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Did you narrow down your floor renovation plan to hardwood? Are you confused about choosing the right design? If you are nodding your head right now, we have the right guide for you.
A surefire way to improve the look and add value to your apartment is by installing hardwood flooring.
Buying hardwood flooring is not an easy job since there are so many types of hardwood flooring to choose from. But it is not something to worry about either. Besides the satisfaction of planning and executing the aesthetic look, you can also customize those planks into something incredible.
Before you go ahead, you would need the right planning. This guide will help you chalk out the entire procedure, ranging from types of hardwood flooring to wood species, colors, and many more.
Types of Hardwood Flooring Together With Installation Guides
A. Solid Hardwood Flooring
Imagining hardwood flooring, this is what most people think of. The entire hardwood plank is constructed from your favorite wood species which very much serves justice to the authenticity of the product. Hardwood flooring is all about natural beauty and classic charm that enhances the interiors of your house!
Though it would cost you a lot, solid hardwood flooring is extremely durable and has a fancy look as well. It is highly susceptible to moisture so it is better to avoid it in high-humidity areas.
Types of solid hardwood species are listed below:
1. Captivating Cherry
Popular for its vibrant colors, cherry flooring has several varieties. American cherry is well-known for its red and pink amalgamation and shiny finish. It is a soft hardwood but maintains good dimensional stability which is a plus point.
This species is quite expensive and the color can fade if exposed to sunlight or installed in sunlit areas for multiple years. But, who cares? It’s cherry flooring after all!
2. Old-Fashioned Oak
With a unique old-fashioned charm, oak is a very popular choice amongst hardwoods because of its sophisticated and classic good looks. Moreover, it could easily gel with any background, starting from a wide range of furniture and interior settings.
Among the two categories, red oak features a neutral reddish hue which makes it perfect for living room flooring if it has light-colored walls. White oak, on the other hand, has a gray hue which is most suitable for formal office flooring.
It is a mid-priced type species and is prone to scrapping. It is advised to use furniture paddings to prevent damage.
3. Hard Hickory
I have this one installed in my office and it is one of the most durable hardwoods. Hickory can last a lifetime with minimal wear and tear. Those dramatic grain patterns come in reddish-brown or creamy-white hues and are a wonderful choice for cabins and rustic interiors. With high durability, it is also a great choice if you have kids in your house and you don’t want the floors to scrape within a few years.
It has higher installation costs because of its hardness and hence, it is priced slightly above average.
4. Mighty Mahogany
You might have guessed from the name that this species is all about elegance and beauty. One of the most expensive species, this flooring is highly durable and water-resistant as well.
I often find hotel rooms in hilly areas adorned with Mahogany flooring, and that is something you can’t afford to miss! With a light brownish hue, it signifies the timeless beauty and classic charm of a 1000-year-old species.
It can decorate absolutely any interior, but it is best suited with a classic royal background and wooden furniture for that extra glamour.
5. Laudable Lyptus
An easy-to-finish species, this hardwood type is mistaken for mahogany sometimes but this one is less expensive and is a harder version of oak. It is readily available in the market and can be achieved in various styles.
It is easy to mill and looks like mahogany, so if you want budget mahogany flooring, you must try this one!
6. Aesthetic Ash
Another type of tough hardwood flooring, ash is lighter than hickory and is extremely durable. It is mostly installed in office buildings and other public complexes which are prone to wear and tear. It gives that aesthetic vibe with those light textures and can match with any furniture.
There are 15 types of ash wood, all varieties are based on color. It has black, white, green, and blue ash wood which are very popular. Other varieties include Oregon ash, European ash, and mountain ash.
This hardwood with average toughness is less expensive when compared to similar styles and it is economic as well!
7. Peaceful Pine
Mostly found in hilly areas, this flooring provides the ultimate smooth surface and can give your feet that soft touch, you were always craving. It is not a hardwood but a character wood and has pinholes and knots. It is capable of establishing a peaceful vibe in your interiors if combined with a wooden backdrop.
Ranging from light to dark brown in color, it is neither expensive nor cheap compared to similar categories and if I had a cabin amidst the mountains, I would definitely consider this flooring!
8. Warm Walnut
A well-known soft hardwood with dark swirling grains that can compliment any interior is the notable walnut. It offers a rich brown texture and pinkish hue sometimes which makes it extremely beautiful. It also has stellar photosensitivity which makes it perfect for rooms with direct sunlight.
