Choosing the Right Hardwood Flooring for Your Home

Choosing the Right Hardwood Flooring for Your Home

September 4, 2023  |  Hardwood Flooring, Tips and Tools
Choosing the Right Hardwood Flooring for Your Home

Hardwood flooring is one of the best investments you can ever make when it comes to upgrading your home. Not only does a hardwood floor add a warm and homely visual appeal to your home, it is an investment that retains its value. That means that you get to enjoy your hardwood flooring while you live in your home, and when it comes time to sell your house, hardwood flooring means it could have a higher price tag.  

However, choosing the right hardwood flooring is a significant challenge. Not every room in your house has the same hardwood requirements either. Hardwood that works for some rooms will not work for others. This blog will help you decide which hardwood flooring is right for your needs and how you can pick flooring that works for you.  

What to consider when choosing the perfect flooring 


One of the most popular floor choices for homeowners is hardwood flooring. Not only does it offer a timeless style, but it also adds an elegant touch to any space. 

The first thing to think about is the type of wood species that you prefer. Harder woods like oak and hickory are great for high-traffic areas as they are more resistant to wear and tear. Softer species like pine and maple, on the other hand, are more prone to dents and scratches, but they offer a warmer and more rustic look. 

Another important consideration is the width of the wood planks. Wider planks can create a more open and spacious feel, while narrow strips can give a more traditional and classic look. 

The finish of the hardwood is another consideration you need to make. Some homeowners prefer a natural, unfinished look, while others opt for a stained or painted finish.

How do you maintain your hardwood finish? This is your guide! 

Consider the durability of the hardwood flooring as well. Solid hardwood floors are made from a single piece of wood and tend to be more durable and long-lasting. Engineered hardwood, on the other hand, is made from a composite material and is more resistant to water damage. 

Lastly, installation and maintenance costs should be taken into account. The average cost of hardwood flooring varies depending on the type of wood used and the square footage of your space. Additionally, it's important to consider the cost of installation, which, in the case of hardwood, requires professional help. 

Keep reading for more information on each consideration to help you choose the perfect flooring for your space. 

Light hardwood flooring in a living toom

Assessing Durability and Maintenance 


When it comes to choosing the right hardwood flooring for your home, it's important to assess the durability and maintenance requirements of different wood species. 

Maintenance requirements vary depending on the wood species and finish. Hardwood floors require regular sweeping or vacuuming to remove dirt and debris, protecting the surface from scratches. Avoid using wet mops as excessive moisture can damage the wood. Instead, use a slightly damp mop or cloth for spot cleaning. However, it is always best to refer to the manufacturer's recommended cleaning schedule and maintenance solutions for cleaning your hardwood floors. 

Additionally, it's important to protect hardwood floors from direct sunlight, as prolonged exposure can fade the color of the wood. Placing rugs or blinds can help mitigate this issue. However, by placing rugs on your hardwood floors, once removed, you may notice fading on your floors over time, depending on how the sunlight enters the room. 

To prolong the lifespan of your hardwood floors, it's essential to be proactive in their care. Use area rugs and floor protectors in high-traffic areas to prevent scratches and dents. Promptly wipe up spills to prevent water damage. Additionally, consider sanding and refinishing your hardwood floors periodically to restore their shine and remove any surface imperfections. 

Here are some maintenance requirements for common species of wood flooring.  

  • Oak is a highly durable option, perfect for high-traffic areas, thanks to its natural resistance to scratches and wear.

  • Hickory is another durable choice, known for its strength and resilience against daily use.

  • Maple, on the other hand, is softer and more prone to scratches and dents, making it better suited for low-traffic areas.

  • Walnut falls somewhere in between, offering moderate durability but requiring regular maintenance to keep its luxurious appearance intact. 


By considering the durability and maintenance requirements of different hardwood species, you can choose the flooring that best suits your home and lifestyle while ensuring its longevity for years to come. 

Damaged hardwood? This blog tells you how you know when to refinish your hardwood, and when it is time to replace your hardwood. 

Dark gray hardwood flooring in a living room

Considering Color Options 


The color of your hardwood flooring plays a significant role in setting the overall ambiance and aesthetic of a space.  

  • Light hardwood floors can create an airy and spacious feel, making them an excellent choice for smaller rooms or areas with limited natural light. 

  • Medium-toned woods offer a classic and timeless style that will always stand the test of time and can complement a variety of interior designs for years to come. 

  • Dark hardwood floors add depth and richness to a space, creating an elegant and sophisticated atmosphere. 

  • Exotic wood tones, such as Brazilian cherry or tigerwood, provide a unique and luxurious look that can become a focal point in any room. 

To choose a color that complements your home's interior design and style, consider the overall color scheme and furniture in the space. Remember, depending on how the sunlight hits the rooms in your home, morning, noon, and night, will also be a better gauge on the tone of hardwood, light, medium or dark, that will look best in your home.   

