The Two Main Types of Hardwood Floors

Floor tile materials

A couple of years back, our washing machine flooded our entire apartment. The carpets and vinyl in the kitchen and bathrooms were destroyed. They tore out the drywall and everything, it was a complete nightmare. We even had to live at a friend’s house for a month. There was an upside however; even though we were only renting at the time, we got to pick out the new flooring. There were a million things to choose from: hardwood, laminate, carpet, vinyl, tile and so many other types. The choices were overwhelming really. We chose hardwood for the entire house but did you know there are different types of hardwood floor materials? Hardwood flooring isn’t just the one kind. There are different hardwood floor types. This article is going to go over the two most popular hardwood floor materials so you can be a little less overwhelmed than we were.

Solid Wood Flooring
This is available is narrow strips or wide planks as well as squares. The most popular kind of wood floors are the strips. You’ve probably seen it before. They measure between one and a half and three inches wide. The planks are wider; they go from about three to seven inches wide and the squares can be all different depending on the pattern that you want. They can come finished or unfinished and ranging in thicknesses.


  • Traditional, unfinished wood is surprisingly affordable. It is real wood but doesn’t have to be extremely expensive depending on the type of wood that you want.
  • It’s also quite attractive, especially the red oak or maple wood.
  • It doesn’t have to be finished. The unfinished wood looks quite nice.
  • Prefinished hardwood floor materials can be walked on and used immediately.
  • Wood is a renewable resource.


  • Unfinished wood has to be sanded and topcoat must be applied to protect it. So, it can’t really be completely unfinished.
  • Wood may be renewable but it is not considered sustainable.
  • Finished floors are better protected but cost more.

Engineered Wood Flooring
This is the type of wood that is use when you ‘do it yourself.’ It comes as three or more pieces of wood already glued together with a veneer top coat applied. They measure anywhere from three to seven inches wide and can be up to eight feet long. The thickness of the plants are from 3/8 or 3/4. They can be sanded down and refinished if you desire but you would have to make sure that the top veneer is thick enough to do so.


  • These kind of hardwood floor materials are more stable than solid wood.
  • They are also less apt to split, warp or get damaged.
  • You can choose from softwood or hardwood.
  • No nailing or gluing needed. Planks snap together.


  • The surface under the floors has to be hard and flat and in good condition or the hardwood floor won’t last.
  • The top coat that is typically used does not last as long as solid wood top coats.

If you decide to go with hardwood then these are the two options you are going to want to choose from. Within these two choices, there are more decisions that have to be made but you can take those one at a time, as you come to them. It makes everything a whole lot easier! Basically your choices come down to this:

  • Do you want carpet?
    If yes, you can start looking into colors and textures.
    If no, then you will need to decide:
  • Do you want real wood or tile or some less expensive alternative like vinyl or faux wood>
    The choices move on from there.

How and what you decide on really just depends on your needs and desires for your own home. For example, if you have children and pets will make decisions easier because some floors are easier or harder to clean.

Make sure that you set your budget before hand because this will also help to make the decisions easier. You can request to only be shown floor types that are within your price range. Anything outside of that can be immediately dismissed, thus narrowing your choices considerably. Anything that can be done to narrow your choices should be done in the very beginning so you don’t start to doubt yourself if you see something you like but can’t afford or don’t need. Read more.

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