Designing with Hardwood Floors Made Easier
By Christopher Smith
Hardwood floors in this day and age are perfectly suitable for either casual or formal living and décor. These floors are perfectly at home with modern or traditional interior designs and will compliment many different design and decorating tastes. In addition to its versatility, hardwood offers quite a selection when it comes to stains, finishes, styles, and designs. For these reasons, hardwood is one of the most versatile and practical styles of flooring in today's market.
When designing with hardwoods nature provides the inspiration. With so many hardwood species and wood grains it is quite possible to have a hardwood that will not only match but also compliment almost any décor or style. Oak contains a lot of growth rings and patterns and is well suited for a traditional or rustic décor. The good news however, is that you can simply add a high gloss finish to make these very same floors perfectly suitable for an elegant or formal entryway or dining room in your home. Woods such as maple, walnut, and birch show very little of the grain and are excellent choices for contemporary or modern décor and design.
The aesthetics of hardwood can be greatly enhanced or influenced by mineral streaking as well as the presences of knots, shading, and variations of color. These same features are also used in order to classify your hardwoods.
Clear grades of hardwood are free of major defects though they may contain some rather minor imperfections. Flooring in this particular category also tends to have very little mineral streaking or knots which also makes it the most expensive grade of hardwood.
Select grades of hardwood are very similar to clear although they display more natural 'charm' or characteristics such as knots and variations in color.
Common grades will display more characteristics than either the clear or select grades and are often chosen for the specific purpose of the features they display or the charm they bring to the flooring.
Number 1 common flooring is variegated in appearance with light and dark colors, knots, and such. Number 2 common flooring is much more rustic and appearance and has a tendency to show all the natural characteristics of that particular hardwood. While this has traditionally been the least expensive of all the grades of hardwood, a recent revival of rustic or antiqued looking floors has sent the prices of these particular woods through the roof so to speak.
Performance is another aspect to consider when it comes to choosing the hardwood floors for your home. All hardwoods are not created equally and some are much more porous than others. This feature makes hardwoods harder and less vulnerable to staining. There is a test called the Janka Hardness Test, which tests the hardness of numerous wood species that are commonly used for flooring. While this test provides an excellent guide the actual hardness of wood is also greatly affected by the region in which it was grown.
Other factors that are wildly important when determining the durability of flooring are the plank construction and finish of your wood flooring. There are two primary forms of plank construction for hardwood floors: solid and engineered. Other factors such as the existing sub flooring and relative humidity will greatly affect the type of floors you need as well.
Advances in the technology for finishing floors has resulted in floors that are much better suited for day-to-day living and much more resistant to scratches, dents, and fading over time while becoming much easier to care for and maintain. These advances have resulted in hardwoods that should last a long time when properly maintained.
About the Author
Get more details about hardwood refinishing and how to install bamboo hardwood floors at RefinishedHardwood
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| Some other articles by Christopher Smith|