Light-colored floors can create a neutral backdrop for vibrant furniture and décor, while dark-colored floors can add contrast and make lighter colors pop. Consider the existing wood tones in your home, such as trim or furniture, and choose a hardwood floor color that matches or coordinates with them. 

Front door entryway with hardwood flooring

Exploring Grain Patterns 


When it comes to hardwood flooring, the beauty lies not only in the color but also in the unique grain patterns that each piece of wood possesses. Grain patterns refer to the arrangement and direction of the wood fibers in a particular piece of hardwood. Understanding different grain patterns can help you choose a flooring option that suits your style and preferences. 

  • One popular grain pattern is plain-sawn. This pattern showcases the natural variations in grain, resulting in a more traditional and rustic look. The wide and consistent grain patterns create a warm and inviting atmosphere in any space. 

  • Another option is quarter sawn, where the log is cut into quarters before being sliced into planks. This pattern creates a straight-grain appearance with distinct ray flecks, lending a more traditional and timeless appeal to your flooring. 

  • The rift-sawn pattern involves cutting the log at a slight angle, producing a linear and uniform appearance. This pattern is known for its consistent and vertical grain, making it a popular choice for contemporary and modern interiors. 

  • Distressed grain patterns involve techniques like hand-scraping or wire-brushing the wood to give it a weathered and worn look. This pattern is perfect for spaces that aim to achieve a rustic and vintage charm. 

Each grain pattern offers unique visual effects and characteristics, allowing you to achieve an ideal ambiance for your space. Whether you prefer a more traditional look or want something more contemporary, exploring different grain patterns can help you find the perfect hardwood flooring option for your home. 

Gray hardwood flooring

Evaluating Plank Widths 


When it comes to choosing the right hardwood flooring for your home, the plank width plays a crucial role in determining the overall appearance of a room. The width of the planks can significantly impact the visual aesthetic and atmosphere of the space. 

Narrow plank widths, typically ranging from 2 to 4 inches, create a traditional and classic look. This width is ideal for smaller rooms as it creates an illusion of space, making the room appear larger. It also adds a sense of sophistication and elegance to the room. 

Standard plank widths, ranging from 4 to 6 inches, are the commonly used and versatile option. They strike a balance between traditional and contemporary styles and are suitable for various room sizes and designs. This width provides a timeless and balanced look that can adapt to different interior styles. 

Wide plank widths, starting from 6 inches and going up to even 12 inches or more, make a bold statement in any room. They create a sense of grandeur and luxury and are often associated with rustic, farmhouse, or colonial-style interiors. Wide planks are perfect for larger rooms, as they help showcase the natural beauty and character of the wood. 

When selecting the right plank width, consider the size of the room and your personal preferences. In smaller rooms, opt for narrow or standard planks to create a more spacious feel. For larger rooms, wider planks can add drama and visual interest. Ultimately, it's important to choose a width that complements the overall style and design of your space while reflecting your personal taste. 

Hardwood floor in a living room

Considering Budget and Cost Factors 


When choosing hardwood flooring for your home, it's important to consider your budget and the cost implications of different hardwood species and styles. The price of hardwood flooring can vary significantly depending on various factors. 

One important factor to consider is the wood species. Exotic woods such as Brazilian cherry or mahogany are often more expensive than domestic species like oak or hardwood. The rarity and availability of certain wood species can drive up the cost. 

Another factor that influences pricing is the quality of the wood. Higher-quality hardwoods, such as those with fewer knots and imperfections, generally come at a higher price. The grade and durability of the wood also affect the cost. 

Installation requirements can also impact the overall cost. Solid hardwood floors require professional installation, which can add to the expenses. Engineered hardwood, on the other hand, often offers a more cost-effective and easy-to-install option. 

To find a balance between budget constraints and desired flooring options, consider your priorities. If budget is a major concern, you may need to opt for more affordable wood species or narrower planks. You can also explore prefinished hardwood, which tends to be cheaper than unfinished flooring. 

Keep in mind that hardwood flooring is an investment that adds value to your home. It's essential to find the right balance between cost and quality to ensure that you're making a wise and durable choice that fits your budget. Consulting with flooring professionals can also help you navigate the options and make an informed decision. 

If you already have hardwood that is marred by gaudy paint or stick substances, then it might not be too late to save it! Check out this blog for how to reclaim your hardwood. 

Professional Advice from Expert Floorers at A Step Above 


If you want the perfect hardwood flooring for your home, don't try and go it alone. Floor professionals can help you find what you are looking for based on your needs and stylistic preferences.  

For the best flooring in terms of quality and appeal, A Step Above Flooring is here for you! Our flooring professionals have years of experience in the flooring industry, and they will work with you to help you find flooring options that will get you excited.  

Whether you want hardwood, tile floors, laminate, vinyl, or any other flooring in between, A Step Above Flooring is your solution. Stop by the A Step Above Flooring showroom today to discuss your flooring needs and browse our selection! 

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