New Year, New Home: Top Five Factors When Selecting Hardwood Flooring

From my previous post, Love It or List It? The Case for Decision-Making Renos, you’ll know that after nine long years with our berber carpet on our home’s second floor, it was time for a change.
HD1However, settling on the perfect hardwood flooring – even when you’re simply matching one floor to the next – is not a quick and simple process. There are many variables that can influence the colour, type and price of the flooring you choose. Today, let’s go over the Top Five Factors When Selecting Hardwood Flooring.

1. Decide if You Are Ready to Make the Change. I know, you’ve heard that a hardwood or engineered hardwood floor is best for your home’s resale. I’m not disputing that! It is one of the top reasons we were enthusiastic to replace our old carpet.

There’s lots of price variety in hardwood at The Home Depot Canada or even new vinyl options – but depending on finances, your family life and even your décor preferences, remember, carpet can still be replaced with… carpet! You can find carpet in an array of textures and fibres to add a comfortable, decorative touch to any room. Because on a cold day, there’s nothing like getting out of bed and stepping onto plush, warm flooring!

But if you’re reading this and thinking, Nope! Let’s do this Lena. Hardwood flooring all the way! – here are four more factors to consider.

2. Solid Hardwood vs. Engineered Hardwood Flooring. There are two main types of wood flooring: solid hardwood and engineered hardwood. A popular misconception is that engineered hardwood isn’t made from real wood – it is, it’s just that engineered hardwood is manufactured differently. Here are the main points to consider when selecting between the two, courtesy of The Home Depot Canada’s Hardwood Flooring Buying Guide.

Solid hardwood is milled from solid lumber and works well in almost any room. This type of wood flooring can be sanded and refinished numerous times to maintain its natural beauty. Solid hardwood flooring is generally not recommended in below-grade locations like bathrooms or basements due to the potential for damage from ground moisture.

Engineered hardwood flooring (pictured below) combines a thin-but-tough real hardwood surface with underlying multiple layers of plywood or fireboard. Its laminated layers make it remarkably strong and more resistant to moisture. As a result, it can be used in below, on, or above grade locations, basements. Just like solid hardwood, engineered hardwood floors can be sanded and refinished for a longer life span.
HD23. The Wood’s Species and Finish. It *is* derived from a living organism, after all, so of course it has a species! Oak, hard maple and birch are common in most homes, but we know many homeowners who have used bamboo, pine, walnut and cherry flooring as well. And here’s the thing – ALL wood species are suitable for everyday use, so don’t let anyone tell you that one is infinitely better than another. It all comes down to the style of your room and your own personal preference; you’ll often see pine flooring in country-like homes, whereas red oak creates a more traditional look.

As for the finish, hardwood flooring is usually pre-finished with a polyurethane product to give it a rich shine and protective surface. The standard polyurethane finishes are semi-gloss or satin, or matte. The only advice I have for you? Matte finishes are more practical for pets, children and higher foot traffic, as it will show scratches and dents less, and will not dull quickly.

4. The Reputation of the Product and Manufacturer. If it’s being sold at The Home Depot Canada, you know you can trust the reputation of the product and manufacturer. However, customer reviews exist – practically everywhere online! – so it’s a very good idea to do a little research on the product you are investing in.

For our part, we selected Beaulieu Canada’s Inverness Oak Engineered Wood. Not only does it feature stunning antique visuals with an authentic handscraped finish; many online reviews verified that it was easy to install and maintain (tongue and groove method, micro-beveled edge). Plus, since it’s engineered, it is more dimensionally stable than solid wood and perfect for the traffic it will see from the kids on the second floor.
hardwood2(This is an actual photo of the wood installed in my home! Stay tuned for my “before and after” post to read more about why we are deliriously happy with this particular product. In the meantime, bookmark this link for Beaulieu Canada Engineered Wood Flooring available at The Home Depot Canada.)

5. DIY or DIFM (Do It For Me)? When purchasing hardwood flooring, there is one major variable that can change your budget dramatically – whether you choose to install the flooring yourself or call in a professional to do the work. If you decide to hire an installer, you have two choices: you can call around for referrals and estimates, or you can enlist an experienced, highly skilled and licensed installer from The Home Depot Canada’s Installation Services. Here’s how they can help:

When you visit in-store, an associate will show you the possibilities and help you pick the perfect flooring option. If you bring along approximate measurements of the room or areas involved, you can also be provided with an estimate for the project. Then, an Installation Services Coordinator will arrange an in-home consultation at your convenience. At this time, an installer will visit you in your home to evaluate the area of your new hardwood flooring and take necessary measurements.

During the installation, the installer will remove existing flooring if necessary, move furniture if required, and install your new flooring. Once the installation is complete, your installer will meet with you to perform a final inspection and confirm your satisfaction.

hdAre you ready for a renovation? Next week, I’ll share my key learning points from our recent hardwood flooring makeover. If you’re thinking of replacing your flooring this year, stay tuned! I’ll help you navigate the process with ease.

This post is sponsored by The Home Depot Canada. All expressed opinions and experiences are my own words.