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Wood flooring 101: How to choose the wood floor that’s right for your home

Choosing the right floor for your home or office can be daunting. Here’s what you need to know about wood flooring to help you decide.

First of all, there are several types of wood flooring to choose from. But what are the differences? What are the pros and cons of each? Well, we’re here to tell you.

Unfinished and Factory Finished Wood Flooring

All wood flooring requires a finish. This is a protective coat that seals your floor against everyday wear.

You can buy unfinished wood flooring that will be sanded in your home and the finish will be applied on the job site. There are several finish options available.

Austin Flooring Advice Example 1 THINGS TO CONSIDER:

If you are looking for a specific color or need to match existing flooring, this option may suit your needs better.

You can also select the level of sheen in the finish.

Also available for purchase is factory-finished wood flooring, where the finish was applied at the manufacturer. This type of flooring has become as widely available as unfinished wood flooring.


These floors require less time to install because the sanding and finishing process has already happened.

The floors are ready to walk on immediately following the installation and have a harder surface coating than the site finished floors.

Wood Flooring in Home Example 2Solid and Engineered Wood Flooring

Solid wood flooring is exactly what the name implies: a solid piece of wood from top to bottom. The thickness of solid wood flooring can vary, but generally ranges from ¾” to 5/16”.


Solid wood flooring can be sanded and refinished many times over its lifetime.

A high quality solid wood floor can last 100 years or more.

Each time it is refinished, you have the choice to keep the same color or go with a new color.  Refinishing a solid wood floor can make it look brand new no matter how old it is.

Most solid wood flooring is very easy to maintain.  The normal maintenance of a solid wood floor is to simply sweep it, dust mop it, or vacuum it.

It can be installed above or on grade.

Solid wood flooring has been used in home construction for hundreds of years.

Solid wood floors will add more value to your home than any other style of flooring.

Engineered Wood Flooring AustinHOWEVER…

It can be more expensive than most other styles of flooring.

The process of sanding and finishing a solid wood floor can take 3 to 5 days longer than the installation of an engineered wood floor.

Floor repairs on a small area can be difficult to match to the remainder of the existing floor.

Solid wood floors can expand and contract over time with the changes in humidity and temperature. This can sometimes cause the floors to creak.

Solid hardwood floors can be easily damaged by water.

Solid wood must be nailed to a plywood substrate. In Texas, where concrete slabs are prevalent, installing a ¾” plywood substrate can add to the height of the floor.  When renovating an existing home, the current height of your cabinets, door thresholds, and stairs can sometimes prohibit the installation of solid wood floors.

Engineered wood floors are real wood floors that are manufactured using three to nine layers of different wood veneers. The sub layers can be of the same species, or of different species, or can be made from a High Density Fiberboard (HDF). This type of construction makes the product very stable. The top layer of engineered wood flooring consists of high-quality wood and comes in many different species.


Wood flooring living room austinEngineered wood flooring is the most common type of wood flooring used in Texas.

While this type of flooring can be sanded and finished, it cannot be done as many times as solid wood flooring.

Engineered wood flooring can be installed above, on or below grade.

This type of wood flooring will expand and contract less than solid wood flooring during fluctuations in humidity and temperature.

These floors are most often pre-finished with multiple coats of urethane and scratch resistant finishes. These finishes are more durable than anything that can be applied in the home in a site finished application.

Most engineered floors are less expensive than solid wood floors of the same species.

They add very little height to the existing slab.

They only require an easy one to two-day installation process.

It is best to consult a professional when trying to make the decision on what type of wood floors are best for you. Other factors need to be taken into consideration, such as: How long you plan to own the home, your lifestyle, pets, maintenance requirements, etc. Give one of our consultants a call and we can help guide you through the process.