Which Hardwood Floor is Best for Your Renovation?
Updated: Apr 13, 2018
Selecting the right hardwood floor for you remodel isn’t always the easiest task. First, you have to find a floor you love but then there are a number of other factors that need to be considered before making your final purchase. With the help of my go-to flooring guy, Teo Ortiz of Whole Wood, we’ve put together what you need to know!
Solid Vs. Engineered
Solid hardwood is exactly what the name suggests - flooring that is made up entirely of a single species of solid hardwood. There aren’t any layers or other materials, just one solid piece of wood. It offers a classic, traditional look and will last a long time.
Engineered hardwood is made by gluing multiple layers of solid hardwood and plywood together. What most don’t realize is that the top and bottom layers of engineered hardwood are actually solid hardwood! What’s different about engineered hardwood are the layers in between the top and bottom layer. These middle layers are made up of plywood and are what makes engineered hardwood superior when it comes to moisture, humidity and temperature control.
Which One Should I Select?
99% of the time I steer my clients to select an Engineered Hardwood for the simple reason that we usually redo hardwood floors throughout the entire house, including the kitchen. Engineered hardwood is the best choice for installation in areas that are prone to moisture and water like the kitchen.
Use my handy chart below to figure out which floor is right for your project!
Thickness vs. Quality
Does a thicker plank offer better quality? The short answer is no. The most important thing to look for in an engineered wood floor is a thick top layer - the thicker that top layer, the more times it can be sanded. Some manufactures provide an overall thick product, but most of that thickness is not on the top layer.
A 3mm or 4mm top layer will be enough to sand 2 times in the future. Some of my clients get all caught up in the idea of being able to sand their floors as many times as possible. Please realize that the average household won’t need to sand their floors for at least 15-20 years. So if you have the ability to sand them twice, you will never need to replace your floors while you live in that house!
Pro tip: Always measure the thickness of the current flooring that you are replacing. If you install a new floor that is thinner than the previous one, then the gaps under your interior doors will end up being too large and the door jams will need to be taken off and rehung lower to fill that gap. The same goes for if you install a floor that is thicker than your previous one. The interior doors could end up too close to the floor, thus resulting in you having to cut off the underside of the doors.
Work with your contractor to figure out what the best thickness for your new flooring should be before you purchase anything.
The average cost for hardwood flooring (solid and engineered) runs about $4.99 - $8.99 per square foot. Consider the width of the planks when buying. Cheaper hardwood typically has thinner planks (3”-5”) while more expensive hardwood has thicker planks (7”-9”). If you like a certain floor that is more expensive, ask if they can get it for you in thinner planks.
Many people begin their floor search by looking for samples that they visually like best. Along with the looks you need to understand durability and strength. Not all hardwood is created equally. Some of the more popular wood species are actually not very durable and will scratch and dent easily.
Check out our handy Hardwood Floor Strength graph and pin it to your Pinterest board for easy access!
Here's some visuals of the most popular floors we use with our clients!
European Oak and Oak are the most popular hardwood floors because of their contemporary look and simple veining.
Hickory is an extremely durable hardwood, however, it has a lot of veining and movement in the board. Unless it gets stained a very dark color, it may appear busy depending on the rest of your decor.
Hands down, the strongest wood on the market is stand woven Bamboo. It’s a great buy because it’s eco-friendly, can be stained in many different colors, and have many looks. For example, if you want a dark wood floor that has no variation and a consistent color, then Bamboo is an excellent choice. The lighter the stain, the more variation you will see. Make sure you're getting bamboo flooring that is strand woven as that is the strongest bamboo flooring available.
And there you have it! Hopefully we’ve helped guide you in the right path to choosing the best hardwood floor for your remodel.