Hardwood flooring is a popular American staple: classic, elegant, and comforting. There are a wide range of options, varying in color and edge treatment. You can opt for more minimalist styles or go all out with the theme. So, if you have been wondering what is the best engineered hardwood flooring, here are some innovative ideas for mixing and matching design elements in your home!
What’s up with edges?
Your antique custom hardwood flooring can get a very different overall appearance based on the kind of treatment given to the edges of each board. You can choose from:
Square edges – They give you a more natural look, the lines between the boards look fainter. The whole floor appears to be almost undivided. A great option for people who like to have a lot of furniture!
Micro or eased edges – These give you a subtle, but apparent line effect between the boards. If you want your planks to look distinct from one another, but not in a way that stands out, this should be your go-to choice.
Scraped edges – If you like the rougher, vintage expression of hardwood flooring, scraped edges are what you are looking for. They may look effortless and natural, but they are artfully scraped and handcrafted. Essential to those who are going for a hunter’s cabin décor style.
Pillowed edges – These give a soft, manicured surface contour to the boards. They are a good match for minimalist houses, with few stand-out pieces of furniture and décor, or for homeowners who are leaning Art Deco (think 1920s Parisian surrealist boudoir) or Neo-Classicist (opulent, but chic and timeless).
What about type and color?
So, here is where things get trickier. After deciding on what is the best engineered hardwood flooring for your needs, you can get a lot of different combinations and shades, depending on the type of wood you choose.
Maple Custom Hardwood Flooring
If you are looking for durability, maple is of the hardest kinds of woods used in flooring. Maplewood is the material used by businesses with heavy foot traffic, like bowling alleys, so you know they are resistant. Because it is such a durable material, you can safely choose lower-grade wood boards if you are trying to save money, but maple is generally very affordable since it is widely available.
Maple usually comes in creamy, light colors with warm undertones, so it’s a safer choice. You can decorate your room in a wide range of colors, with no concerns about clashing with your floor. Maple also comes with a lot of variability in the wood grain design. The downside is that maple can scratch easily because the grain is so smooth. The Janka hardness of maple ranges between 950 (soft) and 1450 (hard). Be sure to keep this tidbit in mind when comparison shopping maple flooring.
It’s easy to clean maple hardwood flooring. First and foremost, always sweep and dry mop to ensure there are no scratches from the dirt particles and other debris. The Champion Old Fashioned Dust Mop is perfect for dry mopping followed by the light spraying of the Champion Hardwood Laminate Floor Cleaner. It also helps to clean up any spills as soon as they happen to avoid stains. For this second cleaning phase, a wet mop such as the Champion Super Yellow Mop is perfect!
Recommended color palette: Warm colors for your walls like salmon, orange, and yellow.
Style tip: To avoid scratches, you can make expansive use of rugs.
Red Oak Hardwood Flooring
Red oak is the most common choice among homeowners. It’s slightly less resistant than maple, but it comes in a wider range of colors. The undertones are rosier, and the grains can be medium to heavy dark. Despite being less hard than maple, oak is a more stable material and better suited for places with humid climates and extreme temperature variations between seasons. On the other hand, red oak is not water resistant, so be mindful of where you install the flooring. Water can easily penetrate the surface and stain it to a black color.
The price range starts at the same level as maple but can run more expensive for higher-grade versions. Red oak probably has the most distinctive grain patterns among the different custom hardwood flooring options. It’s often used in traditional environments, like boardrooms, or rustic settings (perfect for hunting cabins).
Recommended color palette: Darker hues, like burgundy and olive, can work great but might require a lot of natural light. White might be your best option: a classic, understated look that allows you to play more with furniture and accessories. For small rooms, you should definitely pick a lighter color. Focus on complementary colors, to visually expand the room.
Style tip: Mix tradition and modernity for a less severe look. Bean bags, modern accessories, and minimalist furniture can conjure up a fun version of red oak!
Cherry Hardwood Flooring
Now, if you are looking for the highest aesthetic value, you are probably looking for cherry. One of the prettiest exotic hardwood flooring options out there, cherry has a satin-like texture with a very smooth finish. It comes in warm hues, with either light or dark undertones. Cherry has some of the most intricate grain patterns among different types of hardwood. But cherry is generally pricier than other materials and it is less resistant to staining. You should not install cherry hardwood floors in rooms with heavy foot traffic.
Another advantage is that it’s easy to clean. Considering cherry hardwood is very sensitive to dirt, debris, and excess moisture, it’s important to be smart and considerate about the proper cleaning tools. For instance, a simple broom sweep followed by dry-mopping (Champion Old Fashioned Dust Mop) should do the trick.
Recommended color palette: Whites and grays are welcome here since cherry has such a bold look to it. You can also get creative with creamy versions of your favorite tones, or bold with a slightly subdued bright color like teal.
Style tip: Cherry is best suited for modern décor, along with light and delicate furniture.
Acacia Hardwood Flooring
Here’s another type of hardwood flooring with durability (the Janka hardness of acacia is 1700, which is higher than both maple and oak). As far as appearance, acacia has wide grain patterns and knots along with color varieties that range from tan to dark and light brown. As far as quality, acacia has plank textures, widths, and structures. The last two qualities give more character to homes.
The pros of this type of flooring is that it’s resilient due to its high density, it’s fire resistant, less susceptible to scratches and dents, reusable and recyclable, and requires little emissions when produced. However, it helps to avoid scratches on the floor by regular sweeping to keep its quality. The Champion Old Fashioned Dust Mop can also be of regular weekly use. Another advantage to the high density is that acacia can last up to 10 years before it’s due for a refinish.
