Buying Guide

Best Hardwood Floors for Your Home


There are five main types of hardwoods: solid wood hardwood, engineered hardwood, bamboo flooring, cork flooring and parquet flooring

Types of Hardwoods
solid hardwood Created by cutting the entire strip of wood in one whole piece directly from a tree. Available as either pre-finished or unfinished pieces in a wide range of wood species Usually consist of long thin strips of wood that have been nailed into a wood subfloor. Reacts to fluctuations in humidity, expanding and contracting as moisture levels change. Proper installation necessary to prevent buckling or gapping - consider professional help. Durable; ideal for rooms with heavy foot traffic Thicknesses range from 5/16 to ¾ inches; typical widths include 2 ¼ to 5 inches Can be sanded and refinished up to two times for lasting performance. Suited best for installations at or above ground level; install over a wood subfloor
engineered hardwood Offers the look of solid hardwood with a lower upfront cost. 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. Planks click together for easy installation. Since only the top layer is visible, less expensive woods make up the core layer. Can be installed on all floor levels of the house; install over wood or concrete. Floors with thick top layers can be sanded and refinished several times. Usually come pre-finished for easy installation that allows for immediate use.
bamboo flooring Durable and easy to maintain. Lower upfront cost. Available in variety of shades, or can easily be stained. There are three styles or looks of bamboo, including vertical, horizontal and stand 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.
cork flooring Durable and plush. Available in a variety of colors. Eco-friendly option - cork oak trees are not cut, only the outer bark is harvested to make flooring. Warm underfoot, comfortable and soft to walk on. Uses glue-free click installation. Easily maintained.
Parquet - Solid Hardwood Decorative tiles add textured feel to rooms. Available in variety of wood types and colors. Most commonly available in square foot tiles with square edges. Typically use glue-down installation.

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.

There are four basic types of installation: nail down, staple down, glue down and floating/click. The type of installation is largely determined by the type of wood and flooring style you select. 

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. Hardwood flooring can be installed by a trusted Home Depot service provider. For more information on installation services, click here.


All hardwoods are tested on their ability to withstand wear and tear and the ease with which they can be dented. 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.


Don't guesstimate, calculate. Know exactly how much hardwood flooring you need with our project calculators.