How to Choose a Hardwood Floor

Today we’re going to talk about how to choose a hardwood floor. It’s one of the most important decisions that you’ll make in your interior. It’s easier to change out furniture and lamps, but a hardwood floor is a really permanent fixture. So where do you start?

First, you need to decide the look that you want to achieve in your home.

Oak is a really popular choice. Oakwood is an ideal choice for a more contemporary room because it’s a plain board. A select grade has fewer knots. In addition, oak wood is quite hardy, withstanding scratches and dings much better than other woods.  On the other hand, if you are aiming for a modern farmhouse look, the number one grade would be the one to pick because it has one to two knots per board thus giving it that warm and rustic farmhouse character. You could also choose fur or pine. Both are softwood species that will show dings and scratches easily. Maybe you want to be able to see the character of the wood and you want to be able to see the scratches and dings which seem to be “in” right now as evidenced in the ability to purchase distressed boards.

Another thing to consider is the top finish.

applying top finish | West Coast Floor Company, Vallejo CA 94590Hardwood flooring changes constantly and in the last 20 years, there have been some big improvements in the finishes. Water-based finishes eliminate many of the drawbacks of other finishes while still providing durability. High-quality water-based and UV products have lower V.O.C.’s which greatly reduces smells. V.O.C.s can be harmful to your health and flooring finishes can gas off for 60 days while UV and water-based products generally only gas off for 2-36 hours. The lifespan is also improved lasting up to 5-8 years.

We have seen an upsurge in the popularity of Oil-based finishes. The oil soaks deeply into the wood bringing out the character and natural shine of the would but it can leave your wood exposed to trapping some dirt. Oil finishes need to be reapplied every five to six years.

Sunlight, moisture exposure, and ambient heat considerations

When choosing a hardwood floor you should also consider exposure to direct sunlight, moisture, or ambient heat. In the case of sunlight exposure make sure that the finish you have chosen has a UVB blocker in it because the direct sunlight will definitely change the color of your floor.

If you want a solid hardwood floor, it’s best to not have it on radiant heat or in damp areas of the home because it would be more susceptible to expansion and contraction. In this scenario, you would choose a hardwood that is factory-finished so that you have no breaks in between the planks of wood.

Your Budget?

How to choose a hardwood floor will ultimately depend on your budget and you will need to take a few things into consideration.

  • The species of the wood. Something like a black walnut floor would be a lot more expensive than a maple, oak, fur, or pine floor would be. You will also see a price difference between local woods and exotic woods due to the added import and transportation costs.
  • You will also need to consider the installation and finishing processes. For instance, wood that first needs to be bleached and then stained, and then finished would require more labor as would the installation of parquet flooring. The more labor associated, the more the floor will cost.
  • The width of your wood. We typically use 6 to 7-inch wide wood for smaller spaces. You could go with a 5-inch wood and that would probably reduce the costs of the wood. For larger open spaces you could go with a larger width of the wood and that would definitely bring your cost up.
  • The other thing that you really want to consider is just where you’re purchasing your wood from. Make sure you’re buying from a reputable source. Cheaper is not always better.

So once you’ve gathered all the information that we’ve talked about today, you just need to go out and find a floor that is durable enough for your lifestyle, within your budget, and suits the aesthetic of your home.

If you are interested in further exploring hardwood flooring for your home or place of business, contact us for a free design consultation. We would be happy to help you get the floor of your dreams.