Top Questions To Ask When Buying Hardwood Flooring [Important]

One of the most popular, reliable and time-tested types of flooring for your home is hardwood flooring. Unfortunately, there are so many different hardwood types to choose from today, that it can be really tough to decide on the flooring that is best for you. In some cases people get so caught up in hardwood cost, hardwood types and options and even the hardwood installation, that they end up avoiding the decision for weeks.

hardwood flooring

Below are some of the most helpful questions to ask about hardwood flooring before deciding from the hardwood types to purchase. Don’t rush through your hardwood installation, instead take the time to consider each of these questions before making a final purchase decision. They can ultimately save you money and help you get more out of your flooring than you may have ever thought you could.

Which Wood Species is the Right One to Buy?

When trying to decide on the right type of hardwood flooring to get for your hardwood installation, it’s difficult to choose out of all the different hardwood types. There are many different varieties available, especially on full hardwood flooring. It’s important to consider the different options that are available and to choose the one that fits your situation the best.

Wood Species

While Douglas Fir or Pine would work well in low-traffic areas of your home for a more affordable full hardwood flooring option, something sturdier like Brazilian Walnut or Oak would be better for high-traffic locations that are going to be walked on regularly. It’s important to look at the grain density of different hardwood varieties, as well as the actual hardness of the wood and the color of the wood when deciding on the variety to choose. Go with something that’s strong enough to stand up to your needs, while still matching the looks that you want for your home. Specialists in hardwood types can help with choosing the right flooring option out of the many different types, but a large part of the decision is up to you.

What Wood Flooring is Best for Pet Owners?

As a pet owner a major concern is always what type of flooring is best to get to hold up to wear and tear over time. Not only does the owner have to worry about scratches, gouges and claw marks over time, they have to worry about urine and other unwelcome stains and pet-related problems that could damage the flooring. While other types of flooring are often recommended above wood, such as ceramic tile, hardwood flooring can actually hold up really well to cats and dogs over time when chosen and purchased with care. There are a few things to keep in mind when comparing different hardwood types and hardwood cost while keeping your pets in mind.

Best Flooring for Pet Owners

The first thing is that harder woods won’t scratch as easily. Try to get a flooring made from something like oak rather than a softer pine that would scratch more easily. Also look for flooring that’s finished with an oil based polymer finish, rather than a water poly, and consider getting an extra coating of protection added on as well after the installation to really safeguard against moisture over time.

Homeowners that are worried about their hardwood flooring showing scratches, dents and wear after installation, should consider light colored satin flooring, rather than darker shiny finishes. They show these signs less and look new for much longer as a result even as they wear down with time.

Is it Worth the Cost to Pay for Professional Installation?

Installing hardwood flooring probably seems pretty straightforward, it likely seems like you just lay it down and glue it or fasten it into place, and to a certain degree that is what installers do. It’s not quite that simple though, there’s an art to hardwood installation, and it’s vital to get that right when putting down expensive hardwood flooring.

Proper hardwood installation can only be completed by trained professionals with years of experience. Only they will know how to prep the surface properly and ensure that the planks are put into a position where they will hold up well over time. If you were to try and tackle the hardwood installation yourself, there’s a good chance that the flooring would be put down on the wrong surface, that the surface wouldn’t be prepared properly or that the planks would not be laid down in a way that makes the installation look neat and high quality in the end.

Professional Installation

Subtle mistakes throughout a floor installation will take away from its final appearance, and they can also cut the life of the planks used in the installation dramatically. A professional hardwood installation might be more expensive, but the cost is more than worth it. When you’re spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on hardwood flooring, it makes sense to spend a bit more to make sure they’re installed properly as well. Hardwood cost isn’t cheap, and neither is top quality installation.

What Width Plank Should You Buy?

One question that many homeowners don’t consider asking until they are looking at samples themselves is what length plank is the best for their home. The truth is that when buying hardwood flooring it’s difficult to decide on a best plank size for everyone. More traditional homes rely on a 2 ¼” plank width, and that’s what you’ll find on most of the older homes. This isn’t necessarily what people want today though, and that type of hardwood flooring can make the home look dated as well.

When looking over the many different hardwood types, and the plank styles, it’s important to consider what a wider plank would look like. Take a look at some 3-1/4” or 4” planks to see how they look in your space as well. The truth is, that both narrow and wide planks will work just fine on the floors throughout your home, but when picking flooring and looking over the different hardwood cost options, it’s important to go with a style that you prefer. Looking at them in person is the best way to make a final decision, and that may mean looking at samples right inside your home to see what you like the best at your actual location.

Should Hardwood Cost Determine Your Decision?

