So, you've decided to go with hardwood for the flooring of your home. Congrats, it's a beautiful option that will stay durable and serve you and your family for years to come. Even when you've narrowed it down this far, the options are overwhelming. There are many kinds of hardwood, and many ways to obtain it.
There are many types of trees used for hardwood floors. Wood that is best for flooring is hard and accessible. Oak, maple, and cherry are common options. Bamboo, ash, walnut, and more are other options. There are the step-up floors as well – you can choose a less common, more expensive wood like teak.
Finished or Unfinished
All floors will eventually need finish to protect your new hardwood floors from water spills, everyday scuffs, pets, and other kinds of damage. A lot of the time finish is placed at the factory, making the flooring easy to install at the home. Your floor will be ready to walk on right away. Unfinished flooring is used if you want to apply the finish at the house. This is an option if you want a custom color. This does mean the wood needs time before you can use it.
Engineered Wood or Solid Wood
Hardwood can come in two varieties. Both solid and engineered wood are fully wood. However, engineered wood is created in layers and solid wood is a solid block of wood. Engineered wood is cheaper, but it has a shorter lifespan because it can only be sanded and finished so many times – through the top layer. Solid wood can be sanded and refinished time and time again because there's so much wood to go through. While any hardwood will shift and expand with temperature and humidity levels, solid wood reacts more extremely so it is not recommended for basement-level rooms. Solid wood is more difficult to install, so it's probably not the best bet for a DIY homemaker.
Salvage or reclaimed wood is a great option for sustainability. It's also a great option if you would like to find a rare type of wood, since you can get it cheaper when it's salvaged. Reclaimed wood is taken from homes and ships and buildings that are being torn down. This wood comes from a history and you can feel like your home is part of a bigger story. Often this older wood also has a unique look to it.