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Choosing the Right Hardwood Flooring

February 10, 2013

When considering hardwood flooring, the first thing to consider is whether you should get a solid or engineered hardwood floor.  (See our hardwood 101 section of the website)

You should also consider if you want factory-finished hardwood or job-finished hardwood.

Factory-finished hardwood is stained, and coated at the factory in a controlled environment which produces a harder finish on the floor, and tends to be a little less expensive than job-finished wood.   However, factory-finished wood will often have micro-beveled edges (to help accommodate for uneven subfloors).  Job-finished wood is sanded and stained in your home.  This creates a flat hardwood floor (free of micro bevels) which is very customizable.   However, the process is messier and less convenient during the installation.

The next big choice comes when determining which species of hardwood you would like.  There are many choices: red oak, white oak, maple, hickory, birch, ash, brazilian cherry, tiger wood, amendoim, etc.  The hardness of the hardwood flooring species might be a factor to consider.  You can check the hardness of a species by looking up the Janka hardness scale.  Some hardwood flooring species such as American Cherry, Walnut, and Birch are softer hardwoods that are more prone to denting

Another factor to consider is the stability of the hardwood.  Stability refers to how much the wood will expand and contract with humidity changes.  For instance, Hickory is less stable than many other popular wood species.  So, when looking at solid 3/4″ hardwood flooring ~ I prefer a width of hickory 4″ wide or less.

The grain of the hardwood might be determining factor for your purchase.  Oak and Ash hardwoods have a pronounced open grain.  While maple and birch hardwood has a more subtle linear graining.

The coloring of the wood is another factor.  For instance, red oak hardwood flooring is better suited for warm-tone environments while white oak tends to stain better for cool tones.

There are many choices to make when picking your hardwood floor.  Should you have any questions (and live in the St. Louis Metro area) please give us a call we would be happy to help you find the best hardwood floor for your home!