Everyone thinks about the cost of different hardwood flooring options when trying to decide what to go with, and the hardwood cost is going to play a part in the final decision about what you decide to choose, but it should not be the main deciding factor by any means. It’s very important to avoid letting the hardwood cost decide which flooring that you end up purchasing. This is because softer and less reliable options tend to be the most affordable. While it’s tempting to go for an option that is going to save you money, going for the cheapest option will likely leave you with less durable flooring that just isn’t as great of a value as it seems initially.

Don’t let cost make your purchase decision for you, even though you’ll likely factor in hardwood cost when choosing from the different hardwood types for your flooring.

Should You Go for a Factory Finish or Site Finish?

Hardwood flooring can be finished in the factory where it’s created, or it can be finished up after the installation right in your home. Most top installers offer both options, but there are benefits and drawbacks to each of the different options that must be considered. It’s important to look at things like hardwood types, but before you do that, make sure you know if the options are factory finished or site finished. There’s a big difference between these two options and it’s important to think about either of the option before making a purchase. Hardwood cost isn’t the only factor worth considering and the finish type you choose makes a big difference in the final product. Before you go ahead with your hardwood installation, decide what type of finish you want. It’s important to realize that your hardwood installation will be changed a bit depending on the type of finish you go with, so keep that in mind.

Factory finished hardwood flooring can be installed faster and it generally comes with a harder finish because additional hardeners are added to the top coat when completing the product. A site finished hardwood installation is more moisture resistant with one full layer of top coat poly on top of the wood. Site finished wood planks also look more uniform in color and don’t show off their edges as much. This is a serious option to consider when going for traditional solid hardwood flooring, but there are a few engineered flooring companies that offer site-finished engineered wood flooring as well, though it’s standard to pre-finish engineered flooring.

Site finished flooring is also much more time-consuming and messier than factory finished flooring. That’s because during the hardwood installation much sanding must be completed. There are many cycles of sanding and cleanup during the hardwood installation, which adds days onto the installation period, money to the installation and also a mess to your home that you may end up cleaning up after the hardwood installation.

Which is Better Engineered or Traditional Hardwood Flooring?

When considering adding real hardwood flooring to your home you’ll have to decide between standard hardwood flooring and engineered hardwood flooring. Both types are solid options that are worth consideration, and each has benefits and downfalls compared to the other option. It’s up to you to decide which of the two options are the best fit for your personal needs before moving on to purchasing a product.

Engineered or Traditional Hardwood

The first consideration is the hardwood cost. Generally hardwood flooring is more expensive than engineered wood flooring. The different hardwood types change the price around somewhat, but when comparing products made from the same wood, engineered flooring tends to be more affordable almost every single time. If hardwood cost means more than anything else, engineered flooring is the clear winner, but hardwood cost isn’t everything as you’ll realize below.

The next consideration is durability. Engineered flooring tends to be less durable than hardwood flooring in most ways, though it stands out in terms of moisture resistance. Engineered flooring is a thin piece of wood on top of a plywood base. That means, if that thin piece of wood gets damaged in can only be sanded down once or twice to clear it up and make it look like new. Solid hardwood flooring can be sanded down again and again restoring it to a like-new condition for decades after installation. When buying flooring for a kitchen or bathroom though, engineered wood has the edge. That’s because it’s more moisture resistant and won’t warp as much when exposed to liquid. Site-finished wood flooring is okay for some light moisture, but pre-finished wood flooring should never be used in an environment that’s going to be getting really wet regularly.

It’s also important to think about the actual installation of these two flooring options when trying to decide on the hardwood types and whether to go with engineered or full hardwood flooring. Engineered flooring tends to be simpler to install and the pieces are a bit more uniform in size. They can be snapped together, glued down or fastened to a subfloor. Solid hardwood flooring can only be fastened or glued into position and it is more difficult to put down properly.

After looking at all the differences with these two flooring hardwood types, it’s time to decide on the one that fits your needs best. Engineered flooring comes with a lower hardwood cost, is easier to install and offers better moisture resistance. Solid wood flooring is longer lasting, comes in more wood varieties and is a bit more flexible over time since the color of the floor can be adjusted later on after a deep sanding.

Buying hardwood flooring can be complicated to do because there are so many different options available today. Make sure you ask all the above questions before you make a purchase. You need to think about things like hardwood cost, hardwood types as well as how you’re going to be using the flooring that you will put in before making a final purchase decision. Just make sure that you are asking the right questions and not getting hardwood types for the wrong reasons in the end. That low hardwood cost might be tempting at first, but it could end up ruining your final results because you wanted to save a bit of cash.

buying hardwood flooring

Top Questions To Ask When Buying Hardwood Flooring [Important] was last modified: January 17th, 2018 by Jason Valasek