Hardwood Purchasing Guide

With so many different wood types, colors, finishes, sizes, and installation processes, choosing the right flooring can feel a little overwhelming. Instead of worrying about this investment, we have provided some helpful information to make the process of buying easier. In this first part of hardwood purchasing, you will learn some basic things that will be highly beneficial.

Finishing

Today, you can purchase hardwood floors that are finished or unfinished. A finished floor means it has been cut, sanded, and stained before you buy whereas an unfinished floor is simply raw wood that still has to go through all the processes before being installed. Both have pros and cons fur finished flooring is typically the better choice. Even if you pay a little more, it is worth it.

With a finished floor, the installer would show up at your home with the wood ready for installation. This means no mess and no waiting, just a beautiful floor laid and ready to enjoy in a day. However, if you go with the unfinished wood, you would have workers at your home cutting, sanding, and making a huge mess. The process is not just messy but it takes much longer. Therefore, we recommend you look at finished wood as your first choice.

Wood Type

Another important choice is the type of wood. The most popular options include cherry, walnut, oak, pecan, maple, ash, and hickory. Additionally, we see bamboo being a great choice in that it is stunning in appearance but also strong and durable. Again, the cost of exotic woods such as bamboo is generally more expensive than other types of wood but for the benefits gained, it is well worth the investment.

Of course, each wood species comes with unique characteristics. You will see different colors, color combinations, hues, grains, lines, knots, and so on. For instance, if you want something light, a great wood floor for a country style home, then pecan, pine, or white oak would be great choices. On the other hand, if you want hardwood flooring with a formal and sophisticated look, you might go with a richer type of wood such as mahogany, red oak, or cherry.

Plank Size

Finally, hardwood floors come in planks that measure different in width, thickness, and length. The option that you go with depends largely on the size and configuration of the room, as well as the subflooring. For instance, some woods can only be installed with the glue down method. For this, you would need a subfloor material such as concrete. Working with a reputable manufacturer will ensure you make all the right choices so once the flooring is in place, you can stand back and admire your new room.

Unique Grain

For starters, each wood species has a unique grain, giving the floor a distinctive look. In addition to seeing different grain by wood type, grain appearance will also change depending on the way in which the wood is cut. Of course, you will naturally see variations in the grain, as well as the color of the wood planks so do not be surprised. In fact, these variations are what give the floor its unique appearance.

Humidity Level

Unlike any other type of flooring, hardwood floors will expand and contract due to the environment's humidity level. Therefore, if you live in a region with high humidity, you want to choose the right species of wood. Even then, it would be expected to see slight changes over the years to include hairline cracks, slight changes in height, and so on. Now, if you live in a dry region of the country, the floor will need some humidity to keep it moisturized. In this case, you could purchase an inexpensive humidifier. While the problems will not go away completely, the effects of the dryness would be minimized.

Installation

Although hardwood flooring can be self-installed, especially when using the tongue and groove method, we suggest you consider having a professional do the job. The reason is that for your hardwood flooring to look and feel the best, the right subflooring must be used and it must be absolutely, level. Otherwise, you would see ridges in the wood and feel the wood give as it is walked on.

Costs

The purchase of your hardwood flooring is a financial investment. Keep in mind that in addition to paying for the actual wood planks, a price based on a per square foot basis, other costs need to be factored in. These additional cost factors would include the removal or placement of furniture, old floor covering removing and disposal, preparation of the subfloor, delivery of the hardwood flooring material, and of course, the cost for the installer. While hardwood flooring is not cheap, it is certainly one of the best home investments. Now, most manufacturers today will provide some type of financing option, which offers a low interest rate and great repayment schedule.

Finally, you would have one more cost associated with your new hardwood flooring, that of maintenance and care. If you purchase quality wood from a reputable manufacturer, this cost would be minimal. However, sometimes woods do become damaged in which time you would need to consider having it resurfaced and/or polished. Obviously, purchasing a hardwood floor consists of many important decisions but we are confident the information provided will help you get started with the process.