Choosing Hardwood Floors

Options boil down to three key choices

One of the first things people notice when they walk into a house is the flooring. Increasingly, homeowners have taken out linoleum, tile and carpeting, and replaced it with hardwood. While many are excited to reinvigorate their rooms and increase their property value, they are often overwhelmed by the available options. 

While homeowners consider their budget, lifestyle, and design preferences, remodelers need to focus on:

1. Hardness of Wood

All wood has a rating, called the Janka Hardness Scale. It measures the wood’s ability to resist denting and wear and tear, and it’s a good indicator of how hard it is to saw or nail. Red Oak is considered the benchmark on the Janka scale and all species are compared to it. The higher the grade, the more durable the wood.

2. Engineered vs. Solid Wood

When selecting hardwood consider where it will be installed. If it is a basement, or area where there will be moisture or high/low humidity, then engineered planks are best. Installations above grade can be either solid or engineered.

3. Light vs. Dark Stain

Whether the wood is finished on-site or by the manufacturer, keep in mind that lighter flooring tends to make a room appear open and airy while showing less dirt than darker floors. A lighter stain is a good choice for a family with children and pets, or in high traffic areas. The lighter color can make a small room appear larger.

Darker flooring is trending now, especially the ebony and Jacobean finish. It creates a stately and refined feel, yet shows more scratches because once the stain is removed the color contrast is more visible than it would be on lighter wood. Dark stain can make a room look smaller, so it works best in homes with larger rooms and open floor plans.

Armstrong World Industries understands the selection and installation process can be overwhelming for homeowners, so they put together “Hardwood Flooring 101.” It’s a great resource for contractors who need to explain the basics of selecting and installing a hardwood floor to their clients. 

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