Hardwood floors have long been the most desired option for the home. Durable and easy to maintain, hardwood floors offer warmth, character, and beauty, and fit any and every style of décor. One hot trend for 2016 is hardwood in the kitchen. Become a savvy shopper, and learn how to choose the best hardwood floors to suite your needs, and your home.
Solid hardwood comes in strips, usually measuring ¾ inches thick and anywhere from one and a half to three inches wide. It can also be found in planks as wide as six inches. This type of flooring is constructed from solid pieces of wood, with tongue and groove sides. Solid hardwood is sensitive to moisture, so it should be nailed and glued down, and should have a quality urethane finish.
Solid wood is a beautiful addition to the home, including the kitchen, but be sure to immediately mop up any spills. The hardness of wood varies with the direction of the wood grain, and The Janka hardness test helps measures the wood’s resistance to denting and wear. Certain woods are naturally more durable than others — so the higher the ranking, the harder the wood. Grade levels tell you about knots, color variations, and imperfections. The higher the grade, the more expensive it will be.
Engineered hardwood is made from layers of plywood stacked in opposite directions and laminated together. This method makes engineered hardwood more stable and less susceptible to moisture damage, and therefore an excellent choice in in the kitchen. Quality engineered wood generally ranges in thickness from 3/8 to 3/4 inches.
Unlike solid wood, engineered hardwood can be installed anywhere as a floating floor, including over concrete. Other methods of installation include nailing and glue. Engineered hardwood is considered easier to install than solid wood. It is also often more affordable, since the top layer is all you will see. However, these floors can only be refinished a limited number of times. Once installed, a quality engineered wood floor can be difficult to distinguish from solid, though some homeowners still prefer the natural beauty of solid hardwood.
Popular Species Of Wood For Flooring
- American Cherry
- American Walnut
- Brazilian Cherry
- Brazilian Teak
- Brazilian Walnut
- Red Oak
- White Oak
- Yellow Pine
Like beautiful, quality kitchen cabinets, both solid and engineered hardwood floors are an investment that will last — and be enjoyed — for many years to come.
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Written by Tiffany. Tiffany honed her skills as a writer and editor working in the fast-paced newspaper, magazine, and television industries. Tiffany is also an award winning graphic designer, with extensive experience in the worlds of mass media, publishing, and advertising. As a designer, she also has a strong eye for interior decorating and color. Tiffany has a BA in Communications and a minor in Fine Art. She is a natural cook just like her mother, and rarely uses a recipe. She also enjoys reading, photography, painting—and most of all, spending time with her husband (a skilled DIY’er) and two sons.