Hardwood Flooring Types
If you’re looking for hardwood flooring, you certainly will be spoilt for choice. The range of hardwood flooring on offer today, both on the High Street and online is greater than it has ever been. What’s more, because there are so many suppliers, when it comes to choosing where you buy your hardwood flooring, it’s sure you’ll be able to secure yourself a great deal. With more and more people rejecting carpets in favour of easy to maintain, natural and great looking wood flooring, you couldn’t choose a better option than a quality hardwood floor. But the question is: what type of hardwood flooring should you choose?
At a fundamental level, you’ll need to choose between solid hardwood flooring and engineered hardwood flooring. While many people are fooled into thinking that engineered wood flooring is like laminate flooring, they couldn’t be further from the truth. Laminate flooring is made up of an image that’s sealed onto a backboard and is only made to look like real hardwood flooring. Engineered wood flooring on the other hand is a man-made flooring board that is made up of layers and layers of wood, which are bonded together to create a strong core board, which is then topped off with a solid hardwood lamella or top layer.
Engineered hard wood flooring is ideally suited to any room in the home, but is particularly well suited wherever you suspect there’ll be significant rises and falls in either in humidity, and, or temperature. The specific rooms where you wouldn’t normally fit solid hardwood flooring, but could fit engineered hardwood flooring are bathrooms and kitchens. In these rooms, as you can imagine, moisture and temperatures vary enormously and as a result, solid hardwood floor is highly likely to warp and bow in time, causing an uneven floor surface as well as gaps, which is far from ideal. Thanks to its structure, engineered hardwood flooring doesn’t expand and contract to the same extent as solid hardwood floor, so will withstand the challenges in these rooms.
Add to all this, the fact that you can fit engineered hardwood flooring over under floor heating and you begin to see why so many people are choosing this option over solid hardwood. That said, many people argue that only solid hardwood flooring is the real deal, even if engineered hardwood flooring looks pretty much the same.
Solid wood flooring is made by cutting planks from a single species of tree and using those planks to make the flooring boards. This type of flooring is time tried and tested and was considered by the aristocracy of years gone by to be the flooring of choice. This is why so many stately homes and castles boast solid hardwood flooring of all different types.
No matter whether you decide to plump for solid or engineered hardwood flooring, you’ll be able to choose from a range of grades and finishes to suit both your budget and your desired colour scheme as well as your lifestyle.
When hardwood is lumbered, it is graded into different grades according to the number of knots it sports as well as the consistency of its colour and the amount of sap it contains. Generally speaking, the smaller the knots, the lower the sap content and the more uniform the colour, the higher the grade of wood and, of course the higher the price. That said, the grade of wood you choose is a personal thing.
Irrespective of whether you choose solid or engineered hardwood flooring, you’ll be able to choose from prime, select, natural or rustic grade wood. Prime grade wood has the smallest and fewest number of knots, the smallest amount of sap and the most consistent colour. Not surprisingly, it also bears the highest of the hardwood price tags. As you go down the list to rustic grade, the number and size of knots increases as does the inconsistency of the colour and the amount of sap. Inversely, the price goes down as you go down the list. Which option you choose will depend on the look you’re seeking and how much you have to spend.
When it comes to finish, once again, no matter whether you plump for solid or engineered hardwood flooring, you’ll be spoilt for choice. There are all sorts of finishes available these days, ranging from hardwearing lacquered finishes, which even come with UV filters to save fading from sunshine, to natural looking matt oiled finishes and everything in between. No matter whether you want a fresh, light, almost white look for your floor or you want to go for cutting edge, almost black, there’s a colour and finish that will suit. Even the aged and distressed hardwood floors that are on the market today are so convincing that you’d swear they were centuries old.