When choosing the best flooring for your new home or for a renovation, you may be faced with a maze of choices. Carpets, vinyl, linoleum, and terrazzo are just some of the many options out there. However, one choice stands out above the rest for its rustic good looks, durability and elegant finish: hardwood flooring. As a first time buyer or loyal hardwood fan, you can choose from reliable brands like
Armstrong Hardwood. This choice is sure to be the pride and joy of any homeowner.
Choosing that perfect inviting and classic look for your dream home just got easier with these five basic considerations to think about when choosing hardwood flooring:
1. Type of Hardwood – Solid or Engineered?
The first choice you must make is between organic, natural solid hardwood, or its more modern engineered equivalent. Engineered hardwood has a multi-ply structure and is flexible enough to be used in basements, and homes with radiant heating systems. Solid hardwood looks more authentic and has natural appeal but engineered hardwood allows flexibility and can be directly installed over concrete.
2. Species – Classic, Exotic or Distressed?
Domestic woods, like those from Armstrong Hardwood, come in a range of colors, grains and hardness. Some classic wood species are stained red oak, white ash, cherry and pine. While something like red oak is the most common hardwood flooring in American homes, heart pine is more rusty looking and knotty. Cherry has a clear finish and a cinnamon tint that darkens with time.
Exotic woods like Brazilian redwood, Australian cypress, black acacia, and Brazilian koa are known for their hardness. Australian cypress can give a more rustic look while Brazilian koa is known for its alternating dark chocolate and blond stripes which render an eye catching look. For high traffic areas in your house, you could choose a hard wood like oak, Brazilian cherry, maple or ash.
Distressed species like distressed hickory and handscraped white oak are also a coveted option for that worn-in, aged look.
3. Width – Planks or Strips?
Hardwood flooring comes in two widths – planks and strips. Strips are generally no wider than three inches while planks are more than three inches. The rule of thumb while choosing the perfect width is to consider the size of your room. Broad planks suit larger rooms, and would overpower everything else in a small room. Choose width after taking into account the size of your room and the effect you wish to achieve.
4. Hardwood Grade – Select, Rustic or Natural?
These are the three basic grades of hardwood. While selecting Armstrong hardwood has the least amount of knots and color variations, or defects, natural hardwood has some defects while rustic Armstrong hardwood has more character thanks to its ample knots and variations. However, grade can vary according to species. For example, premium quality Australian cypress has lots of knots. Apart from the overall finished look you want to achieve, keep in mind the room size.
5. Finish – Site-Finished or Prefinished?
Finishes can either be site-finished once installed in your home, or pre-finished in a factory. Generally, pre-finished flooring tends to be stronger because they’re packed with aluminum oxide and cured under UV lights. The floor is ready on the day of installation, so you don’t have to wait.
Now that you’ve acquired the basics, you can make a more informed choice from all the range of options out there. If you’re not sure about what you’d like in your home, be sure to check out sites like Carpet Express which offers convenient shipping that drops products directly to your house. For 25 years they’ve been America’s trusted suppliers of reasonably priced, high-quality flooring.