What to Consider When Buying Hardwood Floors

When you are thinking of buying hardwood flooring for your home, consider the following to help you decide the type of flooring, and hardwood species, you want:

Lifestyle ~ What is your lifestyle? Homes that have busy traffic such as young children or rambunctious pets should consider hardwood flooring that have grain, texture, lighter colours and lower sheens. Empty-nesters that spend some of our bitterly cold months down south, should consider engineered hardwoods to help lessen the gapping that tends to happen when the humidity drops in the winter months. Is your home a show piece with lots of entertaining, then perhaps an oiled floor would give you the look you’re after. Once you pick the colour of the floor, let us help you with the details.


Mixing the Old with the New ~ Are you renovating but have to keep the existing Oak throughout the kitchen and on the mantel piece? Or are you building but the existing dining table is a keeper? Not to worry! Wood goes with wood and our helpful Sales Consultants can find the right wood flooring to help tie in all the elements of your home.


What comes first? ~ We usually suggest to fall in love with either your cabinetry or your flooring. There are so many choices so fall in love with one, and then the decision on the other will be a lot simpler. Items like lighting, back splashes and paint are all things that are less expensive and can be upgraded easier as the budget allows down the way. You will not be changing out your flooring or your cabinets down the way if you didn’t get the ones you loved.


How big is big? ~ In 2018 the most common width of hardwood we installed was 7in wide. We offer widths as narrow as 1 1/2in wide to the largest at 10in. Often times wide plank flooring will compliment a large space as there are a lot less joints to distract the eye. However, a small space can look larger for the same reason; fewer seams. We would caution however if the furniture or other architectural elements are smaller or dainty a wide board will seem out of proportion.


Large dogs and Hardwood Flooring ~ For some of us, having big ol’ Rover roam the house is a given. He will dig his toenails in and race for the door when he hears the doorbell, he will have accidents on the floor, he will drool, maybe even get sick ~ oh and do not forget shedding. With the proper selection of product and texture, most dogs 60lbs or less will cause very minimal damage. Large dogs such as 100lbs +/- are going to cause damage. But what other flooring is as clean and germ free as hardwood? Hardwood will never give off an odor, cause bacteria or have mildew if it can breathe. It can be clean, but scratched. Can you live with that? If so, hardwood can be man’s best friend. (Next to Rover)


Did we say hardwood was clean? ~  For those of you with allergies or problems with your breathing, hardwood is the perfect floor. Many Doctors and Specialists will recommend hardwood flooring for patients with these difficulties. Once again, if hardwood can breathe, it will never have mildew, bacteria or odor. As opposed to carpeting, hardwood floors can be cleaned thoroughly to remove allergy-causing agents such as dust, pollens, animal hair or dander. Carpet is evil.


The number one question we are asked is what is better ~ Solid Hardwood or Engineered? ~ Not such an easy question to answer as there are so many styles of construction of engineered hardwood on the market and they do not perform the same. Our Sales Consultants have been trained to know the good construction from the bad and will be more than happy to spend time explaining the differences. As a quick answer, the better milled engineered floors will be made with a Solid hardwood wear layer (not peeled veneer or sliced hardwood). The thicker the wear layer traditionally the better they will perform in our dry Alberta climate. We carry many with a 4mm-6mm wear layer. The thinner profiles here in Alberta are susceptible to dry cupping, face checking or delamination from their cores. This is not warranted if you have low humidity. Price points are as follows, the most expensive is the better quality engineered, then solid hardwood, then the cheap rotary peeled veneer wear layered engineered. Cheaper yet, those from China.


Exciting New Hardwood Products!

The most exciting things to happen in our industry was the launch of textures, such as hand scraped or wire brushed hardwoods. This was followed by fuming of the hardwood flooring, which naturally deepens and darkens the tannins of the wood. Fuming makes the wood darker but with variation of color. Lastly oiled flooring was introduced, which is a combination of oils to give hardwood a deep rich multi toned low sheen finish. All of these on their own or combined have made some spectacular hard wearing floors that have become Touchwood’s “go-to” based on popularity.