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Wood Flooring Options

There are many different options for wood flooring including both hardwoods and softwoods. Hardwoods are generally more durable and more resistant to damage from impact, but if you maintain your softwood floor it should last just as long. Other wood flooring options include plank widths, patterns, and stain colors.

Hardwoods

  • Oak: Two types of oak floors; red oak and white oak. This hardwood is much prized for the beauty of its dark grain and texture, as well as the richness of its coloring after polishing. It is also extremely durable.
  • Maple: Maple wood varies in hardness, toughness and other properties. In general, it has a lighter color and a less pronounced grain. It also has a fine, uniform texture, and is resistant to abrasion and has no characteristic odor.
  • Walnut: This hardwood flooring gives your home a wonderful natural feel. Walnut is warm and inviting, rich in color and magnificently veined.
  • Cherry: This hardwood flooring is loved for its grain and its warm, homely colors. Each board exhibits a fine, closed grain. Cherry also takes a finish very well. (Light to natural finishes are recommended).
  • Mahogany: Mahogany is a deep, rich red that darkens further upon exposure to air. Its grain is subtle, very fine and even. It is very strong and durable and take stains and finishes well.
  • Ash: Ash floor has a light natural color. The color varies from near pure white to grey and the flooring is graded accordingly.

Softwoods

  • Pine: Pine flooring has a beauty and a character all of its own. It is easily re-colored, easily repaired, easily maintained and easy to fit.
  • Birch: The color of birch is affected by both the species of birch and the part of the tree that is used. It has a fine, even, straight grain with a uniform texture. It is similar to pine, but it tends to have more knotholes.
  • Fir: This type of wood is a popular among softwood and it is loved for its large patches of dark grain. It is actually commonly found as reclaimed wood.

Bamboo flooring is also considered an option for wood flooring even though it is technically a grass. It is a natural resource that can be harvested every five years. It forms a very hard wood which is stronger and more stable than most woods. When seasoned, bamboo remains light and exceptionally tough.

Plank Widths

The plank width for wood flooring can be up to 7 inches wide. However, 2 1/4-inch wide is the stand width. You may find 1 1/2-inch widths or you may prefer random widths to add more character to a room. During installation, the planks are laid parallel using the interlocking tongue-and-groove edges to hold them together.

Patterns

After you've selected your wood type, and the plank width, it's time to choose the pattern. Patterns add a decorative touch to your wood flooring. Straight patterns are most common. Keep in mind that any pattern besides a straight pattern will be more expensive because you will need more wood and the installation takes longer.

  • Straight: Consists of wood strips laid parallel to each other along the length of the room.
  • Diagonal: Without adding much to the cost, you can select the diagonal pattern in which the wood strips are laid at a 45-degree angle to the walls.
  • Parquet: The parquet pattern looks like a checkerboard. Individual square modules are laid in crisscross fashion. This pattern is also popular.
  • Herringbone: Similar to the parquet pattern, but the individual squares are laid at a diagonal angle.
  • Perimeter Border: With perimeter bordering, a different pattern is given to the edges of your wood floor. This gives your floor design a frame and a more formal look. It can be used to separate adjacent rooms that don't have any walls between them.

Today’s wood floors can be just about any color or shade you want. But it’s important to know that different kinds of wood respond differently to stains. If you are trying to change the color of your current hardwood floors or refinish your floors, you may want to contact a flooring contractor for some helpful advice. The most popular staining options available include natural, light, medium, dark and custom stains.

  • Natural: This stain looks like bare wood, hence “natural.”
  • Light: This stain darkens the grain and adds a subtle tone to the wood, usually a tan hue.
  • Medium: This stain is darker than the light, giving it a medium-brown hue.
  • Dark: This stain is typically a very dark brown and has a very rich feel.
  • Custom: A custom stain allows you to branch away from tan, brown, and sandy colors. You can pick a variety of custom colors such as bright red or even deep green. Vibrant custom stains are best used in smaller rooms.
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