What wood is best for which room—and other questions answered

Wood floors are all the rage. Everyone wants them in their home. But choosing the right wood for your home can be overwhelming. Did you know there are more than 50 domestic and imported species of wood available? When choosing the wood you want to use, it really depends on your own style and personal preferences, the look you want to achieve, as well as your budget.

Types of wood floors

Ash and maple. Known as “light woods,” they make rooms appear more open and airy.

Hickory and oak. “Medium woods” that make a room look warm and cozy.

Walnut and mahogany. “Dark woods” give a room a more stately and refined appearance.

Janka Hardness Rating

The Janka Hardness Rating basically tells you how likely a wood is to dent or to show wear. In more technical terms, it measures the force needed to embed a .444 inch steel ball to half its diameter in a piece of wood—the higher the number, the harder the wood.

The hardness rating is helpful in telling you what type of wood will work best for you. For instance, a retired couple living in a quiet cottage may get by just fine with a softer wood. But a family with children and pets and a lot of heavy traffic will likely require a harder wood.

Red oak (Janka – 1290) is among the most popular woods for flooring because it has moderate color variations, from light reddish pinks to shades of brown. Maple (Janka 1450) is found in northern regions, like the Northeast part of the country. It has a pale color, and the grain is very light. Cherry (Janka – 950) is a softer wood, but has wonderfully elegant graining and color. It’s a popular choice for those who want a distinct look. Yellow pine (Janka 690-870) has small to medium knots and pitch spots. It fits nicely in country settings, and changes in humidity do create gaps between boards that will open and close again.

Laminate vs. Regular Wood—What’s the difference?

Laminate flooring is a picture of wood on a compressed paper backing. When it’s new it does not scratch like a wood floor, which sounds nice. But as it ages, with regular cleaning and wear, it starts to fail at the edges. Then it progresses from there and gets worse as time goes on. Once damaged you cannot repair it. You have to remove and replace the whole floor.

What’s the benefit of engineered hardwood floors?

Engineered hardwood floors have a top veneer of real wood with layers of plywood underneath. The construction of engineered flooring makes it more stable and less susceptible to changes in temperatures and humidity than solid wood. Instead of plywood, some newer kinds have substrates made from recycled wood fiber mixed with stone dust to provide greater stability.

The bottom line

Engineered wood floors cost a little less, look nice, and they have a good resale value. They’re also easy to clean and maintain. Just vacuum or sweep. Refinishing may be needed in high-traffic areas.

Keep checking our blog for more helpful information about wood flooring, including solutions to your most common problems with wood floors.

If you’re interested in getting an estimate, or just want more information to see if you’d like to install wood flooring in your home, contact us today.