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The best part of all types of hardwood floors is that you may choose any of them and your house will look fantastic. All of them have unmatched natural beauty and complement any kind of decor — be it modern, traditional, contemporary, country, classic, or even eclectic. With wooden floors, you can’t go wrong.

Hardwood floors are durable, natural, and renewable. Furthermore, they are available in a variety of colors and grain patterns.

So, if you’re planning a home remodeling and want to choose between the types of hardwood floors for your living space, this article will help you. It’ll list out the most popular hardwood flooring for you to choose from. 

Is a home remodeling on the cards? Use our free home renovation estimator to have a fair idea of the total expenditure of your project. 

Undoubtedly, a hardwood floor has a charm, richness, and classic looks. What’s more, it lasts a lifetime and “ages well”. 

Hardwood flooring comes in different types and styles to fit various lifestyle needs, individual designs, and budgets. Here, we have explored all the popular options in three categories: production style, wood species, and finish. So, let’s begin. 

Types of Hardwood Floors Based on Production Style

1. Solid Wood Flooring

Hardwood flooring prices: $4 to $12 per square foot

Solid wood flooringImagen de C Hickenbotham en Pixabay CC0

Solid hardwood flooring consists of solid pieces of wood from choicest wood species. You construct the entire hardwood plank from that wood. This type of hardwood floor is as natural as can be — giving your home a warm, authentic charm. If well-maintained, this durable flooring will last you a lifetime. 

There are however two downsides to solid hardwood. One is its high price and the other is that it’s susceptible to moisture damage. Therefore, it’s not a good choice for rooms with high amounts of humidity.

Solid wood is primarily available in three types of flooring — based on their size and style. You can have both unfinished as well as pre-finished versions in all three. 

For those who are new at this, unfinished flooring is sanded and finished after installation at the job site while pre-finished flooring is sanded and finished at the factory, and then installed. 

The three types of solid wood flooring are:

  • Strip flooring – These strips are great for giving an illusion of more space. Thickness range: 5/16 — 3/4 of an inch wide. Available widths: 1 1/2 inches, 2 inches, and 2 1/4 inches.
  • Plank flooring – The floor planks are perfect for a rustic look. Available thicknesses: 1/2 inch or 3/4 inch. Width range: 3 inches — 8 inches.
  • Parquet flooring – Parquet floors are made up of individual wood slats with geometrical patterns. 

2. Engineered Wood Flooring

Engineered wood flooringPhoto by Vecislavas Popa from Pexels CC0

Hardwood flooring cost: $2.50 to $10 per square foot. 

Several layers of wood are pressed together and then a layer of actual hardwood is laid on top and bottom of this core layer. Interestingly, the multi-ply engineered hardwood flooring is less susceptible to moisture damage. 

What’s more, this inexpensive floor option is flexible and versatile enough to use in basements and upper stories of your house. You can easily install it directly over a concrete subfloor or a radiant heating system.

On the flip side, you can’t sand or refinish this floor, it’s not very durable, and doesn’t add much resale value to your home.

3. Laminate Flooring

Laminate wood flooringPhoto by Milly Eaton from Pexels CC0

Hardwood flooring cost: $0.50 to $6 per sq ft. 

When you compress layers of fiberboard together, place a photographic image of wood grain, stone, or tile, and then add a protective coating over the fiberboard — you get laminate flooring

For those on a tight budget, laminate is the most cost-effective option. It’s inexpensive, can withstand minor wear and tear (some are even waterproof), and has an easy installation process. It tries to mimic the look and feel of real wood. 

If you opt for such flooring, make sure that you buy a good quality one with a guarantee. Otherwise, it’s very difficult to repair a damaged laminate. Do keep in mind that a laminate floor is not very appealing to potential homebuyers.

Types of Hardwood Floors Based on Wood Species

Hardwood floorModern White Bedroom, by Paintzen on flickr – www.paintzen.com  [CC BY 2.0]

There are so many varieties of wood species for your flooring that choosing the right one can be overwhelming. We’ll list out 20 such kinds of wood for you to choose from. 

