It is important when purchasing wood flooring for your home to educate yourself before making a decision. Hardwood flooring can last a lifetime if properly installed and maintained, so you will want to make sure you get the right type for the right area in your home.
Do I need Solid or Engineered?
One of the deciding factors will be at what grade (or level) of your home you are installing this wood floor. Thus is it important to understand the differences between Solid and Engineered floors. Solid wood flooring is 3/4" thick and is made from a single piece of timber. Because they are thicker than Engineered wood floors, they can be sanded and refinished many times and last for generations. Engineered wood flooring is a top layer of wood that is visible (known as the lamella) over a core (or substrate) of plywoods or fibreboards. This substrate acts just like a plywood subfloor in your home, which is actually where manufacturers got the idea! The modern technology behind Engineered wood has made it one of the toughest and most resilient flooring types on the market today. While Solid wood floors should only be installed on the ground level or above and never over a concrete subfloor, Engineered floors are more versatile and can be installed on any level of your home and are even suitable for basements and bathrooms. Water is a wood floor’s number one enemy, but many Engineered wood floors are much less susceptible to water damage. Depending on what region you live in, Engineered wood may be the best option. Areas with high humidity levels are not suitable for Solid wood floors. If you are the DIY type then you will also find that engineered is much easier and cheaper to install than solid wood flooring.
What type of wood should I get?
A high traffic area will need a wood with a higher Janka rating. The Janka hardness test is a measure of the resistance of different types of wood to denting and wear. A one hundred and twenty five pound woman walking in high heels has an impact of over two thousand pounds per square inch, thus it is highly important that you know you are getting a wood floor that has a high Janka rating for a room that will experience heavy foot traffic, such as a living room or foyer. See our Janka rating chart below for reference.
Should I get unfinished or prefinished wood floors?
These days most products come with a factory finish that will outlast one that you apply to unfinished hardwood. Only go with unfinished wood if you are trying to achieve a very specific look with a certain type of wood. In most instances you will be better off going with a more professionally prefinished product and it will also save your a lot of money.
Make an educated purchase.
Don’t ever rush into a hardwood flooring purchase. Make sure you research and get the right floor for you. Never let your hardwood flooring be installed by someone who is not a certified and trusted NWFA installer. If you have any questions about flooring types, installation practices, or product pricing, please feel free to call or live chat with one of our flooring experts today.