Hardwood Floors: Understanding Your Options

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Hardwood floors are one of the most popular flooring types, increasing the resale value of homes and beautifying them in the process. But there are many considerations to take into account when choosing and installing hardwood flooring, such as type, species, size, cost, and brand. This guide covers everything you need to know about hardwood flooring so you can make the best decision for your home.

What is a wooden floor?

Hardwood floors can be made up of a variety of wood species, such as bamboo, oak, or teak. Regardless of species, all hardwood floors are stained to bring out their rich color and grain, as well as sealed to prevent nicks, dents, and other damage. Hardwood floors are rated from soft to hard, but softer hardwood is still quite strong. However, over time, even the toughest species begin to show wear. Instead of having to replace it, as you would carpet, you can restore a hardwood floor and restore it to its original appearance. The cost of renovating a hardwood floor is much less than buying and installing a new one.

How to buy the best hardwood floor

To find the right hardwood floor for your needs, you must weigh factors such as cost, foot traffic, and type. For example, the harder the wood, the less likely it is to be damaged, but harder woods are also harder to work with during installation, which can mean higher installation costs. Another factor to consider is the location of the flat and the type of traffic expected in that area. A high traffic area is best served by a very hard wood species, for example. The following sections describe the main considerations to keep in mind when choosing a hardwood floor.

Types of wood floors

You can choose from two types of hardwood flooring: solid and engineered. Solid floors feature only one species, while engineered floors are built with layers of wood, usually at right angles. Consider the following factors when choosing between solid and engineered flooring.

  • Solid floors can be repainted many times, while engineered floors, depending on the thickness of the hardwood layer, can only withstand up to two or three repaints. Therefore, solid floors can last several decades longer than engineered floors.
  • Engineered flooring can be installed in more environments than solid flooring. While engineered floors can float on many surfaces, stick to concrete, or nailed to an subfloor, solid floors must be nailed or stapled to an subfloor and should not be installed below grade, as in basements, due to fluctuations in the subfloor. humidity.
  • Solid flooring is a bit more expensive than engineered flooring, but the price difference is small in most cases.

Choose the correct size

Plate size is another important consideration. Narrow boards are less expensive, but many people prefer the aesthetics of wider boards, which reduce the amount of joints in the floor. The same idea applies to shorter internals versus longer ones. The wider and longer a board is, the more expensive it is per square foot and the greater the percentage of additional flooring you need to ensure it will fit your room. A standard measure is to buy 10% more square footage than you need, but this can increase depending on the shape of the room.

Compare the costs of hardwood floors

Costs can range from $ 1.75 per square foot to $ 9 or more, depending on factors such as species, width, and type. While engineered wood flooring is typically less expensive, the cost compared to solid flooring of the same species is typically around $ 1 less per square foot. Plus, pre-finished lumber can add another $ 1 per square foot compared to unfinished lumber, but it also means you won’t need to finish it after installation. One of the more popular species, Red Oak, costs about $ 4 per square foot unfinished and $ 5 prefinished, with additional costs for wider boards. The more exotic woods or those that are harder and resistant to wear and tear are more expensive, while softer woods are usually cheaper.

Read Hardwood Flooring Reviews

Be sure to research wood flooring suppliers, read reviews, and compare different qualities. Some providers specialize in inexpensive flooring, while others offer a wide range of prices. You should also look for reviews on issues like warranties, shipping costs, and available widths. In addition to customer reviews, you should read reviews from contractors who may offer the perspective of someone who handles hardwood floors frequently.


Solid wood floors are installed by nailing or stapling to an underlayment, which is more limiting than engineered flooring, which can be nailed, glued, or floated to a variety of surfaces, including concrete. Once you decide between solid or engineered flooring, you need to determine whether you want to install it yourself or hire a professional to do it. While there are substantial savings in the costs of installing a flooring yourself, it can invalidate your flooring warranty. Plus, professional installers often guarantee your work, giving you confidence that it will get done right. Installation costs vary based on many factors, including the wood species and its hardness, with mid-range hardwoods, such as oak, costing between $ 4 and $ 8 per square foot to install depending on HomeAdvisor.

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Wood Flooring Brands

There are many brands of hardwood flooring available. Here are three popular options.


Bruce, a brand offered by AHF Products, is one of the best-known wood flooring companies. They provide value and easy installation, as well as wide distribution through department stores. Limiting his species to only the most common ones (walnut, maple, red oak and white oak), Bruce offers a variety of finishes and widths.

Kennedale Prestige Plank – Maple

  • Solid wood
  • 3 ¼ ”wide
  • Up to 84 “long
  • ¾ ”thick
  • Color: Cappuccino (dark brown)

Turlington Lock & Fold – Cherry

  • Engineered hardwood
  • 5 “wide
  • 10 “- 48” lengths
  • ⅜ ”thick
  • Color: Natural (tan)

Hurst Hardwoods

Hurst ships nationwide and offers a variety of solid and engineered flooring, which come in a variety of domestic and exotic species.

European French oak Matterhorn

  • Engineered hardwood
  • 10 ¼ ”wide
  • Most lengths of 87 “
  • ⅝ ”thick
  • Color: brown tones and shades

Tigerwood Clear prefinished

  • Solid wood
  • 5 “wide
  • Random lengths from 1 ‘to 7’
  • ¾ ”thick
  • Color: Striped Tiger


Mannington specializes in hardwood flooring with two main collections: Hand Crafted and American Classics. With a strong environmental stance and a wide variety of woods and finishes, they offer many customization options.

Mountain View Hickory

  • Engineered hardwood
  • 3 ¼ “, 5” and 6 ½ “widths
  • Lengths up to 45 “
  • ⅜ ”thick
  • Color: Autumn

American oak

  • Engineered hardwood
  • 3 “wide
  • Lengths up to 45 “
  • ⅜ ”thick
  • Color: Old Bronze


When deciding on a hardwood floor, take your time and go through your decision step by step, considering what you want from the flooring, what you are willing to pay for it, and how you plan to install it. Hardwood can last a lifetime, so carefully consider your choice.

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