What Is Hardwood Flooring: Comprehensive Guide

what is hardwood flooring

Hardwood flooring remains a timeless and sought-after option for homeowners, offering durability, elegance, and natural beauty. Its rich history, a diverse range of wood species, and enduring appeal make it a favored option for both traditional and modern interiors.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore what is hardwood flooring, types, installation methods, and maintenance tips. Whether you’re considering hardwood flooring for a home renovation or simply curious about this classic flooring option, this guide provides all the essential information you need to know.

What Is Hardwood Flooring?

Hardwood flooring comprises solid wood harvested from deciduous trees such as oak, maple, cherry, and walnut. Unlike engineered wood flooring, which consists of multiple layers of wood veneer bonded together, hardwood flooring is crafted from a single piece of wood, providing exceptional durability and longevity. Each plank of hardwood flooring showcases the unique grain patterns, knots, and natural variations inherent to the wood species, adding character and charm to any space.

Types of Hardwood Flooring

When exploring what is hardwood flooring, it’s crucial to understand the different types available. Each type brings its own set of characteristics, benefits, and aesthetic appeal to fit various styles, preferences, and functional needs in a home. Let’s explore the primary categories.

Solid Hardwood

Solid hardwood, derived from a single piece of wood, offers durability and the potential for multiple refinishing. It comes in various species, such as oak and maple, infusing timeless elegance into any space.

Engineered Hardwood

Engineered hardwood includes a thin layer of real wood atop plywood, providing stability and suitability for all levels of a home, including basements. It delivers the appearance of solid hardwood with added resilience.

Reclaimed Hardwood

Reclaimed wood sourced from old structures presents a distinctive, eco-friendly flooring option rich in character and history. Each plank narrates a story, rendering it a sustainable and captivating choice.

Prefinished and Unfinished Hardwood

Prefinished floors arrive with a factory finish and are ready for installation, while unfinished floors necessitate on-site finishing for personalized touches. Prefinished floors offer convenience, whereas unfinished floors permit greater customization.

How to Install Hardwood Flooring

When considering what hardwood flooring is, it’s evident that installing it can greatly enhance the ambience of your home, bringing both warmth and elegance to every room. However, the installation process requires precision and attention to detail. Below are the steps entailed in the process:

Subfloor Preparation

Begin with a clean, level, and dry subfloor. This step might involve removing old flooring and eliminating any debris or nails. A plywood or concrete subfloor is ideal, as it offers a stable foundation for the hardwood planks, ensuring the longevity and stability of your flooring.

Hardwood Acclimatization

Allow the hardwood planks to adjust to the environment of your home for at least three days prior to installation. This critical step helps prevent future warping and expansion, maintaining the integrity of your flooring.

Layout Planning

Thoughtfully planning the layout of your hardwood flooring is crucial for aesthetic alignment. Maximize the room’s visual attractiveness by laying the planks parallel to the longest wall or in alignment with the primary light source during installation. Accurate measurements and planning help avoid the installation of overly narrow planks along the edges.

Underlayment Installation

Depending on the conditions and type of your subfloor, an underlayment might be necessary. This layer aids in noise reduction, moisture control, and creating a smooth base, ensuring a flawless finish for your hardwood flooring.

First Row Installation

Start the actual installation by laying down the first row of planks against the longest wall, ensuring they are straight and secure. Maintain a slight gap between the planks and the wall to allow for wood expansion, using spacers for consistent spacing.

Plank Installation

Progressively install the remaining planks, row by row, making sure the seams are staggered for a seamless and attractive layout. Use appropriate tools like a mallet and tapping block for snug fittings and trim planks as necessary to navigate around corners or fixtures.

Finishing Touches

Once all the planks are perfectly placed, install baseboards or shoe molding to hide the expansion gaps, providing a polished and comprehensive look. Thoroughly clean the installed hardwood flooring before moving furniture back into place, completing your space’s transformation.

Maintenance of Hardwood Flooring

what is hardwood flooring

Hardwood floors are a timeless investment that adds warmth and elegance to any home. Regular maintenance is essential to protect this investment and prolong the life of your hardwood floors. Here are some expert tips for keeping your hardwood floors in pristine condition:

Regular Cleaning

Make it a habit to sweep or vacuum regularly, removing dust, dirt, and debris that could potentially scratch the surface. For a more thorough clean, opt for a wood floor cleaner paired with a microfiber mop to gently lift stubborn dirt and grime without causing any damage to the wood.

Prevent Scratches

Prevent your hardwood floors from scratches by placing felt pads beneath furniture legs and avoid activities that could cause damage, such as wearing high heels or dragging heavy objects across the floor. Moreover, using area rugs or mats in areas with high foot traffic can also help minimize wear and tear.

Manage Spills

Accidents happen, but it’s important to address them promptly to prevent water damage and staining. Use a damp cloth to absorb the spill, then dry the area thoroughly to avoid moisture from penetrating the wood, potentially causing warping or discoloration.


Over time, hardwood floors may start to show signs of wear, including scratches, dullness, and fading. The frequency of hardwood floor refinishing should be determined by the level of traffic and wear. Typically, it’s recommended to refinish hardwood floors every 7-10 years to restore their original luster and safeguard them from further damage. Hiring a professional ensures the job is done correctly and safely, preserving the integrity of your hardwood floors for years to come.


Is hardwood flooring worth it?

Hardwood flooring is often considered a worthwhile investment due to its durability, timeless aesthetic appeal, and potential to increase the value of a property. While the initial expense of hardwood flooring may be higher than some other flooring choices, its longevity and ability to be refinished can make it a cost-effective option in the long run. 

How much does hardwood flooring cost?

The cost of hardwood flooring differs depending on factors like the type of wood species, quality of the material, and installation method. On average, hardwood flooring can range from $6 to $12 per square foot.

What is hardwood flooring best for?

Hardwood flooring is versatile and applicable to both residential and commercial settings. Its durability and innate charm make it an excellent option for spaces with heavy foot traffic, like living rooms, kitchens, and entryways. Hardwood flooring also provides excellent insulation properties, assisting in regulating indoor temperatures and decreasing energy costs.  


Understanding what is hardwood flooring allows homeowners to make informed decisions about their home’s aesthetics and functionality. With its natural appeal, durability, and timeless style, hardwood flooring remains a favorite among homeowners. Whether you’re renovating an old space or selecting flooring for a new one, consider the lasting beauty of hardwood. 

If you’re ready to explore what is hardwood flooring, reach out to Flooring 941 for a wide selection and expert advice. Embrace the elegance and timeless beauty of hardwood flooring on your property. Contact us today!