Choosing a hardwood floor involves much more than choosing which type of wood looks best in your rooms. There are different manufacturing types of hardwood flooring and different styles within each one. Each type and style differs based on how it is installed, how much room you need for it and what each style is capable of creating visually. Keep reading to learn more about your options. 

Types of Hardwood

There are two main types of hardwood floors: solid-wood floors and engineered wood floors.

  • Solid-wood floors are solid strips, planks or squares of wood and can come either factory finished or unfinished. Unfinished floors need to be sanded, stained and finished with a top coat, but they give you more freedom over what colors and styles you want to use. Factory-finished floors are ready out of the box and don't need any additional work.
  • Engineered wood floors are made of different layers of wood glued together, and most of them are factory finished. Engineered floors can mimic the styles of many solid-wood floors. The installation style is different, however; engineered floors are "floating floors," which means each strip locks into place using a tongue-and-slot system, and there is no glue or nails. This makes it easier to install and to modify later.

Styles of Hardwood

If you're looking at solid-wood flooring, you have the option of choosing from strips, planks and parquet hardwood. They differ primarily in width, though parquet is sought after to achieve very unique looks.

  • Strip hardwood is the narrowest type of wood, and this gives it a few advantages. It's one of the least expensive styles, and the strips being so narrow allows you to more easily transition between rooms since you don't have to cut large strips. Strips are typically 2-3 inches wide. If you want an easier job doing multiple rooms and want a common or traditional look, strip hardwood is a good choice.
  • Plank hardwood uses the same base design as strip hardwood, but the planks are 3-7 inches in width, making them a good choice for large, wide rooms. They don't have the same visual effect of making a room seem larger, but it provides an older, rustic type of look. If you're only working on one room or have a large area you want to cover quickly, consider plank hardwood.
  • Parquet hardwood is unique in that it is comprised of different patterns and shapes. They are often used to create arrow or checkerboard styles. The tradeoff is that you pay for such a distinctive look. It Also takes longer to install and can be a complex job, so don't take parquet hardwood as a do-it-yourself unless you have previous experience or don't mind the risks.

Considering Your Home

Once you know what type of wood you want to fill what area, you should also consider any factors specific to your home. For example, if you're installing in an area that will get a lot of foot traffic or is close to any moisture (such as a kitchen or bathroom) a factory-finished floating floor is a good idea; its laminated construction makes it less susceptible to damage like warping or cupping. The same applies if you have pets or young children.

Solid-wood floors are appropriate for dining rooms and bedrooms where there is either plenty of space, not as much foot traffic, or both. This is where you can afford to have a more elegant floor style without worrying it will be ruined.

Finally, if you're on a time or money budget, factory-finished floors take much less time to install since you don't have to do any post-installation work.

For more information about these options and what may be best for your needs, work with a local flooring company like New York Hardwood Floors