The types of walnut wood include English walnut, black walnut, Claro walnut, Bastogne walnut, white walnut, and Peruvian walnut wood. Among these, English and white walnut wood are best suited for hardwood floorings.
Above all this, this species is a lightweight one and can be easily installed in the upper stories. All these benefits make it one of the most expensive hardwoods on the market and we cannot agree anymore!
PS: Avoid installing in dining areas as walnut wood is prone to scraping due to furniture movement!
9. No Stain Maple
One of the most distinctive and durable hardwood floorings, maple is well-known for its stain-proof characteristics. The light color and grainy texture make it appealing to the customer and it comes with a warm vibe as well.
This one would be a good choice for houses with children and pets as it doesn’t require extreme maintenance to stay in shape. This species is an affordable one and you don’t have to dig a hole in your pocket to install maple!
10. Douglas Fir
An orange and brown colored species, Douglas Fir is known for its uniform performance and how soft it is with your feet. Those long grains can provide a unique rustic vibe and adorn your interiors with their natural beauty.
Based on the trees from where fir is collected, it has 12 distinguished types. Balsam fir, Fraser fir, and Grand fir are well-known among them.
Fir floorings need proper care and maintenance as they are prone to scrapping. They are priced below average so it is an economic option.
11. Tough Teak
Teak is an exotic wood species and they are famous when it comes to hardwood flooring because of its extreme toughness and durability. The natural luster and finish can last for years even in high-traffic areas. Teak ages with glamour and with every passing year, they keep on adding to the traditional charm of your interiors.
Among the 13 different types of teak wood, Burma teak is the most durable one with a high amount of natural oils. Other types include Indonesian, Thailand, and Indian teak woods, with huge demands on the domestic market.
One must be very careful with certified and uncertified teak as low-cost teak might be illegal as well. It is an expensive hardwood, owing to high durability and importing costs but you don’t have to sell a kidney for this one either.
12. Beautiful Birch
Popular in home construction, birch has a creamy-white to the yellowish-white complexion. It has soft and clear grains that make it more attractive among the contrasting furniture. It can hold stains very well so if you are up for customization, go for it!
The downside to birch is very soft and hence, it can get easy dents and scratches. It can also expand and contract with temperature and humidity, so it is better to avoid it in highly humid rooms. It is an affordable type with average pricing.
13. Attractive Alder
An alternative to expensive cherry and maple, alder is a soft hardwood belonging to the birch family. Alder used to be a nuisance tree once, but today, with growing demand, it is widely used for flooring and other woodwork. It ranges from light tan to reddish-brown color with a uniform texture.
The 7 different types of alder woods are red alder, black alder, green alder, white alder, seaside alder, Nepalese alder, and Italian Alder wood. While red alder wood is mostly used for flooring, other varieties are mostly used for furniture frameworks.
It is also an affordable hardwood type with reasonable installation charges.
14. Beaming Beech
Though beech wood has been declared the best for smoking meat and cheese by the Europeans, beech is also a good choice for flooring. It has brown and pink hues with medium texture which makes it hard and durable flooring.
Among the 9 types of beech wood, the most famous are European beech and American beech. Other species include copper beech, tri-color beech, and Japanese beech.
This species is priced above average.
15. Gorgeous Ebony
The hardest of all species, ebony is an endangered species now. This species is unusually dense and it will not float in water. Nowadays, ebony is mostly used for ornamental artworks and decorative items and it is hardly available for flooring.
This gorgeous black-colored wood has its own charm and can transform a flat interior into something magnificent. Among the 10 different species of ebony, Ceylon and African ebony wood are the most popular.
In terms of cost, it is the costliest one, with a price ranging about 40 to 60 percent above Burma teak.
16. Inexpensive Poplar
As mentioned in the title, poplar is an inexpensive soft hardwood that ranges from light cream to yellowish hue with green and gray streaks. It is a well-known utility wood perfect for furniture frames, pallets, and many more. Poplar floorings are durable and will surely last for many years.
Lombardy poplar and eastern cottonwood are widely used and readily available in the market. If you prefer a light texture for your floor, poplar is an inexpensive choice and can provide a wonderful shine with a little Varathane.
17. Aromatic Cedar
One of the most popular species in North America, cedar is well known for its aromatic smell. With good durability, it is capable of resisting pest attacks and premature decay as well. Owing to all these characteristics, cedar is widely used in home construction.
Deodar and Atlas cedar is widely used for woodwork and furniture frames. Cyprian cedar, one of the rarest species, is the most aromatic one, very similar to the cedar of Lebanon.
