Finding the Perfect Hardwood Floor
By Crystal Hosking, Hosking Hardwood Flooring
When you first step foot into the world of hardwood flooring, it can be a bit daunting. There are endless choices and many decisions to make in order to find the perfect hardwood flooring to satisfy your situational needs and aesthetic wants.
There are thousands of hardwood choices featured on our site. You could spend hours, days and weeks browsing through different constructions, wood species, colors, etc. It can be a bit overwhelming.
Our Flooring Finder. Answer a few specific questions, and we’ll narrow down your choices to a more manageable amount.
How it Works
There are 8 different categories with options to choose from. Simply click on the options which apply to your situation or your appearance preference. The more categories you choose to select, the more your options are narrowed down. You can choose to sort with as many or as few parameters as you want. Keep in mind that if you choose too many requirements, you may narrow down the results so much that there will be no product matching all of your specifications. In this case, try editing your search criteria.
1. Select a Color Tone
What kind of color are you looking for? A natural tone will offer you the natural color of the wood species, as there is no stain color applied. Other options include a light brown stain, a stain with subtle golden undertones, a medium brown stain, a stain with subtle or dramatic red undertones or a dark brown stain. The “Colors” option will bring up more unusual tones like whites, blacks, grays and painted floors.
2. Choose a Board Thickness
The second question tackles total board thickness. Hardwood flooring can range anywhere from 1/4 IN. thick to 3/4 IN. thick. Most solid hardwood flooring products will feature a 3/4 IN. thickness, although there are some solid options available in thinner planks. Most engineered hardwood choices will be thinner than 3/4 IN., but there are a few exceptions that reach up to the full 3/4 IN. thickness.
Thickness considerations come into play when you’re trying to match the height of a new floor to an existing one that you plan on it meeting up with. Or, many times, if a homeowner is going with an engineered construction, they’ll like the thicker options because of the thicker wear layer involved.
3. Choose a Board Width
There are many, many options when it comes to total board width. The traditional width for a solid hardwood floor is 2-1/4 IN. (also known as a “strip”), although the current trend is getting wider. 3-1/4 IN. is hugely popular right now and homeowners love to install wider boards (5 IN. and wider) in homes with a casual or rustic feel.
You’re probably not going to find many engineered boards narrower than 3 IN., the standard in the industry right now ranges from 3-1/2 IN. to 5 IN. Longstrip engineered boards will be even wider (at around 7 IN. to 8 IN.).
Some collections feature multiple widths or random widths, and you are able to search for these widths in the Flooring Finder as well. Parquet floors (square sections) can be searched for with the 12″ x 12″ or 12″ x 24″ options.
4. Choose a Wood Floor Construction Type
The construction type of hardwood floor you specify is going to be a huge help in narrowing down your choices and finding that perfect hardwood floor for your home. Solid hardwood has limitations as to where it can be installed in the home. Most solids cannot be installed below grade (in basements) or over concrete subfloors. Engineered floors are a bit more lenient and can be installed in virtually any room of the home and because of their more stable nature, engineered flooring can be installed over a variety of different subfloor types.
“Floating Floors” refers to engineered flooring that can be installed using the floating method. All floating floors are engineered floors, but not all engineered floor are floating floors. In order to float a traditional tongue and groove engineered floor, it’s required to use a wood glue to glue the seams of the boards together.
Additionally, all “Click-Loc” floors are floating floors, but not all floating floors feature the click locking technology. Floors that do feature click locking technology do not require the use of glue and simply click together, forming an incredibly tight seam.
5. Where in Your Home is the Wood Flooring Going to be Installed
Location of where this new hardwood flooring will be installed is very important. As mentioned before, solid hardwood can typically only be installed above or on ground levels of the home. Engineered flooring can be installed on, above or below ground level. Choosing a location in our Flooring Finder will help to ensure that you’re browsing through products that will actually work in your situation.
6. Choose a Wood Species
If you don’t already know what wood species you want to put down, learn more about the appearance and durability of particular wood species here: Choosing a Hardwood Flooring Wood Species. Different wood species will have different grain patterns, color tones and Janka Hardness Ratings.
The most traditional wood species are Red Oak, White Oak and Maple. If you’re interested in a more interesting North American wood species, you should take a look at Hickory or Birch. Exotic wood species like Brazilian Cherry and Santos Mahogany are also gaining popularity among homeowners.
7. Is this Flooring Going to be Installed Over Radiant Heat?
A simple question, but important. If you have a radiant heating system that you’ll be installing over, it’s necessary to select a hardwood floor that is approved to be installed over radiant heat.
8. Choose a Square Foot Price Range
Most homeowners are on a budget. The Price Range selector in our Flooring Finder will help weed out options that will put you way over budget. While this is a helpful parameter, keep in mind that you get what you pay for and finding many options in the $1.00 to $1.99 range for hardwood flooring is probably not going garner many helpful results.
One more click, and you’re on your way to a selection of hardwood floors narrowed down to a much smaller group and featuring the specifications your new install will require. If you aren’t satisfied with the results that show up, try going back and tinkering with the options you chose. Maybe the perfect floor for your home is a 3-1/2 IN. width instead of a 3-1/4 IN. width. Maybe the stain color that would complement your cabinets or furniture perfectly is available in a White Oak rather than a Red Oak. If you’re just starting out on your search for hardwood flooring, our Flooring Finder will definitely help point you in the right direction.
So, what are you waiting for?! It’s time to get started: Flooring Finder.