Choosing new flooring for your home can be exciting. The flooring you choose has the power to make your home feel smaller, larger, darker, lighter, colder, or warmer depending on the type, color, and texture of the flooring you select. Likewise, certain floorings can change the way acoustics are delivered throughout your home.
But there are so many types of flooring to select: carpet, tile, vinyl, laminate, hardwood, the list continues. When it comes to hardwood flooring, many enjoy its elegance, warmth, and versatility. Those who worry about the safety of carpets, especially if they have allergies, may be more likely to make the move to hardwood flooring.
Even if you already have your heart set on hardwood, there are several more decisions that have to be made and things to be aware of. Selecting the right hardwood flooring for your home isn’t always as easy as we anticipate. We often worry that we will make the wrong decision, and let’s face it, hardwood flooring is not cheap.
To help you with your hardwood flooring decision, make sure to consider the following:
- Types of boards
The two main types of hardwood flooring boards include solid hardwood and engineered hardwood. Solid hardwood is exactly what comes to mind when we think of hardwood flooring. While engineered hardwood is real wood, it isn’t one, solid slab, but rather, several types of wood fused together. This option is generally cheaper.
Although engineered hardwood doesn’t quite have the ambiance and luxury that solid hardwood flooring features, it doesn’t expand and contract due to humidity or temperature changes like solid wood. Thus, engineered hardwood flooring is typically suitable for more settings than its solid wood counterpart, and it is more cost-effective.
- Varieties of wood
Especially for those who have a very specific color scheme in their home, they will be happy to see all of the different varieties of hardwood flooring available for them to pick from that feature different colors, textures, and patterns. There’s something for everyone whether they have a modern or traditional home interior.
Types of wood floorings include, but aren’t excluded to, bamboo, mahogany, oak, ash, pine, cherry, teak, and hickory. While you might think that all wood looks and functions about the same, this is far from the truth.
Apart from the look and feel being different among different varieties of wood, different wood floorings have variant costs, level of maintenance, grain patterns, and durability. Depending on where you wish to install your flooring and what characteristics you want in a hardwood flooring, one variety of wood might be more applicable than another.
For example, oak flooring is highly resistant to scratches and dents while cherry flooring tends to scratch fairly easily. Some flooring, like ash, are harder while pine tends to be softer and less rough on the feet. There are pros and cons to every type of wood you might be considering.
- Types of finishes
To protect your flooring, there are several types of finishes for wood floors you’ll need to consider. People presume wood finishes are only designed for old, pre-existing wood floorings they have that they want to refurbish. However, it is important that your new wood flooring is also protected from scratches.
The finish you opt for will depend on your budget, where your flooring will be located, the level of maintenance you can handle, and the durability of the finish you are hoping for. Finishes range from wax to aluminum oxide. Some are easier to apply than others and don’t need to be reapplied as frequently while others are quite the opposite.
While the primary purpose of a hardwood flooring finish is to maintain and protect your floors, these finishes can also add aesthetic value to your flooring like a nice, glossy touch. That said, conduct research on different flooring finishes, and/or ask a flooring expert what they recommend.
- How much to order
Knowing how much product to order can be a hassle if you’ve never ordered flooring before. However, it’s much easier than it might seem. If you need help, you can ask a flooring expert, and they will help you find out how much square footage you need to cover and how much flooring you will require for the entire project.
As a general guideline, it is wise to always order 10% more flooring than you require. For example, if you want to lay hardwood flooring in a 600 square-foot room, order 660 square-feet of flooring. In fact, ordering extra flooring is important for multiple reasons.
For one, flooring will have to be cut to fit all areas of your room, and as a result, there will be a waste. Secondly, sometimes things go wrong with the installation. Boards may need to be pulled up, or they may arrive damaged in shipment. Having extra boards on hand can also come in handy if there’s an accident in the future like water damage.
If you think you can weasel your way around the extra costs by not opting for 10% extra flooring, you may later find yourself in a pickle. While you might think you can just order more flooring as you need it, not only will this make your project take longer, but it may no longer be in stock, or worse, it could be completely discontinued.
- The costs
The truth is, nobody wants to think about how much they will have to fork out to get the flooring of their dreams. However, the expenses are critical to consider to ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck while staying within your budget.
Not only will you be paying approximately $8 to $14 a square foot on average for your hardwood flooring, you will also have to pay the costs of installation, which can run about $4 to $8 per square foot. Having hardwood flooring installed in a 12-foot by 12-foot room can cost you nearly $1,000.
Even if you plan on installing your own hardwood flooring yourself, which can save you money, there will still be installation-related costs such as flooring nails, a drill with drill bits, a mallet, a pry bar, and so on. On top of that, you will have to put your time and energy into this installation. As they say, time is money.
For those looking to cut down the costs even further, it’s a good idea to consider opting for engineered wood flooring as opposed to traditional hardwood flooring. This type of flooring is quicker and easier to install, not requiring you to pay a crew to come out and install it for you. It is also cheaper overall.
- The length of the installation
Although some people could care less about how long it will take to install their hardwood flooring, for others, the timeline is imperative. This is especially true for those renovating their commercial property, who have children or pets at home or are trying to stage and sell their home.
Depending on how large the project is, expect your hardwood flooring installation to take approximately one to three days. To give you an idea of how fast your project may go, consider the fact that approximately 1,000 to 1,500 square feet of hardwood flooring can be installed by two professionals in one day.
Although getting hardwood flooring installed doesn’t take long, consider the fact that sometimes there are delays and unexpected problems that arise. For instance, maybe you won’t have enough flooring, or you might find out that you’ve ordered the wrong flooring. These can delay the installation days or even weeks.
- How to care for your new flooring
Before you even pick out a hardwood flooring, it’s important that you know what the maintenance will entail for that specific type of wood. You may find that cleaning and upkeeping that type of flooring might be too much for you or may not exactly match your lifestyle.
If you have pets or children at home, can you be confident that your hardwood flooring won’t be as vulnerable to accidents, spills, and scratches? Will you remember to regularly clean and refinish your floors to keep them in their best shape over the years? These are some of the things you’ll have to keep in mind.
The important thing to remember is that all types of flooring, from tile to carpet, will require some sort of maintenance in terms of cleaning and care. Floors of all types will experience spills, debris, and possible wear-and-tear. Always be prepared for the responsibilities that come with caring for the flooring you choose to install.
The decision to pick between adding laminate and hardwood flooring in your home, for instance, is a big decision in itself. However, when finding out all there is to know about selecting the right hardwood flooring, from the types of hardwoods to the maintenance involved in caring for your flooring post-installation, it can be overwhelming.
However, focusing on your wants and needs for the right hardwood flooring, along with the assistance of a flooring expert, you can make the best decision that will serve you well in the long run.