Hardwood Flooring Buying Guide: What To Look For
Making any major decision when it comes to the way your home looks can seem daunting, especially if it’s your first home that you’re considering. Flooring can be a difficult decision to make on your own, simply because you have to consider both aesthetics and functionality at the same time. Not everyone is a flooring expert, and finding the right flooring for your home can seem like a stressful decision. Here at Hardwoods4less, we don’t want you to have to worry so much about your flooring, and we want you to be confident in the flooring you choose.
To that end, we have created this hardwood flooring buying guide, so you know what to look for. While this does take some careful consideration, once you have a better idea of the major points to watch out for, it doesn’t seem as impossible as it might at first. You can use these tips as you take a look through our site to find the hardwood flooring that will transform your house into the home you’ve always wanted to live in.
Wood Species and Hardness
For the most part, finding the right hardwood flooring is about being familiar with your personal taste. However, you also need to consider practicality when it comes to your floors. They’ll end up seeing a lot of wear and tear over the years, depending on your home situation. That’s why it’s a good idea to consider the wood species you want to use for your flooring. You have a major choice between domestic wood species and more exotic ones, but the choices become even more granular after that.
One of the most important things to consider when choosing a species of wood is its hardness rating. Wood hardness is generally measured using the Janka hardness rating scale that helps compare different wood species to one another. The higher the rating, the harder the wood is. Understanding how much punishment your floors will likely go through is the first step to determining how hard of a wood you will need. If you have multiple children or pets, a harder wood is going to be a good investment, as it can tend to stand up to wear and tear much better than softer wood.
Stylistically, hardwood flooring offers a lot of options because different wood species have distinctive grain patterns that vary greatly from one species to the next. No grain pattern is necessarily better than any other one, and it really comes down to a personal choice of which grain you like the best. A wood’s grain becomes apparent after it gets cut a certain way. Hardwood planks come from a lengthwise cut of a log, but the area chosen for cutting and the method by which it is cut determine what the final grain of the plank will look like.
You might find that you enjoy a specific kind of wood species, but you don’t love the grain that you originally find for it. You can fix this problem by looking for that species with a different grain from a different kind of cut. A plainsawn plank will look very different than a quartersawn or riftsawn plank, so make sure you look around and find the grain that is most aesthetically pleasing to your eye.
Width of Planks
No hardwood flooring buying guide is complete without mentioning the different widths of plank that you can choose from. In the past, hardwood flooring planks mostly came in one width size. That practice has given way to many new types of hardwood flooring patterns instead. Wider planks have gained a lot of traction in recent years, and some people have even chosen to mix planks with different widths into their flooring.
Wide planks offer a floor that has fewer seams throughout the layout, which many people prefer, as it smooths out the pattern of the wood grain and provides an attractive finish. Consider how wide you want your hardwood flooring planks to be before you make your final decision. Wide planks may have fewer seams overall, but those seams could become more prominent over time if you don’t take care of your floor correctly.
Obviously, color is a huge consideration when deciding on your floor. Wood comes in a variety of different colors depending on the species, which already gives you a lot of choice in terms of color. However, then you need to decide if you want that wood stained to achieve an even more unique finish. Wood stains offer a buyer a plethora of different finishes that can match almost any aesthetic you might have in your home.
When deciding on a color, consider the room that you want to put the flooring in. What kind of furniture will take up the most room? What color is that furniture? Do you want a contrasting color to make things pop more, or would you prefer a complementary color to have a unified look to your room?
You need to be careful when choosing hardwood flooring from a place that you aren’t sure of. All hardwood flooring comes with a certain number of defects. Hardwood flooring is a direct product of nature after all, and nature is anything but perfect. The defect rate of hardwood flooring can tell you roughly how many defects the entire floor will have once it’s finished.
The tradeoff here is that floors with a higher defect rate will be cheaper overall. However, those defects don’t just look ugly and unsightly. A higher rate of defects could mean that the floor won’t last as long. Consider the defect rate of your chosen hardwood flooring before you buy. If you want to really be sure that you won’t have to worry about the defect rate of your flooring, stick with reputable hardwood flooring dealers like Hardwoods4less.
If you’re looking to buy hardwood flooring online, our team at Hardwoods4less can offer you unbeatable deals on a huge selection of hardwood floor options. Check out our store to find the perfect match for your home, and we can have it sent to you in no time at all.