A lot has changed in the world of hardwood flooring. The days of simply choosing between oak, pine, and maple are long gone, now homeowners must choose from a long list of domestic and exotic wood species, and then there’s the added tasks of deciding between finished or unfinished flooring, wide, narrow or variable-width planks, and finally, solid or engineered hardwood.
So what’s the right choice for you? Let’s take a look.
Wood species are typically divided into three distinct categories: Oak, Domestic Exotics, and Import Exotics with the first two categories being grown in North America.
Hardwood Species Types:
Oaks: Red Oak, White Oak
Domestic Exotics: Ash, American Hickory, Maple, American Cherry, Black Walnut, Aspen, Beech, Birch, Chestnut, Elm, Hackberry, Locust, Poplar, Sweetgum, Sycamore Tupelo
Import Exotics: Brazilian Cherry, Santos Mahogany, Tigerwood, Brazilian Walnut, Brazilian Teak, Acacia, Afromosia, Austrian Cypress, Bamboo, Jarrah, Kempas, Merbau, Rosewood, Wenge
If durability is your main concern, some of the hardest domestic species are hickory, pecan, and hard maple. White ash, red/white oak, yellow birch, and black walnut are next in line on the hardness scale. Cherry and mahogany are a little further down the line, but still make a strong, beautiful floor. Finally, pine is one of softest wood species and may be more prone to dents and dings, but many homeowners believe this adds to its charm.
But don’t be discouraged if you prefer the look of a softer wood, even the softest species should last the lifetime of your home.
Now onto the next big question…
Solid Wood or Engineered Wood?
Let’s start with the solid wood construction, otherwise known as traditional flooring. Traditional flooring is stapled or nailed in place, and this construction type has its advantages:
- It can be stained on-site to achieve a custom coloring.
- You can sand and refinish it multiple times.
- It is available pre-finished … and some manufacturers may offer custom textures.
But there are disadvantages to traditional flooring as well:
- Unfinished flooring needs to be sanded and stained. Don’t expect to install the flooring and use it the same day. Expect one to two weeks of dust and fumes.
- The lower cost of unfinished flooring (compared to factory-finished) is erased when you add in the cost of installation.
- If you want to make your floors a DIY project, traditional wood floors require greater skill and experience.
Now let’s discuss engineered hardwood, which has its advantages and disadvantages as well.
Engineered hardwood is composed of a face, or a top decorative layer of the species you’ve chosen, and multiple layers of perpendicularly stacked wood veneer underneath. Each veneer layer is glued together under intense heat and pressure. Engineered wood has more installation options than solid hardwood, as it can be either glued, floated, stapled or nailed in place.
The advantages of engineered hardwood are:
- It is highly stable. All wood expands and contracts with heat and humidity, but the layers in engineered wood minimize the wood movement which means it can be used in higher moisture areas, like over concrete or in bathrooms.
- The top layer is solid wood, so just like traditional wood it can be sanded and refinished.
- It comes factory-finished for proven durability.
- It’s more DIY-friendly than traditional hardwood.
- This construction is a better use of wood resources.
The disadvantages are only small:
- An underlayment is required.
- Although these floors can be refinished, they can only be refinished once due to a thinner layer of hardwood.
Q•Wood™ by Quick•Step®
If an engineered hardwood sounds like the right choice for you, Quick•Step offers the Q•Wood line of engineered hardwood in multiple shades and textures of oak, maple, hickory and walnut.
Q•Wood planks simply click together, making this flooring an ideal candidate for a DIY project. They float over the subfloor — even over concrete — and can be installed without nails or glue in a weekend.
One of the best features of our Q•Wood planks is the surface textures. The smooth surface texture provides a sleek look while the soft scraped surface texture gives you a sculpted design with a more defined wood grain. We also offer the wirebrushed & soft scraped surface texture option for those looking for an even more crafted, character-filled effect.
Finally, the Opulux™ matte finish on every Q•Wood plank is a unique, durable finish that can be easily refreshed with Q•Wood™ Renewal™ Revitalizing Solution. A quick application and wipe removes scuff marks and restores the floor while adding additional protection.
Enjoy the Options!
Whatever your choice, this is a great time to install a new hardwood floor. Never have there been more options in traditional flooring or engineered flooring. So choose your wood species, decide if you want to tackle a DIY project or contract with a professional, and enjoy your new floor for years to come!
Q•Wood™ engineered wood floors are easy to install and maintain. They come with the exclusive Opulux™ matte finish that can be refreshed to hide small scuffs and scratches.
Get the inside scoop on our new Elongé Collection, part of Quick•Step’s engineered hardwood family, Q•Wood.
Learn more about Q•Wood and view all available styles at us.quick-step.com/Qwood/Products.