Hardwood flooring has become increasingly popular over the last decade, both because of its sophisticated look, and because they are a healthier alternative to carpets. They make a classic addition to any home. With the many choices available, how do you select the one that is right for you and your home? Not all wood floors are created equal: here is some general information on the different types.
· Maple: This is generally a light-coloured wood, and is resistant to scratches and dents. The grain pattern is a bit more subtle than other types of wood. Maple does not take to dark stain very well, it makes it look blotchy. Also, it can tend to look yellow over time. It is well suited for kitchens, hallways, bedrooms and living areas.
· Bamboo: These are made by soaking each individual strand into a binder and then pressing together with high pressure. This results in planks that are just as hard as oak. It is normally a light colour, to allow the fibrous grains to show through. They are versatile and will last for many years. They are suitable in almost any room in your home.
· Solid Oak: This is one of the hardest and most popular types of hardwood. It can be light or dark, and has very distinctive grain patterns. Solid oak, and red oak in particular, tends to resist dents better than some of the other types. This is an important consideration if you are not planning on using any area rugs. It is best suited for hallways, living areas, bedrooms and other high traffic areas.
· Pine: Technically, pine is not a hardwood, it is a softwood variety. Its hardness will vary depending on the type you select. Antique Heart Pine is the most popular type used for flooring, and has a natural golden-reddish tint. It is considered a character wood, meaning it has natural knots and grooves, which only adds to its charm. These are not usually stained; they are only treated with a top-coat.
There are many other types as well of course, but these are among the most popular, and the most economical. Before making your final decision, think about your overall décor and whether or not you are going to be using area rugs to compliment the floors. You need to take into consideration the look of the whole room, accessories and all. Also, decide on whether you prefer a darker or lighter stain to match with other furnishings.
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