Types of Hardwood Floors

When it comes to home flooring, the popularity of hardwood floors is at an all-time high. It’s rare to see a home without at least one room with hardwoods, and now it’s become common for builders to cover the entire first floor in hardwood.

In today’s housing market, buyers prefer hardwoods to carpet. They’re easier to maintain and they improve over time with wear, whereas carpet always needs to eventually be replaced.

Types of Hardwood Floors

If you’re considering putting your home on the market, it may be a good idea to upgrade areas of your home to hardwoods. If you have hardwood under your carpet, that’s good news. It’s relatively easy and inexpensive to tear up the carpet and refinish your floors, and most buyers appreciate original hardwoods.

If you don’t have this option, installing hardwoods has gotten less and less expensive. There are a variety of hardwood types available, and it’s important to know which is which.

Solid hardwoods: Solid hardwoods are both the most traditional and expensive option. Floors are generally installed as simple planks of raw wood, sanded down, and then stained on site. One of the biggest advantages that hardwoods have over other options is that they can be refinished often over the years. Unfortunately, hardwoods shouldn’t be washed with water, standing water can cause them to bow, and sunlight can cause stained finishes to fade.

Engineered hardwoods: Recently, engineered hardwoods have become one of the most popular options. Available in countless styles, engineered hardwoods are composed of layers or plies of wood that are glued together and finished with a laminate or thin layer of real hardwood. The best thing about engineered hardwoods is that they work with any foundation. A disadvantage is that laminated floors generally can’t be refinished.

Bamboo floors: Although bamboo floors have less options, they rival hardwoods in sturdiness and earth-friendliness. Like wood, bamboo can be solid or engineered, and come in a variety of styles and plank sizes. Before purchasing, find out what species was used. Moso bamboo is usually the best choice for flooring, and others can be softer or duller.

Choosing your stain and finish

Some hardwoods come unfinished, so you’ll need to know which kind of wood you’re working with to select a stain. Typically, you should ask for samples from your installer or a local home improvement store to get a good idea of how the wood may look after it’s stained. Remember, your unfinished hardwoods must be sanded and stained on site, which is a time consuming and costly process.

If you’re looking to save time and labor, factory finished could be the option you’re looking for because they can be installed in less than a day. All you have to do is wait for the glue to dry and then they’re usable. Plus, these types of floors usually come with a warranty.

The finish of your new hardwoods is also important. Depending on whether your floor has a penetrating seal or not, it could require waxing and no water. Most floors are sealed with a urethane or polyurethane coat, making them water resistant, so mopping is easy and recommended.

Wood types

There are plenty of different types of wood, and they vary in durability, grain patterns, and color by species. Oak, maple, and cherry are among the most common species due to their hardness.

While exotic woods like mahogany and Brazilian cherry aren't quite as durable, they can have unusual grains and colors and are prized for their striking appearance.

If you’re looking for more information about hardwoods, visit your local hardware store or consult your Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers sales expert.