Selecting Hardwood

Selecting Hardwood
Today there are more wood flooring fashions to choose from than ever before. At last count there were over 1,000 species of wood, cork and bamboo floors available. Wood is cozy, practical, and never goes out of style. It lasts a long time which makes it an excellent investment.

A few things to consider when choosing Hardwood Floors:
Janka Hardness Scale
Species There are many species of hardwood. Each has its benefit depending on desired look, color, and durability. Not all species are equally hard. If your floor is in a high traffic area or a heavily used room then you should consider oak, maple, or ash.

Traditional oak has more variations in grain and shade while maple is cleaner and more understated. There are exotic species such as Tigerwood, Brazilian cherry, and Santos Mahogany with a unique combination of origin, color, and surface characteristics. Ask our experts to show you species that are appropriate for your lifestyle.

Color Hardwood color run from almost white to black, with browns, tan, reds, and grays in between. A medium color is cozy and rich. Dark colors are modern, chic, and expensive looking. Lighter colors create a spacious interior and a neutral design point. Species impacts color as some are naturally dark, such as cherry and walnut, or a light, less expensive flooring can be stained for any desired look. Keep in mind that it is better to create contrast between your flooring, walls, and furniture.

Width Hardwood flooring is generally described by board width. A strip is less than 3” wide. Planks are 3” or wider. The width of individual boards has a dramatic influence on the look of your floor. Strips make a room look bigger. Planks are have a more rustic feel. Keep in mind that wide widths will complement a large room but could overwhelm a small area.
Abbey Tips!
The lighting in your room also plays a role in how the wood will appear. Ask our experts for samples that you can take home before you make your final selection. Installing a floor with the boards running across the width or on the diagonal of a narrow room will create a more spacious environment.
Hardwood Types
Your Abbey expert can advise you whether solid, engineered, bamboo, or cork is right for you.
Solid Hardwood
Solid Hardwood is 100% solid wood. Most solid hardwood flooring needs to be nailed to a subfloor and is susceptible to shrinking and expanding from excessive moisture and extreme temperature changes. This makes it unsuitable for installation directly over concrete and is not usually recommended for below grade use. It is normally nailed or stapled to a wooden subfloor. 

Engineered Hardwood
Engineered Hardwood is also 100% wood. Its cross-ply construction allows installation below or above grade, even over concrete. It resists expansion and contraction caused by temperature and humidity changes. Engineered flooring is typically glued-down, stapled-down or floated over an existing floor. It is manufactured by permanently bonding together multiple layers of solid wood in a cross ply construction. Engineered hardwood is usually the only type of hardwood that is recommended for use below grade.

Bamboo does not come from trees, but is a type of grass. It is better for the earth and is harder than some wood flooring species. It can be nailed, glued, or floated and is flame resistant. It is installed like engineered flooring and is a good fit over multiple different levels of sub floor. 

Cork is a sustainable hard flooring made from the bark of the Cork Tree. It is sold in planks and tiles, both of which are relatively easy to install. Cork has become popular due to the comfort, flexibility, and ability to muffle noises. It is resistant to mildew, insects, bacteria, and rot. Cork is more susceptible to scratching and indentations than other hardwood, and is not recommended in high moisture environments.