How to Choose a Hardwood Timber Flooring

There are a lot of factors that will determine what kind of hardwood floor your home can accommodate, and what will look best with your existing or planned furnishings and decor. Usually, a hardwood floor consists of solid wood and engineered wood.
Here’s how to prepare yourself for choosing a hardwood floor for your home.
1. What is the subfloor made of?
There are three most common types of subfloor: concrete slab, plywood and particleboard.
Concrete: You’re pretty much limited to engineered wood. Another option is to install plywood over the concrete, but you’ll have to pay for the additional plywood, insulation and labor.
Plywood: This is probably the most common subfloor and allows for the most versatility with hardwood floors. You can nail solid wood on top or use engineered wood.
Particleboard: This material was commonly used under carpet in homes built in the 1970s. It’s basically a cheaper version of plywood. For hardwood floors, you’ll need to replace the particleboard with plywood. Then you can add engineered or solid wood.
2. What are your living habits?
Think about how much abuse your floors will take and learn about specific wood species and their durability. If you have a high-traffic house, you’ll want to go with a harder wood. Red oak is considered the bell curve and it’s pretty hard and medium priced.
3. What style is your home?
When choosing a wood, consider cabinets, trimwork and door casings to make sure the wood won’t clash with other design elements. If you have a dark house already, a lighter floor choice will help brighten things. Natural maple lends itself well to modern styles. Gray-stain oak and boards without knots create a clean aesthetic that also works in modern settings. Go with something like hickory. Boards with knots and wider planks fit a more traditional style.
4. What’s important to you?
Determining what’s most important to you will help you determine the right wood for your floor.
Cost: You can purchase generic oak flooring in various stains for $3.50 to $4 per square foot, while lower-end engineered floors starts at $2.50 to $3 per square foot. Beautiful hardwood like the popular acacia species can be as high as $6 per square foot.
Maintenance: If you want something that will hold up over time, you’ll want to look at the harder woods (with higher Janka ratings).
Appearance: Pay attention to knots and grain pattern. You might want to spend the extra money for a unique grain pattern, or you may want to save money and go with a less-expensive wood with a better stain.
Consider plank width, too, which alters the appearance of your hardwood floors.How to Choose a Hardwood Timber Flooring_2
5. How will you stain and finish it?
A solid wood that’s been hand scraped for a lower-sheen matte finish is easier to maintain, because you won’t see as much wear and tear. But maybe you want a semigloss look.
6. How will you test it?
This step is incredibly important. Always ask for a 2- by 2-foot sample of what the floor will look like with a stain and finish on it. Use this to test it with your paint colors and decor to make sure it’s exactly what you want.

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