Deciding which hardwood floor is the best can be challenging, but with a little expert help, it’s considerably easier to make the right decision. Your budget, personal aesthetic, lifestyle, and spacial requirements are the major considerations that will help you decide which hardwood floor to choose. Read on and see how we’ve broken things down to make this big decision a lot easier.
Budget Considerations to Hardwood Flooring
First, you need to consider your budget. In fact, making and sticking to a budget is an important step in any renovation or construction project. Much like you shouldn’t fall in love with a house you cannot afford, you shouldn’t fall in love with a hardwood that’s out of your price-point.
The least expensive hardwoods are birch, hickory, rosewood, soft maple, oak, and poplar. Pine is also inexpensive but it is quite soft, so not generally recommended.
More costly–but undeniably beautiful–hardwoods include ash, walnut, cherry, white oak, hard maple, and mahogany. Lyptus hardwood flooring comes in the middle of these two price points.
When thinking about your budget, it is important to keep in mind that you can find hickory that costs more than maple or maple that costs more than cherry, depending on the quality and exact species of tree. Be sure to shop around, and when in doubt, feel free to ask for help from trusted hardwood flooring installers (like us!).
Another cost consideration: unfinished hardwood flooring or pre-finished? Unfinished hardwood is less expensive initially and has a rustic charm–even if you decide not to custom stain it. However, you will need to seal the wood regardless, so whether you hire someone or do it yourself, there will be some additional cost involved.
All this said, there are many go-arounds to help you get the look you want for a price that doesn’t break your budget.
Engineered Hardwood vs. Solid Hardwood
One of the ways to reduce cost without compromising your look is to opt for engineered hardwood. Engineered hardwood floor is made using layers of solid hardwood and plywood. Solid hardwood flooring is, as the name suggests, are solid pieces of wood with no layers.
Engineered hardwood is generally less expensive than hardwood since you are not using 100% solid wood. Engineered materials can also be more durable and less expensive than solid, softer hardwoods. Additionally, engineered hardwood withstands moisture better because the layers of plywood allow for a more dimensionally stable base, so the flooring flexes and warps less when wet.
Solid hardwood, while not as durable in some cases, allows for sanding and refinishing which offers more flexibility to extend the life of your flooring. And of course, there’s also the luxury status of solid hardwood, which makes it a worthy choice for spaces that aren’t high-traffic, high-moisture zones.
Hardwood Flooring and Space
Considerations of space are incredibly important when deciding on the best hardwood flooring for you.
While engineered hardwood or durable solid hardwood like walnut can be used in minor splash zones like the kitchen, hardwood is not the best flooring choice for rooms that are subject to heavy moisture, like bathrooms, laundry rooms, mudrooms or damp basements.
However, solid hardwood can be a beautiful choice for dining rooms, living rooms, hallways, home offices, or bedrooms.
Hardwood Flooring and Lifestyle
There are exceptions to almost every suggestion made here and choosing the best hardwood flooring for you depends on many variables. For instance, having solid hardwood floors throughout your home might be great when envisioning their beauty and warmth in entryways and master bedrooms. On the other hand, having them in a house with many pets or in the bedroom of a young child who is prone to accidents and spills, might be worth a second thought.
This isn’t to say you can’t have solid hardwood in a busy family home, but unless you plan to have area rugs protecting it, are watchful with what it comes into contact with, care for it or confine it to specific rooms, engineered hardwood, vinyl, laminate or tile may be a better option.
Remember, if you have questions about which hardwood flooring is the best for you, contact us. We’re hardwood flooring installers with decades of expertise in design and installation, and we’re happy to help you make an informed choice that you’ll love.