With the numerous variations of flooring, choosing the hardwood floor appropriate for a particular room or space can be overwhelming. Your ultimate choice will depend on the type of wood floor, type of finish, stain and species that you choose. Do not forget to match this according to where you would be installing them: in the living room, dining room, the hall, or even in the kitchen and bathroom. To help you in your decision making, here is a guide to help you make the right choice.
Wood flooring can be classified into two types: solid and engineered. Solid hardwood floors are any wood flooring that comes as a single piece of wood from top to bottom. You can customize your flooring according to your preferences using solid wood flooring. You can choose the species, stain, and finish, and further give it its distinct personality by matching it with your pick of corner treatments, borders, medallions, and other embellishments. Typically, solid flooring is installed by nailing it to ¾-inch exterior grade plywood. It is great to be used in most spaces of the home: living room, bedrooms, dining room, and on ground level or above.
Engineered or laminated hardwood floor is made of hardwood flooring that comprise layers of different types of wood unified together with their grains extending in various directions, giving it better stability than plain solid wood. Hence, when humidity and temperature change, its contraction and expansion is minimal than that of the other type. This type of wood serves well for spaces where solid wood flooring is not appropriate because a more stable flooring is required, such as the basement and other spaces which are below grade and supported by a cement subfloor. Customization is also possible with engineered wood flooring since it comes in various colors and species and can be purchased as a job site-finished or pre-finished product.
You can choose from over 22 local and imported wood species for wood flooring. The most common domestic species include red oak, white oak, pine, maple, and pecan. Other less common domestic wood species are birch, beech, ash, Douglas fir, mesquite and walnut. If you prefer the more exotic type, you can choose from teak, Brazilian cherry, Jarrah, Australian cypress, wenge, padauk, mahogany, purpleheart, merbau and others.
Wood finishes also come in various types. However, we would like to give the spotlight here to the environmentally friendly alternative developed in Germany – the Non Toxic and Low Toxic OSMO Polyx Hardwax Oil finishes and stains. This natural floor and wood finish boasts of durability similar to that of polyurethane. It effectively maintains the appearance and feel of natural wood without masking it with plastic. Unlike the standard oil finishes, this engineered finish is formulated using plant oils and waxes that makes it ultra durable and easily restored with a distinct glossy finish. As opposed to polyurethane that forms a plastic coating, this green finish has open pores that enable “breathing” giving moisture a way out of the wood without putting pressure on the finish. This ability to “breathe” also makes it crack-, flake-, and blister-proof, and makes it suited for kitchens and other spaces receiving high humidity. It is resistant to many types of liquid including tea, soda, coffee, wine, beer and fruit juice, so you do not have to wince every time something spills. Spots can easily be repaired, allowing it to last longer. However, it is not ideal to be used in your porch and other spaces outside your home because it is not UV-ray-protected.