How To Choose A Hardwood Flooring

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How To Choose A Hardwood Flooring 

Installing a new floor is one of the most expensive home improvement projects you’ll ever conquer. Its hard to figure out where to even start, considering all the choices you are faced with.

Budget can weigh as a factor when you are making a decision on how to choose hardwood flooring. You may also consider how much  traffic, light, pets and general everyday wear and tear your flooring will endure.

For example, some engineered woods, along with a few solid wood types of flooring, aren’t as resistant to moisture as vinyl or laminate flooring—a serious drawback in a bathroom or busy kitchen. Porcelain tile might be choice for durability, but it  can be costly and requires intensive labor  if you want to have a professional do the installation.

 I have compiled a listed of what I feel are the three most common hardwood flooring types. A cheaters guide to help narrow down the options for the room or rooms you’re are considering to update.



Solid Wood Flooring

Pros: Wood tends to gives a natural warm feeling and has an profound wear resistance. It can also be altered by means of sanding and/ or refinished many times over.  However, a Prefinished floor can hold up better than those finished on-site. The warranty comes from the factory, not the installer, and that is a huge plus.  A big company standing behind its product can make all the difference. With a private installer or contractor, you might have a hard time getting your money back if your floors are installed poorly.

Cons: Solid woods are designed to expand and contract with varying humidity levels and can dent easily. Sometimes the boards will show wear and tear more faster and become discolored from sunlight. 

 Tip:  Unfinished flooring costs quite a bit less than prefinished, BUT with a higher installation cost that tends to offset savings savings in the long run.. When you are deciding how to choose your hardwood flooring,  you should always keep in mind the room you will be using it in. For instance can it be used in basements and other damp spaces.

Estimated Installed cost: $5 to $10 per square foot.


Engineered Wood Flooring

Pros:  Engineered wood is made up of thin layers of wood hard pressed together with adhesives. Usually this flooring will withstand higher levels of humidity and is less likely to expand when compared to a solid wood type flooring. This flooring uses a thin veneer of real wood can also be a strong bamboo over structural plywood. This is by far a cost-effective choice. When installation is done properly, this high-quality engineered wood can be as durable and long lasting as a solid wood.

Cons: Sadly, engineered wood doesn’t wear as well as solid wood or even a laminate. It also  tends to get dented very easily, despite differences in wood species. All depending on thickness of the veneer, engineered wood flooring can certainly keep up with just as many finishes as a solid hardwood flooring can. However, most shouldn’t be refinished more than once or twice. There are a  select few that can be refinished. If you think you may need to refinish your engineered wood flooring, check with the manufacturer or retailer before you buy.

Estimated Installed cost: $4 to $9 per square foot.


Laminate Flooring

Pros: A Constructed dense fiberboard with a photo type material beneath a clear-plastic protective layer, the versatile laminate can mimic almost any type of flooring.

The majority of leading brands use a cork  type backing underneath, with claims that this can help drown out sound.  Higher grade laminates can be almost crack resistant and repel chances for discoloration due to sunlight much more effectively than most wood products. It can be extremely tough amazing stuff.

Cons: When this flooring is installed in a repetitive, it can almost look fake. Be sure prior to being installed, you definitely will want to mix planks from different boxes for a less repetitive pattern. However as far as the durability factor goes, you usually are able to touch up minor flaws. Once the top layer has been worn off you will have to replace the flooring once its top layer has been worn all the way through. Unfortunately, laminates can’t be sanded like wood.

 Estimated Installed cost: $3 to $7 per square foot.




Flooring Checklist


Before you buy, get samples of your favorites. Compare them side-by-side in the room you wan it to be installed, and look at them from several different angles and light.


Manufacturers will try their best to match a  solid and engineered wood flooring for color and grain. These variations can occur with each batch produced. It is also a good idea to buy all the flooring you’ll need at one time to complete the project. ,Remember that some laminate flooring boards in a single package may have an identical pattern that the eye can only see if  installed too close together. You can reduce a lot of the  repetition by mixing  boards from several different packages when installing.

How  To Measure

To determine how much flooring you’ll need to buy, you should start by measuring the room’s square footage, then you need to multiplying its length x width.

Hint: Divide an irregularly shaped room into smaller rectangles, and then calculate the square footage of each rectangle. Then you add the two figures together. Then  you need to buy anywhere for 5 to 10 percent extra flooring material to allow for cutting errors, bad boards and waste. Consider buying an extra box of flooring, in addition to the 7 to 10 percent extra, for future repairs or additions in case your flooring is out of stock or discontinued.

 Traffic Patterns

Note the high-traffic areas like entryways, hallways entrances to rooms. Try to purchase a resilient flooring for family rooms and other lounge areas that pets and kids frequent. Lower traffic areas, are best suited for an engineered wood or bamboo floor because of  their natural veneer and ease of installation.

Preparing for installation

Before installing any wood or laminate flooring, you should always unpack it and let it sit for one to two days indoors so that its temperature and moisture content can balance with the levels in the room. This is a most important and critical step to prevent buckling of the material or gaps between boards.


Check for Certification:

 For some additional assurance that your flooring comes from managed forests, the Floor Score Certification Council and Forest Initiative do everything possible to ensure quality, safe, and environmentally sound material for consumers. Always make sure to check your  packaging for product and manufacturer certifications.






Final Thoughts

Knowledge is key when you choose hardwood flooring. Arming yourself with important details before you make a purchase will save you time, headaches and most importantly your hard-earned money. Making the right decision based on traffic, pets,moisture content and lighting will give you years of lasting results.


Best Wishes,

Tanya Billings

My Shabby Chic Farmhouse

8 Thoughts on “How To Choose A Hardwood Flooring

  1. Thanks for the great tips! Our family is upgrading from carpet to hardwood floors, this site provided great information in picking the right type of flooring, that will meet our needs and budget.

    1. Hello Laurie,
      You will be very please with your upgrade. It is so much easier to maintain than carpet. Make sure to do your homework before you purchase. Thanks for visiting my site and make sure to share!
      My Shabby Chic Farmhouse

  2. This is an enlightening post. I have for a while heard about engineered hardwood flooring and how it can withstand humidity and lasts for a long time too. I feel I should consider it but before anything I think it’ll be important to compare as you have said so I can save my money. I’ll check up where to get that soon. Thanks. 

    1. I will be updating the most comparable places to buy these types of flooring in the next few days. So please stay tuned. Please like and follow my page to keep updated with the latest posts.

  3. Wow that flooring in your cover photo is simply incredible. Not only does it offer a sleek finish It really meshes well with the rest of the kitchen. I feel that flooring can make a world of difference when it comes to home looks and home value. Since installing a floor is one of the more expensive home improvements it’s nice to have good references, and traffic, pets and lighting are all important factors to consider. Good to know about engineered wood in regard to refinishing. I think I’m a traditionalist and prefer the solid wood flooring. I’ll just have to take my chances with the humidity. Thank you for a very informative post, it is really useful for considering new flooring.

    1. Thank your your comments. So glad that my article was as informative as I had wanted it to be for people. I happen to love that photo also!

  4. Thanks very much for this post. I really don’t know much about hardwood flooring and it was interesting to find out about the humidity issues with solid wood floors. I was always curious as to if there where any other difference besides price for the wood flooring options. I look forward to reading more!

    1. Thank you rob. Its amazing how much the environment can affect flooring. Please like and follow my page to stay up to date on more important home improvement information.

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