Beginner's Guide - How to Choose the Best Hardwood Flooring?
Updated: Jul 14
Choosing The Best Hardwood Flooring In Vancouver
For all the homeowners who are looking for a new flooring option, hardwood floors might be your best bet for your next home improvement project. They're durable and beautiful, but they do require some upkeep over time to keep them in top condition. This article covers everything you need to know about selecting the perfect hardwood flooring for your space from some of the top flooring pros in the industry!
First of all, what is hardwood flooring?
Hardwood flooring is the most beautiful and widely used flooring type in Canada. Hardwood flooring is harvested from trees that grow much slower, making the material far denser and more durable than softwood counterparts. With more durability, there is less maintenance required, and you will get high-quality use out of it.
What are the benefits of hardwood flooring?
You may ask yourself, “Why bother installing hardwood flooring?” Well, some key benefits of having hardwood flooring installed are that it has an ageless quality, a high-quality natural look to it, it helps provide healthier indoor air quality, and of course, it is super easy to clean.
The exquisite design options, colors, and textures provide a significant natural feeling in one’s home. Those are just some of the benefits of having a hardwood floor along with many more!
What are the disadvantages of wood flooring?
Many people would say that one disadvantage may cost, but many consider this a false belief because in the long run installing new hardwood flooring will save you money. Another disadvantage is that it can be more difficult to install and maintain than carpeting or vinyl flooring, but this also depends on the type of hardwood flooring you choose.
Why should I choose hardwood flooring?
Some reasons one may choose to install hardwood flooring include:
Added value to your home - Having hardwood flooring is one of the most common “must-haves” for potential home buyers. Upgrading from your wall-to-wall carpet to upscale hardwood floor can definitely make it easier to sell your home when the time comes, and can increase the value of your home significantly. This can be a great long-term investment for you while living in the house, and even for later when looking to sell it.
Longer Lasting - A good quality wood floor can last a lifetime and remains in good condition. Unlike carpet, which is recommended to be replaced every 8-10 years, according to a National Association of Home Builders Report, all-natural wood hardwood floorings should last 100 years or even more. 30 years should be the minimum length you can expect out of your hardwood floors.
Much Easier to Clean - Hardwood flooring is super easy to clean, especially compared to carpet. If you have kids, pets, or heavy foot traffic constantly leaving tracks of dirt and mud all over the carpet, or causing there to be stains everywhere, then hardwood flooring is the perfect solution. Wood floors do not harbor stains and odors the same way carpets do. For example, if you, your child, a pet or a guest spills juice all over the floor, what would have been a long clean up process if you had carpet, instantly becomes a simple clean up with hardwood floor. All you need to do is clean up the liquid right away and as long as you make sure it is dried well, you will not see any stains or damage to the hardwood.
Natural Beauty - There is definitely something to be said about the natural aesthetic value that wood flooring adds to your home. There's nothing like it! Not only does the wood add a certain beauty to your home, but it also comes in many different types and colors, and can always be adjusted to fit your preferred taste and style.
Now that you have a better sense of what hardwood flooring is and what some of the benefits are, I will review the main factors to take into consideration while choosing your hardwood floor.
Although it is exciting seeing how many different beautiful colors and designs are available, it can also be overwhelming trying to pick out the best choice possible. Below, I have listed a step-by-step tutorial to help you pick out the best hardwood floor option for your home.
STEP 1 - Create A Reasonable Budget
Before anything else, I would recommend that you first take the time to come up with a reasonable budget that works for you. You must ask yourself what is the maximum amount of money that you are willing to spend on this project. Depending on the type, installing a hardwood floor will typically cost you anywhere from $7.00-$20.00 per square foot supply and Install. You must come up with a budget that works for you, and do your best to stick to it.
STEP 2 - Select Hardwood Floor Type
There are two main wood types to choose from which are solid hardwood and engineered hardwood. Due to our environmental factors such as humidity, and based on style preferences, the most popular wood type in Vancouver is Engineered Hardwood.
Solid wood flooring is solid wood all the way through and generally ¾” in thickness. Unlike solid hardwood, engineered hardwood is done in layers with the top layer being hardwood and laying underneath that are layers of wood to give additional stability to the overall structure.
One major advantage to getting solid wood flooring is that, unlike engineered wood flooring, it is able to be sanded and refinished at least three times. So if you're in the market to change your floor color more frequently, or if you have scratches on your floor, solid hardwood enables you to refinish it to your liking. Engineered hardwood can also be sanded, however, your top wear layer should be thick enough to be able to do so and you can sand and refinish your engineered hardwood up to two times maximum and that would really depend on the wear layer as mentioned. In addition, if you're planning on sanding and refinishing your wood floor in the future, you must staple or glue it down. Typically engineered floors are floated on the subfloor with a proper underlay underneath. Floating floors will not be able to be sanded and refinished.
