Choosing The Right Hardwood Floors For Your Home

11, Apr 2021

Do you love the feel of natural wood on floors? If yes, here's how to choose the right hardwood floor for your home.

Choosing The Right Hardwood Floors For Your Home

Do you love the feel of natural wood on floors?
If yes, here's how to choose the right hardwood floor for your home.

This information comes from working closely with customers in and around Egypt and the Middle East, Connecticut, and answering their questions about what's available and what's best for them. Although the choices can get overwhelming, your first consideration when selecting a new hardwood floor should be the style and colour which determines how your room will look and how it will make you feel.

Here are several points you have to decide for each:

The whole design

What you really need to feel out from your floor, and what the style matching your home and your personality, there are a wide variety of designs at the wood court showroom to choose from, however, we can do a special one for you, or implement your custom design

Here are examples of some designs you may like:
The wood plank or tile dimension

Today you have a vast array of choices from traditional 5cm width strips up to 20 cm width plank floors. For years the 5cm width strip has been the popular choice for builders for new home construction. The reason being it is readily available and cost-effective
Also, you can choose from 30cm long up to 180 cm planks
You may love the random width, random length or both

Wood Hardness

This shouldn't come as a surprise, but hardwood comes in different levels of hardness. The hardest woods are Teak, Pecan, Hard Maple and White Oak.
Hardwoods include White Ash, Beech, Red Oak, Yellow Birch, Green Ash and Black Walnut, Cherry, Mahogany
The least hardwood or we can call the softwood are different types of Pine.
Depending on the level of traffic and activity in your home - including kids and pets - you may be more interested in how hard a floor you select.

Two Types Of Wood Floors To Choose From

Although we're discussing hardwood flooring, thanks to ongoing product development you'll find that hardwood comes in two categories: solid and engineered hardwood. Let's explore.

Solid Hardwood

Solid wood flooring is made from one continuous piece of wood and is available in strips, and planks.
Generally, a solid hardwood floor is 17mm up to 21mm thick plank. However, it can be manufactured in a variety of widths and thicknesses.
Solid hardwood floors are generally for nail-down installation or glue down, floating technique is not recommended at all for solid wood flooring.
The benefit of selecting solid hardwood floors is that you can customize them in terms of wood species, stain colour as well as finishes. From a finish perspective, you can opt for unfinished or prefinished:

  • Unfinished flooring offers unlimited colour stain options.
  • Prefinished wood flooring features a factory applied finish with more staining colours availability.

Because solid wood is sensitive to moisture, you don't want to install it below ground level or directly over a concrete slab unless you have excellent isolating materials

Pre-Finished vs. Site Finished Hardwood: Which is Better?
Solid vs. Engineered Hardwood: Which is Better?

Installation techniques

Engineered Hardwood

Engineered wood flooring is made from layers of wood stacked and glued together under heat and pressure. Usually, there are three to seven layers (plies) stacked with grains running perpendicular to each other. The top finish layer can be cut from a variety of domestic or exotic hardwood species and is generally factory prefinished with polyurethane or an aluminium oxide finish for hardness.
Engineered floors range from 12mm to 20mm in thickness and from 6cm to 20cm in width. Installation can be glued, floated, nailed or stapled.
All woods expand and contract with heat and humidity. However, engineered wood is more dimensionally stable than solid hardwood because the layers keep the movement in balance. As a result, it is less inclined to swell and shrink and can be installed in areas where solid wood can't such as over concrete or in high moisture areas such as kitchens, powder rooms and utility rooms, also it is the first choice when an underfloor heating system exists.

Exotic Hardwood

You may also hear the term 'exotic hardwood' used. This refers to hardwood species from around the world. Exotic hardwood species come from Australia, Africa, South American and the Far East.
Exotic hardwoods offer unique wood graining and colour variations. They are known for their hardness and unique patterns. Most exotic woods are available in engineered wood construction, although some are available in solid hardwood planks as well. Sapeli, ebony and Jatoba are examples of exotic hardwood.

Wood Stain and Finishing Techniques

Other factors that affect your hardwood floor look include stains and finishing techniques such as hand-scraping or brushing that adds a slight texture to the wood.

Hand-scraping or brushing

Hardwood that has either hand-scraping or brushing is an excellent choice for active families with children and pets. These types of floors are usually found in planks 7cm and wider with the most popular being 11cm to 13cm see the wood court hand-scrapped collection available in the most popular species such as oak, teak, maple, walnut, and cherry.
Below you see a hand-scraped or antiqued engineered wood floor by the wood court

Wood stains

As for stains, browns and greys have been more popular in recent years, especially the greys being a favourite in all modern homes we love now in Egypt. You'll also find dark stains (explore the wood court colour collection)

Natural oil vs. polyurethane finish

Many of our customers like European Oak floors which often have a natural oil finish instead of the traditional polyurethane finish.
While a polyurethane finish simply sits on top of your hardwood floor forming a film to protect the hardwood, a natural oil finish penetrates the wood and strengthens the wood fibres while enhancing the look of the floor since there is no film covering the wood. All wood floors will dent and scratch over time but with a natural oil finished floor there is no need for the mess and inconvenience of sanding and finishing as all that is needed is to reapply a new coat of oil in the affected areas.

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