Hardwood

Hardwood Flooring Types—Find Your Perfect Match

By July 7, 2017 226 Comments
natural hardwood floors in living room

Today, hardwood flooring is more popular than ever, appearing in new construction and remodeling projects of all sizes. Studies have shown that homeowners who choose to install hardwood flooring tend to reap rewards on that investment when it’s time to sell their homes. Not only can hardwood flooring increase the value of your home, it can also be used in any part of the home due to its versatility and design options.

Hardwood—the Forever Flooring

Because it’s known as a “forever floor” due to its timelessness and endurance, choosing the right type of wood flooring—solid, engineered, or longstrip wood planks—can be a difficult decision. It’s essentially a matter of budget, lifestyle, and personal preference, but there are important factors to consider as you make your choice.

Subflooring Matters

Where you want to install your hardwood flooring will affect your selection. Solid hardwood flooring is generally recommended for use in any room except basements, or bathrooms. That’s because the flooring reacts to changes in temperature and humidity by shrinking and expanding. Solid hardwood flooring should only be installed over wood or plywood subflooring—never concrete.

Engineered hardwood floors, which typically are less expensive and easier to install, are also more resistant to fluctuations than solid hardwood flooring. Engineered flooring can be installed anywhere—making it the perfect choice for powder rooms, utility rooms, and lower level living spaces like basements.

Longstrip wood planks, also engineered construction products, are longer and wider, with a more rustic aesthetic. If you like the look of longstrip wood planks, you’ll be happy to know that it can be installed quickly and easily over a variety of different subfloors (including concrete) in almmost any room of your home. It’s easy to find the longstrip flooring best suited for your needs and specific criteria, and here at Malkin’s Flooring, we can help you narrow the field and select the one that’s perfect for your home.

Humidity Affects Your Choice

The most important consideration when selecting a wood floor is that all hardwood demands proper care and controlled humidity. When you choose to invest in solid hardwoods, be sure to purchase and run a humidifier in the winter and a dehumidifier in the summer to manage humidity levels. If you resist keeping your windows closed and turning on the air conditioner during the summer, consider engineered wood flooring instead of solid hardwood, as it is more dimensionally stable.

Prefinished or Unfinished

Malkin’s solid and engineered wood floors can be installed unfinished or prefinished. Longstrip wood planks come prefinished. While a floor that’s finished onsite allows for customization of the stain and sheen, prefinished hardwood floors are much easier to maintain and more durable. There will also be minimal noise and dust during installation—and you’ll be able to walk on your floors immediately afterward.

The Ins and Outs of Installation

Once installed, it’s hard to tell the different wood flooring construction types apart. In general, the engineered and longstrip wood plank floors have thin layers of wood which are glued together and offer better dimensional stability than solid hardwood floors—allowing them to be used in rooms with a higher percentage of moisture content and over concrete slabs. Proper installation—by experienced crews like ours at Malkin’s—is the key to ensuring these products last and perform well.

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