If you’re looking for ways to update the look and feel of your home, chances are you’re considering upgrading some or all of your home’s existing flooring to hardwood, and with good reason. A quality hardwood not only adds generational beauty to your home, but it also ranks among the most durable building materials and, in some cases, can look even better with gradual wear and tear (something that can’t really be said for carpeting).
Since so many homeowners choose hardwood for its longevity, it’s important to know a thing or two about the different options that are available through your local hardwood supplier. The purpose of this guide is to help create a few points of differentiation between the surprisingly daunting number of solutions on the market today.
Why Choose Hardwood Flooring?
If beauty alone is not enough to sell you on hardwood flooring, there are also a number of practical reasons to help sway your decision.
- Modern Durability: Thanks to modern processes and technology, many of today’s engineered wooden floors are much less prone to fading and staining than flooring installed decades ago. Many modern hardwood floors are marketed as an “easy to maintain, no wax” solution, a task that has traditionally been a point of contention with homeowners considering hardwood flooring.
- Classic Hardwood Character: If you’re looking for individuality and character, hardwood is likely the way to go. Each piece is adorned with slightly different grain patterns and imperfections, qualities many homeowners gravitate towards.
- Timeless Style: While there aren’t too many things within a home that can be characterized as “timeless”, hardwood flooring is one of them. This means that you can consider hardwood flooring as a long-term investment, rather than something you’ll need to replace when it falls out of fashion.
- Cleanliness: Many homeowners view hardwood flooring as a much more sanitary solution for their home, especially where children and pets are concerned. While vacuuming a carpet will remove some of the accumulated dirt, bacteria can be difficult to remove from thick, heavy fibres.
- Variety: The sheer number of wood types, stains and finishes means that you’ve got a nearly endless number of different hardwoods from which to choose, so you never have to settle for anything less than the perfect wood for your home.
Types of Hardwood Flooring Available
While there are literally hundreds of different types of wood from around the world to choose, the list below outlines some of the most popular. For more hardwood flooring options, consult the flooring experts at Sarana Tile.
- Maple: Perhaps principally known for producing maple syrup, maple trees are also a go-to option for locally sourced flooring material. Not only is maple a hearty, durable wood, it is also much less porous than other types of wood, meaning that it has a natural ability to ward off nasty spills. It features a very subtle grain pattern that won’t overpower your senses.
- Rosewood: In spite of its name, rosewood is available in a wide range of colours, from yellow to purple. Note that as far as hardwood flooring goes, rosewood is a relatively new option, but it’s one that many people are choosing, thanks in part to its whimsically unique grain patterns.
- Bamboo: Though bamboo flooring is beautiful in its own right, it’s important to remember that it isn’t actually hardwood at all—it’s a type of grass. For that reason, it lacks some of the durability made famous by other types of wood, is more likely to scratch (though it is easy to sand and refinish) and doesn’t do well in excessively humid environments. Having said that, it’s one of the best choices in terms of sustainability, since bamboo grows rapidly.
- Walnut: Walnut flooring typically offers homeowners rich, dark colours that look great with just about any décor. If you’re looking for durability, walnut is one of the hardest woods available, so it will stand up well in high traffic areas.
- Pine: Much like bamboo, pine is not actually a hardwood. While it’s referred to as softwood, it doesn’t mean that it’s more prone to damage. What it does mean is that it tends to age differently than other woods, gaining beauty with each passing year.
Hardwood Flooring Sizes and Textures
Most people know that wood comes in a variety of colours, but that’s not all there is to it. Hardwood flooring also comes in a variety of sizes and textures.
For example, the size of the plank is just as important when considering structure as it is when deciding on visual appeal. It’s generally recommended that boards in the two to three inch range be used exclusively for parquet flooring, and wider boards (typically five inches in width) be used for other flooring configurations. A general rule of thumb to follow when choosing between thin or wide boards is: the wider the board, the longer it should be, as short and wide boards do not offer a very pleasing aesthetic.
Textures are another important consideration. Choose smooth textures for an elegant, factory finish that’s ideal in low traffic areas. Or, choose a hand-scraped surface texture that welcomes the dents and dings that are a part of your daily life. Then there’s distressed texturing that evokes an antique aesthetic without having to wait years for it to age on its own. If you don’t want to sway too far from the middle of the road in terms of texture, you could go with a wire-brush texture that offers a nice balance between a smooth and distressed option, and emphasises the wood’s patterns.
Hardwood Flooring Installation and Maintenance
Once you’ve selected the type of flooring you like, the next step will be to install it. The design of hardwood flooring has made it much easier for DIYers to navigate, but it doesn’t mean that you should rule out hiring a professional to do it for you. The greatest incentive to installing hardwood flooring on your own will come in the form of cost savings and perhaps the satisfaction of overcoming a challenge. If neither of those are the main factor in your decision, you’re better off bringing in someone who installs flooring professionally. If you’re intent on doing it yourself, speak to your hardwood supplier—they’ll be happy to point out some factory finished solutions that won’t require sealing or staining before installation.
Hiring a professional will save you time and aggravation, and will generally guarantee results that you’ll be happy with.
Maintaining your hardwood floors requires very little upkeep, but regular maintenance is encouraged:
- Weekly: The only thing you need to do to keep your hardwood floors looking good on a weekly basis is a thorough sweep, vacuum and mop when required (chores that already likely make up your weekly to-do list).
- Monthly: To keep your floors looking vibrant, consider polishing your floor every few months. Polishing helps to fill in minor scratches and dents, and can prevent these from getting worse. Best of all, today’s modern floor cleaning products make this chore more convenient.
- Annually: If your floors have experienced a few rough years, consider sanding them down to remove the old finish and refinishing your floor to its former glory. Refinishing helps to repair deep scratches and gouges that can not only take away from the aesthetics of your floor but can also shorten its lifespan if left untouched.
In summary, hardwood flooring is a great option when renovating your current home or choosing a home to buy, but it also comes with its fair share of considerations in terms of style, durability and upkeep. With so many options at your disposal, hopefully this guide has made the choice a little easier. If you still have questions, call Sarana Tile for help finding the right hardwood floor for your home.