Guide on How to Choose Hardwood Flooring

Selecting the right hardwood flooring for your home is a significant decision that impacts both the aesthetic and functionality of your living spaces. Understanding how to choose hardwood flooring is essential as it adds character, warmth, and value to your property. In this detailed guide, we’ll lead you through all the necessary steps and considerations to ensure you make an informed choice that aligns with your lifestyle and design preferences.

The Basics of Hardwood Flooring

It’s important to understand the basics of hardwood flooring. Hardwood floors are made from different species of trees, including oak, maple, cherry, and walnut, among others. Each species offers unique grain patterns, colors, and hardness levels, which can significantly impact the floor’s appearance and durability.

Two main categories of hardwood flooring are solid and engineered. Solid hardwood is made from a single piece of wood, while engineered hardwood consists of a top layer of real wood attached to multiple layers of plywood or other wood-based materials. Both types have their advantages and disadvantages, which we will explore further.

How to Choose Hardwood Flooring: A Comprehensive Guide

Whether renovating an old space or choosing floors for a new home, understanding how to choose hardwood flooring can transform your living environment into a more inviting, durable, and timeless space. Let’s discuss the essential factors to consider when selecting hardwood flooring.

1. Assessing Your Lifestyle and Needs

The first step in how to choose hardwood flooring is considering your daily lifestyle. Homes bustling with pets, children, and heavy foot traffic require durable hardwood floors like oak, maple, or hickory. These species withstand wear and tear better, offering longevity and ease of maintenance. Identifying your household’s needs helps narrow down the hardwood types that are best suited for your environment

2. Understanding Different Types of Hardwood

When learning how to choose hardwood flooring, it’s vital to understand the differences between solid and engineered hardwood. Solid hardwood consists of single wood planks, offering a traditional and timeless appeal but may not be suitable for all environments due to its sensitivity to moisture and temperature changes.

Engineered hardwood, however, consists of a top layer of real wood adhered to several layers of plywood, making it more stable and suitable for various climates and installation areas, including basements.

3. Selecting the Right Wood Species

Choosing the right wood species is central to how to choose hardwood flooring. Each species has unique grain patterns, colors, and hardness ratings. For high-traffic areas, consider harder woods to prevent scratches and dents. For a unique aesthetic, exotic woods like Brazilian cherry or bamboo offer distinctive looks but can be more expensive. It’s essential to balance aesthetics, functionality, and cost when selecting your wood species.

4. Deciding on the Perfect Finish

The finish of your hardwood floor affects both its appearance and resilience. High-gloss finishes add shine and brightness but show scratches more easily, while matte finishes conceal imperfections and offer a more natural look. Additionally, consider whether you prefer the charm of oil-based finishes or the durability of polyurethane coatings.

5. Considering Color and Plank Size

Color and plank size significantly influence the room’s visual dynamics. Light-colored hardwoods, such as ash or maple, make spaces appear larger and more open, ideal for smaller rooms. Dark woods, like walnut or mahogany, create a cozy, sophisticated atmosphere. When thinking about how to choose hardwood flooring, also consider plank width – wider planks lend a rustic, spacious feel, while narrower planks offer a more traditional appearance.

6. Pondering Installation Methods

The installation method can impact the overall look and feel of your hardwood flooring. Traditional nail-down techniques are suitable for solid hardwoods, while floating floors, where planks interlock and lay over a subfloor, are common for engineered types.

7. Acknowledging Maintenance Requirements

Knowing how to choose hardwood flooring includes considering the maintenance it will require. Hardwood flooring needs regular cleaning to maintain its sheen and prevent damage. Some finishes may require periodic refinishing or special cleaning products. Opt for a wood and finish that aligns with your willingness to maintain them, ensuring your floors remain beautiful for years.

8. Setting a Realistic Budget

Budgeting is a crucial aspect of choosing hardwood flooring. Prices vary widely based on wood species, finish, and installation costs. While higher-end options like exotic woods or intricate designs may be tempting, there are many high-quality, affordable alternatives. Determine your budget early in the process to guide your selections and avoid overspending.

9. Factoring in Environmental Impact

For eco-conscious homeowners, considering the environmental impact is part of how to choose hardwood flooring. Look for sustainably sourced woods certified by organizations like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Engineered hardwood is often considered more sustainable than solid wood due to its efficient use of materials.

10. Seeking Professional Advice

Lastly, do not undervalue the importance of seeking professional guidance. A flooring expert can provide insights into the best materials for your home’s specific conditions, offer installation advice, and help you navigate budget constraints. They can also provide samples to help visualize how different options will look in your space.

Frequently Asked Questions

how to choose hardwood flooring

 Can hardwood floors increase my home’s value?

Yes, hardwood floors can increase your home’s value due to their durability, timeless appeal, and preference among homeowners. They are often viewed as a smart investment in the real estate market, as they not only enhance the aesthetic charm of your home but also contribute to its overall marketability and desirability.

What is the best hardwood floor for durability?

When it comes to durability, one of the best hardwood flooring options is oak. Oak hardwood flooring is renowned for its exceptional durability and resistance to wear and tear. Its dense grain structure makes it less prone to dents and scratches, ensuring that your floors maintain their pristine appearance for years to come.

What hardwood flooring is the least expensive?

In terms of affordability, one of the least expensive hardwood flooring options is maple. Maple hardwood flooring offers a beautiful, light-colored surface that can brighten up any room. Its affordability makes it an attractive option for budget-conscious homeowners seeking the elegance and charm of hardwood flooring.


How to choose hardwood flooring involves a series of important decisions, from selecting the right type, species, and finish to understanding the installation and maintenance requirements. By considering your lifestyle, aesthetic preferences, and budget, you can find hardwood flooring that enhances your home’s beauty while providing practical, long-lasting benefits.

Are you ready to transform your home with the timeless beauty of hardwood flooring? Our team at Flooring 941 is dedicated to helping you every step of the way, from selecting the ideal hardwood to professional installation. Get in touch with us today to begin your journey towards elevating your home.