Aromatic red cedar is mainly used for domestic constructions and the pricing is above average. Imagine, getting home after a tiring day and you are welcomed with a refreshing aroma, WOW!
18. Royal Rosewood
After establishing itself in furniture and decorative items, rosewood has been recently used in flooring as well. Enjoy the unique fragrance of rose while you step your feet on the smooth flooring. It is mostly reddish-brown in color with unique grain patterns.
Rosewood is priced above average, but it is less costly than teak. Also, I would give in anything for that rosy scent, so, if you could relate with me, go for it!
19. Bold Bamboo
Bamboo, which is a form of grass, is not hardwood but it is extensively used in hardwood flooring. It is tougher than most of the hardwood species and has two shades, the lighter tint, and the carbonized darker look. With a little customization, they can be modified into other colorings as well.
Solid bamboo floors are very expensive and can almost match the pricing of base-quality walnut or pine, but no matter what, the unique look of bamboo flooring is unmatched!
Other solid hardwood flooring species include Pecan, Eucalyptus, Cypress, Cork, Acacia, and Brazilian Tigerwood. All of them are priced above average (except cork and acacia) and they are not a perfect choice for flooring, either because of durability issues or easy scrapping. They are rarely used for flooring purposes now.
B. Engineered Hardwood Flooring
Valued for its flexibility and versatility, engineered hardwood flooring is the cheaper and modified version of solid hardwood flooring. They are constructed from several layers of wood pressed together with a layer of solid wood at the top and at the bottom. The multi-ply construction enables it to expand and contract with flexibility in high humidity.
Such installation is possible in upper stories and the basement as neither they weigh too much nor they would have negative impacts due to humidity and temperature. They are less expensive than solid wood flooring but these are also not long-lasting and don’t add to your property assets as well.
C. Acrylic Impregnated Wood Flooring
Mostly used in commercial projects, this type of flooring is highly resistant to moisture and they can survive for years in high-traffic areas. Acrylic-impregnated wood flooring is infused with color and sealant throughout the wood surface, which makes the overall finish consistent. Though it is not a typical hardwood flooring, once installed, one can hardly tell the difference.
Designs and Care
Not only the type and species of wood, other installation details like style, color, texture, finish, and gloss are also equally important factors that we need to consider when it comes to hardwood flooring.
So, once you are done selecting the type of flooring and the species, it is time to move forward and select the right color, designs, dimensions, and edge details.
1. Color and Texture
Coming to the most important aspect, something that can make or break the entire decor- color and texture! Though color is mostly defined by the natural look of the wood species, you can always customize it with stains and finishes ( even sunlight would do). Textures like low-gloss, scraped or smooth, wire-brushed or distressed, you must think of every detail.
For styling, you can either use prefinished or site-finished alternatives where site-finished is a better option in my opinion as their looks are extra beautiful and unique.
Good color and texture can change the vibe of the entire atmosphere of the room, so don’t forget to be extra careful!
2. Grades and Edges
Grades and edge detail of those strips and planks have a major effect on the hardwood flooring. Milkwood and cabin grades can have a clear appearance, highlighting the color variations. They also allow the streaks and knots to stand out among everything else.
Edge detail relates to how the edge of each plank is cut from the beginning. Among square, eased, micro-beveled and beveled, a beveled edge would be great for a dramatic look while a square edge would earn you a seamless appearance of the floors.
3. Finished or Unfinished
Talking about designs and textures, the finish plays an extremely important role here. Once the flooring installation and staining are done, several layers of protective coats are added to the wood. You can be creative with this part of the whole procedure and choose an unfinished design.
Unfinished floorings are open to natural modifications like certain species get darker with time while others can get a little bit glossy at times.
As mentioned earlier, prefinished materials come from the factory directly and the looks would be consistent throughout.
4. Care and Considerations
Before installing hardwood flooring, care factors like durability, expansion space and maintenance need to be considered. Do research about the durability of the species, whether it is long-lasting or not, and most importantly, the visible scrapping details. You should also leave buffer space for expansions so the look is not disturbed.
Hardwood floorings are often installed in buildings for insulation purposes, both for sound and temperature, and it does have a huge impact on it. Also, be specific about maintenance. In some species, only mopping and sweeping are enough while some require resanding after years of wear and tear. Be very careful with all these aspects as they are equally important for long-lasting decor!
In the end, I would like to say that nothing is a bad option when it comes to hardwood flooring, you just have to select the right one for you and tadaa! Go, get the door. A magical interior is waiting for you!