Wood Flooring

Use these tips to select the wood flooring that's right for you.

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These African woods wouldn't generally be found in an American house so they're a really great way to update your look. One thing to know is that they change color and darken over time, but that's fun because you know you're not stuck with the same floor color forever.

Sponsored by Mohawk, copyright 2011

There's something really special about a hardwood floor and there are more possibilities than ever before from exotic woods to floors that look like wood but aren't wood at all. With so many options it can be difficult to choose so Christina Manca reviews tips on how to select the wood flooring that's right for you:

  • Wood flooring is loved for several reasons. It's one of the oldest flooring products so there's a level of comfort with it and it's very durable. It's also so versatile that it offers an infinite number of possibilities from different species to adding borders and inserts.

The trend today is toward personalizing your wood floor by having a professional design a border in contrasting wood tones. Or, design an insert and put it randomly throughout a room for an interesting look.

  • A solid strip hardwood floor uses strips of wood about 3/4-inch thick, 2-1/4-inch wide and anywhere from 12 to 84 inches long. North American hardwoods like red oak, maple and walnut are traditional favorites, but there's a trend toward using more exotic woods today.

  • Solid hardwood floors come either unfinished or pre-finished. The latter is nice because it avoids the dust and fumes that come with refinishing/finishing a floor.

  • Parquet wood tiles are another great option to use, especially in an area where you don't want to use a rug.

  • Believe it or not, you can get the look of hardwood without solid wood. Engineered wood flooring is a veneer of hardwood in the species of your choice on top of three to five thin sheets of wood. Whereas solid wood will expand or contract with heat and moisture, engineered wood flooring doesn't do that as much so there won't be as many cracks between the strips, which makes it particularly good for kitchens and basements where moisture is a factor. Solid wood flooring will last until someone removes it and engineered wood flooring will last anywhere from 10 to 20 years, depending on the level of traffic.

  • Plastic laminate flooring is not a wood product at all, but it looks like wood. The plastic layer on top is attached to particle board and it lasts about 10 to 15 years.

  • The three things to consider when choosing a new wood floor are budget, the application (how much traffic is going to be on the floor and where it will go) and the lifecycle of the floor (how long you want it to last).

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