Types Of Hardwood Flooring

The background of this image shows a wood floor with planks laid in a uniform, straight pattern.

With over three generations of expertise, G3 Hardwood Flooring has been providing the Colorado Springs community with the best hardwood flooring services since 1947. When it comes to hardwood flooring, there are numerous options available. As hardwood flooring experts, we understand how overwhelming it can be to choose which hardwood floors are best for you. To help you better understand your options and learn more about the benefits of different types of hardwood flooring, we’ve explained below the key differences between different types of hardwood floors. 

Solid Wood Flooring vs. Engineered Wood Flooring

Hardwood floors fall into one of two categories: solid hardwood flooring and engineered hardwood flooring. The main difference between these two types of flooring is how they’re constructed. A plank of solid hardwood flooring comes from one thick piece of timber. On the other hand, engineered hardwood planks are made of a thin piece of solid wood that’s glued on top of other layers to create a single plank. These other layers are usually composed of plywood or high-density fiberboard. Some important differences to consider when choosing between these two types of flooring include:

  1. Thickness
    • The thickness of engineered hardwood floors usually ranges from ⅜ to ½ inches. Engineered hardwood planks usually begin at 5 inches wide. Solid hardwood floors, on the other hand, are usually ¾ inches thick and are between 5 and 11 inches wide.
  2. Finishing
    • When referring to hardwood floors, if you choose an unfinished floor, you’re choosing raw hardwood. This means the floor needs to be sanded and refinished after installation. Engineered hardwood floors are usually unfinished. You can get unfinished solid hardwood floors, but people usually choose prefinished solid hardwood floors
  3. Sanding
    • Because solid hardwood floors are made of one single piece of wood, they can be sanded numerous times. This is extremely important if you’re someone who likes to change the appearance of their space often. Engineered hardwood floors can really only be sanded twice, maximum. After this, the top layer becomes too thin and can begin to wear away. 
  4. Installation
    • When it comes to installing your wood floors, solid hardwood flooring can be a bit more difficult to work with. Solid wood flooring has to either be glued down or nailed down. With engineered hardwood floors, you have the option to glue down, nail down or float over an underlay. 
  5. Resale Value
    • While both solid hardwood floors and engineered hardwood floors have similar resale values, potential buyers are usually drawn to the versatility of solid hardwood flooring. For example, if the wood floors in the home you’re selling isn’t a color that potential buyers like, they know they can sand them and restain them instead of having to rip out the hardwood floors and install new ones. 
  6. Durability
    • Because the planks of solid hardwood floors are composed of a single piece of wood, they tend to be more durable and last longer than engineered hardwood floors. The thin top layer of engineered hardwood floors is more prone to chipping and other cosmetic faults.
  7. Water Resistance
    • Solid hardwood floors are extremely temperamental when it comes to moisture and humidity. This type of wood flooring is more prone to warping than other wood flooring options. Because of this, you really don’t want to install solid hardwood flooring in a room where there’s a chance of it being exposed to moisture or high humidity. This includes rooms such as kitchens, basements and mudrooms. On the other hand, engineered hardwood floors are less susceptible to damage if exposed to moisture or high humidity. If you want to install wood floors in your basement or en suite bathroom, it’s better to choose engineered hardwood floors. It’s important to remember that engineered hardwood floors are not waterproof, only water resistant. 

Species Of Hardwood

Once you choose what type of wood flooring you want to install, you then have to choose which species of hardwood you prefer. Species is another way of saying the tree that the wood comes from. The look of your hardwood floors is determined by the species of wood you choose. For example, if you want a floor with more red tones, then you’d want to install red oak wood flooring. Some of the most common wood species include:

  1. Oak
    • Oak is one of the most popular hardwood flooring species in the country. Those interested in oak floors can choose between red oak and white oak. Red oak has warmer undertones and a large variety of grains throughout the planks. White oak has cooler undertones and tends to have a more consistent grain appearance with less variation between planks.
  2. Walnut
    • If you’re looking for a wood floor with warm tones and detailed grain patterns, then walnut is perfect for you! 
  3. Maple
    • Maple floors are extremely popular in American households, coming in right behind oak floors. Maple is one of the hardest species of wood available, making it perfect for those who have pets who need a stronger floor to hold up against scratches. Maple floors come in a variety of colors; from a pale white to a rich brown. 
  4. Hickory
    • Hickory is the hardest American wood species available, making it perfect for you if you’re worried about scuffing your wood floors. This also makes hickory a great option for businesses because the wood holds up great in high-traffic areas. The grain of hickory wood is complex and diverse, which makes it a showpiece in large, open spaces. 
  5. Mahogany
    • If you’re willing to spend the money for an imported wood, then mahogany floors may be the perfect choice for you. Mahogany is extremely durable and consists of warm tones and wavy grain patterns.
  6. Teak
    • Teak is another type of wood floor that has to be imported. Teak is one of the more expensive types of wood flooring options, but it’s extremely durable and perfect for households with pets or children. 

