When it comes to enhancing the beauty of your home, few elements make as big of an impression as hardwood floors. But because it is such an important factor in how your home looks, choosing the right hardwood floor can feel like a daunting task. You will have to take into account various factors, including wood species, stain colors, finish, plank width, and installation style. At SVB Wood Floors, we’ve been repairing, refinishing, and installing wood floors for decades. We know our customers and how important it is to them that they make choices they will love. Follow along as we walk you through each of these aspects to help you make an informed decision that complements your unique taste and helps you choose the right hardwood floor for your style.
Wood Species: The Foundation of Style
The choice of wood species is fundamental in determining the overall look and feel of your hardwood floor. Each species has its own distinct grain pattern, color variations, and hardness. Common hardwood species include oak, maple, hickory, cherry, and walnut. They are all excellent choices, so how do you narrow it down to find the right hardwood floor for your style? Each wood imparts a unique feeling. Here are some differences between the wood species:
- Oak: A timeless classic, oak is known for its durability and versatility. It comes in two varieties—red oak and white oak—with distinct grain patterns and color tones.
- Maple: Maple offers a light, uniform appearance with a fine, closed grain. It’s an excellent choice for modern and contemporary styles.
- Hickory: Renowned for its strength and character, hickory features prominent grain patterns and color variations. It suits rustic and traditional aesthetics.
- Cherry: Cherry hardwood boasts a warm, reddish-brown hue that deepens over time. It adds a touch of elegance to both traditional and formal settings.
- Walnut: Dark and rich, walnut provides a luxurious look. It’s often chosen for spaces where a touch of sophistication is desired.
TIP: Consider the existing color palette and decor in your home. You want your wood floor to complement that style. This will ensure harmony and cohesion with your overall style.
Stain Colors: Personalizing Your Palette
Once you’ve chosen a wood species, the next step is selecting a stain color. Stains allow you to customize the appearance of your hardwood floor to match your unique style preferences. Common stain colors include natural, golden oak, ebony, and gray.
- Natural: Embracing the wood’s innate beauty, a natural finish showcases the wood’s original color and grain.
- Golden Oak: Ideal for creating a warm and inviting atmosphere, golden oak stains add a honey-toned glow to the wood.
- Ebony: For a bold and modern statement, ebony stains provide a deep, dark finish that can enhance contemporary spaces.
- Gray: A popular choice in modern design, gray stains add a touch of sophistication and can complement a variety of color schemes.
With SVB, you’re not limited to manufacturer colors. If you can’t imagine using any of the stains we show you on your hardwood floors, we can also mix a custom stain for you. Most of our stains are made of the same basic formula and can be mixed. Choosing your stain color allows you to have the exact color you want – lighter, darker, redder, richer, etc. Plus, your floors will be one-of-a-kind and no one will have the same look.
Finish: Protecting and Enhancing
The finish of your hardwood floor not only protects the wood but also plays a crucial role in its overall appearance. The two main types of finishes are oil-based and water-based. At SVB, we use water-based stains and finishes. Once the stain is dry, we finish the floor with several applications of an environmentally safe, durable, and quick-drying topcoat finish. This water-based finish not only dries faster than oil-based finishes, but it also doesn’t emit fumes like oil-based finishes do. Your floor will be usable in just 2-3 hours.
TIP: Choose a finish based on your lifestyle, maintenance preferences, and the desired look for your space.
Plank Width: Making a Statement
The width of the hardwood planks contributes significantly to the overall aesthetics of your floor. Wide planks are a popular choice for creating a sense of openness and grandeur, while narrower planks can impart a more traditional or formal look. Random-width flooring mixes planks of different widths to create more visual variety and an authentic vintage look. Consider the scale of your room and personal preferences when deciding on plank width.
Installation Style: Adding a Personal Touch
The installation style of your hardwood floor can elevate its visual impact as much as the type of wood or width of planks can. While the classic straight installation is a timeless choice, installing planks diagonally or in a herringbone pattern can add a unique and stylish twist. Consider the architectural features of your space and the overall ambiance you want to create. Here are four design tips to make your hardwood floor unique.
Current Trends Vs. Timeless Appeal
Hardwood floors have a timeless quality that transcends fleeting design trends. While it’s essential to consider current styles and preferences, remember that hardwood floors are a long-term investment lasting for decades. Opting for classic styles and neutral color palettes ensures that your hardwood floor remains a stylish and enduring element of your home.
Choosing the right hardwood floor involves a thoughtful blend of personal style, practical considerations, and an understanding of the inherent qualities of different wood species. By carefully selecting the wood species, stain colors, finish, plank width, and installation style, you can create a hardwood floor that not only reflects your unique style but also stands the test of time, providing beauty and warmth for years to come.
Free In-Home Consultation
At SVB Wood Floors, we always sit down with you for a free in-home wood floor consultation. We want to make sure you understand all of your options and help you make the best choices for your home, your style, and your budget. We always use our dustless sanding process to keep dust out of your home. Dustless sanding also means no more chemicals to strip the old finish and no strong odors. It’s environmentally friendly and convenient for your family since you won’t have to leave your home.