Don’t be stumped by hardwood flooring

Cozy oak, durable hickory, modern cork and exotic bamboo — what flooring do you envision when considering a home remodel? Often this important surface material stumps homeowners, and sometimes ends up as a confusing afterthought.

Flooring covers a vast amount of your home’s square footage, so choosing the right product can truly make or break a room’s design. And with so many quality natural products from which to choose — varying from classic to modern — picking the right flooring for your home can be a challenge. A little direction can help make your home uniquely yours.

Hardwoods comprise a large portion of popular flooring, and it’s easy to see why — it is durable, timeless and matches nearly every design taste. But each type of wood offers its own unique trait.

Hickory, a durable choice that is easily stained, is one of the strongest options. This wood’s tough, hard and stiff characteristics are unmatched by other hardwoods. With a moderate open in its grain, it has fewer designs, providing a more seamless appearance.

Maple comes in hard and soft varieties, soft being more reasonably priced. However, when considering the wear and tear your floors receive, hard maple is a more practical long-term choice. It is a strong wood that withstands abrasive use. Maple is available in a variety of patterns, as it is a very diverse wood family. However, it can be difficult to stain, so it is ideal in its natural finish.

Oak, most commonly available in red or white, is the most common wood flooring. It is very resistant to its environment and is offered in an assortment of stains and finishes. Because of the wood’s broad designs in its grains, it has a very distinct appearance, a characteristic popular with homeowners and designers.

Cork is a natural product produced from cork trees. Unlike hardwoods, cork is harvested without cutting down the trees, as the mature trees naturally shed the product without harming its core structure. This makes cork a greener option than hardwoods. However, because cork is not a structured product by itself, some man-made materials. Cork is durable and gives a modern look to your home. It also provides more control over the space’s acoustics and is easier on the joints and body than other products.

Bamboo is another green option. Although bamboo is harvested, the natural product grows so quickly that cutting it down does little harm to the environment — a replacement rapidly regrows where the harvesting took place. Strand bamboo flooring is the most popular, as it has a strong surface and is resistant to scratches and dents. It also comes in dynamic designs.

When it comes time to choosing your home’s floors, it’s important to decide what characteristics, both practically and physically, are important to you. Do you want a floor that can withstand harsh wear? Or are you more concerned with environmentally friendly flooring? Each wood has distinct characteristics, and the variety helps provide every homeowner with their ideal natural flooring choice.