Which Wood Floor Fits Your Lifestyle (Part One: Wood Type and Style)

If you want a truly custom floor in your home, real wood is the way to go. From style to species, there are a lot of choices. So, how can you figure out which wood floor is best for your home? Read on for tips on selecting wood type and style!
by Libby White Johnston
August 16, 2019

If you want a truly custom floor in your home, real wood is the way to go. From style to species, there are a lot of choices. So, how can you figure out which wood floor is best for your home? This blog will focus on selecting wood type and style.

Where in the home the wood flooring will be placed is an important starting point. For instance, engineered wood flooring is ideal for basements. Both solid and engineered wood floors are made of real wood and may be installed in any room that is on or above ground in a home. Solid wood flooring is made of one piece of wood from top to bottom, while engineered wood flooring is made using multiple layers including a top layer of high-quality wood. While engineered wood flooring can sometimes be sanded and refinished, it cannot always be done as many times as solid wood flooring.

If you’re going with solid wood, each species has a different level of hardness that is measured with the Janka Scale. It provides a general indication of how well a hardwood species can be expected to withstand indentations. All wood floors are extremely durable, but with pets and small kids, you may want to consider a species that falls on the harder side of the scale.

You will also want to figure out if you have a preference as to whether the flooring is domestic or imported. Then, decide on which style: strip, plank, parquet, or end grain. Strip flooring is less than 3 inches wide and often makes a room appear larger. Plank flooring is 3 inches or wider and often creates a more casual look. Parquet varies in size and generates a geometric, non-linear look. End grain flooring has a unique visual element as the wood’s grain is visible and upward facing. It’s really all about personal preference, as each of these come in a variety of species, colors, and widths.

The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) surveys its members annually about wood flooring trends. Overall, there is a general shift toward the use of domestic species as opposed to species imported from other countries. White and red oak are the market leaders, as is wide plank flooring of up to seven inches wide or greater. The species gallery provides photos and an overview of many common options.

Check back next week when we’ll share tips on finding the right finish method, sheen, and color.