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Solid Hardwood Flooring in Living Room

Solid Hardwood Flooring

Solid wood flooring fits all styles of decor while having durability, minimal maintenance, long life, and visual elegance.

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Solid Hardwood Flooring

Solid Hardwood Flooring in Living Room

About Solid Hardwood Flooring

Solid wood flooring fits in with all styles of decor, whether you have a rustic country cabin, a sleek industrial loft, or an eclectic look all your own. Its durability, minimal maintenance, long life, and visual elegance make it a top flooring pick year after year.

What Is Solid Hardwood Flooring?

Solid hardwood flooring consists of strips of hardwood, also known as planks, that are installed over a subfloor like concrete. Common species used in hardwood flooring include oak, birch, walnut, cherry, maple, and hickory, among others. Each wood type has its own coloration and grain pattern, as well as a degree of hardness, which influences its durability. 

Appearance

Similar to shopping for a new car, you have several factors to consider when deciding on the visual features of your new solid wood floors. What plank style best suits your space: standard width or wide plank? What shade, undertone, and grain pattern best compliment your design aesthetic? Do you want a stained or finished floor? Light, natural hues like ash wood flooring can add a modern touch to your open-concept home while rich, darker woods like an espresso-stained hard maple floor deliver drama to your Victorian restoration.

Durability and Maintenance

While any kind of hardwood has the potential to withstand average wear and tear for decades, the extent of hardwood’s durability varies by wood species. Hickory is the hardest and therefore most durable wood floor available, with white and red oak not far behind.  

Maintaining the natural strength and beauty of your hardwood floors is as simple as sweeping or vacuuming regularly. This keeps them free of the everyday debris that gets tracked in by family and pets and can accidentally scratch your floors. Always check with the manufacturer for care instructions specific to your flooring choice. 

Lifespan

Solid hardwood floors can easily last up to 100 years, which is one of the key reasons for their never-ending popularity. The longevity of your solid wood flooring will depend on a few aspects, including: 

  • The quality of hardwood and materials used
  • Whether the flooring was properly installed 
  • How much foot traffic the hardwood floors receive
  • How well you care for and maintain the wood flooring

Installation

There are several installation methods available for solid hardwood flooring, and the best option for you depends on the type of subflooring in your home. Nail-down and staple-down installations fasten planks to the floor while the glue-down method adheres the flooring to the subfloor with a strong adhesive. 

Although you may be interested in installing your own flooring, we recommend seeking the help of a professional flooring installer. An experienced installer will be able to catch potential installation issues that a DIYer may not. Identifying possible mishaps can ensure that your flooring is installed with the durability and lifespan that it's intended to have. Many professional installers also offer unbeatable installation warranties that will give you peace of mind.

Advantages of Solid Hardwood Flooring

Solid wood floors are popular and have high value for a number of reasons:

  • They're easier to clean and more resistant to stains than carpet.
  • They can complement any decor thanks to the countless colors available. 
  • Hardwood is also a more cost-effective flooring option in the long run, easily lasting decades.

Disadvantages of Solid Hardwood Flooring

For all the pros that come with solid wood flooring, there are some downsides to consider: 

  • Solid hardwood can warp, split, and bow when faced with humidity, moisture, and temperature changes, especially in below-grade settings like basements. 
  • The upfront costs of buying and installing solid hardwood flooring can pack a punch, though it can be worth it if you're looking for a durable floor that you may never have to replace. 
  • Solid hardwood flooring will eventually show wear, especially softer hardwoods installed in an active, pet-friendly home. 
  • Some wood types and finishes do a better job of resisting or masking scratches, and refinishing your wood flooring is always an option.

Solid Hardwood vs. Engineered Hardwood

There are fundamental differences between solid hardwood flooring and its near identical engineered hardwood counterpart.

  • Solid hardwood - Solid hardwood is genuine wood throughout–a solid plank of lumber milled to a specific width and thickness. 
  • Engineered hardwood - Engineered hardwood is composed of several synthetic layers with a top layer of genuine hardwood. The multi-layer construction lowers the cost of engineered flooring and gives it more water resistance than solid wood.

 There are several factors to consider when choosing between solid and engineered hardwood floors, including subfloor material and climate between these two options. Keep these questions in mind:

  • What kind of subfloor are you installing over? 
  • What's your climate like? 
  • Are you looking to install a floor that can withstand humidity? 

Expert Tip: Engineered wood can handle higher relative humidity and in places solid hardwood can't, like kitchens, below-grade basements, and over radiant heating systems or concrete slabs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are solid hardwood floors a good choice?

Yes! Solid wood flooring is a smart choice for many homes, especially if you’re looking for long-lasting durability in areas that don't see a lot of moisture, like your living room or bedroom. 

Which solid hardwood floor is best?

This really depends on what matters most to you. Among the most popular are red oak and white oak floors, chosen for their durability and simple, elegant wood grain. Hickory hardwood is the densest hardwood used in solid flooring, effortlessly resisting scratches and dings. 

Which is better: solid hardwood or engineered hardwood?

It depends on your needs. Solid hardwood flooring lasts for several decades, wears well, and can be sanded and refinished as needed. But it doesn't work well in high moisture areas, which is where engineered hardwood shines. Engineered wood is perfect for all rooms, including bathrooms and below-grade locations like basements. 

How long do solid hardwood floors last?

Solid hardwood floors can last 100 years or more if you follow your product warranty guidelines to clean them regularly and quickly tend to spills. 

How thick is solid hardwood flooring?

The standard thickness for solid hardwood floors is 3/4 inches, though modern wide planks in 5/16-inch and 1/2-inch are also available. 

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