Which Wood FLoor Is Right For my Home?
Which species is right for me?
The Species you select will depend on your style, budget and personal preferences. More than 50 domestic and imported species of wood flooring are available to achieve your unique look. As a general rule, light wood will make a room appear more open and airy, medium woods will make a room feel warm and cozy, and dark woods will make a room feel stately and refined. Check out all the options at http://woodfloors.org/gallery.aspx
Site Finished or Factory Finished?
Both site-finished and factory-finished wood floors have benefits and advantages. Choosing one over the other will depend on the level of customization you want to acheive, and your personal preferance.
A site finish is one that is applied on the job site, in the room where the floor is being installed. This method offers the most customization. The trade-off, however, is that you will need to allow time for the finish to dry, during which you will not be able to walk on your floor.
A factory finish is one that is apllied at the factory, long before it reaches your home. This method offers the least customization. The benifit is that you will be able to walk on your floors immediately after they are installed.
Engineered or Solid?
Both engineered and solid wood floors are made using real wood, but each has different uses based on where you want to install it.
Solid wood floors are made using one solid piece of wood. The thickness can vary, but generally ranges from 5/16" to 3/4". Solid wood flooring can be used in any room that is above ground. One of the many benefits of solid wood flooring is that it can be sanded and refinished many times during its service life.
Engineered wood floors are manufactured using multiple layers of wood veneers. The layers that you can't see can be of the same species, a composite material, or different species. The top layer, which is the only layer that is visible, uses high-quaility wood. The grain of each layer runs in perpendicular directions, which makes it very dimensionally stable. This means that the wood willl expand and contract less that solid wood floors during fluctuations in humidity and temperature. Engineered wood floors can be used in any room in a home, including those below ground.
Glossy or Matte?
The sheen of your wood floor is a matter of personal preference. Gloss finishes offer the most shine and will reflect the most light, semi-gloss finishes offer some shine and will reflect some light, and matte finishes offer the least shine and will reflect the least light. The less sheen, the less you will notice small scratches and other wear that is normal with wood floors.
Strip, Plank, or Parquet?
Harwood floors are manufactured in three styles: strip, plank, and parquet. Each style is available in a variety of species, colors and widths, so choosing the right style simply is a matter of which look you prefer.
Strip flooring is less than 3" wide, and creates a linear effect in a room, often making a room appear larger. Strip wood flooring is generally considered "traditional" wood flooring.
Plank flooring is equal to or greater that 3" wide. While plank flooring is linear like strip flooring, its wider widths often create a more casual look.
Parquet flooring can often vary in size, and usually generates a geometric, non-linear look. Parquet flooring can be a very simple design of complex.
Check out each of these options at http://woodfloors.org/styles.aspx
FAQ information provided by NWFA (National Wood Flooring Association)