If you've always longed for hardwood floors, you're in good company. While soft wooden floors date back to Colonial era, hardwood floors first burst on scene in late 17th century. If you only know that you want hardwood floors gracing your home, read this quick and dirty guide so that your head won't spin when you talk with your contractor. This ten-minute read will guide you through basics of wood species, grades, types and styles.
With over 50 wood species available for wood flooring, red oak accounts for more than 50% of hard wood flooring sales. Its popularity stems from its elegance, durability and cost-effectiveness. Maple ranks second in popularity for new wood flooring. Newer trends indicate a growing appetite for bamboo, cherry, and white oak. Some of more esoteric imported woods used in hardwood floors include Brazilian cherry, Australian cypress, African padauk, and Burmese teak.
Color options are plentiful. If color is a priority, and you want natural beauty of wood to shine through, select a wood species that most closely matches your color preference.
Grade refers only to beauty of wood, not to its durability or serviceability. Not every grade applies to every wood species. A wood species is graded as Clear, Select or Common, or it is graded as First, Second or Third. Clear/First, Select/Second, Common/Third grades are not identical, but they are close enough to present a shared consumer definition. The six basic wood grades include:
Clear or First – free from most visible defects and discoloration, contains only minor visible imperfections Select or Second – may contain slight imperfections, such as color variations Common or Third – contains knots and color variations, often classified as "rustic" wood
Solid vs. Engineered Wood
Many people believe that hardwood and solid wood are synonymous. They're not. If you're hearing term engineered wood for first time, you most likely think that it is somehow inferior to solid wood. That's not necessarily true.