Here we'll explain to you how engineered hardwood flooring is produced and how it compares to solid, laminate and vinyl plank flooring.
How to buy a hardwood floor online
When purchasing hardwood flooring online, or in person, you'll want to take into consideration the following factors:
- Color / Stain / Variation
- Hardness (janka scale)
- Construction (engineered VS solid, etc)
- Finish (aluminum oxide, oil, UV laquor...)
- Wear Layer Thickness
- Sampling Options
- Shipping / Delivery
- Installation Options (given your subfloor, and the product you are choosing)
Choosing the right color for your hardwood floor
Color in hardwood flooring is determined by several factors. The obvious one is the stain, which in most cases will darken the floor from it's natural color. A white-wash on the other hand will typically result in a lighter color than the natural tone of the species.
The species itself plays a large factor in the end look of your floor. When comparing the look of one species to another, take note of each species' variation between its planks. Some species such as acacia, hickory or brazilian cherry will have great variation between light and dark from on plank to the next, as well as within a plank itself. Species such as birch or maple tend to be more evenly toned, with little to no variation between planks. As the stain applied moves towards the darker end of the spectrum, the variation between the planks becomes less noticeable.
When looking at smaller samples of a floor, it sometimes helps to see an example of the species in it's natural color. This will tell you what underlies the stain on the other planks, and will give you an idea of the character which the color is based off of.
Which species of floor is best for my project?
The species which you choose will dictate several key features of your flooring. As mentioned above, an obvious feature of each species is it's color, and color variation. Other visual factors include the number of knots and imperfections you may see within the floor. This is typically known as the grade of the floor, and each species will inherently have more or less of these imperfections.
The next factor determined by the species is it's hardness. The hardness of a floor is shown by it's Janka Scale rating. The Janka Scale is a measurement of the resistance a particular species has to denting and wear. It is a measure of the force required to push a small steel ball a certain distance into the wood. A Janka rating around 1,300 is suitable for typical residential installations. We recommend a Janka rating of 1,700+ for families with children and pets.
The species of floor will be a large factor in it's final cost. This results from the combination of the markets need for a particular species versus both the availability of the species, and how difficult it is harvest and process the wood. Two engineered floors with the same construction, and wear layers of different species may see a difference in price of up to 40% for any given manufacturer.
Are engineered floors better or worse than solid floors?
Flooring finishes explained
What is considered a good wear layer for an engineered floor
How do I get samples of hardwood flooring?
What does the warranty of a hardwood floor cover?
Why are some floors more expensive then others?
How do I get the floors to my house?
I'm not an installer. How do I install or find someone to install my floors?