Hardwood Information

hardwood options

Hardwood flooring is stylish and versatile and will add value to your home for years to come.

Before you browse our online hardwood flooring catalog, a few quick tips.
  • All our online pricing INCLUDES Product, and Basic Installation.
  • We have hardwood options starting at $8 per square foot INSTALLED.
  • Don't overthink it. Nothing you click here is final. We'll bring samples to your in-home consultation so you can touch and see them in your own space.
  • We try our best to keep the online catalog current. We can promise you that there's always more available then we have online.
  • See something you like - add it to your favorites. We'll be able to get to know your taste.
  • Don't see anything you like? Just ask. Or better yet, send us a picture. Chances are we have it or can get it. We work directly with major manufacturers and distributors such as Shaw, Mohawk, LW Mountain, Casabella, A.R.C., Triangulo, IndusParquet, Eagle Creek and more.
  • Focus on how you want your new Hardwood to look, feel and last.
  • Don't worry about becoming an expert, that's our job.
  • When you find something you like, add it to your favorites.
  • Have fun looking around!
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Solid Wood vs. Engineered wood

This is one of the most common points of confusion in the world of wood flooring. We often have customers that make statements such as, “I want real wood.” Here’s our quick response. If you are looking down at wood grain, and that grain used to be part of a tree, then it is real wood. That’s usually followed up with, “you know what I mean, the solid stuff.”

In this situation, we seek to find out why. While we don’t want to win an argument at the expense of losing a customer, we do like to get to the heart of the matter. We often discover that a consumer’s position is based on outdated or misinformation. For example, we’ve had several customers use engineered wood and laminate flooring interchangeably; which is definitely not accurate.

Engineers make things better. Cars are safer, our phones are smarter, and we can put objects into orbit; all thanks to engineers. Granted, engineered wood floors may not rank as high on the list of engineering achievements of the last century, but they certainly deserve your consideration.

Once installed, unless you can expose an edge of the wood, there's no visual way to tell if the floor is solid or engineered.  Furthermore, engineered wood floors were not designed to be less expensive, that just happens sometimes; usually when the raw material cost is higher like with most exotic woods. Also, because of choices a manufacturer can make, there are "value engineered" products that will be lower price and quality. 

Engineered floors also tend to be more dimensionally stable than their solid counterparts. This is a great quality in parts of the country that experience shifts in temperature and humidity throughout the year. It also allows engineered floors to be installed in lower levels of homes (below grade) where solid floors cannot be installed.

Smooth vs. Distressed

Smooth is usually easy to explain. The boards will look and feel smooth and unblemished.   On the other hand, distressed or non-smooth floors can come in a few varieties such as. 

  • Wire brushed - a wire brush or course grit sanding paper removes the softer wood from the face of the board allowing you to actually feel the grain of the wood.
  • Hand Scraped - generally a round chisel or shaper is moved along the length of the board giving a sculpted feel and appearance to the top of the board. 
  • Tool marks - can be left over from the milling process and not removed such as rough saw marks or "chatter", or they can look as if the flooring has been installed in a work environment and has had tools and other items dropped on it over time. 
  • Barnwood or other "salvaged" visuals - generally give the appearance of much older boards that have been exposed to years of weather and/or wear. 
A great thing about distressed hardwood flooring is that the floor doesn't start off as perfect, so the pressure to keep it that way is eliminated. 

These same concepts are also utilized in furniture making. 

Color & Grain Variation

It is important to realize that hardwood is a natural product. Its color, variation and grain patterns were created by nature, not by an artist or in a lab. Most of these factors are based on species of tree that the wood came from.

The "natural" color of different species is a good starting point for this topic. When a clear finish is applied to different woods, they will look different. Brazillian Cherry, for example will appear.... you guessed it, red.   American Walnut has a deep, rich brown color.  Because of the inherent color of different species, they may or may not respond to different colors of stain we would add to them.  If you have a color in in mind for your floor, it can certainly guide your selection. 

The same material will also accept the same color stain differently from board to board. Some species will be more uniform, others will vary more. Think about how much variation you want or can tolerate.

Beyond color, the grain of different species will influence the look of your floor. Brazilian Cherry tends to be more uniform, whereas Acacia has a much more "swirly" appearance. 

Plank Width

Over recent years, the trend has been moving towards wider planks.

Traditional strip flooring was usually 2 1/4" to 3 1/4" wide.  Now it is very common to see 5" and wider planks being used.  We're also seeing a nice increase of multi-width options such as blending together 3" 5" and 7" material on the same floor. 

There are a few reasons for this trend.

  • The dimensional stability of today's engineered hardwood allows larger boards to be installed while minimizing the gapping and cupping inherent to solid hardwood. 
  • Manufacturing efficiencies improve the yield, or amount of material a manufacturer can get from a tree when trying to extract larger boards. The price difference between narrow and wide isn't as dramatic as it was in the past. 
  • Larger homes with open floor plans allow the wider planks to be appreciated. 

Other hardwood considerations

If you've made it this far and are still confused, don't worry. You're not alone.  It wasn't so long ago that the biggest choices in wood were oak, oak, or oak. And 1 of 3 popular colors (natural, butterscotch or gunstock). The good news is you have way more choices now. So, the bad news may also be, you have way more choices now. 

There are other factors we think about so you don't have to. 

  • Hardness of different species
  • Light sensitivity
  • Site or environmental considerations
  • Different finishes and durability
  • Pre-finished vs. site finished
  • Nailed down, glued down or floating installation.
  • Out of the box options such as herringbone, borders, inlays, medallions, etc.
So, if you're still not sure, let us help. Schedule your consultation to meet with a flooring professional. If you have a  picture of a floor you like, please send it over to us. Even if it was at a friend's home, a restaurant, another store

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