Hardwood flooring has always been and continues to be the top favorite choices of builders, interior designers, and homeowners. What are the characteristics of different types of hardwood flooring and is there one type that can honestly be called #1?

There are so many reasons that folks choose wood for their homes. One benefit of using wood for flooring is that it is abundantly renewable. Well-managed forests create the possibility for harvesting wood in a way that does not grievously impact the environment.

The wood flooring species used most often include:

  • maple
  • oak
  • walnut
  • ash
  • cherry
  • cypress
  • pecan
  • mahogany
  • pine
  • teak
  • exotic woods
  • gum, and more

It is not only the color of the wood that varies but also the knot holes, grain variations, and the mineral streaks. The grade of the wood also makes a difference. The grades are as follows:

Select wood has natural color variances, knots, mineral streaks, along with other native components. Clear wood is minimally marked and is uniform in its appearance and color. No.1 Common wood has a range of natural colors, light and dark characteristics, mineral streaks, knots, and wormholes. No.2 Common is natural and representative of all the properties of that individual species of wood.

The angle used when cutting wood varies, as well. Cuts for wood to be used for flooring will affect how the floor looks, so this component critical for those who intend to purchase a particular type of wood flooring. The cuts are:

  • live sawn
  • rift sawn
  • quarter sawn
  • plain sawn

Beyond the already discussed variables associated with hardwood flooring, there are also multiple types of flooring to take into consideration, such as:

  • Unfinished flooring requires that the installer sand and finish the wood on the site. Since there are several finish colors from which to choose, the best move is to pick the finish color after the floor is installed to match the color of an existing floor or to match the desires of the homeowners.
  • Solid wood flooring is solid wood that comes in a variety of thicknesses. Sanding and refinishing can occur numerous times during its use.
  • Engineered wood flooring, though manufactured with real wood, uses wood composites.
  • Factory-finished wood flooring receives its finish at the manufacturer’s venue, making it easier and timelier to install.

When choosing a finish, consumers need to understand the floor finish vocabulary. Sheen is the level of shine desired for the floor. The levels are gloss or very shiny, semi-gloss or slightly shiny, satin or minimal sheen than semi-gloss, and matte or with almost no sheen.

Intellectually, one might say that oak flooring is the best because of its extreme hardness and durability. But the truth is the best wood flooring for you is the style that makes you happy. With the right color, the perfect sheen, the preferred grade of wood, and the best cut, your floor will make the rooms in your house look and feel fabulous.