Hardwood Floor Buying Guide

Our hardwood floor buying guide is meant to help facilitate a conversation with your local expert hardwood flooring resource.

Hardwood floors provide a beautiful look as well as providing a great way to increase the value of your home.  Selection of the right hardwood flooring is pretty important.

Some quick questions to ask yourself are:

  1. Is the floor subjected to moisture?
  2. What type of sub-floor will the hardwood be placed on?
  3. What style do I want to have?

#1 Is the floor subjected to moisture?  If your home is subjected to moisture changes it can cause your floors to warp or gap once installed.  Different types of flooring have varying moisture recommendations from manufacturers.

One way to fight against moisture is to install a moisture barrier.  The basement is prone to moisture, so in order to protect the floors we installed a moisture barrier.  This will prevent the flooring from warping or gaping over time.

#2 is the type of sub-floor the new hardwood floor will be installed on.  We have seen almost everything here at B&L Hardwood Floors, but here are the main sub-floor types.

  1. Concrete at the ground level
  2. Plywood flooring
  3. Basement or concrete at the ground level

Ground level or above ground level can be important, because of the different moisture challenges.  The different surfaces have standard flooring types that are best suited for the situations.

  1. Solid Hardwood flooring
  2. Engineered flooring

The solid hardwood flooring usually require a moisture barrier to be protected, especially in homes prone to moisture issues.

Engineered flooring has an advantage over solid hardwood in higher moisture environments.  The flooring does not tend to expand or contract as much as solid hardwood flooring does.  The disadvantage is with engineered hardwood floors, you may only be able to sand and refinish once.  Engineered flooring also does not wear as well as solid hardwood flooring over time.

#3 What style do I want to have?  The type of hardwood floor you select is mostly based on your preference, but there are other considerations.  Mostly the traffic and durability needs of your floor.  Pine floors are very beautiful, but can be damaged easily if you have pets or people who walk through your home with shoes on a lot.  Below is a guide on how hard specific types of flooring is using the Janka Hardness Test.

Every wood type has a hardness rating.  The most common test is the Janka Hardness Test.  They measure the force required to embed an 11.28mm steel ball into the wood at half the ball’s diameter (shown below)

Here is the table of the types of wood and their hardness rating.

JANKA RATING  WOOD SPECIES (Hardest to Softest)
3684  Brazilian Walnut /Ipe
3220  Ebony
2350  Brazilian Cherry /Jatoba
2345  Mesquite
2200  Santos Mahogany
1940  Cameron
1925  Merbau
1860  Purpleheart
1850  Tigerwood
1820  Hickory and Pecan
1780  Rosewood
1725  African Padauk
1700  Locust
1630  Wenge
1630  Red Pine
1575  Zebrawood
1570  True Pine
1470  Sweet Birch
1450  Hard / Sugar Maple
1390  Kentucky Coffee Tree
1380  Natural Bamboo
1375  Australian Cypress
1360  White Oak
1320  White Ash
1300  American Beech
1290  Northern Red Oak
1280  Caribbean Heart Pine
1260  Yellow Birch
 1225  Yellow Heart Pine
1180  Carbonized Bamboo
1136  Cocobolo
1010  American Walnut
1000  Teak
950  American  Cherry
950  Soft and Ambrosia Maple
910  Paper Birch
900  Cedar
870  Southern Yellow Pine (Longleaf)
860  American Red Elm
840  Lacewood
790  Cumaru
770  Sycamore
690  S.Yellow Pine (Loblolly & Shortleaf)
660  Douglas Fir
630  Sassafras
590  Larch
570  Cypress, Southern
540  Chestnut
540  Poplar
500  Hemlock
420  White Pine
410  Basswood
380  Eastern White Pine

 

Would you like a free estimate and for us to help you decide which flooring is right for you?  Give me a call at (207) 798-9956 or see our contact us page to schedule a time for us to come out to you.