Stylish and Functional: 7 Types of Hardwood Flooring You Need to Know

In the last year, 37% of homeowners completed a flooring project. Most of those projects included adding hardwood flooring to their spaces.

Changing the flooring in your homes is a big task to undertake but can have a huge impact on the look, feel, and functionality of your home. Especially when you put in one of the types of hardwood flooring designed for these important spaces.

The flooring options for consumers are almost endless. It’s helpful to have a basic understanding of some of them to get a better idea of what you’re interested in before beginning you’re shopping.

Read on for your complete guide on the seven most popular hardwood flooring options.

1. Solid Wood

Solid hardwood floors are beautiful, timeless, and classic. Even when brand new, they give a classic character to any space.

There are many hardwood flooring types within this section of the market. You can choose the actual type of wood, based on its look and main features. Some of the most popular types are:

  • Maple: one of the more durable options, less color customizable
  • Walnut: very dark in color, strong with little wear show
  • Pine: softer and more susceptible to dents, popular for a rustic look
  • Oak: available in a variety of finishes, easily stained for color choices

Actual solid wood floors are beautiful choices but they don’t always last as long as other options. This material requires more maintenance than others and can be ruined without it.

2. Laminate

Laminate is one of the most popular wood flooring types. It’s made with a material called fiberboard, which is made with wood fibers compressed together.

After the base, there is a top layer with a wood grain picture. Then a final top protective coat after that.

In the past, laminate has often had a very fake look but in recent years the technology has improved and there are many really beautiful laminate options available for purchase.

Many consumers love laminate flooring because it’s so durable and easy to install. It’s virtually indestructible and there’s no need to worry about spills or water causing major damage.

3. Luxury Vinyl

Luxury vinyl planks have recently become a very trendy option of hardwood flooring types. It’s a great middle man between laminate and solid hardwood floors.

This flooring is actually not made of any wood material. It’s designed to mimic wood tones and grains, which are often very realistic looking. Luxury vinyl is so popular because it’s extremely durable.

It’s also fairly cheap to purchase and can be installed on your own if you like a DIY project.

It’s one of those flooring options that works everywhere; bedrooms or bathrooms, commercial or residential, high or low traffic.

4. Engineered Wood

Going back to flooring made of real wood products, engineered wood is made from several layers of wood glued together. This creates a very strong surface that is less likely to get damaged.

One major benefit of this type of hardwood flooring is that it’s extremely long-lasting. When small damage does occur (likely many years after installation), the top layer can be sanded down and refinished like traditional solid wood floors.

The layers in engineered wood floors cause them to have less contraction and expansion with changing temperatures. This also leads to less damage overall.

Many consumers who want real, solid hardwood floors are opting for engineered because of this decrease in maintenance.

5. Composite Engineered Wood

Taking it one step further, composite engineered wood uses the same process as engineered wood but the layers are different materials.

Instead of all the same wood material throughout, composite engineered wood uses more of a filler in the lower layers and then the solid wood just on the top. This gives it the same look and durability features.

It’s often cheaper to produce and, therefore, cheaper for the consumer as well.

The big benefit of using an engineered wood as your flooring material is that you get the best of both worlds. It’s a real wood product but it’s also easy to install and maintain.

6. Cork

A less-used option for hardwood flooring is cork. The cork comes from the bark of trees commonly found outside of the US, so it’s seen much less here.

This type of flooring is much softer than other options and isn’t great for high-traffic areas. Because it’s so soft, it’s a perfect option for those areas where people are often on their feet, like a yoga studio. Many people also choose cork because it can dampen sound so effectively.

It’s a unique choice with very specific applications where it can be extremely helpful.

Cork flooring is an especially great choice for the environmentally-minded consumer since it doesn’t require the whole tree to be produced.

7. Bamboo

Another more unique hardwood flooring option is bamboo, which is made from the bamboo plant.

This flooring is unique because it’s actually made from the grass stalks being compressed together into many layers. Its original habitat has a lot of moisture naturally, so this material is made to withstand water which is a huge benefit.

Many people choose to use bamboo flooring because it has a unique look but comes in a variety of finishes to meet specific design needs.

Bamboo flooring is quite soft, which is great for decreasing noise levels but it also means it’s more likely to get some small damage during regular, daily use.

The Best Types of Hardwood Flooring

Putting hardwoods in your space can be a game-changer. Between their look, durability, and functionality this flooring is the best choice for those heavy-traffic areas.

The best part is that there are so many types of hardwood flooring. You can find just the right fit for your style, budget, and maintenance needs. There’s an option for every situation.

When you want to learn more about home renovation, check out our other articles!