The option of flooring is among the most fundamental yet crucial choices a property owner needs to make when carrying out a renovation, as it underpins everything else. While there are plenty of different alternatives, from carpet to terrazzo, one material is the recognized requirement: hardwood.

However not all wood floor covering is developed equal, and picking a product isn’t simply a matter of picking a favored color. A variety of other factors can have an impact on both looks and performance.

To explore the lots of alternatives available, we spoke with three professionals: Scott Jones, director of item management at Carlisle Wide Plank Floors; James Caroll, principal of LV Wood; and Mara Miller, partner at the AD100 company Provider and Business Interiors. If you’re all set to tackle the project yourself, Tony Pastrana, installation systems developer at Armstrong Floor covering, shared his guidance on how to install your own flooring.
How to Pick Wood Flooring
1. Select Solid or Engineered Floor Covering

Traditionally, wood flooring can be found in thick slabs of strong timber. Today, solid wood is still widely offered, however numerous business also provide crafted floor covering– planks made with a thinner top layer of hardwood, bonded to other layers created to prevent the flooring from shifting during growth and contraction cycles. “All wood moves in 3 instructions: There’s digressive, radial, and longitudinal movement,” says Jones. “With crafted items, you’re creating opposing forces within the board to attempt to restrict the natural movement of the wood.”

For basements and homes with concrete subfloors, engineered flooring offers an installation advantage. Whereas strong wood is typically set up over a couple of layers of plywood, which can raise the height of a floor and hinder existing doors or marginally decrease ceiling height, “engineered flooring can be glued directly to concrete, or over a soundproofing mat,” says Caroll. “It’s also suitable for setup over radiant heat.”

Choose thoroughly because some crafted floors have top layers so thin that they can’t be sanded and refinished in the future. Higher-quality products feature a thicker layer where “you’re getting as much usable wood as you would out of a solid board,” states Caroll, keeping in mind that with solid wood, “you can just utilize the part above the tongue and groove for refinishing.”
Regardless of the advantages of engineered floor covering, some property owners still choose solid wood. “There’s something about a strong hardwood that’s a concrete distinction,” says Miller. “You can feel it underfoot, and it’s quieter.”
2. Select Prefinished or Site Complete

Hardwood slabs can be purchased with a raw face that gets completed by an expert after installation, or prefinished, which gets here with the stain and topcoat already applied. The advantage of prefinished wood is that “you understand exactly what you’re getting,” says Caroll, keeping in mind that once you select an item, you’ll have an exact sample to use in collaborating your house’s color palette and picking other style elements, such as fabrics, wall coverings, and cabinets. Prefinished floor covering also takes less time to set up, since there’s no requirement to use color or sealant. “When you select to do a site finish,” he includes, “you’re rolling the dice a bit, and relying on the abilities of the flooring contractor to get it right.”

Still, on-site completing permits a level of personalization that attract many homeowners and designers. “That method, we have a lot more control over the sheen and stain,” states Miller. The final product will be smoother too, notes Miller, because unfinished flooring is typically sanded after it’s pin down and then completed as a single constant airplane. “It’s a little detail,” she says, “but it does make a distinction.”