What to know when shopping for hardwood flooring

We all know how beautiful wood floors are. They lend warmth and charm to a home and are versatile enough to fit into any decor. They're classic, last for decades, and add value to a property. Here are some facts to help you get the best wood flooring for your home.

Solid vs. engineered wood flooring

Solid is one continuous piece of timber, about ¾-inch thick, comes in strips, parquet, or planks, and is installed with the traditional tongue and groove technique. While it's easy to maintain, spills do need to be wiped immediately because any wood can be damaged by excess water and moisture. In addition, it needs acclimation before installation to control the shrinking and expansion with weather conditions and can be refinished four to six times during its lifetime. Engineered wood floors take over a significant share of the wood flooring industry because this hardwood version is stable and better able to handle water. While the top layer comprises your species-of-choice, for instance, oak, maple, or hickory, etc., the construction underneath is made up of genuine wood combined with a bit of resin and placed in a crosswise position. It has a range of thicknesses from ⅜- inch to ½-inch, and more robust is better. Depending on that number, it can be refinished up to five times.

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Choose your hardwood species

Not all hardwood has the same strength levels, so determine if you need extra durability. Hickory, pecan, hard maple, and white oak are the toughest, with white ash, beech, red oak, yellow birch, green ash, and black walnut closely following. Mahogany and cherry are a little softer but still durable, and exotics (harvested in locations like Brazil, Southeast Asia, Indonesia, and Africa) are always very hard. Your best bet is to examine the Janka hardness scale and look for something rating at least 1200 if you have extra durability needs, but this is not to discount the softer hardwoods, like pine; they are just as beautiful when placed in a proper setting.

Hardwood flooring experts at Choice Floors will also give you a quality installation, whether it's the more complicated tongue and groove or a simple floating floor. Visit us in any of our showroom locations: Colorado Springs, CO, Cedar Rapids, IA, Billings, MT, and Jenison, MI. Be sure to ask for your free hardwood flooring estimate!