Till about a century ago, converting trees into usable timber used to be an arduous task. Men would work together, pushing and pulling the ends of a long-bladed saw to cut wooden logs into usable shapes and sizes. This made wood an expensive material. But, with time and technology, everything has changed. What once used to be limited to the rich can now be accessed by almost anyone. According to a report by Catalina Research, published in Floor Covering Weekly, in 2017, the hardwood flooring market rose 2%, reaching a value of $3.49 billion. Of the $9.3 billion worth of floor covering imported into the United States, hardwood flooring accounted for $872.9 million.
Although getting a wooden floor is more accessible nowadays. But, with so many choices available, making the right decision can sometimes prove difficult. So, here’s a look at the various aspects you need to consider to make the right choice of wooden flooring for your home.
Solid Wood or Engineered
Solid wood flooring is made solely of wood, as the name suggests, using 5/8 inch or ¾ inch thick planks of lumber. Being solid wood, it has the advantage of being sanded and refinished multiple times. They are also low maintenance, while adding value to the home, being hypoallergenic and offering a timeless appeal, says an article by Woodhaven Lumber & Millwork. However, wood is sensitive to changes in the level of humidity in the atmosphere.
On the other hand, engineered wood is actually a veneer of real wood that has been glued to multiple layers of thinner wood underneath, such as plywood. This makes engineered wood exceptionally stable over time. Because of its stability, engineered wood is a great choice for any part of your house, including below ground basements. Engineered wood can only be sanded one or two times in its lifetime, depending upon how thick the hardwood veneer is.
Choosing the Type of Wood
Oak is considered the king of hardwood flooring in North America, and there is a good reason for that. It is a durable type of wood that stains well and is widely available, according to an article by The San Diego Union Tribune. Maple and oak are also great options. They are also extremely durable, even in a busy household. But these woods tend to be expensive.
If you are on a budget, choosing a softer wood, such as pine, can be a great option. Although wear and tear tend to appear earlier on this wood, but it can be refinished and painted regularly, making it look as good as new.
The Best Finish
With wooden flooring, you get the option of pre-finish or site finish. The color and gloss of pre-finished flooring looks the same as what you might have seen at the showroom. But, you can also buy unfinished boards, which can be finished on-site. On-site finishing gives you more freedom and options for customization. Painting is usually done on cheap, pine boards, allowing you to create the color scheme of your choice.
Another question faced by people is whether to choose oil or varnish for their wooden floor. Although both offer a good level of protection, but they differ in certain aspects. Varnish will give your floor a tough and shinier finish. A varnish coating is tough enough to resist most types of impact and also prevents the wood from collecting dust.
Although oil finishing is not as effective as varnish at preventing damage, it offers other advantages. Oil gives a soft, matte and natural look to your floor. Oil finished floors are also easier to maintain.
Does Size Matter?
The size of the boards can have significant impact on how the house feels. If you want a more traditional look, consider narrower boards. Parquet boards, which were once mostly used in period properties, are also in trend these days. Longer and wider boards make the room look bigger, and are a great option for smaller areas.
Wooden flooring is an important decision for any homeowner, since it underpins the entire interior design. When choosing the correct flooring, it is a good idea to contact professionals to help you out.