Choosing the right type of hardwood flooring for your house can be a challenge. It is, however, not perfectly suitable for every place in the house. For example, having a wooden floor in your bathroom is not the optimal choice. With the right treatment, it can work very well but there are other fitting alternatives. People, however, love timber as a flooring material and many insist they want it throughout their home no matter what because of the sensation of warmth and style it brings.
When choosing what and where to place you have to keep in mind the amount of traffic the floor is about to experience, the moisture levels, the heating system and the type of finish. Let’s take a look at each room in the house and determine what will be the best option for each.
The busiest part of any home which experiences the most traffic. You need wood flooring able to handle the constant movement. The best choice, in this case, would be solid hardwood because it can be refinished multiple times should it begin to look too worn and distressed. If you happen to have underfloor heating in this particular part of the house, you should be better off with an engineered floor since it can handle the constant changes in temperature much better.
Kitchens and Bathrooms
The reason why we put those two areas together is the fact they share many similar problems. The main issues are the relatively high moisture levels. Both kitchens and bathrooms can be subject to frequent liquid spills and are constantly threatened by water damage. In this case, having a solid wood floor is not a wise decision. Wood is vulnerable to water but this hurdle can also be passed. Engineered floors are the perfect choice because of their increased resistance to expansion and contraction when under some constant changes of temperature and humidity.
Oils can soak into the wood itself and protect it from the inside, but on the surface that protection is lacking compared to lacquers so using it in a bathroom or kitchen is not recommended. In order to provide the best surface defence and prevent the water from reaching the wood below one should choose lacquers as they are the ultimate safeguards.
If you don’t mind using synthetic products, you can go with vinyl. It is both very durable and completely waterproof although it can never be refinished. You can repair some minor damages like small tears or gouges, but for more serious issues you have to replace the whole thing.
Anywhere you look people use hardwood floors for their bedrooms and for a good reason. It is not only fashionable but also very good looking. As it is with anywhere else you consider installing a wooden floor, you have to be aware if the room have a high moisture of temperature fluctuations. If you happen to have any of those you would want an engineered floor. In most other cases, solid wood is probably the better option because it can be refinished multiple times. The refinishing will guarantee that your solid wood will last longer than the engineered alternative and still look nice by the end of its life.
Many of the problems relevant for other rooms should be considered here as well. Most of the time, though, dining rooms don’t suffer from much traffic so it’s one thing less to worry about. It allows you to use oil based finishes if you value the natural look they provide. If your dining room is receiving a significant amount of sunlight you may also want to get a finish with a UV protection. Overtime oils get a yellowish tint to the floorboards and sunlight speeds the process even more. Keep that in mind before purchasing a finishing product.
The one place in your house where most of the daily activities happen and as such one of those with the highest traffic. Hardwood wins hands down no matter which type. Keep in mind that wood floors are one of the healthiest types of floors on the market. Healthy in the sense that they do not trap dirt like carpets do, for example. If you are ever to accept guests, you want them to feel comfortable and a fine way to do that is by not causing discomfort to your friends by triggering some kind of asthma or allergy
If you have small children naturally you want them to feel comfortable in their own rooms. Engineered floors are a good idea for two reasons. First, any accidents or spills will be handled better by an engineered floor rather than a solid wood one and second – they are not likely to develop gaps with the passage of time which makes them safer for delicate little fingers.
The general tips if you have pets at home is to go for hardwood over softwood because the first option is simply more hard-wearing. Also, since engineered floors are rather limited when it comes to sanding, solid wood is usually the better choice. And finally, pets can scratch your floors if their nails are not properly trimmed. Lacquers are more hard-wearing but scratches will be more visible. Usually, oil finishing products will provide slightly better look if you take the time to re-oil more frequently.
You have two main options - oil or lacquer (varnish). Polyurethane based lacquers are without a doubt the more resistant option but also the one most prone to scratching. On the other hand, oil products can be spot-repaired relatively easy. The downside is they have to be maintained more often and the protection they offer is weaker overall.