Find the right style of hardwood flooring for your home
The beauty of natural hardwood floors never goes out of style. They offer a durable, solid surface suited to any room in your home. While hardwood floors have been around for centuries, much has changed in recent years. New finishes, better construction and a wider variety of available sizes and materials have made them more luxurious, functional and affordable than ever. With so many options to choose from, you’ll want to carefully consider your needs before you buy. The following questions will help you begin to assess what solution is right for you:
Type, Selection and Installation
Hardwood floors come in 3 different types of construction or formats including solid wood, engineered tongue & groove or click together wood. Each one has distinct advantages and installation requirements, so take the time to understand which one is best suited to the room or rooms where you will be installing the floor. If you plan to install the floor yourself, you may want to consider selecting flooring with features such as a prefinished surface or floating installation for added convenience.
Solid Wood: Solid wood flooring is created by cutting the entire strip of wood in one whole piece directly from a tree. Solid wood floors are commonly found in older homes and usually consist of long thin strips of wood that have been nailed into a wood subfloor. Because of their durability and timeless beauty, they remain a popular choice for new installations as well. Since solid wood reacts to fluctuations in humidity, this type of flooring expands and contrasts as moisture levels in your home change. Be sure you follow the proper installation methods to prevent buckling or gapping.
Engineered Wood: Engineered woods have increased in popularity due to both their low price and remarkable ability to handle fluctuations in humidity without shifting or changing. Engineered wood consists of several thin layers of solid wood fused together with heat, glue and pressure. Cross-grain construction alternates layers opposite one another, so each individual layer expands and contrasts in different directions with little to no visible change. Because engineered wood is resistant to humidity changes, it is suited to a wider variety of installations and can even be installed over concrete slabs. Since only the top layer is visible, manufacturers can use a variety of less expensive woods to create the core layer and use more costly woods on the surface. This gives you the benefit of more luxurious materials at an affordable price.
Click Wood: Click wood "floats" over the sub floor without any nailing, stapling or heavy troweling of adhesives. Floating hardwood floors can be installed over most existing subfloors, including vinyl and concrete, without demolition mess.
Flooring Selection: In addition to selecting the type of wood, you’ll also need to choose which type of flooring you prefer. Hardwood flooring comes in three styles – strip, plank and parquet. Strip flooring consists of long, thin pieces with an interlocking tongue-and-groove. It is the most common type of solid wood floor. Classic strip flooring measures 2-1/4" wide, but newer varieties give you more width options. Plank flooring is similar to strip flooring but is much wider with widths up to 8" or more. It also has tongue-and-groove edges and often comes prefinished. It is available in both engineered and solid wood. Parquet flooring is a series of large, square wood tiles that feature geometric patterns held together by glue or other fasteners. They are also available in both solid and engineered wood.
Installation: Keep in mind that while many installations are simple and
straightforward, some floor types require more complicated installs that may
be better left to professionals. There are four basic types of installation –
nail down, glue down, staple down and floating/click. The type of installation
is largely determined by the type of wood and flooring style you select. Keep
the following tips and hints in mind:
|Wood Type and Flooring Style||Installation||Points to Consider|
|Solid strips or planks||
|Engineered strips or planks||
|Click wood/ floating planks||
|Solid or engineered parquet||
Square, Beveled or Eased Edges: Floors come with 3 basic edges - square, beveled or eased. Beveled and eased edges help hide irregularities in the subfloor. Square edges provide an even, uniform look with clean lines. Beveled edges have a slightly deeper indent while eased edges taper off more gradually.
Wood Varieties: Wood flooring comes in a wide range of wood varieties, including standards such as oak, maple or pine as well as more unusual varieties from around the globe such as Australian cypress or Brazilian cherry. Choose the style and color that best suits your existing décor.
UV-Cured Finish: Floors that come prefinished are often treated with ultra violet light for a stronger, more durable finish that can withstand the rigors of daily use for lasting beauty and enjoyment.
Acrylic-Impregnated Woods: Some woods are infused with a colored acrylic that penetrates into the fibers of the wood to create a stronger, more durable flooring surface. The substance permeates the entire piece of wood for a solid, consistent color throughout. This is most often used in commercial applications for extremely high-traffic areas.
NOFMA Rating: The National Oak Floor Manufacturers Association has developed a rating system for wood that indicates the level of quality. Ratings include, Clear, Select, Better, #1 Common and #2 Common. Clear is the highest rated wood and the most expensive. It features wood without any blemishes or knots.
Let The Home Depot help you install the hardwood floor that’s right for you.
The Home Depot also has a wide selection of wood, nail guns, hammers, glue, stain, finish, sanders and more for all your flooring needs.