There are many factors when choosing hardwood flooring for your home.
Lets begin with the two types of hardwood, solid and engineered. Solid hardwood is the traditional uniform piece of wood. It expands and contracts more with humidity variations than engineered hardwood.
Several sheets of wood that are set at an angle, bonded with glue, and then cured with heat and pressure is called engineered hardwood. The most esthetically pleasing wood is used for the top layer. This results in much better use of resources, with the same look and feel of solid wood, but much better performance. It is also easier to install. Engineered hardwood is the choice of professionals and most often recommended over solid hardwood.
The second differentiation between hardwoods is the finish. With factory finishing, the wood is installed prefinished and typically carries a 25-year warranty. The finish is applied to the wood in a controlled environment, and then cured using heat, UV, or pressure. A disadvantage can be that this type of finish is not as easy to refinish in the home. Factory finishing offers a large variety of wood, stain, colors, and finish. Sometimes hardwood gets finished with exotic coatings like aluminum oxide, ceramic and glass.
The second type of finish is sand and stain. With this type the wood is installed unfinished and then finished in the home. This method is most often used when a very custom look is required. The things to consider are the mess this process will cause inside your home, and the fact that this finish does not last as long as the factory finishing.
A special kind of finish is hand scraped. Hand scraped wood flooring can either be factory finished with a distressed texture and finish or finished on site by hand-scraping and then finished with stain and sealer.
Some looks that can be achieved with hand scraped flooring are time worn aged, wire brushed and antique. Time worn aged finish offers characteristics of a hardwood floor that has seen distressing caused by age, such as dark colored staining, to highlight the grain in the hardwood.
Wire brushing brings out the grain in the hardwood. The sapwood is removed by brushing; causing a highlighted grainy effect that is not only visible on close inspections but can also be felt.
An antiqued look typically calls for using a lower grade of hardwood applied with darker colored stains that in turn bring out the grain. Lower grade doesnt demonstrate lower quality, but more color variation and character.
And last, we can differentiate between varies styles of hardwood flooring. Parquet wood flooring is a series of wood flooring pieces that create a geometric design or pattern and that often repeats in the piece from 5/16 (glue down) up to (nail & glue down).
Plank hardwood flooring is linear and has more width. Common widths of plank flooring are 3 8 and wider products are not uncommon although the wider the more sensitive to moisture the planks become.
Strip wood flooring is also linear and usually 1 , 2 or 3 wide. Creating a linear effect, strip hardwood floor in a room often gives the illusion of a larger and more open space.