With the growing popularity of hardwood flooring comes the increasing confusion regarding the right type of hardwood for your home. There are now so many choices available that selecting the perfect wood floor has become challenging. There are several different types of species, stains, finishes, thicknesses, widths, and treatments that can make any homeowner want to postpone their flooring project.
Here are some of the basics…
Hardwood flooring is typically sold as engineered vs solid hardwood. Both are “real hardwood”. Engineered is a hardwood veneer on top with a core of either hardwood or plywood usually 3/8” or ½” thick. Solid hardwood is the same species throughout typically ¾” thick. Engineered hardwood is more popular due to its ability to come in wider planks and its higher resistance to moisture fluctuation.
There are various treatments and finishes that the hardwood can be manufactured in. Hand scraped tends to have thicker grooves in the wood. Some of them more dramatic than others. They help hide dents and scratches very well. Distressed hardwood have more of a weathered look with nicks and dents already applied. It is similar to a wire brushed hardwood that literally has been treated by scratching the top layer to bring the center of the growth ring to the surface. They help hide everyday wear and traffic considerably as well.
These types of hardwoods can be finished in a variety of ways at the factory. Smooth and hand scraped woods are often coated in aluminum oxide or acrylic impregnated. Both offer extremely high durability with little maintenance. They tend to have more of a sheen in appearance and are available in a multitude of species.
The distressed and wire brushed floors are typically natural oil or uv cured oil finished. The natural oil will require job site oiling after installation and occasional oiling to keep it looking fresh. Surface scratches will disappear in the natural oil finished products after reapplying the oil. Uv cured has become extremely popular as they have the look of the natural oil but has less maintenance. These are often made from European oak as well as other species.
An active family with large dogs would probably want to look at the uv cured distressed. They will offer the easiest maintenance while hiding the most dents and scratches.