What is the best wood for hardwood floors?

Hardwood flooring is one of the best renovation changes you can make to your home. Researchers have found that you can get a strong ROI by adding hardwood to your home. Over half of home buyers reported looking for a property with hardwood installed and are willing to pay more.

But did you know that there are a variety of hardwood flooring that you can choose from,  and they all have different looks, patterns, and characters. Depending on the atmosphere you’re trying to create and your style, you’ll be able to find the right wood for your floors.

Selecting the Best Hardwood Floors

With wood, there are various options that you can choose from that impact the colour, durability, appearance, and pattern of your hardwood floor. You’ll need to decide whether you want solid or engineered wood, prefinished or finished on site, what grain pattern you prefer, and the type of wood species that fits the character of your home.

What does the Janka Hardness Scale measure?

The Janka Hardness Scale measures how much force the wood can handle before it is damaged. The higher the score, the stronger the wood. The reason you’ll want to understand what score the hardwood flooring has is to know where it should fit into your home. For example, a lower Janka Hardness score means the wood flooring best suits a lower-traffic area. And, wood that ranks higher on the scale can be used in higher-traffic areas of your home. However, it is important to note that this scale has different versions, so you may see other scores for the same wood.

Solid vs engineered

The most significant difference between solid and engineered wood is the ability to refinish it in the future. Solid wood can be sanded down and refinished many times as it is made of all wood. In comparison, engineered hardwood flooring has layers, with the top one being real wood. These layers are glued together and provides stability for your hardwood floors. But, it also means you won’t be able to sand it down and refinish it quite as often as solid wood.

Engineered wood can be used in any space in your home, including basements. Yet solid wood changes as humidity levels in the environment change. So, it is not the best product for use in a basement.

One other consideration when deciding between solid or engineered wood is the subfloor. Solid wood is designed to be nailed to a wood subfloor. It won’t install correctly on a concrete substrate. In comparison, engineered wood can be applied to different flooring. These wood planks are snapped together rather than nailed into the subfloor.

Prefinished or site finished

Wood can be purchased as prefinished, which means the finish is applied before the flooring is installed in your home. Alternatively, you can opt to have the finish applied after installation. For kitchen flooring, applying the finish after installation can offer more protection from water seeping between the boards.

The advantages of choosing prefinished wood is that the installation process will be quicker, and you won’t have to endure the odours from finishing the wood on site.

If you are trying to create a custom colour for your wood floor, it’s best to opt for site finished wood. Unfortunately, prefinished wood cannot be custom made to the shade of your choice.

Types of wood species

When it comes to what kind of wood species to use for your hardwood flooring, you’ll be able to pick from various looks, including oak, cherry, bamboo, and more.

Oak – one of the most popular choices for hardwood flooring, oak comes in various colours, including gold red, rusty brown and creamy pink. The grain pattern is an attractive swirled look that changes from each board. Oak can easily fit into any style of home, such as classic, contemporary, and country.

Cherry – an exotic type of wood, Brazilian Cherry has a dark reddish colour and a coarse grain. Cherry has a smooth grain pattern and can be a softer wood than other species.  The downside of this type of flooring is the time it takes to acclimatize.

Bamboo – although it is technically a grass, Bamboo is considered another exotic wood type that homeowners can consider for their hardwood flooring needs. For environmentally-minded homeowners, Bamboo is a sustainable option as it regrows quickly. It is more of a lighter colour than Cherry, but Bamboo does have some darker shades.

Walnut – if you want to create a sophisticated or dramatic look, Walnut is the suitable wood species for your flooring. It offers large, straight grain patterns and rich tones. The variations from board to board are not easily detected, which means you’ll be able to get a consistent look to your hardwood floors.

Hickory – this wood species comes in different tones, from a creamy beige to a warm brown. The large knot pattern fits nicely into a country-style home. The look can also vary quite a bit from board to board, so you’ll want to be sure this fits into the character of your home. An advantage of choosing hickory is that it has a lot of shock resistance and density.

Maple – a light-coloured wood, Maple offers some different hues, such as light cream and tan. The wood has a fine grain pattern that sometimes has dark streaks. This adds a unique and interesting look to the floor. You can use it for different styles, including contemporary and eclectic.

Adding Hardwood to Your Home

Putting hardwood flooring in your home is one of the best choices you can make. It will increase the resale value of your home, attract more buyers, and provide a comfortable space that you can enjoy in any room.

With the variety of choices of wood species available, you’ll be able to find the right colour and pattern that fits the style of your space.

To find out more about your hardwood flooring options, contact Ottawa Diamond Flooring today.