5 Things to Know when Choosing Hardwood Floors: A Guide to Picking the Right Floors for You
Choosing which hardwood floor is right for your home is one of the most important decisions you will have to make as a homeowner. But deciding which hardwood flooring is perfect for you depends on a lot more than just your favourite colour. There are many other factors that have an impact on quality and overall look of your home. Here are 5 tips that will help choose the flooring that’s just what you need.
1. Wood Types
There are many wood types available for hardwood floors like hickory, maple, ash, and cherry. However, the two most popular in Canada and Québec are Oak and Maple.
There is a good reason why oak is one of the preferred wood types for hardwood floors: it is extremely durable, takes stains very well, is in abundance which leads to better prices, and has a natural grain look that many homeowners and designers love. On the other hand, maple flooring is the most prized for contemporary projects.
Modern spaces seem to go hand-in-hand with maple floors. With a natural, light finish, and impressive durability, homeowners and designers just can’t get enough of maple hardwood.
The grain pattern in maple flooring is very subtle and works great in large, open spaces. That’s not to say it can’t go anywhere else; any sized room would look fantastic with some maple in it.
Though maple and oak floors a very similar in regards to performance, how they take to colour is what usually sets them apart.
Prefurnished maple flooring comes in a wide range of colours and hues, but it cannot absorb staining as well as oak can. When shopping for flooring to match existing installations, getting the right colour with maple will prove to be a challenge. On the other hand, maple floors rank harder than oak, so they’ll be more resistant to dents and scratches if that is what you’re in the market for.
When shopping for wood types, keep an eye out for these two North American Favourites. But if another wood catches your eye, we say go for it.
2. Solid or Engineered Flooring?
Usually, quality Canadian and Québec hardwood flooring consist of thick planks composed of solid timber. These are the more traditional floors you’ll find that have a good heft and resistance.
On the other side of products, you have Engineered flooring. These are floors with a thin layer of solid hardwood on top and several thinner layers of plywood on the bottom. They are made like this to restrict the natural way in which wood floors may shift or move over time.
Engineered floors provide an advantage for rooms with subfloors made of concrete (think basements and apartments) because it can be directly glued with a membrane. Solid hardwood floors are usually installed over traditional home constructions where the subfloor is made of plywood.
If you’re shopping around for engineered floors, be sure to pay extra attention to the thickness of the top layer. Some can be so thin that they do not allow for future sanding and finishing, where solid hardwood flooring has ample thickness for multiple sanding and refurnishing.
Neither option is better than the other; it is simply a matter of preference.
3. Determine Plank Width
Deciding the width of your planks is another important factor when buying hardwood floors. There is a full spectrum of sizes readily available for you and most should be chosen based on room size and preference.
2 to 3 or even 5 inch planks are more standard in homes and give off a very wonderful aesthetic. They are less costly than wider planks and though they have more seams, they can be less noticeable as the wood shifts over time. Planks wider than 5 inches are usually engineered, and are more reserved for larger rooms. Homeowners and designers feel that wider floors give off a sense of class and luxury. Although a floor made of wide planks will have less seams, those spaces between the wood may become more noticeable over time as floor naturally expands and contracts.
As most factors when decided hardwood flooring, the plank width is a matter of preference. Whichever you decide, no doubt your floor will come out nicely.
4. Prefinished or Home Finish?
Hardwood floors can be purchased prefinished or raw. Prefinished flooring comes stained and coated, and ready for installation. With this method, you’ll know exactly what colour and look you’ll be getting when you purchase. This also takes less time to install.
Raw flooring means that you’ll have to stain and coat the floor after installation. This is what is referred to as a “home” or “on-site finish.” Going this route allows for more control and customization over what your floor will look like. It will also come out smoother as the flooring usually needs to be sanded right after installation.
5. Deciding the Type of Finish
There is a vast selection of finished products but they are classified under two categories: oil or polyurethane.
Oil really penetrates and gets into the wood, giving it a natural and matte look. However, oil finishes scratch more easily and aren’t as resistant to stains as polyurethane is. Though oil finishes are more prone to scratches, they are also easier to hide or touch up.
Polyurethane creates a hard top coating on the wood’s surface that makes it more resistant to damage. The only drawback is that if the flooring gets damaged, it will require more maintenance to repair than an oil finish.There is no right or wrong selection when choosing between the two; it simply boils down to what you prefer.
Keep these 5 things in mind while you are shopping for hardwood floors. Being more informed will allow you to choose the flooring that best fits your home and needs. If you are in the Market for quality Canadian-made hardwood floors, feel free to contact the experts at le Roi du Plancher. We would be glad to help you with anything you may need.