Now, here are the cons. Acacia is likely to shrink within extremely dry conditions. The planks made from this wood type is limited between 1 to 4 feet in length. This is because acacia trees are shrub-like. Therefore, the planks are much shorter than other common types of wood such as maple or oak. Another point against acacia is its distinct appearance. The many patterns and knots of acacia can be a bit much because it may clash with the overall appearance of a certain room. Keep this in mind when choosing colors and décor for rooms with this hardwood floor choice.
Recommended color palette: I’m thinking dark or medium shades of green will give a forest or nature-like ambiance to a room.
Décor: Something with a forest or woodsy theme.
Hickory Hardwood Flooring
Now onto another hardwood floor…and with durability! (Are you noticing a tread so far?) Hickory has a Janka rating of 1,820 (much higher than the acacia). With its distinctive and rustic grain pattern, hickory ranges in colors from light & creamy, to dark brown, to auburn tones. Hickory flooring is the perfect choice for rooms with heavy traffic such as business, living rooms and kitchens (especially matte hickory and with a proper sealant). Hickory flooring is perfect for any active environment. However, if installing hickory flooring for heavy traffic areas, avoid the high gloss.
The pros: Like acacia, it’s resistant to scratches and dents. Another advantage is that it’s also resistant to water damage. Therefore, it’s perfectly okay to use the Champion Hardwood Laminate Floor Cleaner considering it is water-based and contains no toxic ingredients at all. A super absorbent wet mop like the Champion Super Yellow Mop is the perfect companion for this task. Two other similarities hickory shares with acacia is lack of mold growth and durability for up to many years.
The cons: Hickory is more susceptible to humidity. Avoid installing this hardwood type in bathrooms and basements, especially if using the engineered hickory hardwood flooring. Hickory texture can expand from moisture changes. Make sure the proper moisture control stays at 12% for narrow plank widths, and 10% for 5-inch-wide planks. Engineered hickory hardwood flooring is perfect for homes with seasonal moisture problems to ensure the wood doesn’t expand.
Recommended color palette: Lighter shades of blue, yellow, or gray for the walls to go with the matte light and creamy floors (homes); gray walls (business).
Décor: It depends on the room.
Bamboo Hardwood Flooring
What hardwood flooring type is more eco-friendly than bamboo? Wait, hold on for a second. Nope, I haven’t found anything to answer that question. What makes it eco-friendly? Well, first of all bamboo is a type of grass that grows much faster than most wood. This grass towers over 50 feet tall in maturity within 5 to 7 years, which makes bamboo the most sustainable plant. Bamboo flooring also promotes a healthy environment inside homes.
The Janka hardness of bamboo ranges from 1762 (vertical and horizontal) to 4600 (strand). This flooring is ideal for heavy traffic areas such as kitchens, living rooms, and hallways.
The pros: Bamboo is resistant to scratches and dents. Therefore, regular sweeping, vacuuming, and dry mopping (Champion Old Fashioned Dust Mop is perfect for the job) are a must to help with lack of scratching. It’s also resistant to moisture. When applying water for cleaning, make sure the mop or sponge is only slightly damp.
This is where the occasional use for the Champion Hardwood & Laminate Floor Cleaner comes in. It’s water-based, toxic free, and will not leave behind any residue, especially when using an ultra-absorbent wet mop like the Champion Super Yellow Mop. An eco-friendly product for an eco-friendly hardwood flooring choice. The flooring can also be refinished multiple times. That looks like a job for the Champion Hardwood & Laminate Floor Finish/Shine.
The cons: Heavy furniture pieces are likely to weigh down on the floor’s quality.
Recommended color palette: The colors of bamboo ranges from light to dark planks. Either medium to light green or a light yellow for the walls will make a great backdrop to the floor. Shades of medium to light blues are also a nice selection against the light-colored bamboo flooring.
Décor: Lighter furniture, of course. I think that rugs will also compliment the floors nicely.
Vinyl Hardwood Flooring
Now, I’ve covered which rooms would be perfect for certain hardwood flooring. Allow me to include flooring that’s perfect for rooms with plenty of moisture (mainly, the bathroom): vinyl flooring. It’s the perfect choice for installing in bathrooms because of its durability and resistance to moisture, humidity, and steam. You definitely won’t have to worry about the vinyl shrinking or buckling at all. You also don’t have to worry about dents, stains, dirt, punctures, or scratches (it’s still not a good idea to place heavy furniture, especially without protective pads, on this floor type) since vinyl is resistant to all of those, too.
Some other factors to keep in mind: Direct contact of sunlight to the vinyl may cause a slight change in color. There’s vinyl hardwood flooring with UV protection. As I have mentioned before, furniture with heavy legs are unnecessary to place on this flooring. Here’s the bonus: with vinyl, you get higher performance quality at a lower price compared to that of stone and ceramic flooring.
As far as cleaning, you can’t go wrong with sweeping or dry mopping with the Champion Old Fashioned Dust Mop. To ensure there are no traces of any dirt particles, follow up on the Champion Hardwood & Laminate Floor Cleaner and the Champion Hardwood & Laminate Floor Finish/Shine. Of course, don’t forget your handy-dandy Champion Super Yellow Mop! What a way to do your eco-friendly cleaning duty, huh?
Recommended color palette: Gray walls to go with the white with black grain patterns. Nothing too dramatic.
Décor: As far as protecting the floor (assuming it is not built with UV protection), rugs are the way to go.