An oak wood floor is a home décor choice that adds beauty to many settings. The wood has a traditional appearance that presents itself with familiar marks and grain, and yet each piece of flooring is individual in its beauty. For many people, oak is what they imagine when they think about hardwood floors.
Why Oak Wood Floors Are So Popular
Oak wood floors remain popular because they can fit into so many styles. The fact that oak is considered traditional means that it enhances many home and furniture choices. Equally important, oak can be stained in a variety of hues and it is versatile.
In addition to its look, oak ranks at 1290 on the Janka scale. We’ve talked about the Janka scale in other posts, and explained it is the measure of how hardy a wood is. It is a factor all buyers should consider when making flooring decisions. Oak’s ranking indicates it will be successful with active, busy families
Other Considerations Include Style and Budget
Because oak is so popular, there are a variety of widths available giving you options for the décor. Narrow widths, 2 ¼” or 3”, are what many people think of as a traditional hardwood look. Wider planks present a different look and can help scale a room.
One final choice is whether you want hardwood, or engineered (laminated) oak. While both might look the same in a room, there are multiple factors to consider when you make your choice. These factors include budget and room use.
All of these choices – the color of the stain, the width of the planks, and whether you want hardwood or engineered flooring – are individual choices which don’t have a 100% right or wrong factor. Instead, when considering oak wood floors, the best place to start is to understand your lifestyle, the home where it is being placed, and the advice of your flooring professional.
There are a variety of excellent laminate flooring options for you to consider. However, like any significant choice in your home décor, be sure that you consider the practical aspects as well. Not sure where to start? Help is here.
Laminate Flooring and Your Lifestyle
Lifestyle has significant influence on your laminate flooring choice. There is a lot of wear and tear in the home of an active family with children, pets and activities. So, if your home is where the kids pile in after sports, or if there are multiple pets, keep in mind that light-colored floors show drips, spills and tracked-in dirt right away. Darker floors tend to show dust, “dust bunnies,” and animal hair.
Also take lifestyle into consideration when choosing the pattern, style and thickness of the planks that you choose.
The upshot: if you are decorating for a high-activity home, consider the mid-range of hues. Also consider the use of patterned flooring that looks like natural stone or other textures.
Flooring in a Room Remodel
If you are adding a room or remodeling a specific area, consider how the floor will look with the existing hallways and rooms. It is not necessary to match exactly, though that is always an option, but you do want a harmonious look throughout. You also want the floor to have the same sound and feel as the rest of the house. Thicker boards sound more natural, so consider boards that are 8mm (.32 in.) up to 12mm (.48 in.). Talk to your flooring professional about the thickness that is most durable for the activity in your household.
Ready to love your laminate flooring? The versatility and budget considerations are significant. Just be sure to do your homework up front and you’ll find yourself on solid footing for years to come.
Bamboo flooring installation is growing in popularity, as home owners become more familiar with the eco-friendly aspects of using bamboo. The more simple installation, hence less time and expense, comes with an engineered floor.
While several factors apply to the installation, today we’ll discuss two of them that are unique to bamboo: the expansion of bamboo planks and the hardness of the flooring.
Important Factors in Bamboo Flooring Installation
To understand bamboo flooring installation, remember this is an engineered floor. Several layers of product have been fused together, the top layer being bamboo which has been split and pressed flat. Another method of preparing bamboo, called strand-woven, weaves together strands for additional toughness. Some users claim strand-weaving gives the floors more of an appearance of a traditional hardwood floor.
The two types of bamboo floor planks react differently during installation. So, it is important for the installer to understand the differences: while both need time to acclimate to the home or room before installation, standard bamboo will expand both in width and length. Strand-woven acts more like traditional laminated flooring and expands primarily in width.
Bamboo Flooring and the Janka Scale
The second factor is the Janka Scale, the scale used to rank the hardness of flooring. The higher the Janka number, the harder (and hardier) is the floor.
However, when buying bamboo, you can’t rely on Janka alone. A typical bamboo floor might have a high Janka ranking, but it is still susceptible to sharp objects such as high heels or dropped items, because the bonding between the fibers is not as strong as the bamboo itself. This is not true in the case of strand-woven bamboo flooring.
Like many home projects, when considering bamboo flooring installation, it is best to become well-acquainted with the product and to consult a professional prior to beginning the project.
Is laminate flooring right for you? On many home projects, both in a new home or a remodeling project, homeowners naturally want to consider the best floor for the home.
For a variety of reasons, laminate flooring (also called engineered flooring) can be a very good option. It is easier to work with, less expensive to install, and the work can be done faster so it fits well into a time-sensitive project. Many homeowners also appreciate that the laminate is prefinished so the buyer can see exactly what it will look like.
Environmental Issues with Laminate Flooring
While all the above is true, it doesn’t mean that choosing the best laminate flooring can be done without careful consideration. For instance, not all laminate floors are good in all environments, which is why they are ranked by RH (relative humidity). RH includes the outside climate (heat, humidity) as well as the inside environment (furnaces and air conditioning). RH can also be affected by the work being done on the job site, because the floors are often laid early and are subject to inconsistent air/heat and exposure to the elements.
For instance, in a place where the furnace is running all winter, there are different levels of humidity than in a home that is in a moderate climate with a lot of moisture in the air. Likewise, a desert city such as Phoenix is very different than Houston. Both cities are hot, but you might not use the same laminate floor in both places because of the differences in humidity.
