Guide to Buying Hardwood Flooring for your Home

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Hardwood floors are a significant investment, but they add warmth and beauty to any room while increasing the value of your home. First Quality hardwood floors are finished to certain standards that can last for generations. Hardwood is always available in wide selections and can match almost anyone’s lifestyle. It’s important to qualify your preferences as they relate to wood species, design, durability, installation and maintenance. Here are a few things to consider when selecting hardwood flooring for your home.

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Solid or Engineered Hardwood – Solid hardwood can be refinished several times, adding years to its life. Engineered hardwood floors were originally designed to mitigate moisture issues such as buckling and warping for below grade installations. Refinishing can be a risky proposition on engineered hardwood due to the thin wear layer of actual wood.

Price – The quality and price difference for hardwood flooring may be considerable depending on the manufacturer, the type, and grade. Domestic hardwood typically costs less than exotic hardwood flooring due to the freight costs associated with it.

First or Second Quality Hardwood Grade – Each hardwood grade has its own price point and visuals. All grades are made from high quality lumber and are installable, but appearance determines their grade. Second Quality hardwood flooring may have more knots, mineral streaks, and shorter length boards. We recommend purchasing 10% over the measured area for First Quality to account for shrinkage when making cuts, and 15-20% overage for Second Quality to account for unusable material.

Color – The color of your hardwood flooring creates a certain décor for your room. Most domestic wood comes in a wide variety of colors, while exotic hardwoods, grown outside of North America, are usually not stained due to their natural color. Darker colors are becoming more popular.

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Width – Wider floors over 3 inches are popular now. The wider the plank, the fewer visible seams, thus displaying the wood’s natural beauty more effectively.

Texture – Smooth, hand-scraped, and distressed textures are your choices. Choose what works best for your décor and floor traffic.

Species– Each wood species has a distinct grain pattern, some very distinguished, some very subtle. Exotic hardwoods are quite popular due to their unique grain patterns and color.

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Hardness – With laminate flooring, the durability is the same across products from the same manufacturer regardless of the style (photo above). With hardwood, different levels of density come with each species. The Janka Scale Rating measures the hardness of a wood species. The higher the Janka number, the harder the wood, and greater the resistance to indentations. A higher Janka Rating is ideal for families with children and pets, or high traffic areas.

Installation – Hardwood can be installed in several different ways. Solid hardwood must be glued, nailed, or stapled. Click-together hardwood can be “floated” (laid over padding which includes a moisture barrier, provides thermal and acoustic insulation). A “floating” floor is also much easier to work with should damage occur down the road.

Maintenance – Advances in hardwood flooring stains and finishes makes cleaning fairly easy. Regular maintenance includes sweeping the floor with a Swiffer, a soft bristle broom, or vacuuming with a soft floor attachment on a floor with beveled edges. A professional hardwood floor cleaning product may also be used periodically.

Warranty – Manufacturer warranties may exclude certain types of damage, including damage caused by environmental issues, moisture, installation, scratching, and denting. First Quality hardwood flooring comes with a warranty for a specific number of years up to lifetime. Second Quality flooring does not carry a warranty and is sold “AS IS”. Be sure to read the warranty for your new floor to see what type damage is covered!

Whatever your choice, hardwood will definitely spice up the look and value of your home. It will provide years of living comfort with its strength, durability, and ease of maintenance with a practical and decorative high-end look that never goes out of style.

Floors To Your Home has sold discount flooring since 1921, online since 2004. They are dedicated to give customers the best values in flooring by selling products at 50-75% off their original retail selling prices.