Choosing which type of wood flooring is not as easy as you might think. There are a number of considerations, from what purpose will it serve, to who will install. Have a good look at what others have done to get a good idea of what works, and what does not.
When you first decide you want hardwood flooring in your home, it is likely you did not realise the array of options and decisions you would be making. If you have never purchased or installed wood floors before, it is easy to assume it is a simple process – and it is not. There are a number of considerations beyond just the type. Read this article, and you should be able to get a better handle on the situation and your ultimate choice.
1) Is it a good choice?
You cannot put wood flooring everywhere in your home. Bathrooms and kitchens might not be the right place. You will need to think about water and moisture. If you have a room that you will use for relaxation, you might still need good carpet. There is rarely a case where one single floor covering is perfect for your home. You will need to be sensible about this.
This is actually a big issue. There is no simple answer to this question. What you decide on, will depend on the furniture, and other colour schemes you are using. Too many wood colour types can make a home look cheap and simply wrong. On the other hand, if everything is the same colour, you home may look bland. Some different wood colours go well with each other, and others just don't. You will have to make the decision yourself, based on what other colours you are using, and what other woods will be visible. Getting the mix just right, might not be as easy as you thought.
3) Real or engineered?
These days there are basically two choices: real timber or engineered wood. Many people prefer the traditional style and look of solid wood. Unfortunately, it is a little more complicated than you may think. Traditional wood is not as versatile as you think for flooring, and will lead to other complications. You may need to build up a buffer zone underneath the wooden floor, for example. If you are in a very humid location, traditional wood is probably not the right choice. Engineered wood, is often made of several layers of wood veneer, and is much more practical and versatile. Engineered wood is much cheaper in terms of cost and future maintenance.
Finishing wood floorings after the installation is a very cumbersome job. Future maintenance will be more costly. You might save on the initial purchase price with an unfinished floor, but it will cost you more in the long run. You might feel romantic and assume the work of doing it yourself will be a pleasure. In reality, this is rarely the case. Finished wood is often treated with long lasting materials resulting in less maintenance and resistance to the environment.
Some wood floors will require a lot of work. Pre-treated or engineered wood floors, often require much less. You must consider the cost in terms of time and money. When maintenance is required, you cannot neglect it, or you risk dire consequences. You must also select the right maintenance materials. Using the wrong products can result in disaster. Always seek professional advice, and be wary of new products on the market that make big promises. You might just find you have wasted your time and money.
Be careful if you decide to do this one DIY. Installation is a tricky process. Many products will claim easy installation. Even the most simple engineered wood floors still require skill. More often than not, this is a marketing ploy from the manufacturer. If you are going to DIY, get all the tools and education, before attempting such a job. Spending the money to get it done professionally might not be expensive after all. Those tools are not cheap!