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Simple tips for choosing the right hardwood flooring

There must be over a thousand different hardwood flooring options available today. And probably every homeowner has been bombarded with some type of marketing material or sales promotion. Needless to say, every manufacturer, distributor, and installer each have the best product. On one hand, it’s designed to give us selection and choice. But in so many cases, it just convolutes the situation, making it even harder to decide what to buy.

While it seems simple to pick, and choose, and buy quickly, choosing the right hardwood flooring deserves some forethought. And while every homeowner just wants to get it over with, some wise buying tips are in order. The fact is, every single home is different, and every homeowner has different needs and priorities. It really doesn’t take that much effort to get informed and educated, and then make a sensible decision that suits the case.

Lifestyle Needs

You may be a family with kids (maybe pets), or a single person who is rarely home. If the home is a “high-traffic” zone, the experts suggest a flat finish, perhaps with a “distressed” finish. This will masquerade scuffs, scratches and even dents.

Nature of Wood

For hardwood flooring, the choices are pretty simple. You can select from solid wood (the real, natural wood throughout) or engineered wood (consists of a solid wood layer that is permanently fixed right on top of several layers of plywood).

Size and Width

Depending on the manufacturer, the engineered wood option will offer more plank widths than real wood. In fact, some flooring experts will recommend engineered wood when a homeowner desires plank widths more than 3 or 4 inches.

Location of Floor

Just for example, solid wood is not a good option for a basement floor – excessive moisture will compromise the wood. Here, engineered wood is the best. In the rest of house, either of the two hardwood flooring options would be suitable.

Colour and Style

It doesn’t take much to consider cabinet colour or paint colour when deciding on the colour and tone of the flooring. And although recent trends are leaning towards darker tones, a good flooring contractor can provide good advice.

Cost and Budget

The important thing to remember is that total cost will depend on both the floor product chosen and the associated installation cost. Yes, it’s important to stay within a budget, but it’s a mistake to be overly cost-conscious and to risk quality.

Sample and See

Most every company will allow you to bring samples home, and there’s nothing wrong with toying around with a bunch of samples. Take different colours, different stains and different finishes to make certain of a good final decision.


The harder woods (like oak, maple, and cherry) are a good choice for homes that are busy. Where there’s a lot of action with children and toys and pets, it’s not a bad idea to pick out the hardest wood – it delivers durability over the long run.

As with any purchase, especially for the home, it really pays to be an astute consumer, and to make thoughtful decisions before buying. It’s a more comfortable shopping experience.


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