Different Wood Floor Patterns

An important part of choosing your perfect hardwood floors is deciding what pattern you want. A wood floor pattern, also known as parquet floors, has a crucial role in contributing to the overall appearance of a space. Some common wood floor designs that you may be familiar with include:

  1. Herringbone
    • Herringbone floors are one of the most common wood floor patterns. A herringbone pattern is achieved with pieces of wood that are the same size and laid in a way where the end of one plank matches perfectly with the end of another plank. 
  2. Chevron
    • The chevron pattern is extremely similar to the herringbone pattern. The main difference is that a chevron floor is achieved with planks that are cut to meet at an angle, achieving a continuous zigzag pattern. 
  3. Mixed-Width
    • Mixed-width floors are exactly what they sound like: a hardwood floor made up of planks with various widths.
  4. Horizontal Strip
    • This design is the most popular wood floor design used today. The planks of wood are installed in uniform, straight lines.

Vinyl Wood Floors vs. Laminate

In addition to solid hardwood floors and engineered hardwood floors, you can choose to install vinyl flooring or laminate flooring. Take a look below to learn more about the main differences between these two types of flooring options. 

Vinyl Wood Flooring

Vinyl wood flooring is completely synthetic but designed to resemble the look of hardwood floors. Vinyl wood flooring comes in a variety of styles and colors, meaning there’s something for everyone. Whether you want floors that resemble oak wood or hickory wood, there’s a vinyl wood flooring option that’s perfect for you! Vinyl wood flooring is also substantially more affordable than real hardwood floors, making it perfect for those who want to update their space without breaking the bank. Some of the advantages of vinyl wood flooring include:

  1. Installation
    • Depending on the type of planks you choose, vinyl wood floors can be installed by either being glued down, floated over a subfloor or locked into place using an interlocking system with tongue-and-groove joints.
  2. Water Resistance
    • This type of flooring is water-resistant, meaning you can install it in more spaces than real hardwood floors. This includes rooms such as bathrooms and kitchens.
  3. Heated Floors
    • There are a number of vinyl wood flooring options available that allow you to install in-floor heating beneath the floor. If you’re looking for the ultimate luxury in your space, this is a great way to achieve it!
  4. Maintenance
    • Vinyl wood floors are one of the easiest flooring options to maintain. In order to keep your floors in peak condition, all you need to do is regularly vacuum or sweep and occasionally mop your vinyl wood floors. If you take good care of your vinyl wood floors, they can look brand new even 20 years down the road.

Laminate Wood Flooring

Like vinyl wood flooring, laminate wood flooring is made of synthetic materials that resemble the look of real hardwood floors. This type of flooring has vastly improved since being first introduced in the ‘70s. Besides being one of the most affordable flooring options available, some other advantages of laminate wood flooring include:

  1. Installation
    • Laminate wood floors are one of the easiest floors to install because they can be floated on top of your subfloor. This means if your subfloor is in good condition, you don’t have to worry about the time or money it would take to remove your existing floors before installing your laminate wood floors.
  2. Maintenance
    • Laminate wood flooring is also an extremely easy-to-maintain type of flooring, but you should still be careful. If your laminate floors come in contact with too much water, they can begin to warp. So, if you need to mop your floors, make sure to only use water and ring out your mop before each pass. 
  3. Durability
    • Laminate wood floors are created with a strong wear layer, making them durable against foot traffic, pets, dents and even sun exposure. Depending on your household and how much wear and tear you predict for your floors, it’s important to consider the floor’s AC rating. AC stands for abrasion criteria and determines how durable a floor is. So, a laminate wood floor with a rating of AC1 can withstand moderate residential use and should be used in spaces such as closets. On the other hand, a laminate wood floor with a rating of AC5 is built to withstand the wear and tear of commercial spaces. 

Choosing The Best Type Of Hardwood Floor

With so many options available, it can be difficult to decide which type of hardwood flooring is best for you and your space. It’s important to remember that each option has its own set of advantages, and you need to consider which advantages work best for your situation. Whenever you’re vacillating between all of your floor options, it’s helpful to create a list with your must-haves and see which type of flooring crosses off every item on your list. For example, if it’s a priority for you to have a type of wood floor in your master bathroom that can be heated, then vinyl wood flooring would be a perfect option for you. If you don’t have a budget and want a wood floor that can be refinished multiple times, then you need to go with a solid hardwood floor. 

Choose Your Perfect Hardwood Floors With G3 Hardwood Flooring

Whether you’re interested in oak vinyl wood flooring or walnut solid wood flooring, the wood floor experts at G3 Hardwood Flooring are prepared to help you achieve your ultimate wood flooring. As Bona Certified craftsmen in Colorado Springs, we are dedicated to providing you with the best wood flooring services possible. Each member of our team is equipped with the necessary knowledge to explain your wood flooring options to you and help you choose the right type of hardwood flooring for your unique needs. With over 30 years of experience, you can rest assured that there’s no one better to help you with your hardwood flooring needs than the team at G3 Hardwood Flooring! To speak with one of our trained experts and learn more about your hardwood flooring options, please contact us today.