Wood flooring is a very valuable investment for any home, as timber floors can typically last for decades longer than most carpeting and many types of tiles. Timber floors are also very hygienic, as they don't hold dust, dirt, pet hair and dander, and other irritants that get trapped in carpeting. Since timber floors are such a valuable investment, you want to take your time to choose them carefully and not simply opt for the cheapest floorboards or species available. Note a few tips for when you're ready to shop and discuss your options with a flooring contractor as needed.
Engineered versus hardwood
Hardwood refers to a solid plank of timber. Engineered timber flooring refers to a thin layer of a wood species that is glued over a cheap but durable veneer wood plank.
Engineered hardwood can often be better for rooms with uneven flooring, as it may allow for more "give" with the floor under it. To install solid timber flooring, however, a room may need to have a layer of plywood placed over the current flooring, to provide a more level and even surface for installation. This can sometimes interfere with the movement of doors and height of baseboards, as it may make the solid hardwood surface too high. A contractor can note if a layer of plywood would be needed over the current flooring and if that would add too much height and thickness to the room's floor.
Species and colour
Oak is a very affordable species and it holds a paint or stain colour well. White oak doesn't have the pinkish or reddish undertones of other oak varieties, so it's better for spaces where you want to lightly stain the wood without those undertones interfering with the finished colour. Walnut is an affordable option that has a much darker tone than oak; choosing walnut may mean fewer coats of stain or paint are needed to create a dark flooring surface, saving you time and maintenance costs.
The grain pattern on wood flooring will depend, not just on the species, but on how the boards are sawn. Plain-sawn boards have traditional wood grains with rounded areas that are known as cathedrals. Rift-sawn boards will have the longer, more linear grain pattern that is without those cathedrals, and this may be better when you want a more subtle grain pattern. Ask your contractor about these different sawing options when choosing your timber floors, so you know you get the grain pattern you prefer.
Contact companies like Greenmount Timber & Building Supplies for more information and assistance.