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5 Hardwood Flooring Choices (Beyond Species)

5 Hardwood Flooring Choices (Beyond Species)

Ready for your next DIY home improvement project? Updating your home with beautiful hardwood flooring can be a game-changer. Not only is it durable and beautiful, but it is relatively easy to keep clean, compared to other flooring options like wall-to-wall carpeting.

When choosing hardwood flooring for your home, the species of wood— oak, maple, pine, cherry, and many more— is actually only one consideration of several. Its method of manufacturting, color, texture, width, and finish will also impact the overall impression your floor makes, as well as its durability over time:

Engineered vs. Solid

For the cost-conscious, weighing engineered vs. solid hardwood might immediately limit the options according to budget. While engineered tends to cost less, the tendency for this option to be slippery when wet is a significant concern in certain areas of the home, such as kitchens, bathrooms, and anywhere with entry doors tracking snow and rain into the home.

Prefinished vs. Site-Finished/Unfinished

Speaking of waterproofing, considering finished vs. unfinished wood is a prime concern in kitchens, baths, and entries where being able to install unfinished wood, and then seal it tightly upon installation, may be of importance.

Plank Width

Visually, the plank width itself can drastically alter the look and feel of the room itself. While wider planks tend to give a higher-end feel (and cost), the practicality of narrower planks means durability without the gaps between planks later on.


Darker floors show more dirt, while lighter and more neutral colors are more forgiving. Grains and contrast in colors and finishes can go a long way to make upkeep a little less demanding.

Polyurethane vs. Wax

While natural oils and waxes are increasing in popularity, polyurethane (in its oil and acrylic varieties) still rules the day for its durability over time. With careful upkeep, the natural beauty of your hardwood of choice will withstand the test of time by carefully finishing, and later refinishing, your beautiful floor.

“Depending on the type of hardwood flooring you’re installing, you may need different tools and materials,” says Tony Pastrana, installation systems developer at Armstrong Flooring. “You may need a pneumatic flooring nailer, drill and drill bits, hammer, nails, pry bar and saw.” Consult the instructions included with your flooring and make sure you have all tools ready and within reach. Depending on type of floor some floors can be easily repaired yourself.

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