Guide to Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood Flooring

Whether you're laying a wood floor in a new house or replacing one that's damaged beyond repair, there are dozens of species to pick from, including trusty domestics, such as oak and maple, and intriguing exotics, such as tamarind and acacia. You also have a choice of widths—be it rustic wide planks or traditional narrow strips—and stain colors, which allows you to tailor your floors to your house's style and decor.

And thanks to modern adhesives, a wide variety of species are available as "engineered" boards. Made from a stable sandwich of veneers, rather than solid stock, engineered floors can go places where it wasn't practical to install wood before: over radiant-floor heating systems and concrete and in basements.

Here’s a complete guide in helping you discover the hardwood floor of your dreams.

Hardwood Flooring Facts

Clear-Coated White Oak Hardwood Floors Its hardness makes oak ideal for high-traffic foyers. Clear-coated white oak works with cream wall paint and a peach stair runner for a serene color palette.  Photo by Keller & Keller

How much do hardwood floors cost?

Costs are between $1.50 to $8 per square foot depending on wood thickness, species, and grade. Some prefinished solid-wood and engineered wood floors are DIY-friendly, but if you plan to hire a pro installer, tack on $2 per square foot, minimum.

How many years do they last?

Some prefinished solid-wood boards come with a 50-year warranty. With regular care, though, any solid-wood floor can easily last twice that long. Warranties on the finish for engineered wood range from 10 to 30 years.

How do you maintain them?

Fight a finish's biggest enemy—abrasive dirt—by vacuuming regularly and laying runners and doormats near entries.

Where do you install hardwood floors?

You can install hardwood flooring just about anywhere, except in areas prone to extreme humidity and standing water.

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