Choosing Hardwood Floors: 7 Key Things to Think About

If you are giving your home a major makeover, installing hardwood floors is a great way to redefine its style. However, the process may not be that easy. There are some things you may want to think about before you take your first trip to hardwood flooring. Below, we have provided the top 7 things that are the most important for you to think about when getting new hardwood floors for your home.

 

  1. Where will the wood be going?
    Hardwood flooring installation on a second story is much different than doing so in a basement. A space beneath ground level is what’s known as below grade. A floor that’s even with the outside ground level is on grade, and any floors above this are above grade. Where you’re installing the wood will limit your recommended options.

    2. What is the subfloor made of?
    Find out what kind of subfloor you have. Finding out what your subfloor is made of will help you determine whether you can install solid wood floors, or if an engineered wood would be best. There are three common types of subflooring:

  • Concrete: If you have a concrete slab floor, you’re pretty much limited to engineered woods. However, you can still get any type of wood in an engineered format. Another option is to install plywood over the concrete, but you’ll have to pay for the additional plywood, insulation and labor.
  • Plywood:  This is probably the most common subfloor and allows for the most versatility with hardwood floors. You can nail solid wood on top or use engineered wood.
  • Particle board: This material was commonly used under carpet in homes built in the 1970s. It is basically a cheaper version of plywood. For hardwood floors, you’ll need to replace the particle board with plywood. Then you can add engineered or solid wood.
  1. What are your living habits?
    Think about how much abuse your floors will take and learn about specific wood species and their durability. Do you have kids and pets? Have large parties often? Or are you a single person who travels a lot? If you have a high-traffic house, you’ll want to go with a harder wood. You can also play with grain patterns as well as with stains and finishes that will hide dents and scratches.4. What kind of style is your home?
    The style and design of your home will definitely play a role in choosing hardwood flooring. You might love the look of hickory but then think differently when you see it covering a floor in a kitchen with modern cabinets. That’s because some woods lend themselves better to certain styles.  When choosing a wood, consider the style of your cabinets, trim work and door casings to make sure the wood won’t clash with other design elements. Also consider coordinating with the colors of the walls and the amount of natural light your home typically gets. This will affect your color choice. If you have a lot of windows and skylights, then you probably have enough light to balance out really dark floors. If you have a dark house already, a lighter floor choice will help brighten things.

    5. What is most important to you?
    There are obviously many factors that you are thinking about when it comes to installing hardwood floors. It is wise to prioritize your feelings. Is budget the biggest factor? Or is the appearance all you care about? Determining what’s most important to you will help you determine the right wood for your floor. The most common items people think about are:

  • Cost
  • Maintenance
  • Appearance

Ask yourself how much you want to spend on installation, how much maintenance you want to devote to your floors, and how attractive you want them to look.

 

  1. Will you stain or finish your hardwood floors?
    Stain adds color to the wood of your floors. The finish protects the floors from getting dirty. Any stain or finish can be applied to almost any wood. Some people like the color of oak but want the grain pattern of walnut. That’s where staining can come into play. Some people can’t tell the difference between unstained black walnut and white oak that’s been stained espresso. Others can look at those woods and their grain patterns and immediately know the difference. It all depends on what’s important to you.A finish will affects the maintenance of your hardwood floors. A solid wood that’s been hand scraped for a lower sheen matte finish is easier to maintain, because you won’t see as much wear and tear. Purchasing wood that’s been prefinished will give you a good idea of what it will look like and will save you the time and effort of finishing the floors onsite. Engineered wood is usually prefinished.
  2. Will You Test Your Wood Choice?
    This step is incredibly important. The last thing you want to do is install 800 square feet of black walnut based on a photo or tiny sample you saw in a showroom only to find it’s overpoweringly dark and contrasts poorly with your furnishings. Always ask for a 2- by 2-foot sample of what the floor will look like with a stain and finish on it. Use this to test it with your paint colors and decor to make sure it’s exactly what you want.

Choosing the right hardwood long island flooring for your home may not always be easy. But, if you follow these steps and get the job done correctly, you will have a strong beautiful floor in your house for years to come. If you need any further guidance on selecting wood for your home flooring, please contact Long Island Hardwood Flooring today.