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Buying Guide

Best Hardwood Floors for Your Home

Hardwood Flooring Styles
A living room with solid hardwood flooring.

The best hardwood floors are manufactured from solid wood hardwood, engineered hardwood, bamboo flooring, cork flooring and parquet flooring

  • Solid hardwood flooring is created from single strips of wood cut directly from the tree. These can be nailed into a wood subfloor. 
  • Engineered hardwood flooring usually comes as prefinished hardwood floors. Engineered hardwoods are ready for immediate use.
  • Bamboo flooring is slightly harder than most hardwoods. This makes it a scratch resistant hardwood flooring option. It is also environmentally friendly.
  • Like bamboo, cork is another eco-friendly and highly stylish option for your home. 

Types of Hardwoods
Description Feature/Benefits
solid hardwood Solid hardwood is available as either pre-finished or unfinished pieces in a wide range of woods. Proper installation necessary to prevent buckling or gaps, so consider professional help. Thicknesses range from 5/16 to ¾ inches; typical widths include 2 ¼ to 5 inches. Suited best for installations at or above ground level. Install over a wood subfloor. Solid hardwood reacts to fluctuations in humidity, expanding and contracting as moisture levels change. The most durable hardwood floor is ideal for rooms with heavy foot traffic. Can be sanded and refinished up to two times for lasting performance.
engineered hardwood Consists of several thin layers of solid wood fused together with heat, glue and pressure. Cross-ply construction alternates layers opposite one another. Each layer expands and contracts in different directions with little to no visible change. Offers the look of solid hardwood with a lower upfront cost. Planks click together for easy installation. Since only the top layer is visible, less expensive woods make up the core layer. Can be installed over wood or concrete. Floors with thick top layers can be sanded and refinished several times.
bamboo flooring There are three styles or looks of bamboo, vertical, horizontal and strand woven. Vertical: Bamboo stalks are vertically fused, resulting in consistent linear lines for a modern appearance. Horizontal: Alternating bamboo layers are fused together, maintaining growth joints for a natural appearance. Strand woven: Shredded bamboo fibers are compressed into a durable flooring material mimicking hardwood. Durable and easy to maintain. Lower upfront cost. Available in a variety of shades or can be stained.
cork flooring An eco-friendly option, cork oak trees are not cut. The outer bark is harvested for flooring. Uses glue-free click installation. Durable and plush, the flooring is available in a variety of colors. Warm underfoot, comfortable and soft to walk on. Easily maintained.
Parquet - Solid Hardwood Most commonly available in square foot tiles with square edges. Typically uses glue-down installation. Decorative tiles add textured feel to rooms. Available in a variety of wood types and colors.
More Choices for Best Hardwood Floors
A floor that is furnished with Acacia flooring.
  • Acacia flooring: Acacia wood, also called Asian walnut, is one of the more distinctive types of lumber because of its blonde and darker brown swirl grain pattern. Acacia wood flooring is highly durable, low maintenance and popular with home designers.
  • Gray flooring: Gray hardwood flooring is made from North American hardwoods like oak and birch. This highly popular choice that has the appearance of stone-look flooring comes in as engineered flooring that is less expensive and easier to install. 
  • Distressed flooring: Distressed hardwood flooring has an older, worn appearance that gives any room in your home a rustic look.  
Edge Choices of Best Hardwood Flooring
Floors with square edges.

The edge style of your hardwood flooring adds to the overall decor of the room. Personalize your hardwood floors with eased, beveled or square edges.

  • Micro-beveled and eased edges help hide irregularities in the subfloor.
  • Beveled edges have a slightly deeper indent while eased edges taper off more gradually.
  • Square edges provide an even, uniform look with clean lines.
Other Features of Best Hardwood Floors
A portion of a floor that is water resistant.

You may consider these features when making a choice of hardwood floors for your home:

  • Janka rating: All hardwoods are tested for how they withstand wear and tear and the ease with which they can be dented when force is applied. The results of this test give wood its Janka hardwood rating. The higher the Janka rating, the harder the wood. Cherry is considered one of the softer hardwoods, while hickory is one of the hardest.
  • Water resistant: Water is the top threat to your hardwood floors. Consider waterproof hardwood flooring when you buy. A highly protective finish applied to the natural hardwood will prevent liquid from working its way into the wood. 
  • Scratch resistant: Scratches from pets, gouges, dents and scuff marks ruin your hardwood flooring's appearance. Look for hardwoods with high Janka ratings when choosing flooring that can resist damage.
Hardwood Flooring Installation Tips
A flooring installer works on hardwood floors.

When shopping for hardwood flooring, consider how it will be installed as it varies by wood flooring type. Look for a professional contractor to install hardwood flooring.  

  • That person has a record of experience in flooring projects and a thorough knowledge of the hardwoods you want for your flooring. 
  • They will measure and record the moisture content of the flooring materials and relative humidity of the room. 
  • They will ensure that there is adequate acclimation time for the flooring. 

It takes some thought when it comes to deciding what is the best wood flooring for your home. The variety of hardwoods available expands your choices. The best type of wood for hardwood floors is durable and easy to maintain. When you are ready to make your choice, visit The Home Depot hardwood flooring installation services