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Hardwood flooring – Choose the right option for your home

Hardwood flooring – Choose the right option for your home

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Hardwood flooring – Choose the right option for your home

Now that we’re in the dead of winter, it’s a great time to think about changing or installing new hardwood floors. There are so many to choose from, and it’s not only the type of wood, but the layout that is also important. Hardwood is the foundation for your whole house: It’s what warms up your space and adds harmony to each room, tying everything together. I run hardwood everywhere, even my bathrooms, which sometimes shocks people, but to me, it counterbalances cold surfaces and adds a real depth of feel and comfort to my home.

So many options

Herringbone is a timeless hardwood, and it’s also quite trendy right now. If I were to use this particular hardwood, I would save it for one special room in my house, whether that be a foyer or a sitting room. Because it’s a bold pattern, you wouldn’t want to run it throughout too many areas as it can overwhelm your space. It’s also a little more expensive to lay herringbone, so you want to consider that as well.

From oak to black walnut (my personal favourite) and maple, you can choose several different hardwoods, but what you want to think about is the overall style and design of your home. Hardwood is a significant investment, and it’s something you will have to live with for the entire duration you stay in that home, so you want to make sure you take your time and select a hardwood that will stand the test of time, as well as your tastes. The hardwood is your base layer from which you layer everything else on top: Furniture, your soft furnishings, lighting, everything.

Types of finishes

There is a vast spectrum of finishing products, from penetrating oil to oil-like hybrids to polyurethanes, and most finishes fall into one of two categories: Oil or poly.

The oil penetrates the wood and has a soft, matte and natural feel – which is always my preference – but know that because of this, it won’t be impervious to damage or stains like a polyurethane, which creates this hard topcoat on the surface of the wood, making it much more resilient.

Even though oil finishes typically scratch more quickly, they’re straightforward to touch up compared to polyurethane. You would generally need to replace the whole board or buff and recoat the entire section of the floor, which is time-consuming and costly.

Decide the width

You can also select the width of your planks for your wood floor. Many homeowners are gravitating towards wider planks because it can give a sense of luxury: When you go beyond the standard size, it can make it feel somewhat special and unique. But, generally speaking, you need to take into consideration the size of your room: The bigger the room and the higher the ceilings, the wider the plank you should choose.

Lisa Rogers is EVP of Design for Dunpar Homes.

Lisa has shared her style and design expertise on popular television programs, such as Canadian Living TV, House & Home TV and The Shopping Channel.

Lisa is one of the most familiar faces on CityTV’s Cityline as a regular guest expert for fashion and image, health and wellness and design.


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Spotlight: Hardwood Flooring

What’s best for hardwood floors – solid or engineered?

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What’s best for hardwood floors – solid or engineered?

Stylish, hard-wearing flooring options are everywhere these days, and for some people, it can be hard for many to decide which product is best suited. Solid wood has long been the preferred option, and it still is among the purists. But for those who consider practicality and price equally, engineered wood floors have carved out a notch in the interiors industry – and it’s a deep one. Modern engineered wood makes up the majority of wood flooring products on the market, and gives its solid wood counterparts a run for their money. Here’s how these different hardwoods stack up.

With solid hardwood, what you see is what you get – a single, solid piece of wood, through and through. This also means that solid hardwood floors are susceptible to expansion and contraction due to changing temperatures and humidity levels, and can cause floors to shift and buckle, if not installed properly. Engineered wood is made with a plywood base, glued and topped by a thin veneer of hardwood, giving you the look of solid hardwood at a fraction of the price. Engineered wood can also be installed over different surfaces, such as existing wood. Cost aside, there are some other big differences to consider.

When it comes to finishes, both solid hardwood and engineered wood floors can be pre-finished, or finished on site. However, one benefit to solid hardwood over engineered wood is that it can be sanded and refinished numerous times, whereas engineered wood can only be sanded twice, before the veneer wears through. Keep this in mind. Most of us will refinish a floor only once or twice in our occupancy of a particular home, so this isn’t typically a deal-breaker.

In terms of durability, the battle between hardwood and engineered wood is a draw. When making your decision, consider how you intend to wear – and tear – your floors. Because engineered wood only consists of a thin top layer, it’s easier to chip or scratch than hardwood. When it comes to water, engineered wood wins, withstanding exposure to moderate moisture better than hardwood. This means in hallways and living rooms, solid wood works. In a kitchen, powder room or bathroom, engineered wood is more practical.

I seem to be singing the praises of engineered wood floors thus far, but remember that not all are created equal – “created” being the operative word. Engineered floors are manufactured, and quality can vary. If you’re considering engineered wood, ensure you’re sourcing a quality product from a trusted manufacturer.

One of my go-to choices for quality, colour and style options is Canadian brand Fuzion Flooring. I love working with this brand for their engineered woods, and many of my clients today have opted for this alternative, thanks to its price, practicality and beauty. Engineered wood now comes in a range of types, such as oak, maple, birch, cherry, as well as more exotic options. All wood products, solid and engineered, have their pros and cons. Make an informed decision and work with a professional to ensure you’re selecting the best product for your home and lifestyle.

Andrea Colman is Principal of Fine Finishes Design Inc.

With almost two decades of reno and design experience, her firm services clientele throughout the GTA. The growing boutique design firm is known for creating stylish, harmonious, livable environments.


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