Selecting the perfect hardwood floor for your home is always a matter of personal taste. Trust your instincts as you compare hardwood flooring that offers different appearance and performance characteristics.
Color will have an enormous influence on your buying decision. The many colors available are the result of the natural color and graining of the species and the stain applied to the wood. Your home's lighting will also play a role, so be sure to ask your retailer for samples to look at in your home before making your final selection.
- Lighter-colored floors tend to make a room appear brighter and larger.
- Darker-colored floors may create a more dramatic environment.
The species of wood influences its appearance and durability. Traditional Oak species have pronounced variations in grain and shade that add character; while Maple's wood grain is cleaner and more understated. There are many exotic species available (such as Kamala, Kempas, and Brazilian Cherry) that take their distinctiveness from a combination of origin, color and surface characteristics. Not all species of hardwood are equally hard. If your floor is likely to take a lot of abuse, consider Oak, Maple, or Ash, for extra durability.
Hardwood flooring is commonly described by board width: as Strips (under 3 inches wide) and Planks (3 inches and wider). The width of individual boards will have a dramatic influence on the final look of the floor. Select the look you like best and that harmonizes with the style and architecture of your home.
The way the edges and ends of boards are cut is called edge detail. There are many edge/end detail options (such as square, beveled and eased). If you are looking for a high-contrast dramatic effect, select a bold edge/end detail that emphasizes the definition of individual boards. Square edges/ends achieve a low-contrast effect by creating a more seamless appearance. The smooth look of square edges/ends is now available in pre-finished as well as unfinished hardwood flooring.
Since the gloss level of hardwood flooring does not affect its durability or performance, your choice of high gloss or low gloss is a matter of personal preference. However, low gloss floors tend to hide the appearance of minor surface scratches that build up over time.
Whether your taste is rustic, traditional or contemporary, today's hardwood flooring manufacturers offer a wide variety of styles and surface textures to meet your needs. Before making your final selection, explore the many looks available; from sleek, sophisticated contemporary to casual, hand-scraped rustic.