Which is the best hard wood floor option?

Flooring is the most important aspect in the design of your home. It plays a major role in the look, functionality and ambience of your home.  It is the flooring that sets the tone for the design scheme. Flooring options are aplenty and the all time favorite is the hard wood flooring. Here again one is spoilt for choice considering the gamut of options available. Many factors like aesthetics, durability, type of wood, etc have to be considered. Hardwood flooring is a huge investment and care must be taken while choosing a suitable floor option.

Solid vs Engineered

The most important thing that one has to do is to decide whether to use solid hard wood or engineered hard wood. Solid hardwood floors are difficult to install owing to the hardness and thickness of the wood. Engineered flooring involves thinner top layer of hardwood bonded to other layers beneath it. This ensures that the floor does not shift while shrinking and moving ( expansion and contraction).

Installation

Another concern is the ease of installation. Solid hardwood is a little difficult to install by yourself. Depending upon the hardness of the wood, gaps could occur while nailing the planks together. Also, solid hardwood is generally installed over one or two layers of plywood. This would raise the height of the floor and would require the doors to be altered or it could reduce the ceiling height. Whereas, engineered hardwood planks can be directly glued on to the concrete floor or sound proofing material like glass wool.

Prefinished vs Site finish

Hardwood planks can be purchased raw which will require finishing by a professional after installation, or prefinished, which arrives with the stain and topcoat already applied. Prefinished wood enables you to go ahead with deciding on the other décor elements. Installation is also quick and easy. With the site finish version you will be relying heavily on the skills of the flooring contractor. Even so, the site finish option provides for a lot of customization to suit your needs and design ideas.

Types of wood

The most popular hardwood in North America is the oak because it is very easy to stain and has an appealing natural grain. It is widely available and more affordable. The other popular wood is the walnut. Although it is softer than oak, it has a deeper color making it suitable for areas which require a darker shade. Other easily available options include hickory, maple, cherry and ash.