, birch and teak, while some of the popular softwoods include spruce, cedar, larch, fir and pine.
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The right finish
The finish of your wood flooring is another important point of consideration. Unfinished wood will allow you to apply your own stain, and this may be necessary depending on the colours of your decor or if you’re trying to match an existing floor. With any type of wood floor, after the installation process, it will need to be given a protective finish. If you’re adding wood floors to your kitchen then we’d suggest going for an unfinished wood. This protective finish added during installation will really help to seal out the moisture.
When working with a prefinished wood, the installation process will be significantly quicker. This is because the wood has been sealed. Working with a prefinished wood is ideal for those taking on an installation project during the winter months. This is because odours and VOCs will be emitted in the finishing process, and your windows will need to be open. Another note is that finished floors will be ready to walk on right after installation, so if time is a factor this may make your choice simple.
Engineered or Solid Wood Flooring
Choosing between engineered or solid wood can be another confusing point for homeowners. Mainly the notion of what exactly is engineered wood flooring. Don’t confuse these two, as engineered wood floors are made up of many different layers of plywood or in some cases, high-density fibreboard or HDF. These create the core of the flooring, and then a solid wood layer is added to the top. Engineered wood is still an excellent choice for almost any home, even in tucked away places such as laundry rooms or basements. However, this floor can only be refinished once or twice, and thus may lose its sheen over time.
Solid wood is exactly what it sounds like; 100% wood. Solid wood comes in different thicknesses and can be sanded and refinished numerous times. However, it can warp in rooms with high humidity and thus, should be avoided in them.
It may be initially difficult to pick the right type of wood for your home, but we hope our insight has allowed you to narrow it down some. Solid hardwood is going to last the longest, that’s just a fact. However, it is important to choose a species that is readily available, as this is a green-friendly practice. Maple, oak and cherry are excellent choices and these will fit comfortably into a modest budget. Although technically a grass, bamboo is growing in popularity for its sustainable properties and has a beautiful feel to it.
Walnut, mahogany and ash are other mid-level priced options. Woods which are less available or from other parts of the world will sit at an expensive price point. Again, do make sure you know where your wood is coming from and that sustainable practices are used in the harvesting.
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