Choosing Hardwood Floors

A room with wood flooring made of oak.
A room with wood flooring made of oak. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I was a kid, my parents decided it was time to change our dirty old carpet and purchase brand new hardwood floors. My dad was a contractor, so he decided to install the floors himself. After the floors were completed, they looked great! Shiny floors, easily cleaned, but they were a little cold at night; nevertheless, it really made the house shine like never before.

Have you ever thought about redoing the floors within your house too? Well, here’s some tips on how to choose hardwood flooring:

How to choose Engineered Hardwood Floors

There are a ton of different types of hardwood floors with engineered hardwoods. There are two main types of construction in regards to engineered hardwood flooring. Three-ply has a total of three layers: the top veneer, the core layer and a balance sheet. Multi-ply uses a core made of plywood that consists of 5-11 plys. The veneer, or top layer, is made of finished wood.

How to choose Solid Hardwood Flooring

Another idea is solid hardwood. This hardwood flooring consists of planks and strips which are created from a single piece of solid wood. If they are maintained properly, they can be durable for many years. The three main types are as follows:

  • Rift sawn – As in quarter sawing, rift sawn planks are obtained from the center of each log. The cuts are each made at a slightly different angle. This creates planks that have very similar grain patterns, making the planks uniform. There are many sites online to help you learn more about the various types of hardwood floors.
  • Quarter sawn – These are cut into the log at right angles, usually 1/16″ wide or greater. This makes a decorative pattern where the growth rings are visible. This method of cutting creates floors that have a great stability during changes in humidity.
  • Plain sawn – Plain sawn, otherwise known as flat sawn, solid wood floors are cut so that wide grain patterns are shown in each plank. This is the common way that logs are cut.

Manage Monday tips on common Types of Hardwood Flooring

So what kind is right for your home? Is it classy darkwood with a polished finish to match modern luxury? Or maybe bright colored softwood, ideal for a comfy cottage with recliners and couches? Here are some examples.

  • Domestics – North American hardwoods offer a warm and classic appearance. You will usually find them priced lower than most exotic hardwoods. Common types of domestic hardwoods are ash, alder, North American maple, hickory, red oak, beech, black walnut, North American cherry and white oak.
  • Exotics – Exotics are hardwoods that are found outside North America. They usually feature colors that are not very common and the graining is unique. They are imported from places such as Australia, Africa, the Far East and Brazil. Popular types of exotic hardwoods include African mahogany, Patagonian rosewood, cumaru, tigerwood, ipe, Brazilian cherry, zebrawood, wenge, merbau, santos mahogany and teak.


Also to consider are the types of finishes you want that will match your home the best.

  • Smooth – The most common of all hardwood floor textures. A finished surface that is smooth.
  • Hand-scraped – The floor has a naturally worn look to it. No planks will be identical. It is more costly because all the work must be done by hand.
  • Distressed –These floors have a worn look. This look can be accomplished by hand or machine.
  • Wire brushed –This technique removes sapwood, which brings out the wood grain. This provides a grainy feel to it.

Hopefully, this list will help make your hardwood floor decision process a bit easier. After you install the whole floor, you won’t be able to stop enjoying the luxury and comfort found in hardwood flooring, and you’ll be creating a lasting memory for yourself and your kids for years to come.

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