Hardwood floors are timeless and it’s definitely the gold standard for flooring — that’s also why wood-look vinyl and laminate are so popular. However, not every household would benefit from hardwood flooring. If you’re ready to hire hardwood flooring installers to put down wood flooring, you might want to ensure you’re completely confident in your decision and have considered all alternatives.
As experienced flooring contractors, we’ve compiled a list of the most important questions you should ask before you decide which hardwood flooring to purchase.
What to Consider Before You Purchase Hardwood Floors
Hardwood flooring is a big purchase. Like all expensive buys, you don’t want to rush into it without doing your homework first. Hardwood floors are not a one-size-fits-all; there is a lot of variation between brands and varieties that can affect how your floors end up. Unless you know the right questions to ask to help narrow your choices, you may end up with beautiful hardwood that is not ideal for your needs or the room it’s in.
These are the questions you should ask yourself to help you select the best hardwood flooring for your space.
Where Are You Installing Hardwood Flooring?
The first question homeowners should ask is which rooms the hardwood flooring is in. Even though it would be beautiful to have hardwood throughout the house, not every space is suitable for hardwood. Homeowners need to be realistic when answering this question — if you’re not sure, give the Brothers Flooring a call for a risk-free consultation.
Pro Tip: Hardwood flooring is not advisable “below grade”(like in the basement) as moisture can rise from the ground.
What Is Your Lifestyle?
The next question homeowners need to consider is their lifestyle — do you have kids, pets, or host parties often? If you answered yes to any of these questions, your floors would see heavy traffic, meaning they need to be durable. If you have a busy household, you should consider:
- Engineered flooring or wood-look alternatives (vinyl plank, laminate, or tiles) if you have large-breed dogs or are worried about prematurely replacing hardwood due to heavy usage.
- Hardwood flooring with a high Janka-rating, like red oak, is more durable than softwood. Hardwood is great for an active household and will withstand more wear and tear than softwood flooring.
What Is Your Subfloor?
Homeowners must know which subflooring they have — concrete, particleboard, or plywood — as this can help you determine your hardwood flooring options and the cost.
- Concrete: If you have a concrete subfloor, you can either go the economical route and get your hardwood flooring installers to lay engineered hardwood or pay to have plywood installed before laying the wood. Keep in mind that if you install plywood and hardwood on top of concrete, that will increase the overall height of your flooring.
- Particleboard or plywood: If you have either of these subfloors, having hardwood flooring installed is straightforward and you can lay down solid wood.
If you’re not sure what’s under your current flooring, our experts can help you find out.
What’s Your Home’s Style?
When you’re picking the best wood for your space, you want to consider your decorating style. For instance, if your style is traditional, you wouldn’t necessarily choose contemporary grey flooring. So here are some things to consider to help you decide which flooring will match your style:
- Colour: Based on your room design, which colour flooring fits best? When it comes to colours, you can choose from various shades (white, grey, or black) or browns (light, mid, or dark).
- Grain: Do you want your flooring to have few grains or plenty? Grains or species of wood help give your flooring character.
- Width: One of the biggest trends is having hardwood flooring installers lay wide plank boards. The standard board size is about 2 ¼”, which gives your space a traditional look. However, if you want your room to feel larger, then try wide planks that range from 3-5” wide.
- Texture: Texture is a matter of preference. If your room is rustic, then why not try distressed boards? Or, you may prefer to have smooth flooring. The choice is yours!
There are a few different components when it comes to meshing hardwood and style. You’ll want to carefully consider your options in order to ensure you end up with flooring you love for years to come.
What Finish Do You Prefer?
Another consideration is whether you want to buy prefinished wood or have your hardwood flooring installer finish the floors. Here’s a rundown on the differences:
- Prefinished: The benefit of prefinished hardwood is that it is easier to install, it does not require sanding to finish, it leaves no dust or odour, and it has an aluminium oxide factory finish for a harder topcoat.
- Finished On-Site: If you’re getting your hardwood flooring installer to finish the floors on-site, they will have smoother edges. In addition, on-site finishing has consistent colour, it’s more moisture-resistant, and you can test out colours before installing.
This can be a tricky consideration, so make sure you discuss with your hardwood flooring installers if you’re not sure.
These are some additional considerations you may want to think about before you buy hardwood flooring:
- Budget: One of the most important aspects to weigh is how much you can comfortably afford to spend on purchasing boards and on having your hardwood flooring installed professionally (if you’re doing so).
- Durability: To maximise the flooring longevity, you want to go for a Janka-rated hardwood. Another way to prolong the life of your floors is by using a sealant to prevent visible signs of wear and tear.
- Test: Before you get your hardwood flooring installer to put down new floors, many companies will give you a sample amount, usually about 2×2, so you can assess whether you like the flooring before installation.
The goal is to end up with hardwood flooring that goes the distance and fits your needs; it’s a big decision with many components and you want to be sure you’ve thought everything through before making such a significant purchase.
Which Hardwood Is Right for You?
At the end of the day, the most important part about installing new hardwood flooring is that you love how it looks. Nothing is more satisfying than knowing you picked the right floors, as they can truly bring your room to life.
If you aren’t sure which hardwood flooring to install in your home, then give the Brothers Flooring a call for a free consultation. With our 20+ years of experience remodelling, relaying and refinishing floors in the Greater Toronto Area, we’re confident we can help you find the best hardwood for your home!