While many people praise the ease of installing laminate flooring, the same advice you would use with any important element in your home applies: work with, or seek the advice of, a professional before you make any buying choices.
There is a natural beauty and charm to an oak wood floor that translates into making a home charming and welcoming while adding to the resale value. If you are considering a hardwood floor from oak, you will find it naturally beautiful. You will also discover that the flooring can be stained any number of shades that add custom accents to your home.
Oak Wood Floor Care
As with most hardwood, you don’t need to pamper your oak wood floor, but you should keep it clean with a broom, dust mop, or slightly dampened hard wood floor cleaning mop. How much work your specific species of floor needs is a question you will want to ask your flooring professional before the job begins, especially if you are putting wood floors in highly trafficked areas such as the entry way or kitchen.
Oak is Great for Staining
When it comes to the color of your oak, there are several species to choose from and you also have a wide variety of stains. The stains will beautify and amplify the style you are looking for. Work with your flooring professional to determine the best look for your space.
Keep in mind that when you are working with a natural material such as oak, there are natural variations. This is part of the beauty of the species. Even with just a few pieces of the same oak there will be variations, and no stained floor will look exactly like the one you saw somewhere else. Wise decorators know to test a sample of the stain you choose on a small area first, to be sure that the stain is what you envision.
Whether you choose to stain or keep it natural with just a varnish, an oak wood floor is a popular and versatile addition to the beauty of your home.
If you want to get the best hardwood floors, today we will talk about one specific factor in choosing that flooring.
Best Hardwood Floors
When selecting the best hardwood floors for your home and the costs of maintaining the floors for years to come, what the professionals do: look at the hardness of the wood as measured on the Janka Scale, which ranks durability and hardness.
This insight can help you avoid the buyer’s remorse that comes because you saw a floor that is exactly what you want, only to discover that in your home, it is an impractical choice for your family’s lifestyle.
The Janka scale helps you understand how much wear a specific wood will show. A wood that ranks low on the Janka Scale indicates a soft wood (red cherry, has a beautiful grain, but its Janka Hardness rating of 950 indicates it is less suitable for homes with children and pets.)For that home with a lot of activity, you want to look at woods higher on the scale such as hickory (Janka Hardness rating 1820) or northern red oak (1290).
Not just the type of wood, but the source, will affect the Janka rating. The domestic black cherry comes in at a 950 Janka Harness, while the Brazilian cherry is ranked 2820
Yes, it’s a fact. You can get dizzy looking at all the domestic and imported types of wood flooring available. It’s always key to remember that paramount in your decision is your budget, your lifestyle and the style of your home. However, a little extra work to learn about hardness and style can pay off in a beautiful, and the best, hardwood floors for you.
Beautiful, easy to maintain and more affordable than hardwoods, laminate flooring is an option that many home owners find superior for bringing warmth and sophistication into a home.
The outer layer helps protect against scratches, making it appealing in high-traffic areas or homes with pets and children. The inner layers provide beauty, strength and resilience. The floor is durable and most brands offer warranties against stains and fading. As an alternative to other wood floor options, it’s easy to see why many people love laminate.
Very simply, flooring referred to as “floating wood tile” or “laminate” uses a laminating process to fuse together multiple layers of materials. The top coat is a clear, protective covering and the next layer is the one with the style and color. Underneath are two to three additional layers that aide strength, durability, impact and help smooth imperfections in the sub floor.
The boards attach to each other with a locking, tongue and groove system, which makes it easier to install than hardwoods, which need to be cut, fastened and glued in place.
Beauty Going Beyond Looks
Hickory. Yes, laminate flooring presents itself with the lush richness and fashionable styles that you demand and expect. Yet for all its beauty, it is Eco-friendly both in the installation and the product itself. Made from wood and wood by-products, even the most elaborate looks do not endanger our delicate Eco-system of forest and trees. And best of all, your budget will benefit from the reduced costs of production and installation.
Given all considerations, it’s no wonder that many are finding laminate flooring is the perfect way for you to have style and beauty without breaking the budget.
Whether building or remodeling, your floors are key to a successful décor and few products rival the elegance of hardwood flooring. Yet, having made that choice, you are probably asking, “How do I choose the best hardwood floors?” Like the dimensions of the rooms, the flooring decision you make is a crucial element to your home’s style.
First, you need to make choices as you research your flooring options. Hard wood verses soft wood. Satin gloss, semi-gloss, matte. Solid wood verses engineered wood flooring. Color. Geographical location of the house. Where in the house to put wood, tile, carpet. How do you handle entry ways, where most of the dirt collects. What is the style of your house and what wood complements that best? And don’t forget the all-important consideration of budget.
Once you’ve made the practical decisions, it is time to make the decision that will become part of the way you live in your home.
The Secret to Finding Hardwood Floors
When it comes to where you live day after day, year after year, here is an all-important rule: your floors should accommodate your lifestyle. Not the other way around.
Don’t select flooring that doesn’t suit the way you live. Do you entertain big crowds and large families, or a few adult guests? Do you have children and pets? Do you live with young children or all adults? Choose the wood, color and finish that lets you live with joy and warmth with your family, pets, and chosen lifestyle.
The secret to choosing the best hardwood floors? Choose flooring that you will enjoy having as part of your daily life, through the coming years.