4 Reasons Hardwood Is the Best Flooring Choice
Whether you’re a homeowner looking to install a new floor in your home, or a flooring contractor trying to find the right floor for your clients, you’re probably looking for a versatile floor material that will stand the test of time and never go out of style.
If you’re wondering what material could possibly check all these boxes and more, look no further than the hardwood options at your local home improvement store.
Wood has long since been one of the most popular flooring options. And for good reason.
We’re about to explain what’s made wood floors so popular, as well as how you can find the best type of wood floors for your home.
We’ll show you:
- The benefits of hardwood flooring
- The disadvantages of hardwood flooring
- How to choose the right flooring for you
Let’s get to it!
The 4 benefits of hardwood flooring
There are tons of reasons why hardwood floors are an excellent choice for any home.
Floor contractors report that real wood flooring is:
- Stylish: Most people find wood to be one of the most attractive flooring options. Its natural charm and variety of shades, colors, and finishes make it a staple of interior design. It matches nearly any design concept and goes with almost any type of décor. Its timeless quality ensures that it will never go out of style, even decades down the road.
- Easy to clean: In general, wood is pretty low-maintenance as far as cleaning goes. Especially in comparison to floor materials like carpet. As a smooth, solid material, wood is more stain-resistant. The fact that wood is smooth also means there’s little opportunity for any dirt, pet dander, or dust to stick to the floor. Where carpet fibers trap dust mites, animal dander, and allergens, a wooden floor can be cleaned of all debris with nothing more than a broom or a mop. The fact that it’s so easy to clean means it’s a perfect solution for people with allergies.
- Long-lasting: Wooden floors are among some of the most durable flooring options. They might accumulate a couple scratches and dents over the years but can last a long time if given the proper care. Unlike other flooring options, wood floors don’t have to be removed once they start looking bad. They can be made to look new with a refinish. They just have to be sanded, stained, and sealed every so often.
- A great investment: Though purchasing real wood can be expensive, it’s an investment that pays off in the long run. That’s because wood is always in high demand on the housing market. Most homebuyers want it for all the benefits we’ve talked about here. They’re also aware that wood is a more expensive material that automatically increases home resale value.
Although hardwood flooring is an excellent flooring material, there are some disadvantages of having wooden floors.
Are there any disadvantages to hardwood flooring?
As with any flooring option, there are a couple disadvantages to having hardwood floors.
But understanding these disadvantages can help you better determine whether wood floors are right for your home, as well as how you might compensate for common wood flooring issues.
That’s why we’ve gone ahead and provided you with a list of the cons of hardwood flooring.
Floor contractors report that hardwood floors:
- Are affected by their environment: The shape and size of your wooden planks can be compromised by environmental conditions. This means that changes in temperature and moisture can cause the wood to warp, shrink, or swell. This is especially harmful if the wood is installed before it has fully adjusted to its environment. That’s why it’s important to buy wooden planks that have already reached EMC (which you can check with a quick scan of a moisture meter). Changes in floorboards due to moisture can even cause the wood to creak or squeak as it’s stepped on. Wood can also be at risk for other damage associated with moisture like mold or mildew.
- Are not suitable for use in certain areas of the house: Because wood is so susceptible to moisture damage, it’s not suited for areas of the house that get more exposure to moisture and wetness. This includes rooms like the bathroom or the basement.
- Cost more: The fact that wooden floors cost more can be both an advantage and a disadvantage. While it may cost more upfront to buy a wooden floor, the cost of installing a wooden floor may eventually even out—especially if you plan on selling your home someday, as having wooden floors can raise the value of your home.
And yet, despite its disadvantages, wood still remains one of the most popular flooring materials.
If you have decided, like so many other homeowners and flooring contractors, that the pros of hardwood flooring outweigh the cons, the next thing you’re probably asking yourself is how you can go about selecting the right type of wood flooring for your house.
It can be quite the chore to narrow down what type of wood flooring you should install when you have so many options.
That’s why we’ve created a list of characteristics to make your floor selection that much easier!
Check it out in the next section!
How to choose the right floor for your home
There are a lot of things to consider when picking out the right type of wood flooring for your home.
That’s why we’re about to break down all the aspects you should consider when you’re making your decision:
- Solid hardwood or engineered wood: Solid hardwood is a thick plank of wood whereas engineered wood is a thinner plank composed of layers of wood and other composite materials. Given that solid hardwood is solely made out of wood, it costs more by the square foot. And while engineered wood has become popular for being cheaper and lighter, solid hardwood is known to last longer. Because it’s so thick, it can be refinished more times than engineered wood planks.
- Finished or site-finished wood: Finished wood is bought with a pre-existing layer of finishing and stain. Meanwhile, site-finished wood is unfinished wood that must be stained and given a finish by flooring contractors. Finished wood can be helpful if you’re looking for quick installation. But you might want to consider site-finished wood if you’re looking to customize your stain and finish. Either way, you have to decide whether you want an oil finish or a polyurethane finish. They both have their pros and cons, but essentially, oil is more susceptible to damage but easier to fix, while polyurethane is harder to damage but more difficult to fix.
- Wood species: Some wood species are more durable than others. Some are softer and some are harder (although hardwoods are the best option for floors). They also come in different colors. Some of the most popular wood species for flooring include oak, cherry, walnut, mahogany, and maple.
- Plank width: The width of your plank can change the look of your floor. The kind of plank you use depends on what kind of aesthetic you’re going for, but you should keep in mind that different issues can arise from each type of plank width. More narrow boards take longer to install, so the installation process can be more expensive. Meanwhile, broader boards are more susceptible to warping.
- Wood grain patterns: The way wood is cut determines what kind of grain pattern a plank of wood will have. Though the integrity of a wooden plank isn’t affected by its grain pattern, you might want to consider the pattern purely from an aesthetic perspective. Some popular grain patterns include quarter-sawn wood, rift-sawn wood, and plain sawn wood, with rift-sawn wood being the most expensive.
Whatever type of wood you choose, it’s clear that wood has many benefits that make it an excellent flooring option.
If you’ve made the choice to use hardwood flooring in your house, remember, the type of wood you choose matters.
That means you have to select wood that will be the right width, grain, color, and finish for your flooring project.
But before you even think about starting a hardwood flooring installation you have to make sure your wood is ready to install.
What do we mean by that?
Well, remember what we said about wood being affected by things like moisture? If you’ve installed wood before it’s fully acclimated to the moisture in its environment, it could continue to warp, shrink, or swell after you’ve nailed it in place which could cause cupping and crowning.
Want to ensure your wood is ready to install? Learn how to test your wood by looking at “The Why, When, and How of Measuring Moisture in Wood Flooring.”
Or if you’re already familiar with moisture meters, check out our store to browse through our high-quality moisture meter selection.