The Self Build Self Help Site

Choosing the Right Hardwood Floor

If you’ve got a plan to put some new flooring down in your home, and are unsure what kind of hardwood to use, there are a number of pros and cons to consider for each variety…

Solid wood flooring is available in three main varieties, with each one available in either an unfinished or pre-finished state. If you plan to use unfinished flooring, the material must be sanded on-site and finished once installation is complete. Pre-finished flooring is sanded at the factory it was made in and therefore only requires installation. Bear in mind, these varieties do not include the type of wood itself – that is an entirely different decision you must reach! You can find out a little more about the type of wood you might like to use at, stockists of oak flooring , among others.

The three main types of solid wood flooring are strip flooring, plank flooring and parquet flooring. Strip flooring generally has a set width of 1 and-a-half inches or 2 inches, but can range in thickness from between 5/16ths of an inch to ¾ of an inch. Plank flooring works the other way round, with just two thicknesses (1/2 inch or ¾ inch) and a range of widths from 2 inches to 8 inches. Parquet flooring gives the most radical difference in terms of look, as it’s made up of geometrical patterns comprised of smaller, individual slats held together by adhesive.

Engineering wood flooring is made with alternating layers of real wood and plastic laminate veneer, making it cheaper to produce whilst retaining the ‘woody’ quality and look that so many people are after.

The other main type of wood flooring is acrylic-impregnated, which is made by infusing sealant and colour throughout the wood itself. This type of flooring is common in commercial buildings, as it can take a battering and still maintain a ‘finish’. It’s much more resistant to chips and moisture than other types of wood flooring. Bear in mind that, once installed, it is virtually impossible to tell the difference between a solid wood floor and other kinds of wood floor. Solid hardwood strip floors are the most common option, although engineered flooring is gaining popularity thanks to its low cost. So, which type will suit your home best? Solid hardwood will require a little more maintenance than engineered wood flooring, but if you think you’ll want to re-sand and re-finish at some stage in the future, it might be the best bet for you. And if well-maintained, solid hardwood flooring will always look nicer. Choosing between strip, plank or parquet is mostly a question of personal taste. If you like thin, long planks of wood, then go for strip flooring. If you prefer wide planks, then choose plank flooring. If you fancy something more decorous choose parquet. Remember, plank flooring may require extra work during installation, so the cost can be greater than strip flooring. Visit the DIY Doctor for more advice on home improvements.

Joists picture