When you’re trying to decide exactly what the best wood for flooring is, in many ways the response you get will depend on who you speak to. In this blog article we want to speak about some of the most popular woods that are used for flooring as well as why some are better than others. While we would argue that no one could ever respond 100% objectively to the question: “What’s the best wood for flooring?” we truly think that the information we give here will help.
Demystifying the difference between hard and softwood
When debating the best wood for flooring, one of the best places to start is by looking at the options offered by hard and soft wood. These terms are often misunderstood and before embarking on a wood flooring project it’s worth establishing exactly what’s meant by each. In a nutshell, hardwoods come from trees that lose their leaves in autumn and are called deciduous trees. Typically more expensive than softwood, there’s no getting away from the fact that hardwoods are more durable than softwoods. Softwoods come from fast growing, evergreen trees and as a flooring option are cheaper, but less hardwearing, so run the risk of lasting a shorter time. Hardwoods include the likes of mahogany, teak, walnut, oak, ash, birch and maple. Softwoods include pine, spruce, cedar, larch and fir.
Why it’s important to avoid confusing engineered wood and laminates
When deciding on the best wood for flooring, a dilemma that often confuses consumers is the notion of engineered wood flooring. Engineered wood flooring is made by bonding together a number of layers of ply or high density fibreboard (HDF) to create a core board. Once created, that core board is then topped with a solid wood lamella or top layer, made from the likes of oak, larch or walnut. Laminate flooring on the other hand is a synthetic, man-made product that is made up of various layers of a plastic like substance that are fused together and then topped off with an image that looks like wood.
Why choosing a hardwood floor is the best all-round solution
The likes of oak and walnut are really popular examples of hardwoods that make great wood flooring. Coming from deciduous trees that are dense and durable and take a long time to grow, these options are more expensive than the likes of pine, but in our view are well worth the extra investment.
No matter whether you are in the market for a solid or an engineered wood floor, these hardwoods that have a lower sap content than their soft counterparts, as well as a closer grain, higher density and greater fire retardancy are a great all round solution. In fact we would confidently say that oak and walnut are great examples of the best wood for flooring solutions.
When you choose oak wood flooring you can choose the grade of oak that best fits your budget. It’s the same case with walnut. When wood is lumbered it is graded into one of four different grades: prime, natural, select and rustic. As you go down the grades, the colour and grain consistency of the wood reduces and the sap and knot content increases. Although some people think that prime wood necessarily implies best and rustic implies worst, this absolutely isn’t the case because you can create some stunning effects with rustic grade hardwood flooring.
Pine on the other hand is a softwood and typically comes with a lower price tag than either oak or walnut. A wood flooring option that comes from evergreen trees that don’t lose their leaves in winter and grow quickly, it’s easy to see why there is a difference in price. A softer wood that by implication is less hardwearing than hardwoods, pine also contains higher levels of sap than the likes of oak or walnut.
Best wood for flooring
So when it comes to answering the original question, “What’s the best wood for flooring?” while at Wood and Beyond, we tend to favour the likes of oak and walnut, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other great hardwoods out there that make great solid and engineered wood flooring. As a result, the best advice we feel we can give is that when you’re seeking the best wood for flooring, you should plump for a hardwood every time. Here are the reasons why:
|Value for money||Cheap||Cheap to expensive|
|Durability||Low||High to very high|
|Stability||Low||High to very high|
|Look||Average to good||Good to superb|
If you’d like help to choose the best wood for your flooring, why not get in touch? At Wood and Beyond, we’ll happily share our experience with you AND it’s free!