Choosing the best wood flooring for your home comes down to a few factors, including species, hardness and durability, color and texture. It’s also important to consider how the floors will be used and what interior style you want to create.
For a hardwood floor that’s durable and long-lasting, opt for a hard species like hickory, oak or maple. These hardwoods have a Janka rating of around 1300, making them incredibly resistant to dents and scratches.
Hardwood flooring is one of the most versatile types of flooring, and can look beautiful in a wide variety of spaces. It also adds value to your home and can make your rooms feel more inviting.
It’s easy to clean and won’t absorb stains like carpet does, which can be a big deal for those who have pets or young children in the home. Its durability and ease of maintenance mean it can last a long time.
Some hardwoods are harder than others, and a good installer can help you choose the best flooring for your home based on the Janka rating. For example, maple floors are a great option because they rank 1450 on the Janka scale, which means they’re durable enough for most areas of your home.
Other hardwoods that are highly durable include red oak and hickory, which feature dramatic grain patterns to hide scratches more easily. These woods are also a good choice for larger spaces, especially when using wide planks and parquet.
Engineered flooring is made from several layers of plywood, particleboard or another substrate bound together by an adhesive. This type of wood floor is much more stable than solid hardwood, which makes it a good choice in homes with significant seasonal temperature changes or where radiant heating is used.
Like solid hardwood, engineered floors come in a wide variety of colors, lengths and finishes. They are also available in many species, including European oak, acacia, hickory and maple.
Most of the top-of-the-line engineered floors have thicker wear layers and stronger cores. They can be refinished multiple times and are likely to last for decades.
Not all engineered wood floors are created equal, however, so it is important to know what to look for when shopping for the best engineered floor. Things like the thickness of the veneer layer, core thickness and number of finish coats can all impact quality and longevity. Lastly, make sure the engineered flooring is CARB2 compliant and meets VOC content guidelines.
Bamboo flooring is a popular choice for many homeowners, thanks to its sturdiness and renewability. It grows quickly, making it more environmentally friendly than trees like oak and hickory that take years to mature.
It can be purchased in solid or engineered options, in both horizontal and vertical planks. It can be stained or carbonized, and comes in a variety of colors.
When choosing a type of bamboo floor, it’s important to consider the Janka hardness test and the manufacturer’s commitment to quality control. Bamboo that has been produced properly is a great deal harder than oak and maple, and some of the hardest types on the market have a Janka hardness rating of 5,000, which is more than twice as hard as traditional hardwoods.
Once harvested, bamboo is sliced into strips called fillets that can be further milled to create a flat strip more suitable for flooring. It is then boiled to remove moisture, natural sugars and starches.
Cork is a durable, eco-friendly floor that can last for decades. It’s also hypoallergenic and repels insects, including termites.
It’s also one of the more comfortable floors to walk on and is a great choice for those with bone and joint issues. Its cushion-like, natural give with minuscule tiny air pockets helps reduce the stress on your joints and feet.
Another benefit is its ability to absorb vibrations. This means your home will be quieter and more conducive to sleep.
You can purchase cork flooring at several retailers, including Home Depot and Lowes. However, their selection is limited.
Cork comes in many different types, including cork planks and tiles that are installed like peel-and-stick carpeting. It’s a very affordable option for do-it-yourselfers. It’s also easy to install and can be refinished if needed. It is naturally fire retardant and is also resistant to fungus, mold, mildew, pet dander, and dust mites. It’s also environmentally friendly because it is harvested without cutting down a tree.