Engineered wood flooring is more stable to humidity and temperature changes. One reason someone may choose engineered hardwood is that the installation process is far easier and more flexible. You can only nail down a solid hardwood to your plywood subfloor above grade. However, you get to choose your type of installation when it comes to engineered product. These floors can be floated, stapled (similar to nail down) and glued to the subfloor, therefore, you can install them where installing solid hardwood is not an option such as basements and condos with concrete subfloors. Another advantage of engineered hardwood is the fact that the stability of the core allows the manufacturers to offer wider planks. You typically can go up to a maximum of four and a half-inch width with solid hardwood but you can go up to nine inches wide with your engineered product. Especially on the West Coast and in Lower Mainland, that's our preferred look. Wider boards tend to make your home more spacious.
STEP 3 - Select Tree Material Type
There are several different options to choose from. Some of the more popular types include oak, maple, walnut, Brazilian cherry, hickory, maple, and American walnut.
To help decide which wood type to choose, you may want to think of which style best fits with the colors or style of your house, and also consider the different designs each type has, and find the one you like best.
Species - Hardness
Hickory, Pecan 1,820
Hard Maple 1,450
White Oak 1,360
Red Oak 1,290
Yellow Birch 1,260
Green Ash 1,200
Black Walnut 1,010
Soft Maple 950
We use Janka rating to measure the hardness of a wood species. The Janka Rating measures how much force is required to embed a one-inch-width steel ball into the surface with an impact velocity of 353 inches per second, and it takes into account the density, moisture content, and grain direction in which that blast was applied. Janka rating is the most common way to measure the hardness of a wood species. It was developed over 100 years ago by a J.A. Janka who was one of the first people to explore the mechanics of lumber failure and the study of strength properties in wood
It's also worth mentioning that the application will also dictate to some degree what you can and cannot use when it comes to picking your hardwood floor species. For example, Hickory is not suitable for radiant heated floors and most manufacturers will not warranty their Hickory products on radiant heating systems. Oak is the preferred species when one considers installing hardwood on this type of heating system.
Although hardwood floors are generally known to be durable, if you have small kids, pets, or heavy foot traffic, you may want to consider choosing a harder type of wood such as maple, or hickory. The harder the wood type, the more durable it will be. In addition, you may consider brushed or hand-scraped styles that hide scratches a bit more.
Below is an image displaying some of the different wood types you are able to choose from:
STEP 4 - Select Wood Color
The most important thing you are going to want to do is to choose a color that best fits the style of your home, whether that may be a light or dark color. Remember your hardwood floor is in every room and you're in contact with it visually and physically every day.
It can be quite overwhelming deciding which exact color you want your floor to be, however,
Patrick Bewley, vice president of marketing at California-based flooring brand Duchateau Floors, says, “Our advice is to start by selecting the color range that is most attractive to you - the one that speaks to you and the space.”
Once you have found that one color that really speaks to you and matches well with your home, you may move on to step 5.
STEP 5 - Choosing the Right Texture
The texture of your wood is another thing you must consider. There are several options of textures, however, the softer ones tend to be nicer and easier on the foot, while the harder ones tend to be more durable especially for those with children.
STEP 6 - Choosing the Sheen Level in Your Finish
Finally, you must choose your sheen level. No sheen level is known to be more durable than another, but rather what you choose will determine how much wear and tear you are able to see. For example, a matte finish limits the visibility of scratches, scuffs, and dirt, in contrast with the high-gloss finish which reflects more light making the wear and tear more visible.
There is a wide spectrum of finishing styles for you to choose from depending on your preference but the four most popular types are:
Matte - Matte is known for its lack of shine, which is well-liked by some customers that shy away from that brightness. This is of course our preferred finish.
Satin - Satin is a more popular chosen finish because it is right in the middle having just the right amount of luster so that it is shiny, but not too shiny. Another added benefit of a Satin finish is that it does not show wear and tear.
Semi-Gloss - Semi-Gloss is similar to Satin, however, it has slightly more shine than Satin does. This type of finish requires more maintenance to keep your floor looking good, but the shine of the gloss tends to bring the beauty out of the floor which some customers enjoy.
High Gloss - High gloss has the most luster and is not the right finish for floors that are commonly used. This finish is usually only used for specialty floors that have minimal traffic, as they show marks easily.
Below displays an image of different types of hardwood floor finishes:
Some of the best prefinished hardwood flooring brands found in Vancouver:
Purparket hardwood flooring - Engineered wood only
Mercier hardwood flooring - Solid wood and engineered wood
Lauzon hardwood flooring - Solid wood and engineered wood
Mirage hardwood flooring - Solid wood and engineered wood
Preverco hardwood flooring - Solid wood and engineered wood
Torlys hardwood flooring - Engineered wood only
Boen Hardwood flooring - Engineered wood only
These are all top pre-finished flooring products available in the flooring industry today. these manufacturers are famous for their wide planks and their own factory finish.
If you have followed these steps in our buying guide and you are ready to install hardwood flooring in your house in Vancouver, click here to learn more and to get started to place a future order.
We at Canadian Home Style offer the best hardwood floors in Vancouver at the most affordable price!
Visit or North Vancouver flooring showroom where we only showcase the top brands with the highest quality products and we can help you find an excellent choice of wood flooring for your home in Vancouver! We carry both solid and engineered hardwood. Book now!