Number Wood Species Pros Cons
1 Bamboo
  • A form of grass that gives the look and feel of wood
  • Comes in a variety of colors
  • Can be sanded and refinished
  • Not suitable for humid or damp areas
  • Tends to scratch easily
2 Maple
  • Popular hardwood flooring with a subtle grain pattern
  • Extremely durable
  • Great for high-traffic areas
  • Is less porous than other types of wood
  • It doesn’t absorb stains easily
3 Rosewood
  • Unique grain patterns
  • Available in a range of colors
A relatively newer type of hardwood on the market
4 Walnut
  • Appealing a dark, exotic look
  • One of the strongest hardwoods
  • Great for high-traffic areas with kids and/or pets
Expensive
5 Cherry
  • Elegant looks
  • A pink hue that deepens in color over time
  • Strong
  • Long-lasting option
  • Tend to scratch more easily than other hardwoods
  • Requires regular upkeep
6 Brazilian Cherry
  • Elegant with a distinct look
  • A lovely reddish-brown tone
  • Durable flooring
  • Easily shows dust and dirt
  • Expensive
  • Prone to water damage
7 Pine
  • Looks better as it ages
  • Has a lovely, rustic nature
  • Not actually hardwood but character wood or softwood
  • More susceptible to dings and dents
8 Hickory
  • Durable and rustic
  • Can withstand a lot of foot traffic
  • Goes well with every type of decor
  • Prone to swelling
  • Less DIY-friendly
  • More expensive to install
9 Ebony
  • Rare and unique commodity
  • Hardest of all hardwoods
  • Unusually dense
  • Deep black
Extremely expensive
10 Lyptus
  • Gives warmth to rooms
  • Great for small or large spaces
  • Exotic look
  • Durable
  • Less common
  • Expensive option
11 Ash
  • Very hard kind of wood
  • Less expensive than other hardwoods
  • Needs proper research before installing
  • 45-65 different types of ash trees; some not very suitable
12 Mahogany
  • Elegant and beautiful
  • Improves with age
Slightly more expensive than other hardwoods
13 Oak
  • Timeless elegance
  • Durable, highly resistant to wear
  • A variety of oak flooring colors available
  • Expensive
  • High tannin content
  • Very heavy wood
  • Difficult to protect the finish as it can react with adhesives
14 Beech
  • Hard, durable
  • Lovely pale cream color with pink or brown hues
  • Dense
Hard to stain
15 Poplar
  • Appealing light-colored tone with streaks of gray or green
  • Uniform grain with a medium texture
  • Inexpensive wood
  • Easily painted or stained
  • Can be matched to any décor
  • Lasts for many years
  • Low-density wood
  • One of the softest of all hardwoods
16 Douglas fir
  • Extremely uniform appearance
  • Natural-looking
  • A beautiful mixture of orange and brown
  • Creates a comfortable, rustic atmosphere
  • One of the softest types of hardwood floors
  • Damaged easily
  • Requires proper care and regular maintenance
17 Teak
  • Exotic looks with a natural shine
  • A unique blend of traditional charm and upscale style
  • Durable
  • Stands the test of time
  • Great for high-traffic areas
  • Expensive
  • Requires regular maintenance and oiling
  • Should only be bought through Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) certified stores
18 Birch
  • Affordable hardwood
  • Offers functionality, style, and price
  • Creamy white to yellowish-white color with clear, attractive wood grains
  • Holds stains very well
  • A very soft type of wood
  • Highly susceptible to dents and scratches
  • Relatively unstable, expands and contracts with temperature and humidity change
19 Alder
  • A less expensive alternative to cherry or maple
  • Offers a uniform texture with generally straight grains
  • Light tan to reddish-brown color
  • Accepts stains well
Soft hardwood
20 Cedar
  • Highly durable
  • One of the most popular woods
  • Has an aromatic smell
  • Resists decay and pests
  • Fades over the years
  • Costly
  • Susceptible to insects

Types of Hardwood Floors Based on Finish

Hardwood floor finishPhoto by Pxhere CC0

There are two versions of wood flooring: unfinished and prefinished

  1. Unfinished hardwood flooring is great if you want to apply a custom stain before the final finish. This usually happens when you want to match the color of existing flooring. After hardwood flooring installation and staining, you can give the floor coats of protective finish. This kind of flooring is ideal for your kitchen. The finish will penetrate and seal the seams between boards — preventing water from seeping between boards.
  2. Prefinished hardwood flooring, on the other hand, comes from the factory — already sanded and sealed. You just have to install the flooring without worrying about odors and VOCs. And, the floor is ready to walk on almost immediately.
Unfinished Pros Unfinished Cons Prefinished Pros Prefinished Cons
  • Smoothest flooring
  • Allows for custom colors and unique shades
  • Lower material costs
  • Not an easy DIY project
  • Time-consuming installation
  • More messy with potentially toxic fumes
  • Higher installation costs
  • Requires the skills of a professional installer
  • Available in a lot of colors
  • Requires no staining and finishing
  • Lower installation costs
  • No exposure to dust or toxic fumes
  • Usually comes with manufacturer warranties
  • Can’t be customized in your shade of choice
  • Higher initial material costs

Conclusion

Hardwood flooring has been and will continue to be the most popular choice for homeowners. It’s beautiful, timeless, and can be refinished. What’s more, unlike other types of hardwood floors, it can last a lifetime. Let’s just say, hardwood is the gold standard in flooring options. It can add tremendous value to your house. 

The most important step is to choose the right type of wood floor that best fits your living space. We hope this article helps you select the surface that you find classic, durable, and attractive. 

Read more: Best Flooring Materials

The Most Popular Types of Hardwood Floors for Your Home was last modified: September 4th, 2019 by Ramona Sinha
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